Germania is a short Tacitus about the stems.work of the romish
The whole of Germania is thus bounded; splitted from Gaul, from Rhoetia and Pannonia, by the streams Rhine and Danube; from Sarmatia and Dacia by evenway fear, or by high : the rest is by the mere, which forms huge bights, and inholds a swathe of islands in : for we have lately known wis and kingdoms there, such as the . The Rhine rising in the Rhoetian Alps from a peak altogether rocky and straight, after a small winding towards the west, is lost in the Northern Mere. The Danube arises out of the berg Abnoba, one very high but very easy of upgoing, and crossing several folks, falls by six streams into the Euxine Sea; for its seventh fairway is sucked up by the swamps.
2. and Namefinding Edit
The Germans, I am fit to believe, derive their original from no other folks; and are nowise mixed with other folkshipsamongst them: since long ago those who went in search of new buildings, fared not by land, but were ferried in fleets; and into that mighty mere so boundless, and, as I may call it, so foesome and forbidding, ships from our world rarely go into. Moreover, besides the threats from a sea stormy, rough and unknown, who would give up Asia, or Africa, or Italy, to repair to Germania, a land ugly and rude, under a stern weather, dark to behold or to dung unless the same were his homeland ? In their old folksongs (which amongst them are the only sort of yore) they Tuisto, a God sprung from the earth, and Mannus his son, as the fathers and founders of the folkship. To Mannus they assign three sons, after whose names so many stems are called; the Ingaevones, dwelling next the mere; the Herminones, in the middle land; and all the rest, Instaevones. Some, borrowing a warrant from the darkness of old ages, maintain that the God had more sons, that thence came more naming of folks, the Marsians, Gambrians, Suevians, and Vandalians, and that these are the names truly sterling and original. For the rest, they Germania to be a newly word, lately bestowed: for that those who first crossed the Rhine and expulsed the Gauls, and are now named Tungrians, were then called Germans: and thus by degrees the name of a stem lasted, not that of the folkship; so that by an name at first occasioned by dread and , they afterwards chose to be , and assuming a name lately were called Germans.
3. Sagas and Dreamtales Edit
They say that Hercules, too, oncethem; and when going into clash, they sing of him first of all . They have also those songs of theirs, by the showing of which (“baritus,” they call it), they wake their boldness, while from the note they augur the outcome of the upcoming wye. For, as their line shouts, they or feel alarm. It is not so much an articulate sound, as a cry of . They mainly at a harsh note and a befuddled roar, putting their shields to their mouth, so that, by , it may swell into a fuller and deeper loud. Ulysses, too, is believed by some, in his long wanderings, to have found his way into this mere, and, having besseked German soil, to have founded and named the town of Asciburgium, which stands on the bank of the Rhine, and is to this day . They even say that an earmarked to Ulysses, with the of the name of his father, Laertes, was formerly unthacked on this same spot, and that wis and graves, with Greekish inwrittings, still bestand on the rims of Germania and Rhætia. These statements I have no of underhold by witnesses, or of ; every one may believe or unbelieve them as he feels swayed towards.
4. Look of the theedish Edit
For my own deal, I agree with those who think that the stems of Germania are free from all foulness of between-marriages with fremd folkships, and that they show up as a marked, unmixed kind, like none but themselves. Hence, too, the same bodilythroughout so great a :
All have fierce blue eyes, red hair, huge frames, fit only for a sudden. They are less fit to bear burdensome work. Heat and thirst they cannot in the least withstand; to cold and hunger their weather and their soil hardens them.
5. Folkken, Weather, Rawstuffs Edit
Their land, though somewhatin look, yet mainly either bristles with forests or reeks with swamps; it is more rainy on the side of Gaul, bleaker on that of Noricum and Pannonia. It is waresome of corn, but unfavourable to -bearing trees; it is rich in flocks and herds, but these are for the mostly , and even the have not their or head. It is score that is chiefly worthend; they are in truth the most highly prized, indeed the only riches of the . Silver and gold the gods have spurned to them, whether in kindness or in anger I cannot say. I would not, however, foraye that no of German soil begets gold or silver, for who has ever made a search ? They care but little to own or them. You may see among them vats of silver, which have been to their and , held as cheap as those of clay. The rim befolking, however, worthens gold and silver for their businesswise noteings, and are inward with, and show for, some of our coins. The stems of the inner note the and more older . They like the old and well-known geld, coins milled or showing a two-horse chariot. They likewise rather silver to gold, not from any besunder liking, but because a great of silver is more easy for noteing among dealers in cheap and everyday things.
6. , and Warfare Edit
Even iron is not manyful with them, as we deem from the kind of their weapons. But few use swords or long lances. They bear a spear (framea is their name for it), with a narrow and short head, but so sharp and easy to wield that the same weapon, following , for near or far fight. As for the rider, he is fulfilled with a shield and spear; the foot-fighters also scatter showers of shots, each man having some and hurling them to an farness, and being naked or lightly clad with a little cloak. There is no showing about their gear: their shields alone are marked with very choice . A few only have , and just one or two here and there a metal or leathern helms. Their horses are remarkable neither for handsomeness nor for fleetness. Nor are they taught forshed unfoldings after our way, but are driven straight forward, or so as to make one wheel to the right in such a thight body that none is left behind another. On the whole, one would say that their main strength is in their footmans, which fights along with the ridery; fayed to the action of the latter is the swiftness of wis foot-soldiers, who are picked from the entire youth of their land, and in front of the line. Their is fast, - a hundred from each shire; and from this they take their name among their landsmen, so that what was first only a tel has now become a name of . Their line of is drawn up in a wedge-like shaping. To give ground, provided you to come back to the attack, is considered prudence rather than . The bodies of their slain they drag off even in indecisive clashes. To your shield is the greatest of ; nor may a man thus shamed be at the holy rites, or come to their ; many, indeed, after fleeing from bedefield, have ended their shame with the halter.
7. leaders and Priests Edit
They choose their kings by birth, theirfor boldness. These kings have not or arbitrary might, and the hereleaders do more by than by . If they are deedstrong, if they are , if they fight in the front, they lead because they are bewondered. But to kill, to , even to flog, is leaved to the priests alone, and that not as a , or at the herelader's bidding, but, as it were, by the behest of the god whom they believe to beghast the warrior. They also bear with them into bede wis and taken from their holy groves. And what most heathens their is, that their or wedges, instead of being shaped by chance or by a lucky gathering, are drawn up of sibs and kinreds. Near by them, too, are those dearest to them, so that they hear the shrieks of women, the cries of toddlers. They are to every man the most sacred witnesses of his boldness—they are his most unsparing applauders. The warrior brings his wounds to mother and wife, who shrink not from scoring or even demanding them and who give both food and to the fighters.
8. of the Woman Edit
Tradition says that heres already wavering and giving way have been rallied by women who, with earnest beggings and bosoms laid bare, have livelythe of , which the Germans fear with such utmost dread on behalf of their women, that the strongest tie by which a state can be bound is the being needed to give, among the scoring of , maidens of athel birth. They even believe that the has a wis holiness and foreknowledge, and they do not their , or make light of their answers. In Vespasian's days we saw Veleda, long onlooked by many as a god. In former times, too, they worshipped Aurinia, and many other women, but not with flatteries, or with sham deification.
9. Gods Edit
Mercury is the god whom they mainly worship, and on wis days they deem it right to Suevi also bloot to Isis. Of the beginning and roots of this fremd I have unthacked nothing, but that the bild, which is shaped like a light galley, betokens an weighty worship. The Germans, however, do not bethink it with the greatness of heavenly beings to bound the gods within walls, or to liken them to the shape of any menshly <span title="face, from ME anlet <OE andwlita, cf. NHG Anlitz" style="border-bottom:1px dotted">anleth</span>. They bless woods and groves, and they beseech the names of godhoods to the which they see only in worship.to him even with . Hercules and Mars they sooth with more lawful gifts. Some of the
10. and Edit
and foretelling by lot no folks do more keenly. The note of the lots is onefold. A little bough is lopped off a ovest-bearing tree, and cut into small stecks; these are undersheded by wis marks, and thrown carelessly and at random over a white clothing. In openly the priest of the stand, in the father of the sib, calls the gods, and, with his eyes towards heaven, takes up each steck three times, and finds in them a meaning following to the mark earlier stamped on them. If they untoward, there is no further that day about the ; if they it, the of ontoken is still needed. For they are also inward with the craft of asking the singing and the flight of birds. It is besunder to this to seek ontokens and warnings from horses. Kept at the lands cost, in these same woods and groves, are white horses, sheer from the mar of earthly work; these are yoked to a holy wagon, and followed by the priest and the king, or head of the stem, who watch their neighings and snortings. No kind of foretelling is more trusted, not only by the folk and by the , but also by the priests, who onlook themselves as the of the gods, and the horses as known with their will. They have also another dealing of watching foretokens, by which they seek to learn the outcome of an weighty war. Having taken, by whatever means, a haftling from the stem with whom they are at war, they pit him against a picked man of their own stem, each fighter using the weapons of their homeland. The of the one or the other is as an foretelling of the hitch.
11. Folkforsamings Edit
About unweighty worrys the heads, about the more weighty the whole stem. Yet even when the rests with the lede, the inting is always thoroughly by the heads. They gather, except in the of a sudden , on wis fastened days, either at new or at full moon; for this they bethink the most lucky tide for the undertaking of business. Instead of reckoning by days as we do, they reckon by nights, and in this fasten both their mean and their lawful appointments. Night they onlook as bringing on day. Their freedom has this afterdeal, that they do not meet at once or as they are bidden, but two or three days are wasted in the lags of gathering. When the crowd think right, they sit down . Stillness is by the priests, who have on these happenings the right of keeping . Then the king or the headling, according to , birth, in wye, or , is heard, more he has inflood to than he has might to . If his thoughts them, they them with murmurs; if they are , they brandish their spears. The most form of assent is to utter approbation with their weapons.
12. Rights and StrafesEdit
In theiran accusation may be preferred or a capital crime prosecuted. Strafes are following to the misdeed. and are hanged on trees; the , the unwyelike, the man stained with loathsome wones, is plunged into the mire of the morass with a hurdle put over him. This undersheding in bestrafing means that crime, they think, ought, in being strafed, to be exposed, while infamy ought to be buried out of sight. Lighter sins, too, have strafes proportioned to them; he who is convicted, is in a wis number of horses or of fee. Half of the bote is paid to the king or to the state, half to the person whose wrongs are avenged and to his kindred. In these same redes they also wale the leaders, who wield law in the shires and the towns. Each of these has a hundred associates chosen from the folk, who underset him with their and .
13. Weapons, Leaders and their Followers Edit
They transact no openly orbusiness without being beweaponed. It is not, however, for anyone to wear weapons till the state has acknowledge his might to note them. Then in the presence of the rede one of the leaders, or the young man's father, or some kinsman, him with a shield and a spear. These weapons are what the “toga” is with us, the first honour with which youth is invested.
(This deal of the leaf has not yet been oversetted into Anglish)
Up to this time he is regarded as a member of a household, afterwards as a member of the commonwealth. Very noble birth or great services rendered by the father secure for lads the rank of a chief; such lads attach themselves to men of mature strength and of long approved valour. It is no shame to be seen among a chief's followers. Even in his escort there are gradations of rank, dependent on the choice of the man to whom they are attached. These followers vie keenly with each other as to who shall rank first with his chief, the chiefs as to who shall have the most numerous and the bravest followers. It is an honour as well as a source of strength to be thus always surrounded by a large body of picked youths; it is an ornament in peace and a defence in war. And not only in his own tribe but also in the neighbouring states it is the renown and glory of a chief to be distinguished for the number and valour of his followers, for such a man is courted by embassies, is honoured with presents, and the very prestige of his name often settles a war.
14. Militarism and War-Affinity Edit
When they go into battle, it is a disgrace for the chief to be surpassed in valour, a disgrace for his followers not to equal the valour of the chief. And it is an infamy and a reproach for life to have survived the chief, and returned from the field. To defend, to protect him, to ascribe one's own brave deeds to his renown, is the height of loyalty. The chief fights for victory; his vassals fight for their chief. If their native state sinks into the sloth of prolonged peace and repose, many of its noble youths voluntarily seek those tribes which are waging some war, both because inaction is odious to their race, and because they win renown more readily in the midst of peril, and cannot maintain a numerous following except by violence and war. Indeed, men look to the liberality of their chief for their war-horse and their blood-stained and victorious lance. Feasts and entertainments, which, though inelegant, are plentifully furnished, are their only pay. The means of this bounty come from war and rapine. Nor are they as easily persuaded to plough the earth and to wait for the year's produce as to challenge an enemy and earn the honour of wounds. Nay, they actually think it tame and stupid to acquire by the sweat of toil what they might win by their blood.
15. Way of life in Edit
Whenever they are not fighting, they pass much of their time in the chase, and still more in idleness, giving themselves up to sleep and to feasting, the bravest and the most warlike doing nothing, and surrendering the management of the household, of the home, and of the land, to the women, the old men, and all the weakest members of the family. They themselves lie buried in sloth, a strange combination in their nature that the same men should be so fond of idleness, so averse to peace. It is the custom of the states to bestow by voluntary and individual contribution on the chiefs a present of cattle or of grain, which, while accepted as a compliment, supplies their wants. They are particularly delighted by gifts from neighbouring tribes, which are sent not only by individuals but also by the state, such as choice steeds, heavy armour, trappings, and neckchains. We have now taught them to accept money also.
