A pre-Roman stage of Proto-Basque can only be reconstructed with great uncertainty.
The Indigenous peoples of Europe are the focus of European ethnology, the field of anthropology related to the various indigenous groups that reside in the nations of Europe.
According to German monograph Minderheitenrechte in Europa co-edited by Pan and Pfeil (2002) there are 87 distinct peoples of Europe, of which 33 form the majority population in at least one sovereign state, while the remaining 54 constitute ethnic minorities.
Both Spain and the United Kingdom are special cases, in that the designation of nationality, Spanish and British, may controversially take ethnic aspects, subsuming various regional ethnic groups, see nationalisms and regionalisms of Spain and native populations of the United Kingdom.
Switzerland is a similar case, but the linguistic subgroups of the Swiss are not usually discussed in terms of ethnicity, and Switzerland is considered Of the total population of Europe of some 740 million (as of 2010), close to 90% or some 650 million fall within three large branches of Indo-European languages, viz., Slavic, Italic (Romance) and Germanic.
The 4th century Tabula Peutingeriana records the names of numerous peoples and tribes.
Ethnographers of Late Antiquity such as Agathias of Myrina Ammianus Marcellinus, Jordanes or Theophylact Simocatta give early accounts of the Slavs, the Franks, the Alamanni and the Goths.
The Chronicon Slavorum (12th century) gives an account of the northwestern Slavic tribes.
Gottfried Hensel in his 1741 Synopsis Universae Philologiae published what is probably the earliest ethno-linguistic map of Europe, showing the beginning of the pater noster in the various European languages and scripts.
His work survives only fragmentarily, but was received by Polybius and others.
Roman Empire period authors include Diodorus Siculus, Strabo and Tacitus.
Book IX of Isidore's Etymologiae (7th century) treats de linguis, gentibus, regnis, militia, civibus (of languages, peoples, realms, armies and cities).