Homeland and historical accounts
Bede places the homeland of the Jutes on the other side of the Angles relative to the Saxons, which would mean the northern part of the Jutland Peninsula. Tacitus portrays a people called the Eudoses living in the north of Jutland and these may have been the later Iutae. The Jutes have also been identified with the Eotenas (ēotenas) involved in the Frisian conflict with the Danes as described in the Finnesburg episode in the poem Beowulf (lines 1068–1159). Others have interpreted the ēotenas as jotuns ("ettins" in English), meaning giants, or as a kenning for "enemies".
Disagreeing with Bede, some historians identify the Jutes with the people called Eucii (or Saxones Eucii), who were evidently associated with the Saxons and dependents of the Franks in 536. The Eucii may have been identical to a little-documented tribe called the Euthiones (Ευθίωνες in Ancient Greek) and probably associated with the Saxons. The Euthiones are mentioned in a poem by Venantius Fortunatus (583) as being under the suzerainty of Chilperic I of the Franks. This identification would agree well with the later location of the Jutes in Kent, since the area just opposite to Kent on the European mainland (present-day Flanders) was part of Francia. Even if Jutes were present to the south of the Saxons in the Rhineland or near the Frisians, this does not contradict the possibility that they were migrants from Jutland.
Another theory, known as the "Jutish hypothesis" – a term accepted by the Oxford English Dictionary – claims that the Jutes may be synonymous with the Geats of southern Sweden or their neighbours, the Gutes. The evidence adduced for this theory includes:
- primary sources referring to the Geats (Geátas) by alternative names such as Iútan, Iótas and Eotas;
- Asser in his Life of Alfred (893) identifies the Jutes with the Goths (in a passage claiming that Alfred the Great was descended, through his mother, Osburga, from the ruling dynasty of the Jutish kingdom of Wihtwara, on the Isle of Wight), and;
- the Gutasaga (13th Century) states that some inhabitants of Gotland left for mainland Europe; large burial sites attributable to either Goths or Gepids were found in the 19th century near Willenberg, Prussia (after 1945 Wielbark in Poland).
However, it is possible that the tribal names were confused in the above sources (an error that demonstrably occurred in sources discussing the death of the 7th Century Swedish king Östen, for example). In both Beowulf (8th – 11th centuries) and Widsith (10th century), the Eotenas (in the Finn passage) are clearly distinguished from the Geatas.