Rugians

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The Rugii, also Rugians, Rygir, Ulmerugi, or Holmrygir (Norwegian: Rugiere, German: Rugier) were an East Germanic tribe, who in the 1st century lived at the southern shore of the Baltic Sea in what is now Pomerania, and in the 5th century lived in a kingdom in what is now Austria, which at times was a client of the Hun empire. Rugii also lived in Norwegian Rogaland, yet the connection to the continental Rugii is unknown. The Rugii joined the Ostrogoths in the late 5th century.

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Etymology

The tribal name "Rugii" or "Rygir" is a derivate of the Old Norse term for rye, rugr, and is thus translated "rye eaters" or "rye farmers".[1] Holmrygir and Ulmerugi are both translated as "island Rugii".[1]

Rogaland

Rogaland or Rygjafylke is a region (fylke) in south west Norway. Rogaland translates "Land of the Rygir" (Rugii), the transition of rygir to roga is sufficiently explained with the general linguistic transitions of the Norse language.[1] Scholars suggest a migration either of Rogaland Rugii to the southern Baltic coast, the other way around, or an original homeland on the islands of Denmark in between these two regions.[1] None of these theories is so far backed by archaeological evidence.[1] Another theory suggests that the name of one of the two groups was adapted by the other one later without any significant migration taking place.[1] Scholars regard it very unlikely that the name was invented twice.[1]

In Pomerania

The Rugii were first mentioned by Tacitus[2] in the late 1st century.[1][3][4] Tacitus' description of their contemporary settlement area, adjacent to the Goths at the "ocean", is generally seen as the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, the later Pomerania.[1][3][4] Tacitus characterized the Rugii as well as the neighboring Goths and Lemovii saying they carried round shields and short swords, and obeyed their regular authority.[1][3][4] Ptolemaeus[5] in 150 AD mentions a place named Rhougion (also transliterated from Greek as Rougion, Rugion, Latinized Rugium or Rugia) and a tribe named Routikleioi in the same area, both names have been associated with the Rugii.[1][4] Jordanes[6] says the Goths upon their arrival in this area expelled the Ulmerugi.[1][4] and makes other, retrospect references to the Rugii in his Getica[7] of the 6th century.[1] The 9th century Old English Widsith, a compilation of earlier oral traditions, mentions the tribe of the Holmrycum without localizing it.[1] Holmrygir are mentioned in an Old Norse Skaldic poem, Hákonarmál,[8] and probably also in the Haraldskvæði.[1]

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