previous next

SITONES

Eth. SITONES a population conterminous with the Suiones, from whom they differ only in being governed by a female: “in tantum non modo a libertate sed etiam a servitute degenerant. Hic Sueviae finis.” (Tac. Germ. 45.) The Sitonian locality is some part of Finland; probably the northern half of the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia.

The statement that they were under a female rule is explained as follows. The name by which the East Bothnian Finlanders designate themselves is Kainu-laiset (in the singular Kainu-lainen). The Swedes call them Qvaens (Kwains). The mediaeval name for their country is Cajan-ia. Now qvinna in the Norse language == woman, being our words queen and quean; and in the same Norse tongue the land of the Qvaens would be Cvena-land; as it actually is, being Cwaen-land (Queen-land) in Anglo-Saxon. Hence the statement of Tacitus arises out of information concerning a certain Cwaen-land, erroneously considered to be a terra feminarum, instead of a terra Quaenorum. The reader who thinks this fanciful should be informed that in Adam of Bremen, writing in the 12th century, when the same country comes under notice, the same confusion appears, and that in a stronger form. The Sitonian country is actually terra feminarum. More than this, the feminae become Amazons: “circa haec litora Baltici maris ferunt esse Amazonas, quod nunc terra feminarum dicitur, quas aquae gustu aliqui dicunt concipere..... Hae simul viventes, spernunt consortia virorum, quos etiam, si advenerint, a se viriliter repellunt,” 100.228. (Zeuss, Die Deutschen, &c., s. v. Kwenen.

It is worth noticing that King Alfred's locality of the Cwenas is, in respect to their relations to the Svias, exactly that of Tacitus,--Cvena-land succeeding Svea-land.

The Sitones seem to have been the ancient representatives of the Finns of Finland,--the Fenni of the ancients being the Laps. This is not only what the words Sitones and Qvaen suggest, but the inference from the word Fenni also. To the Finlander, Fin is a strange name. The Swede calls him Qvaen; [p. 2.1016]he calls himself Suoma-lainen or Hamelainen. On the other hand, it is the Lap of Fin mark that is called a Fin, and it is the Norwegian who calls him so. [FENNI]

[R.G.L]

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: