Today Slavic languages are spoken in Eastern Europe, in countries like Russia, Poland, Czech, and Serbia, to name a few. But almost a thousand year earlier there lived Slavic speaking tribes close to today’s Netherlands. See the map below and compare it with today’s political borders.
The oldest runestones in Sweden are written in a language that was called Old Scandinavian (or Proto Norse). In that time the language was understtod throughout Scandinavia.
I visited one of the runestones in Järsberg, Sweden, in the summer. And I encountered a verbform that is still easily read today: ᚹᚫᚱᛁᛏᚢwritu (write). So despite the almost 1500 years there is still something very common with the language.
I visited during the summer holidays the perhaps best known runestone in Sweden. The stone is called “Rök runestone” and has both an impressive size and a lot of Runic Swedish in its inscription. Runic Swedish was the predecessor of today’s Swedish and it was spoken 1000 years ago.
We know that the Arabs and Jews speak Semitic languages. And the Arabic speaking tribes conquered much of the Iberian peninsula around AD700.
But there were Semitic speaking tribes in Europe much before, the Carthaginians. They establised colonies around the Mediterranean and were finally crushed by the ancient Romans much later. Anyway around 500BC the Semitic tribes — represented by the Carthaginians — had a strong presence on the shores of the Mediterranean, as shown on the map.
The Ligurian language was spoken in pre-Roman times and into the Roman era by an ancient people known as the Ligures.
Very little is known about this language which is generally believed to have been Indo-European.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, these are the 25 most commonly used verbs in English: 1. be, 2. have, 3. do, 4. say, 5. get, 6. make, 7. go, 8. know, 9. take, 10. see, 11. come, 12. think, 13. look, 14. want, 15. give, 16. use, 17. find, 18. tell, 19. ask, 20. work, 21. seem, 22. feel, 23. try, 24. leave, 25. call.
All these verbs are one-syllable words; the first two-syllable verbs are become (26th) and include (27th).
Furthermore, 20 of these 25 are Old English words, and three more, get, seem, and want, entered English from Old Norse in the early medieval period. Only try and use came from Old French.
It seems that English prefers terse, ancient words to describe actions or occurrences.
The Italics were all the peoples who spoke an idiom belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages and had settled in the Italian peninsula.
As seen on the map, the Italic tribes and Italic languages were spoken on a very small area in the beginning. One of the languages, though, was Latin. The Roman conquests eventually spread it throughout the peninsula and beyond in the Roman Empire. The evolved dialects of Latin gave birth to the Romance languages; French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, etc. that are nowadays spoken allover the world.
The Sigynnae (Sigynni) were an obscure people of antiquity. They are variously located by ancient authors. Sigynnae — as mentioned by Herodotus — were “a people widely spread in the Danubic basin in the 5th century BC”.
The Sigynni were likely to be Iranian (Indo-Aryan) people.
The Illyrians were a group of Indo-European tribes, who once inhabited western Balkans.
Starting from the 2nd century AD the Illyrians were gradually wiped off from the map; and The Illyrians were mentioned for the last time in the 7th century. With the disintegration of the Roman Empire, Gothic and Hunnic tribes raided the Balkan peninsula, forcing many Illyrians to seek refuge in the highlands. With the arrival of the Slavs in the 6th century, most Illyrians were Slavicized.
Follow the link to see where the Illyrians once lived.
Around 600BC Ancient Greek dialects were spoken not only in today’s Greece but also all around the shores of the Black Sea. Ancient Greek includes the forms of Greek used in ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BC to the 6th century AD.
The language was spoken on other locations, too. Follow the link to see where.
Greek tribes on the map 600BC. Be sure to switch the map base layer to ‘political boundaries’ so that you will see the Greek areas shown in light gray.