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  Theo Vennemann  
  and Brit-Am  

(1. Introduction and  Description of Theories.
(2. Extract from Theo
Venneman Home Site concerning Picts of Scotland and Vanir of  Ancient Scandinavia
(3. Brit-Am Commentary.
Venneman and Brit-Am.
Recapitulaion of Venneman
(c) Brit-Am and
Venneman Agreements and Differences. Terry Blodgett.


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(1. a) Introduction
 Professor Theo Vennemann believes that "Semites" from Canaan and the Middle East settled in western and northern Europe on at least two occasions. The first time they introduced Megalithic Monuments and changes in the language. The second time they brought the Runic Script and additional cultural influences. We agree in principle with Venneman but say that the two movements were one and the same. These events involved the Ten Tribes of Israel though entities from the Middle East (e.g. Canaanites, Philistines, Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites, etc) may also have participated.

Theo Vennemann was born (1937) in the Ruhr area of West Germany. This region traditionally always had a strong pro-French element though for better or for worse they proved loyal to German hegemony.
Venneman is now retired but was the Professor for Germanic and Theoretical Linguistics at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.

Venneman holds a complex of far-reaching notions concerning the ethnic and linguistic population of Western and Northern Europe.
In effect he says that at a very early date a group of people who spoke a Semitic language arrived via the Sea and combined with the locals. These "Semites" merged with groups that spoke "Vasconic" (Basque-type) dialects and later adopted "Indo-European" languages.

The "Semities" influenced much of the language and culture of early Europe and were also responsible for construction of the Megalithic Monuments. This "Semitic" element was later reinforced by "Carthaginians" who settled in the north from the 500s to 100s BCE.

Our impression is that his theory is well known of  in academic linguistic circles. It is not conventionally accepted but it is considered a viable alternative that to some degree may be used to explain certain known anomalies.

(1. b) Summary of the Venneman Theories [Brit-Am words of explanation in square brackets [] ].

Theories on the prehistory of European languages

Vennemann's controversial claims about the prehistory of European languages include the following:

A language family
[which he calls "Vasconic"] ancestral to Basque [Northwest Spain] is a substratum of European languages, especially Germanic, Celtic, and Italic.
Vennemann claims this could be evidenced by various loan words, toponyms [place-names, etc], and structural features such as word-initial accent.
The so-called Old European
hydronymy [River-names etc], traditionally considered as Indo-European, is classified as Vasconic [i.e. Basque-type]  by Vennemann.

Vennemann thinks that numerous toponyms that are traditionally considered as Indo-European by virtue of their Indo-European head words are instead names that have been adapted to Indo-European languages through the addition of a suffix.

Punic, the Semitic language spoken in classical Carthage [Phoenician-Canaanite settlement in North Africa], is a
superstratum [additions added on] of the Germanic languages. According to Vennemann, Carthaginians colonized the North Sea region between the 6th and 3rd centuries BC; this is evidenced by numerous Semitic loan words in the Germanic languages, as well as structural features such as strong verbs, and similarities between Norse religion and Semitic religion. This theory replaces his older theory of a superstratum of an unknown Semitic language called "Atlantic".
[ In Vennemans writings the terms "Atlantic" and "Semitid" (i.e. Semitic") are interchangeable. This can be confusing.]

Semitic is a substratum of the Celtic languages, as shown by certain structural features of Celtic, especially their lack of external possessors.[1]

The Runic alphabet is derived directly from the Phoenician alphabet used by the Carthaginians, without intervention by the Greek alphabet.
The Germanic sound shift is dated to the 6th to 3rd centuries BC, as evidenced by the fact that some presumed Punic loan words participated in it, while others did not.


(2. Extract from Theo Venneman Home Site concerning the Picts of Scotland and the Vanir of  Ancient Scandinavia
Atlantiker in Nordwesteuropa: Pikten und Vanen Reference
Picts of Britannic prehistory and the Vanir of Germanic mythology contribute to the theory of an Atlantic, i.e. Hamito-Semitic origin of the Megalithic culture. The matriliny of both the Picts and the Vanir points neither to an Indo-European nor to a Vasconic [Basque] source but makes an Atlantic [i.e. Semitic] basis plausible. This view is supported (1) by the Pictish name Nehton and its phonological correspondent Neptune, god of the sea and, identified with the Greek Poseidon, according to Plato founder of the Atlantic empires, (2) by the Old Gaelic word maqq 'son', which is otherwise only attested in Germanic, e.g. as Goth. magus 'son (of maternal lineage)', (3) by Pictish art and Northumbrian art which has been apparently influenced by it, both showing stylistic connections with the art of the Near East, and (4) by the tale of Tristan, the Pictish Drust, the Welsh Drystan son of Tallwch, lover of Essylt, the wife of his uncle March son of Meirchiaw, protagonists of a romance featuring an exceedingly non-Indo-European adulteress.
     The Germanic
Vanir are recognized not merely as fertility deities but as a fully functional family of gods and goddesses. Their maritime (Mediterranean) and Semitic origin is shown by a number of features, chief among them the following: (1) Njordr's residence Noatun 'Ship-Town', (2) Freyr's ship Skidbladnir, (3) marriages between sisters and brothers such as Njordr's earlier marriage, (4) Freyja's and Freyr's incestual relationship (as insinuated by Loki), (5) Freyja's harnessed team of "cats" (i.e. lions), (6) the notion of dying gods (also on the Aesir side, where the most Vanir-like Baldr resembles the Semitic god Baal, both in function and in the form of his name), (7) Freyja's equivalence with the Babylonian goddess Ishtar and the Palestinian [i.e. Canaanite] goddess Astarte as a goddess both of war and of love and sexual life, (8) the pig as an attribute both of Freyja and of Freyr. The military conflict and subsequent peace of the Vanir and the Aesir is assumed to echo the historical clash of Atlantic and pre-Germanic North Indo-European populations and cultures and thereby to reflect the Germanic ethnogenesis.

