There is a land called Skadan, far in the north. There dweltmany peoples. Among them was a little people called the Winnili(Vinnili spelled phonically), their characteristic features of the physical type were light hair, blue eyes, light complexion, andtallness of stature.Even the saga-men, from whom the Roman historian Tacitusgathered the facts for his
— a valuable work for thehistory of civilization, knew that in the so-called Svevian Sea, northof the German continent, lay another important part of Germany,inhabited by Sviones. (Tac.
. 44).Tacitus speaks about the Vinnilian's with some admiration asa small people whose numbers, he says, was counterbalanced bytheir unimpeachable unity, and warlike virtues, which rendered themsecure in the midst of the numerous and mighty tribes around them.At the time of Paul the Deacons writings the Vinniliansdwelt in the most northern part of Germany, on the lower Albis (ElbeRiver). Five hundred years later we find them as rulers in Pannonia,whence they invade Italy. They had by then been converted toChristianity. A hundred years after they had become settled in NorthItaly, Paul a Latin scholar wrote a little treatise about them, the
From the Winnili, or Vinnili, to the Longbeards, Longobards,Langobards, Lombards, Lombardi, on down to the Latinized versionof Lanteri, then the French Lanthers, Lanthier, Lanier, Lantier,Lantiez, Lenier, Lentier, Lenthier, Lasnier, Lennare, Lanyer,Lanyere, Lanter, Lainez, Lainiez, Lainier, and the Laisney's. (seeRietstap Armorial General of Lanther for documented french Coat of Arms, as on the front cover.)