Ancient evidence for the existence of Elves in Europe.
Copyright 2017, John D. Nelson
The reason for the ancient/medieval renown surrounding those who could trace their heritage to the Elbe region is that in 9 AD, the peoples there combined under the leadership of Roman-trained Arminius, and annihilated three invading Roman legions so effectively that Rome issued a decree that Rome was never again to attempt conquest of Germania. It was that ancient battle for European independence, one of the most pivotal battles in Western Civilization, which preserved principles of freedom and equality among the Germanic peoples, a check and a balance to Roman tyranny. That once-common appreciation for such a heritage among Angles and Saxons in Great Britain was subverted over the centuries in medieval Europe in two separate but very influential waves:
- During the four centuries between the 600's and 1000's AD, when some classically trained priests sought to subvert and even demonize an Anglo-Saxon's respect for his/her continential heritage, epitomized in Alcuin's 797 letter from Charlemagne's court from the continent, criticizing the English monastery at Lindisfarne for apparently utilizing time and resources preserving/reproducing heritage-based narratives that Alcuin deemed to be of no worth to the cause of Christianity: "What has Ingeld to do with Christ?"
- After 1066, by the influx of Norman rules and priests who wished to downplay/harness English culture. (To get a flavor of that interplay, read Ivanhoe).
The Elbe river runs north through Germany into the North Sea. That river is the origin of the Elven name. Those who lived bordering the river shared the river's name. That patten is demonstrated in those living north of the Elbe now called Nord-albingians, and those living north of the Humber river in England are called Northumbrians. To better understand the connection between Elbe and Elf/Elven, anciently, the consonants f, v, b, and p were somewhat interchangeable among neighboring languages and dialects. "Father" (English) = "Pater" (Latin). "Apple" (English) = "Apfel" (German). Therefore "Albus" (Latin) = "Elbe" (German) = Elf/Elves/Elven (English) = "Alv" (Ancient runic/Germanic).
Over the centuries, museums have been accumulating ancient Germanic inscriptions that is generally transcribed to be "Alu". Experts have been scratching their heads over what significance such a word might have for Germanic people. Simply said however, there is cause to believe the word should simply be described ALV...modern meaning: ELF. A proud Germanic reference to their pre-eminent heritage of freedom-fighting from the Elbe region/people.
- Extensive Documentary Evidence.
Scores of early post-migration English documents attest to centuries of reference to elves.
- The Best and Most Recent Scholarship.
The best scholarship on persistant medieval reference to elves concludes that such things boil down to a persistant belief among the people to have actually descended from elves. (fx., Alaric Hall, Elves in Anglo-Saxon England.)