(3. Brit-Am Commentary.
(a) Venneman and Brit-Am.

The ideas of Professor Venneman overlap Brit-Am beliefs and are confirmed by Brit-Am researches.
We have spoken of  Theo Venneman and his ideas before. We also corresponded with him and received several articles in pamphlet-type format. A search with the entry Venneman on the Brit-Am On-Line Search Engine
This shows that on 10 previous occasions we have discussed Professor Venneman.

The Theories of Venneman as at present formulated cover a lot of ground. They are based on linguistics. From what we have seen relatively few examples seem to be adduced as evidence but those that are receive exhaustive treatment. The linguistic explanations are supplemented with historical information which is used quite sparingly.

(b) Recapitulation of Venneman
To briefly recapitulate his ideas:

Originally Western European spoke  "Vasconic" languages similar to Basque. Along came Indo-Europeans and imposed their language.
Then came Semitic Sea-Farers from the Middle East and Canaan and imposed their influence especially in the British Isles and Scandinavia. They also built the megalithic monuments such as the dolmens.
[This is all much the same as what Brit-Am says only Venneman dates it much earlier].
From 500 to the 100s BCE "Punic" descendants of Canaanites (or Israelites) from Carthage ruled over much of Northern Europe especially those regions close to the sea. The Runic Script of Scandinavia is a direct derivation from the Punics of Carthage.
Picts of Scotland and the Vanes of Scandinavia spoke a Semitic Language and had a Canaanite type culture.
Venneman supposes a linkage between the Vanes and the Picts. He assumes both groups to have been Semites from Canaan and/or the Middle East.
[ In  Mythology, the forefathers (the ancient ancestral gods) of the Scandinavians were divided into two groups, the Vanes and the Aesir. The Vanes are considered to have been more immoral and to have countenanced incestuous unions. Odin and Thor belonged to the Aesir who at first fought against the Vanes. Eventually the Aesir and Vanes united to fight against their common enemy the "Giants".]

The Angles and Saxons from Germany conquered the Celts of Britain but the Celts exerted a linguistic influence on the English Language. This explains certain anomalies in English including parallels to Semitic tongues.

(c) Brit-Am and Venneman Agreements and Differences.
An important element in the theories of Venneman concerns the Germanic sound shift whereby certain consonantal letters are given the same value as in Biblical Hebrew, e.g. a "D" can be sounded like a "th". This occurred on two occasions. The first time it affected German languages in general and the second time its influence was felt more in the south.
 This has already been discussed by Terry Marvin Blodgett in 1981 who published a Ph.D. thesis, "Phonological Similarities in Germanic and Hebrew".
The Hebrew Sources of Northern Tongues.
Terry Blodgett proved that the linguistic changes in Germanic tongues were due to the influx into Europe of Hebrews from the Ten Tribes. Blodgett gives numerous examples and well proves his case. An article derived from the work of Terry Blodgett appears on our web-site and we (with his permission) published lengthy extracts from his thesis as an appendix to our book "The Tribes".

Venneman in effect says the same as Terry Blodgett but he seems to go into less detail. He also does not identify these newcomers as Hebrews but rather as simply Semites  worshippers of the "Palestinian" (i.e. Canaanite) goddess Astarte and the god "Bal".
The Israelites were exiled for worshipping Canaanite deities and adopting Canaanite practices (2-Kings ch.17) so this does not contradict the Brit-Am explanation. These "Semitic" newcomers were also responsible for building the megalithic monuments.
Brit-Am also attributes the megaliths on the whole to Israelites.
The Megalithic Page.

Dolmens and the Bible


Venneman however, like all conventional researchers, assigns the Megalithic monuments to a fantastically early date.
He assumes they began at around the close of the Ice Age etc (which would put them as beginning at ca. 10,000 BCE or earlier!) but continued into the Bronze Age at ca. 1500 BCE. This is fantastic! It is also fantasy.

