The Lusitanians might be the most mysterious European people and culture of antiquity, but with time and the evolution of the social sciences working together, Archaeology, History, Anthropology, Genetics and so on, we are always a step closer to know the truth about these people.
Nowadays like most European countries, Portugal and the Portuguese people are a mixture of cultures and genes, it is the European country with the most invasions of different cultures through time, beginning at the end of the lower paleolithic and beginning of the middle paleolithic a 300.000 years ago with the homo sapiens till today with globalization increasing. The Portuguese people are a mixture of Middle eastern, North African, Iberian, Celtic, Germanic, Scandinavian, Hellenic, Latin genes and so on but to this day there are still people that have more genes of one single group than another, the Portuguese can go from the latin look, black haired, dark brown eyes and brunette skin to the blonde and redhead with pale skin and light eyes. However, Portugal started its history as a nation with the Lusitanians, a mysterious people that came into Portugal and settled, being one of the most powerful early nations of all Europe, starting from the North and Center of Portugal and quickly spreading even into modern Spain. What history, archaeology and genetics show us nowadays, is that these Lusitanians were in fact of Celtic origin and also Germanic, however, as they spread so much, some Lusitanian tribes had greek genes because of the central costal Hellenic colonies, also Iberian when they came into contact with the Eastern and Central natives of modern Spain and much later Northern African genes when they invaded Southern Portugal. The North of Portugal to this day remained very much Germanic and Celtic along with the people of Galicia from Northwestern modern Spain.
To this day when speaking of the first origins of the Portuguese, people will automatically speak of the Lusitanians, a great culture that started around 1500B.C. , people of Celtic and Germanic origins that created the first Nation of Portugal uniting as many tribes as they could. It is interesting to see that one of the latest genetic research shows that the Irish have more than 90% of DNA similarities with the Portuguese and northwestern Spanish people, and in some areas it goes to 100%, these similarities are also shown in France, Germany and the southern parts of Scandinavia.
When we hear about the Lusitanians, the name itself doesn’t sound very much like a Celtic one or Germanic even, that’s because that was the name given to them by the Romans when they invaded the Iberian Peninsula, and after they conquered the Lusitanians, after thousands of battles and very much trouble but at the end won by bribing, the Latin language replaced the Lusitanian one and all the other Celtic and Germanic languages spoken in the Iberian Peninsula.
Language is the main theme of this post, the Lusitanian language, and by the end of this post you will see the differences between the Lusitanian language and the Latin one, and as much as I did, you will wonder how would Portugal look like today if the Romans never invaded it and Portugal remained a Celtic/Germanic country.
The Lusitanians are actually the Leukuire or Leukuir, the people of light and their language was the ancient Leukaeg to the modern Leukantu or Leukaeke and the form of writing was called Leukanturi. Their country Lusitânia, was called Leukitanea, the land of light.
Now let’s see a few words in Lusitanian, such as “Trebopala” which means Protector of the Community, or the word “Uelgasaliant”, which is a kind of greeting like “welcome” which today in Portuguese is “Bem-vindo” and in Spanish “Bienvenido”.
For instance, “bänd aiwizas” which means “Forever”, in Portuguese “Para Sempre” and Spanish “Para siempre”.
The word “Tuouta” for “Homeland”.
These are some examples of the language that doesn’t sound anything like Latin.
There are also the names of the Lusitanian deities, more than 1000 gods and goddesses, which doesn’t sound at all Latin, however with time some of them gained a Latin name because the Romans adopted some of the Lusitanian gods. For example we have Trebaruna, it comes from the celtic word “Trebo” meaning “home” and the word “runa” meaning mystery and/or secret, the goddess of magic, death, war and also a protectress of homes and families. Nantosuelta, Sucellos and Epona, exactly the same deities of the Celtic pantheon. Vabusoa or Borus, later Borvo a healing deity associated with bubbling spring water, which the Romans called Bormanicus, equated with Apollo. Durius, the god of the river with the same name which is today’s river Douro. Laepo, Laho, Lucubo, Runesocesius (a name already romanized, there isn’t any source yet of its name in Lusitanian but cleary comes from the celtic words runa and gaiso, the name of this deity means “The Mysterious One of the Spear”.
Well the list goes on and honestly I would love to learn more about the Lusitanian language, or the Leukaeke/Leukantu. I wonder how would the language of the Portuguese people would be like today if the Romans had not brought their language, how would the country be if the Celtic and the Germanic peoples stood there, well some did to this day, there are still many living decendents of the Celts and the Germanic peoples and also Scandinavian ones, I am one of those, but there aren’t enough to call this Nation a Celtic or Germanic one, of both.
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