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Title: Varini  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Angles, Germanic peoples, Suebi, Nerthus, Warini, Reudigni, Suarines, Nuithones, List of ancient Germanic peoples
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


This article is about the ancient Germanic people. For the rank of Jain monk sometimes called "Varni", see Kshullak. For the village in Estonia, see Varni, Estonia.
"Varini" redirects here. For other uses, see Varini (disambiguation).

The Varni (Procopius), Varini (Tacitus), Varinnae (Pliny the Elder), Wærne/Werne (Widsith) and Warnii (Lex Thuringorum) probably refer to a little-known Germanic tribe. The name would have meant the "defenders". They lived in northern Germany. They are often called Warni and Warini in English. The earliest mention of this tribe appears in Tacitus' Germania, where he wrote:

(Original Latin) "
(English translation) "There follow in order the

Pliny the Elder wrote Germanorvm genera qvinqve: Vandili, qvorvm pars Bvrgodiones, Varinnae, Charini, Gvtones meaning that there were five Germanic races: the Vandals whom the Burgundians were part of, the Varinnae, the Charini and the Gutones (Goths).

It is likewise mentioned in passing by Procopius who wrote that when the Heruls (Eruli) had been defeated by the Lombards, they returned to Scandinavia (Thule). They crossed the Danube (Ister), passed the Slavs (Sclaveni) and after a barren region, they came to the Varni. After the Varni they passed the Dani, and crossed the sea. In Scandinavia, they settled beside the Geats (Gautoi). Procopius: Book VI, xv.

They also appear in the Anglo-Saxon poem Widsith as the Werns.

lines 24–27:
þeodric weold Froncum, þyle Rondingum, Theodric ruled the Franks, Thyle the Rondings,
Breoca Brondingum, Billing Wernum. Breoca the Brondings, Billing the Werns.
Oswine weold Eowum ond Ytum Gefwulf, Oswine ruled the Eow and Gefwulf the Jutes,
Fin Folcwalding Fresna cynne. Finn Folcwalding the Frisian-kin.

On Ptolemy's map, they are placed in the area of Mecklenburg, where one of the main rivers is Warnow and a town is called Warnemünde. They were crushed by the Franks in 595. When the Slavs arrived, they called themselves the Varnes, perhaps having assimilated remaining Varni.

See also

Ancient Germanic culture portal
  • List of Germanic peoples
  • Värend, possible Warnic homeland


External links

  • A scholarly treatment by Charles Harrison-Wallace
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