There are a vast number of these monuments. They exhibit engineering sophistication and skill in moving rocks of great weight in some cases (e.g. Stonehenge) over tens of miles! They also show advanced astronomical knowledge and mathematical prowess. They did all this, according to conventional accounts, at a time when they were supposed to live in a nomadic state herding sheep and cattle over the countryside. People in such a situation are usually struggling to get by. They lack the leisure, education, and especially the manpower to produce edifices such as those associated with the Megalithic Age. Knowledge needs to be accumulated and transmitted.

Is it really credible that a group of shepherds in their spare time could have have transported "80 sarsen stones, each weighing an average of 30 tons, 20 miles from the Marlborough Downs to Salisbury Plain to construct Stonehenge?" In watching the sheep at night could they have figured out mathematical equations our best scientists still struggle with? We are not considering the possible achievements of an isolated genius with prophetic type abilities but of a whole civilization encompassing Ireland, Britain, West France, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden with offshoots elsewhere. It is not a few monuments here and there that are under considerations but tens of thousands of them!
There also exists quite a bit of solid evidence dating these structures to the Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages and later, i.e. well after 700 BCE which was around the time of the Israelite Exile.
"Brit-Am Now"-583
Emmet Sweeney: A Valuable Source for Dating the "Megaliths"?

Brit-Am Answers to Queries about Archaeology:

Venneman himself now indirectly testifies to a late dating for the phenomenon he describes by introducing the Carthaginian element.
This is what is known in literary circles as a "deus ex machina" literally "a god out of the machine". This is:
# a plot device whereby a seemingly inextricable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new character, ability, or object. #

Venneman at present holds that the Carthaginians ruled over Northern Europe from 500 to the 100s BCE.
This is a new aspect of Venneman's world view having not (to my knowledge) previously been publicized.
It helps resolve certain problems associated with an early dating of the Megalithic Monuments. The "Semitic" culture that introduced these monuments was obviously still exerting "fresh" influences recently derived from the Middle East at a late date in historical terms.
Venneman therefore has resolved these contradictions by introducing the Carthaginians who "refreshed" the "Semitic" influx first made apparent in megalithic times.
Very convenient.
There may however in fact be some small justification for this.
Diodorus Siculus says that Hercules planted several colonies in northern Europe and there may be some connection between the settlements of Hercules and a Phoenician presence.
Nevertheless the two "Semitic" events described by Venneman took place at the same time and were carried out by the same people and they all occurred after 700 BCE!

Just to put matters into perspective the Carthaginians were Phoenicians from Tyre in Lebanon who settled in what was now Tripoli.
They founded Carthage which at one stage had a great maritime Empire of its own and seriously challenged Rome.
The Phoenicians and Carthaginians identified themselves as of Canaanite stock.
Israelite tribes (e.g. Dan, Asher, Naphtali) were sometimes confused with them.
Stephen Collins identifies the Carthaginians as basically Israelites but we think otherwise.

We attribute the Phoenician and Middle Eastern influence in Northern Europe in the period after 700 BCE mainly to Israelites from the Ten Tribes.

The researcher Robert Graves  also apparently attributes Semitic influence to Irish and Welsh and the Picts of Scotland and gives examples. The source quoted is "The White Goddess"  by Robert Graves which we have not read but we did read other of his works on Mythology and found them useful.
An apparently anonymous (?) review of "The White Goddess" quotes from Venneman and also from the DNA expert  and historian Stephen Oppenheimer author of "Origins of the British". Oppenhiemer agrees with Venneman and quotes other sources in his support.

The review in question

also quotes from
"Lost Israelite Identity", by Yair Davidy especially our summarization of:
"The Chronicles of Eri, being the history of the Gaal Sciot Iber, or the Irish People,
See also:
A Critical Review and Update of Robert Graves "The White Goddess" - An Investigation (Page 4)

Concerning the Picts we agree with Venneman and Graves, that they were Semitic specifically Israelite, and we discussed them at some length in our work

Israelite Celts
which is part three of
"Lost Israelite Identity. The Hebrew Origin of Celtic Races"

In Summary, Professor Theo Venneman proposes scenarios that fit the facts and are the same as those of Brit-Am in many ways.

His terminology is a little different: What he calls "Semitic" we refer to as "Hebrew" and "Israelite".
That which he attributes to the Canaanite Carthaginians we ascribe to Exiles from the Ten Tribes of Israel.

We too say that there were two major pathways of Migration: (1) One by way of the Sea and via Spain and the Atlantic coastal areas and (2) the other overland through Turkish Anatolia and the Scythian regions of Southern Russia.

Venneman attributes the Germanic Sound Shift to Semitic influence and so does Terry Marvin Blodgett who is a supporter of Brit-Am and whose work is promoted by us.

Venneman says that the Megalthic Monuments were built by Semites who arrived by way of the Sea. This is true. The so-called "Semites" were Israelites and they arrived in the west after 700 BCE as we have described in detail.


The Movement by Ship of Exiled Israelite Tribes to the British Isles.
Book Two of "Lost Israelite Identity".

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