The culture evolved out of the Nordic Bronze Age , through influence from the Halstatt culture farther south. The cultures of the Pre-Roman Iron Age are sometimes hypothesized to be the origin of the Germanic languages. The Jastorf culture was characterized by its use of cremation burials in extensive urnfields and link with the practices of the Northern Bronze Age. Archeology offers evidence concerning the crystallization of a group in terms of a shared material culture, in which the impoverished Northern Bronze Age continued to exert cultural influence, and in which the northward thrust of Hallstatt into the same area was instrumental, while extensive migrations "should be discounted". No homogeneous contribution to the Germanic-speaking northerners has been determined, while earlier notions holding proto-Germanic peoples to have emigrated from Denmark during the Northern Bronze Age have been abandoned by archaeologists.
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Originally Posted by spongetaro Cimri could have also been a generic name of Celtic tribes such as Cymru and Cumbria. So, in the 2nd century BC, what we would expect is really "Combrogi", not "Cimbri". How do you interpret the names of their leader: Boiorix, Gaesorix and Lugius?
I found on wikipedia that "The Ambrones followed a Celtic custom in shouting the name of their tribe going into battle" And well, I did not say that there was an easy solution to the problem.
I just suggested a possibly Germanic etymology for "Cimbri". In fact, a modern cognate for "Cimbri" may exist in the region of Himmerland in Denmark.
As for the overtly Celtic personal names of their leaders, this poses a significant problem not only with the Cimbri but with other tribes that are usually considered Germanic: of the Suebi Ariovistus , as well as for instance of the Markomanni Maroboduus, Ballomarus, Ariogaesus. What is the solution here? I would argue the solution is that the Germanic tribes in this stage were heavily culturally dominated by the Gauls, and that it was common for the upper echelons of Germanic society to speak Gaulish and have Celtic personal names.
Given how the Suebi are apparently invited with ease to assist the Arverni during the Gallic War, you get the impression that the language barrier was really non-existent. Is there any other evidence this really was the case? As a matter of fact, there is: the Germanic languages do have a sizable number of Celtic loanwords notably the word for "iron" and the word for "foreigner" , basically all which date to before the First Germanic Sound Shift. Archaeologically, we could indeed see this in the shape of the Jastorf Culture.
Another evidence comes from Celtic place names: we do see Celtic name evidence extend deep into Central Europe, at the Rhine delta, along the Rhine, from the Danube northwards as far north as about the Main river, the Erzgebirge and the source of the Oder river.
We get a clear picture that these regions must have been linguistically Celtic until circa the 2nd-1st century BC, and this also roughly corresponds also with the maximum extend of Hallstatt and La-Tene in these areas, however there is an "indent" that roughly corresponds to northern modern-day Hesse as well as adjacent areas on the right-bank of the Rhine and north-bank of the Main where no Celtic place names can be found, yet archaeological evidence for Celtic culture is ripe.
The only sensible solution I see is that these areas in the north were not ethnic Celtic, but only culturally. Last edited by Taranis; at
Culture de Jastorf
It was characterized by its use of cremation burials in extensive urnfields and links with the practices of the Northern Bronze Age. Archeology offers evidence concerning the crystallization of a group in terms of a shared material culture, in which the impoverished Northern Bronze Age continued to exert cultural influence, and in which the northward thrust of the Celtic Hallstatt culture into the same area was instrumental, while extensive migrations "should be discounted". The specific contributions from the various quarters witnessing the meeting of Celtic and indigenous cultures during the early periods can not be assessed by the present state of knowledge, although a shift to a northern focus has been noted to accompany the dwindling vitality of continental Celtic cultures later on. It then developed a "very expansive" character Wolfram , expanding towards the Harz hills and reaching by about BC Thuringia , Lower Silesia , and the lower Rhine region,  thus covering the southern and western parts of Lower Saxony. This was helped or propitiated by the earlier vacancy or large depopulation of these areas, as it became known in the archaeological record and from Classic sources that local Hallstatt Culture groups considered Celtic or Belgian more or less Celtic migrated in its D period to extensive areas further West and South as far as the Mediterranean and Atlantic Europe. Isolated finds are scattered as far as Berlin and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.