16. Housing and house building Edit
It is well known that the nations of Germany have no cities, and that they do not even tolerate closely contiguous dwellings. They live scattered and apart, just as a spring, a meadow, or a wood has attracted them. Their villages they do not arrange in our fashion, with the buildings connected and joined together, but every person surrounds his dwelling with an open space, either as a precaution against the disasters of fire, or because they do not know how to build. No use is made by them of stone or tile; they employ timber for all purposes, rude masses without ornament or attractiveness. Some parts of their buildings they stain more carefully with a clay so clear and bright that it resembles painting, or a coloured design. They are wont also to dig out subterranean caves, and pile on them great heaps of dung, as a shelter from winter and as a receptacle for the year's produce, for by such places they mitigate the rigour of the cold. And should an enemy approach, he lays waste the open country, while what is hidden and buried is either not known to exist, or else escapes him from the very fact that it has to be searched for.
17. Clothing of Man and Woman Edit
They all wrap themselves in a cloak which is fastened with a clasp, or, if this is not forthcoming, with a thorn, leaving the rest of their persons bare. They pass whole days on the hearth by the fire. The wealthiest are distinguished by a dress which is not flowing, like that of the Sarmatæ and Parthi, but is tight, and exhibits each limb. They also wear the skins of wild beasts; the tribes on the Rhine and Danube in a careless fashion, those of the interior with more elegance, as not obtaining other clothing by commerce. These select certain animals, the hides of which they strip off and vary them with the spotted skins of beasts, the produce of the outer ocean, and of seas unknown to us. The women have the same dress as the men, except that they generally wrap themselves in linen garments, which they embroider with purple, and do not lengthen out the upper part of their clothing into sleeves. The upper and lower arm is thus bare, and the nearest part of the bosom is also exposed.
18. Meaning of Marriage Edit
Their marriage code, however, is strict, and indeed no part of their manners is more praiseworthy. Almost alone among barbarians they are content with one wife, except a very few among them, and these not from sensuality, but because their noble birth procures for them many offers of alliance. The wife does not bring a dower to the husband but the husband to the wife. The parents and relatives are present, and pass judgment on the marriage-gifts, gifts not meant to suit a woman's taste, nor such as a bride would deck herself with, but oxen, a caparisoned steed, a shield, a lance, and a sword. With these presents the wife is espoused, and she herself in her turn brings her husband a gift of arms. This they count their strongest bond of union, these their sacred mysteries, these their gods of marriage. Lest the woman should think herself to stand apart from aspirations after noble deeds and from the perils of war, she is reminded by the ceremony which inaugurates marriage that she is her husband's partner in toil and danger, destined to suffer and to dare with him alike both in peace and in war. The yoked oxen, the harnessed steed, the gift of arms, proclaim this fact. She must live and die with the feeling that she is receiving what she must hand down to her children neither tarnished nor depreciated, what future daughters-in-law may receive, and may be so passed on to her grand-children.
19. Trueness in Marriage Edit
Thus with their virtue protected they live uncorrupted by the allurements of public shows or the stimulant of feastings. Clandestine correspondence is equally unknown to men and women. Very rare for so numerous a population is adultery, the punishment for which is prompt, and in the husband's power. Having cut off the hair of the adulteress and stripped her naked, he expels her from the house in the presence of her kinsfolk, and then flogs her through the whole village. The loss of chastity meets with no indulgence; neither beauty, youth, nor wealth will procure the culprit a husband. No one in Germany laughs at vice, nor do they call it the fashion to corrupt and to be corrupted. Still better is the condition of those states in which only maidens are given in marriage, and where the hopes and expectations of a bride are then finally terminated. They receive one husband, as having one body and one life, that they may have no thoughts beyond, no further-reaching desires, that they may love not so much the husband as the married state. To limit the number of their children or to destroy any of their subsequent offspring is accounted infamous, and good habits are here more effectual than good laws elsewhere.
20. Marriage laws and Feuds Edit
In every household the children, naked and filthy, grow up with those stout frames and limbs which we so much admire. Every mother suckles her own offspring, and never entrusts it to servants and nurses. The master is not distinguished from the slave by being brought up with greater delicacy. Both live amid the same flocks and lie on the same ground till the freeborn are distinguished by age and recognised by merit. The young men marry late, and their vigour is thus unimpaired. Nor are the maidens hurried into marriage; the same age and a similar stature is required; well-matched and vigorous they wed, and the offspring reproduce the strength of the parents. Sister's sons are held in as much esteem by their uncles as by their fathers; indeed, some regard the relation as even more sacred and binding, and prefer it in receiving hostages, thinking thus to secure a stronger hold on the affections and a wider bond for the family. But every man's own children are his heirs and successors, and there are no wills. Should there be no issue, the next in succession to the property are his brothers and his uncles on either side. The more relatives he has, the more numerous his connections, the more honoured is his old age; nor are there any advantages in childlessness.
