Post by taf Post by Peter Stewart
Apart from the problem that it does not seem to have been consciously
applied to Denmark by Dudo in the first place, who before him did
actually use this name for anywhere in Scandinavia?
Doing a quick Google tour I am finding little more than either generic statements that this became standard, or specific attribution to people later than Dudo (e.g. Geoffrey of Monmouth).
John Bergsagel in the article cited earlier in this thread traced the
use of Dacia for Denmark and suggested (p. 88) that "It would thus
appear that the change from 'Dania' to 'Dacia' might be simply a
chronological development from the early to late twelfth century ... It
seems generally accepted that it was primarily the Roman Church that at
the end of the twelfth century established the use of the word 'Dacia'
to mean Denmark and that it came by extension to apply in various ways
to the whole region of Scandinavia."
Post by taf
Hakon Melberg, Origin of the Scandinavian Nations and Languages (1951) says, "Dudo is not responsible for the mistake of rendering the Dacia of his Norman History as 'Denmark'. This element of confusion was introduced by a later generation of Norman chroniclers." This contrasts with Elisabeth van Houts, in her edition of William of Jumìeges (1992) "Dudo identified Denmark with Dacia, and Danes with Dacians; Dacia was for him a land inhabited by people called the Getae, who were Goths, and the Daci were a tribe of Goths who called themselves Danai or Dani and migrated from the island of Scanza."
I'm afraid Van Houts was winging it here - the mentions of Getia by Dudo
provide no support at all for her proposal that for him "the Daci were a
tribe of Goths". He mentioned the Getae along with the Alani and other
ethnicities who inhabited the area of the Meotid swamps ("Getae, qui et
Gothi, Sarmatae et Amacsobii, Tragoditae et Alani, quamplurimoeque
gentes, Meotidibus paludibus excolendo commorantes") in the vicinity of
the Dacians - presumably this meant modern Ukraine around the sea of
Azov, north-east of the Danube delta. Later Dudo had a German speak of
his having fought against Dacians, Alani, Goths and Hungarians ("Contra
Dacos et Alanos Gothosque et Hungros saepe dimicavi"), without hinting
at a mix-up of these as tribes or clans of each other, but rather as
enemies of the east Frankish empire in apparently the same general
Van Houts may be closer to reality and to a helpful line of argument
when she stated in *The Normans in Europe* (2000) p. 4-5: "Erroneously
equating Danes with Dacians, Dudo began his account of the viking
settlement of Normandy with remarks on the Balkans, the home territory
of the Dacians as described by Roman authors like Jordanes; in this way
he extended Rollo’s historical background by several centuries and
matched it to the norm of classical historiography ... Carolingian
education, as represented in the person of Dudo, with its emphasis on
the authority of the written word in northwestern France, is to blame;
though Dudo's predilection for using Latin sources full of 'auctoritas'
(authority) was also a product of the Christian tradition. Fitting the
vikings into a Romano-Christian tradition enabled Dudo and William of
Jumièges to link the Roman period with the Norman period and to consider
the pagan viking years as merely an interlude."
On this basis I think an argument - though not a very strong one - can
be made that Dudo was aware of a Norwegian origin for followers of Rollo
and arbitrarily settled on "Dacia" only because this allowed for a link
to Roman cosmography and to an ancient origin (in Antenor) that linked
the Normans to the origin myth of the Franks. No-one, not even Dudo,
could seriously suppose that the name Norman (or Northmanni as he gave
it) would have become attached to people arriving from anywhere near the
Danube in the south-east. However, when he had Normans worrying about
what their allies the native "Dacians" and Norwegians might say about
them, as quoted upthread, he may have been letting slip that the main
source of support from old compatriots and kindred of the Normans came
Post by taf
The best I can do for a possible earlier source than Dudo: Jane Leake, The Geats of Beowulf, (1963, pp. 78-79) seems to be attributing the Dacia/Denmark confusion to Orosius, but I am unable to see more than snippets and later references to her doing so.
Orosius may have been one of the Roman authors known to Dudo, but since
he lived in the 5th century I don't suppose he had very much to say
about Danes. He wrote about the eastern borders of Europe, placing Dacia
and Gothia there but certainly not Denmark.