are a record of those distant times. They recall a time when vastly different peoples
wandered the forests and plains of Europe, and might chance to meet each other only
occasionally over thousands of years. In such chance meetings, it might well seem to the
people involved that they had come face to face with either giants or leprechauns,
depending upon their perspective.
For instance, a group from the open steppe,
on coming to a forested region and encountering the men who dwelt there, might well find
it "magical" the way such a forest people, especially if relatively small in
stature, were able to seemingly disappear as they beat fast tracks into nooks and crannies
familiar only to them. Similarly, the leader of a remnant Neanderthal group living, let us
say, in forested northern mountains, might well be the origin of the legendary "king
of the mountain trolls," and folklore about the elopement of a young prince with the
troll king’s daughter may well be a record of the very intermixing which guaranteed
the disappearance of such separate groups.
In any event, the spreading branches of
Indo-European society came to dominate Europe. The lndo-Europeans successfully imposed
their languages on the peoples they conquered, and this process brought about the
emergence of specific racio-cultural hybrids as the forerunners of the national groups of
The Germans (Germanic and Scandinavian
tribes) and the Celts were the most closely related of the Indo-European peoples. The
ancestors of the Celts emerged on the European scene about 2800 years ago, and lived in
tribal kingdoms that spread eventually across Europe east to west, while their Germanic
cousins lived above them in the forests of the far north and beyond, to the regions
bordering the Baltic Sea. To the south, in the regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea,
during the centuries surrounding the time of Christ, came the blossoming of Latin and
classical civilization, the result, ultimately, of early Indo-European contact with the
east. The Romans had gradually extended their empire northwards at the expense of the
Celts, and reached what became their northern boundary during the first century A.D. In
the North it was difficult for the Romans to tell who was Germanic and who was Celtic, and
as a result they often mistook one group for the other as distinctions generally faded
along that hyperborean frontier.
Having reached what was to be its northern
limits, the Roman Empire was doomed. Its condition was terminal the moment it stopped
advancing, for the economy of the Empire was parasitic and artificial; it fed on
expansion. Without the acquisition of new territory by conquest, it had only itself to
feed upon, and it was therefore destined to rot from within of its own growing corruption.
The end came gradually and painfully during tthe fourth and fifth centuries. The
continental Celts were long since Romanized, and it was left to the Germanic tribes to
deliver the coup de grace that ended an era (Davis 23—33).
The Pax Romana was at an end, and the
Germanic tribes were in the