21. Guestfriendship Edit
It is a duty among them to adopt the feuds as well as the friendships of a father or a kinsman. These feuds are not implacable; even homicide is expiated by the payment of a certain number of cattle and of sheep, and the satisfaction is accepted by the entire family, greatly to the advantage of the state, since feuds are dangerous in proportion to a people's freedom. No nation indulges more profusely in entertainments and hospitality. To exclude any human being from their roof is thought impious; every German, according to his means, receives his guest with a well-furnished table. When his supplies are exhausted, he who was but now the host becomes the guide and companion to further hospitality, and without invitation they go to the next house. It matters not; they are entertained with like cordiality. No one distinguishes between an acquaintance and a stranger, as regards the rights of hospitality. It is usual to give the departing guest whatever he may ask for, and a present in return is asked with as little hesitation. They are greatly charmed with gifts, but they expect no return for what they give, nor feel any obligation for what they receive.
22. Daily Life Edit
On waking from sleep, which they generally prolong to a late hour of the day, they take a bath, oftenest of warm water, which suits a country where winter is the longest of the seasons. After their bath they take their meal, each having a separate seat and table of his own. Then they go armed to business, or no less often to their festal meetings. To pass an entire day and night in drinking disgraces no one. Their quarrels, as might be expected with intoxicated people, are seldom fought out with mere abuse, but commonly with wounds and bloodshed. Yet it is at their feasts that they generally consult on the reconciliation of enemies, on the forming of matrimonial alliances, on the choice of chiefs, finally even on peace and war, for they think that at no time is the mind more open to simplicity of purpose or more warmed to noble aspirations. A race without either natural or acquired cunning, they disclose their hidden thoughts in the freedom of the festivity. Thus the sentiments of all having been discovered and laid bare, the discussion is renewed on the following day, and from each occasion its own peculiar advantage is derived. They deliberate when they have no power to dissemble; they resolve when error is impossible.
23. Drinks, Eatings and Edit
A liquor for drinking is made out of barley or other grain, and fermented into a certain resemblance to wine. The dwellers on the river-bank also buy wine. Their food is of a simple kind, consisting of wild-fruit, fresh game, and curdled milk. They satisfy their hunger without elaborate preparation and without delicacies. In quenching their thirst they are not equally moderate. If you indulge their love of drinking by supplying them with as much as they desire, they will be overcome by their own vices as easily as by the arms of an enemy.
24. Play and Gambling Edit
One and the same kind of spectacle is always exhibited at every gathering. Naked youths who practise the sport bound in the dance amid swords and lances that threaten their lives. Experience gives them skill, and skill again gives grace; profit or pay are out of the question; however reckless their pastime, its reward is the pleasure of the spectators. Strangely enough they make games of hazard a serious occupation even when sober, and so venturesome are they about gaining or losing, that, when every other resource has failed, on the last and final throw they stake the freedom of their own persons. The loser goes into voluntary slavery; though the younger and stronger, he suffers himself to be bound and sold. Such is their stubborn persistency in a bad practice; they themselves call it honour. Slaves of this kind the owners part with in the way of commerce, and also to relieve themselves from the scandal of such a victory.
25. Slaves Edit
The other slaves are not employed after our manner with distinct domestic duties assigned to them, but each one has the management of a house and home of his own. The master requires from the slave a certain quantity of grain, of cattle, and of clothing, as he would from a tenant, and this is the limit of subjection. All other household functions are discharged by the wife and children. To strike a slave or to punish him with bonds or with hard labour is a rare occurrence. They often kill them, not in enforcing strict discipline, but on the impulse of passion, as they would an enemy, only it is done with impunity. The freedmen do not rank much above slaves, and are seldom of any weight in the family, never in the state, with the exception of those tribes which are ruled by kings. There indeed they rise above the freedborn and the noble; elsewhere the inferiority of the freedman marks the freedom of the state.
26. Farming Edit
Of lending money on interest and increasing it by compound interest they know nothing,—a more effectual safeguard than if it were prohibited.
Land proportioned to the number of inhabitants is occupied by the whole community in turn, and afterwards divided among them according to rank. A wide expanse of plains makes the partition easy. They till fresh fields every year, and they have still more land than enough; with the richness and extent of their soil, they do not laboriously exert themselves in planting orchards, inclosing meadows, and watering gardens. Corn is the only produce required from the earth; hence even the year itself is not divided by' them into as many seasons as with us. Winter, spring, and summer have both a meaning and a name; the name and blessings of autumn are alike unknown.
27. Burials Edit
In their funerals there is no pomp; they simply observe the custom of burning the bodies of illustrious men with certain kinds of wood. They do not heap garments or spices on the funeral pile. The arms of the dead man and in some cases his horse are consigned to the fire. A turf mound forms the tomb. Monuments with their lofty elaborate splendour they reject as oppressive to the dead. Tears and lamentations they soon dismiss; grief and sorrow but slowly. It is thought becoming for women to bewail, for men to remember, the dead.
Such on the whole is the account which I have received of the origin and manners of the entire German people. I will now touch on the institutions and religious rites of the separate tribes, pointing out how far they differ, and also what nations have migrated from Germany into Gaul.
28. Gaulish and Theedish stems along the Rhine I. Edit
That highest authority, the great Julius, informs us that Gaul was once more powerful than Germany. Consequently we may believe that Gauls even crossed over into Germany. For what a trifling obstacle would a river be to the various tribes, as they grew in strength and wished to possess in exchange settlements which were still open to all, and not partitioned among powerful monarchies! Accordingly the country between the Hercynian forest and the rivers Rhine and Mœnus, and that which lies beyond, was occupied respectively by the Helvetii and Boii, both stems of Gaul. The name 'Boiemum' still , marking the old tradition of the place, though the population has been changed. Whether however the Aravisci migrated into Pannonia from the Osi, a German race, or whether the Osi came from the Aravisci into Germany, as both nations still retain she same language, institutions, and customs, is a doubtful matter; for as they were once equally poor and equally free, either bank had the same attractions, the same drawbacks. The Treveri and Nervii are even eager in their claims of a German origin, thinking that the glory of this descent distinguishes them from the uniform level of Gallic effeminacy. The Rhine bank itself is occupied by tribes unquestionably German,—the Vangiones, the Triboci, and the Nemetes. Nor do even the Ubii, though they have earned the distinction of being a Roman colony, and prefer to be called Agrippinenses, from the name of their founder, blush to own their origin. Having crossed the sea in former days, and given proof of their allegiance, they were settled on the Rhine-bank itself, as those who might guard it but need not be watched.
29. Gaulish and Theedish stems along the Rhine II. Edit
Foremost among all these nations in valour, the Batavi occupy an island within the Rhine and but a small portion of the bank. Formerly a tribe of the Chatti, they were forced by internal dissension to migrate to their present settlements and there become a part of the Roman Rike. They yet retain the honourable badge of an ancient alliance; for they are not insulted by tribute, nor ground down by the tax-gatherer. Free from the usual burdens and contributions, and set apart for fighting purposes, like a magazine of arms, we reserve them for our wars. The subjection of the Mattiaci is of the same character. For the greatness of the Roman people has spread reverence for our rike beyond the Rhine and the old boundaries. Thus this nation, whose settlements and territories are on their own side of the river, are yet in sentiment and purpose one with us; in all other respects they resemble the Batavi, except that they still gain from the soil and climate of their native land a keener vigour. I should not reckon among the German tribes the cultivators of the tithe-lands, although they are settled on the further side of the Rhine and Danube. Reckless adventurers from Gaul, emboldened by want, occupied this land of questionable ownership. After a while, our frontier having been advanced, and our military positions pushed forward, it was regarded as a remote nook of our rike and a part of a Roman province.
30. of the Chatti Edit
Beyond them are the Chatti, whose settlements begin at the Hercynian forest, where the country is not so open and marshy as in the other shires into which Germany stretches. They are found where there are hills, and with them grow less frequent, for the Hercynian forest keeps close till it has seen the last of its native Chatti. Hardy frames, close-knit limbs, fierce countenances, and a peculiarly vigorous courage, mark the tribe. For Germans, they have much intelligence and sagacity; they promote their picked men to power, and obey those whom they promote; they keep their ranks, note their opportunities, check their impulses, portion out the day, intrench themselves by night, regard fortune as a doubtful, valour as an unfailing, resource; and what is most unusual, and only given to systematic discipline, they rely more on the general than on the army. Their whole strength is in their infantry, which, in addition to its arms, is laden with iron tools and provisions. Other tribes you see going to battle, the Chatti to a campaign. Seldom do they engage in mere raids and casual encounters. It is indeed the peculiarity of a cavalry force quickly to win and as quickly to yield a victory. Fleetness and timidity go together; deliberateness is more akin to steady courage.
31. Way of live and manners of the Chati Edit
A practice, rare among the other German tribes, and simply characteristic of individual prowess, has become general among the Chatti, of letting the hair and beard grow as soon as they have attained manhood, and not till they have slain a foe laying aside that peculiar aspect which devotes and pledges them to valour. Over the spoiled and bleeding enemy they show their faces once more; then, and not till then, proclaiming that they have discharged the obligations of their birth, and proved themselves worthy of their country and of their parents. The coward and the unwarlike remain unshorn. The bravest of them also wear an iron ring (which otherwise is a mark of disgrace among the people) until they have released themselves by the slaughter of a foe. Most of the Chatti delight in these fashions. Even hoary-headed men are distinguished by them, and are thus conspicuous alike to enemies and to fellow-countrymen. To begin the battle always rests with them; they form the first line, an unusual spectacle. Nor even in peace do they assume a more civilised aspect. They have no home or land or occupation; they are supported by whomsoever they visit, as lavish of the property of others as they are regardless of their own, till at length the feebleness of age makes them unequal to so stern a valour.
32. Usipii and Tencteri Edit
Next to the Chatti on the Rhine, which has now a well-defined channel, and serves as a boundary, dwell the Usipii and Tencteri. The latter, besides the more usual military distinctions, particularly excel in the organisation of cavalry, and the Chatti are not more famous for their foot-soldiers than are the Tencteri for their horsemen. What their forefathers originated, posterity maintain. This supplies sport to their children, rivalry to their youths: even the aged keep it up. Horses are bequeathed along with the slaves, the dwelling-house, and the usual rights of inheritance; they go to the son, not to the eldest, as does the other property, but to the most warlike and courageous.
33. of the Bructeri Edit
After the Tencteri came, in former days, the Bructeri; but the general account now is, that the Chamavi and Angrivarii entered their settlements, drove them out and utterly exterminated them with the common help of the neighbouring tribes, either from hatred of their tyranny, or from the attractions of plunder, or from heaven's favourable regard for us. It did not even grudge us the spectacle of the conflict. More than sixty thousand fell, not beneath the Roman arms and weapons, but, grander far, before our delighted eyes. May the tribes, I pray, ever retain if not love for us, at least hatred for each other; for while the destinies of rike hurry us on, fortune can give no greater boon than discord among our foes.
34. Dulgubini, Chasuarii and Frisii Edit
The Angrivarii and Chamavi are bounded in the rear by the Dulgubini and Chasuarii, and other tribes not equally famous. Towards the river are the Frisii, distinguished as the Greater and Lesser Frisii, according to their strength. Both these tribes, as far as the ocean, are skirted by the Rhine, and their territory also embraces vast lakes which Roman fleets have navigated. We have even ventured on the ocean itself in these parts. Pillars of Hercules, so rumour commonly says, still exist; whether Hercules really visited the country, or whether we have agreed to ascribe every work of grandeur, wherever met with, to his renown. Drusus Germanicus indeed did not lack daring; but the ocean barred the explorer's access to itself and to Hercules. Subsequently no one has made the attempt, and it has been thought more pious and reverential to believe in the actions of the gods than to inquire.
35. Chauci and fairness Edit
Thus far we have taken note of Western Germany. Northwards the country takes a vast sweep. First comes the tribe of the Chauci, which, beginning at the Frisian settlements, and occupying a part of the coast, stretches along the frontier of all the tribes which I have enumerated, till it reaches with a bend as far as the Chatti. This vast extent of country is not merely possessed, but densely peopled, by the Chauci, the noblest of the German races, a nation who would maintain their greatness by righteous dealing. Without ambition, without lawless violence, they live peaceful and secluded, never provoking a war or injuring others by rapine and robbery. Indeed, the crowning proof of their valour and their strength is, that they keep up their superiority without harm to others. Yet all have their weapons in readiness, and an army if necessary, with a multitude of men and horses; and even while at peace they have the same renown of valour.
36. Cherusci and Fosi Edit
Dwelling on one side of the Chauci and Chatti, the Cherusci long cherished, unassailed, an excessive and enervating love of peace. This was more pleasant than safe, for to be peaceful is self-deception among lawless and powerful neighbours. Where the strong hand decides, moderation and justice are terms applied only to the more powerful; and so the Cherusci, ever reputed good and just, are now called cowards and fools, while in the case of the victorious Chatti success has been identified with prudence. The downfall of the Cherusci brought with it also that of the Fosi, a neighbouring tribe, which shared equally in their disasters, though they had been inferior to them in prosperous days.
