Germanerna

Tale of the Teutons

- Germanic and German in Antiquity and Afterwards

by Tore Janson

The image of the Teutons, also called the Germanic peoples, is shrouded in myths and overlaid with ideas from racial biology and Nazism. What were they: big wild fighters with swords and helmets and strange old clothes, or straight-backed, straight-nosed blond young men in elegant uniforms from the 1940s? This story, which meanders across two thousand years, illustrates how a tale from antiquity was changed and distorted into a complete falsification of the past.

In Germanerna, researcher Tore Janson talks about who the original Teutons were and how they became symbols for events and ideas that have come to matter a great deal and are loaded with dangerous tensions. Janson also tries to describe what actually happened in antiquity to the Teutons. Their riveting story and their relationship to the Romans has much to do with with us who live at present, as it has shaped the development of Europe until today. Their language came to be the origin of English, German, Swedish, and several other languages. In most of northern Europe today, people speak a language based on the one that the Teutons spoke in antiquity.

The purpose of this book is to find answers to three questions: how the terms German and Germanic acquired two quite distinct meanings, who the original Teutons were, and how a number of different languages in our part of the world came to be referred to as Germanic. Germanerna is a meandering history stretching across two thousand years dealing, like no other book on the subject, with how events and ideas from history and myth came to be influential and even dangerous.

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