Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Jutes were a Germanic people who are believed to have originated from Jutland (called Iutum in Latin) in modern Denmark and part of the East Frisian coast. The Jutes, along with the Angles, Saxons and Frisians, were mentioned amongst the Germanic tribes who sailed across the North Sea to raid and eventually invade Great Britain from the late fourth century A.D. onwards, either displacing, absorbing or destroying the native Celtic peoples there. According to Bede, they ended up settling in Kent, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. There are a number of toponyms that attest to the presence of the Jutes in the area, such as Ytene, which Florence of Worcester states was the contemporary English name for the New Forest.
While it is commonplace to detect their influences in Kent (for example, the practice of partible inheritance known as gavelkind), the Jutes in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight vanished, leaving only the slightest of traces. One recent scholar, Robin Bush, even argued that the Jutes of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight became victims of a policy of ethnic cleansing by the West Saxons, although this has been the subject of debate amongst academics, with the counter-claim that just the aristocracy might have been wiped out.
It is thought that others remained in their continental homeland and became the indigenous people of modern Jutland.
Some scholars read the ēotenas involved in the Frisian-Danish conflict described in the Finnesburg Episode (lines 1068-1159 in Beowulf) as Jutes, others as "giants" or as a kenning for "enemies"; If the Jutes are indeed the same as the Euthiones, they are mentioned in a poem by Venantius Fortunatus (583).

No comments: