The Info List - Varini

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The names Varini
(Tacitus), Varinnae (Pliny the Elder), Ούίρουνοι or Viruni (Ptolemy), Varni
or Οὐάρνων (Procopius), Wærne/Werne (Widsith) and Warnii (Lex Thuringorum) probably refer to a little-known Germanic tribe. The name would have meant the "defenders". They originally lived in northern Germany, but may have moved to the west during the Migration Era. In English they were called Werns or Warns. They are often called Warni and Warini
in Modern English. The earliest mention of this tribe appears in Tacitus' Germania, where he wrote:

(Original Latin) " Reudigni deinde et Aviones et Anglii
et Varini
et Eudoses
et Suardones et Nuithones. Nec quicquam notabile in singulis, nisi quod in commune Nerthum, id est Terram matrem, colunt eamque intervenire rebus hominum, invehi populis arbitrantur. ..." --Tacitus, Germania, 40.[1]

(English translation) "There follow in order the Reudignians, and Aviones, and Angles, and Varinians, and Eudoses, and Suardones and Nuithones; all defended by rivers or forests. Nor in one of these nations does aught remarkable occur, only that they universally join in the worship of Herthum (Nerthus); that is to say, the Mother Earth."--Tacitus, Germania, 40, translated 1877 by Church and Brodribb.[2]

Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
wrote Germanorum genera quinque: Vandili, quorum pars Burgodiones, Varinnae, Charini, Gutones meaning that there were five Germanic races: the Vandals
whom the Burgundians
were part of, the Varinnae, the Charini and the Gutones (Goths). On Ptolemy's map, the Ούίρουνοι or Viruni are placed in the area of Mecklenburg, next to the Teutoniari, where one of the main rivers is Warnow
and a town is called Warnemünde. When the Slavs arrived, they called themselves the Varnes, perhaps having assimilated remaining Varni. The town Οὐιρουνον (Virunum) has been identified as present Drawsko Pomorskie. The Warini
were likewise mentioned in passing by Procopius
who wrote that when the Heruls
(Eruli) had been defeated by the Lombards, they returned to Scandinavia
(Thule). They crossed the Danube
(Ister), passed the Slavs
(Sclaveni) and after a barren region, they came to the Οὐάρνων. After these Warni they passed the Dani, and crossed the sea. In Scandinavia, they settled beside the Geats (Gautoi). Talking of his own time, however, Procopius
situates the Varni
north and east of river Rhine, bordering the Franks. Their king Hermegisclus had made a strategic alliance with the Frankish ruler Theudebert I, marrying his sister Theudechild. As the king died, the satraps compelled his son Radigis to marry his stepmother. The son, however, was already engaged with a British queen, who crossed the North Sea with an army of 400 ships and 100.000 men, seeking retaliation. Radigis was caught hiding in a wood not far from the mouth of the Rhine
and had no other choice than to marry his fiancée.[3] In fact, the term Warini
might have been used for all Germanic tribes outside the realm of the Franks. Others, however, are critical about Procopius
reliability.[4] Modern scholars claim that the area north of the Rhine
may have been under Frankish control during the greater parts of the 6th and 7th centuries, at least since the defeat of the Danish sea-king Hygelac
in 526.[5] The Warini
are mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon poem Widsith as the Wærne or Werne.

lines 24–27:

Þeodric weold Froncum, þyle Rondingum, Theodric ruled the Franks, Thyle the Rondings,

Breoca Brondingum, Billing Wernum. Breoca the Brondings, Billing the Werns.

Oswine weold Eowum ond Ytum Gefwulf, Oswine ruled the Eow and Gefwulf the Jutes,

Fin Folcwalding Fresna cynne. Finn Folcwalding the Frisian-kin.

The name Billing, mentioned in Widsith, might be related to the ancestors of the Saxon Billung-family. The Warini
also appear in a 9th-century legal codex, Lex Angliorum, Werinorum hoc est Thuringorum (Law of the Angles
and Warini, that is, of the Thuringians), which has much in common with Frankisch, Frisian and Saxon law codes. Recent research suggests that they were part of a Thuringian federation, which dominated Northern Germany from Atilla's death in 453 to the middle of the 6th century when they were crushed by the Franks. Their military fame might explain why the names of the Warini
and Thuringians have been mentioned in a much wider area, extending even beyond the Rhine.[6][7] Their home country seems to have been the district between the rivers Saale and Elster, which was called Werenofeld (around Eisleben). According to the chronicle of Fredegar
the Varini
rebelled against the Francs in 595 and were bloodily defeated 'so that few of them survived'.

The Varini
in the actual north Germany.

See also[edit]

Ancient Germanic culture portal

List of Germanic peoples Värend, possible Warnic homeland Varni
a village and mandal in Nizamabad district, Andhra Pradesh, India[8]


^ Tacitus', Germania, 40, Medieval Source Book. Code and format by Northvegr.[1] ^ Tacitus', Germania, 40; translation from The Agricola and Germania, Alfred John Church
Alfred John Church
and William Jackson Brodribb, trans., (London: Macmillan, 1877), pp. 87–110, as recorded in the Medieval Sourcebook [2] ^ Procopius: Book VI, xv; book VIII, xx. ^ J.N. Lanting & J. van der Plicht, 'De C14-chronologie van de Nederlandse pre- en protohistorie, Part VIA: Romeinse tijd en Merovingische periode. Historische bronnen en chronologische thema's', in: Palaeohistoria 51/52 (2009/2010), pp. 27–169, 59, 73. ^ Gerhard Krutzler, Kult und Tabu: Wahrnehmungen der "Germania" bei Bonifatius, Münster 2011, pp. 43–45. ^ Helmut Castritius, Dieter Geuenich, Matthias Werner (eds.), Die Frühzeit der Thüringer: Archäologie, Sprache, Geschichte, Berlin/New York 2009, pp. 287, 417, 448. ^ Matthias Springer: Warnen. In the Lexicon of Germanic Antiquity Studies (Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde) (RGA). 2nd edition, Vol. 33, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin/New York 2006, p(p). 274–281. ^ [3]

External links[edit]

A scholarly treatment by Charles Harrison-Wallace

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