Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login


Ask a question about 'Dauciones'
Start a new discussion about 'Dauciones'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
The Daukiones or Dauciones (Latinization) were a Germanic tribe mentioned by Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

 (2.10) as living in Scandia, i.e. Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...


Ptolemy's view of the north is so distorted that his names require some decoding to locate them, nor can that be done with very great certainty. The Dauciones are mentioned in the same breath as the Goutai, undoubtedly the Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

 of south central Sweden. This coupling implies that they were in the same region, but even this placement leaves plenty of room for doubt.

It has been fashionable in the earlier 20th century to regard Ptolemy's names more as distortions and to try to correct them. This path is beset with danger, as it entails altering the original text. Ancient texts sometimes do get inadvertently altered, but the problem of restoration is that the original remains unknown and therefore unverifiable.

Ptolemy offers some 8000 plus names, but many of the names he gives for Germany are close to their reconstructed common Germanic. Ptolemy's latitudes, longitudes and landforms are often distorted, due to the lack of scientific geography of the times, but his names are not necessarily so.

One corrective theory turns the Dauciones into the Danes (Dankiones--Daneiones). This transformation replaces the u with an n and then alters that to make it look Danish. After all, Halland just south of the Goths remained Danish through the Middle Ages until Sweden managed to assimilate it.

The weakness of the theory is that Ptolemy's and Ptolemy's sources' times are too early for a Danish/Swedish language, social or political distinction. The migrations had not begun and the original tribes were for the most part still living in their classical lands. The same language was most likely spoken in both places, Denmark was occupied by the Jutes and the Angles, and the Danes were not known.

Kendrick (1930) presents an ingenious but equally weak subtle alteration of the Greek. A single passage in Ptolemy relates all he knew about the Scandinavian tribes. They are listed in paratactic form; that is, a list of items connected by coordinating conjunction, or "particles", without subordination. The list has the form
article particle name, article particle name, ...

which in this case is
"ta de ... Phinnoi
Phinnoi were one of the people living in Scandinavia , mentioned by a Greek scientist Ptolemy in his Geographia around 150 CE. Ptolemy mentions them twice, but provides no other information on them....

, ta de ... Goutai kai Daukiones, ta de ... Leuonoi..."

In this argument, the "restorer" wants to change the D- into d', which drops the e in de before a vowel, as is customary in ancient Greek. By abandoning D as a foreshortened enclitic (d') and dropping the k, the restoration becomes Aviones (meaning islanders, cf. Germanic awi), well-known in the Germania
Germania (book)
The Germania , written by Gaius Cornelius Tacitus around 98, is an ethnographic work on the Germanic tribes outside the Roman Empire.-Contents:...

, and perhaps a name borne by the inhabitants of Öland
' is the second largest Swedish island and the smallest of the traditional provinces of Sweden. Öland has an area of 1,342 km² and is located in the Baltic Sea just off the coast of Småland. The island has 25,000 inhabitants, but during Swedish Midsummer it is visited by up to 500,000 people...

at this time.

In addition to altering the text, this argument ignores the kai, or "and". In the construction, kai is always used as an alternative to de. You would typically not find both series markers kai and de, although you might find the two together in a contrast: "and on the other hand". The "foreshortening" of de pretty much excludes this possibility.

It is perhaps sounder method to be wary of text replacements except in cases where the existing text is unintelligible as Greek. Here it is not. Ptolemy's Dauciones remain to be located.