37. Cimbri - Scare of the Romish Edit
In the same remote corner of Germany, bordering on the ocean dwell the Cimbri, a now insignificant tribe, but of great renown. Of their ancient glory widespread traces yet remain; on both sides of the Rhine are encampments of vast extent, and by their circuit you may even now measure the warlike strength of the tribe, and find evidence of that mighty emigration. Rome was in her 640th year when we first heard of the Cimbrian invader in the consulship of Caecilius Metellus and Papirius Carbo, from which time to the second consulship of the Emperor Trajan we have to reckon about 210 years. So long have we been in conquering Germany. In the space of this long epoch many losses have been sustained on both sides. Neither Samnite nor Carthaginian, neither Spain nor Gaul, not even the Parthians, have given us more frequent warnings. German independence truly is fiercer than the despotism of an Arsaces. What else, indeed, can the East taunt us with but the slaughter of Crassus, when it has itself lost Pacorus, and been crushed under a Ventidius But Germans, by routing or making prisoners of Carbo, Cassius, Scaurus Aurelius, Servilius Capio, and Marcus Manlius, deprived the Roman people of five consular armies, and they robbed even a Caesar of Varus and his three legions. Not without loss to us were they discomfited by Marius in Italy, by the great Julius in Gaul, and by Drusus, Nero, and Germanicus, on their own ground., Soon after, the mighty menaces of Caius Caesar were turned into a jest. Then came a lull, until on the occasion of our discords and the civil war, they stormed the winter camp of our legions, and even designed the conquest of Gaul. Again were they driven back; and in recent times we have celebrated triumphs rather than won conquests over them.
38. Hair of the Suevi Edit
I must now speak of the Suevi, who are not one nation as are the Chatti and Tencteri, for they occupy the greater part of Germany, and have hitherto been divided into separate tribes with names of their own, though they are called by the general designation of “Suevi.” A national peculiarity with them is to twist their hair back, and fasten it in a knot This distinguishes the Suevi from the other Germans, as it also does their own freeborn from their slaves. With other tribes, either from some connection with the Suevic race, or, as often happens, from imitation, the practice is an occasional one, and restricted to youth. The Suevi, till their heads are grey, affect the fashion of drawing back their unkempt locks, and often they are knotted on the very top of the head. The chiefs have a more elaborate style; so much do they study appearance, but in perfect innocence, not with any thoughts of love-making; but arranging their hair when they go to battle, to make themselves tall and terrible, they adorn themselves, so to speak, for the eyes of the foe.
39. Stems I. : Semnones and their holy groves Edit
The Semnones give themselves out to be the most ancient and renowned branch of the Suevi. Their antiquity is strongly attested by their religion. At a stated period, all the tribes of the same race assemble by their representatives in a grove consecrated by the auguries of their forefathers, and by immemorial associations of terror. Here, having publicly slaughtered a human victim, they celebrate the horrible beginning of their barbarous rite. Reverence also in other ways is paid to the grove. No one enters it except bound with a chain, as an inferior acknowledging the might of the local divinity. If he chance to fall, it is not lawful for him to be lifted up, or to rise to his feet; he must crawl out along the ground. All this superstition implies the belief that from this spot the nation took its origin, that here dwells the supreme and all-ruling deity, to whom all else is subject and obedient. The fortunate lot of the Semnones strengthens this belief; a hundred cantons are in their occupation, and the vastness of their community makes them regard themselves as the head of the Suevic race.
40. Little Folks and their worship of Nerthus Edit
To the Langobardi, on the contrary, their scanty numbers are a distinction. Though surrounded by a host of most powerful tribes, they are safe, not by submitting, but by daring the perils of war. Next come the Reudigni, the Aviones, the Anglii, the Varini, the Eudoses, the Suardones, and Nuithones who are fenced in by rivers or forests. None of these tribes have any noteworthy feature, except their common worship of Ertha, or mother-Earth, and their belief that she interposes in human affairs, and visits the nations in her car. In an island of the ocean there is a sacred grove, and within it a consecrated chariot, covered over with a garment. Only one priest is permitted to touch it. He can perceive the presence of the goddess in this sacred recess, and walks by her side with the utmost reverence as she is drawn along by heifers. It is a season of rejoicing, and festivity reigns wherever she deigns to go and be received. They do not go to battle or wear arms; every weapon is under lock; peace and quiet are known and welcomed only at these times, till the goddess, weary of human intercourse, is at length restored by the same priest to her temple. Afterwards the car, the vestments, and, if you like to believe it, the divinity herself, are purified in a secret lake. Slaves perform the rite, who are instantly swallowed up by its waters. Hence arises a mysterious terror and a pious ignorance concerning the nature of that which is seen only by men doomed to die. This branch indeed of the Suevi stretches into the remoter regions of Germany.
41. Elbtheedish Stems II. : Hermunduri and their bonds with Rome Edit
Nearer to us is the state of the Hermunduri (I shall follow the course of the Danube as I did before that of the Rhine), a people loyal to Rome. Consequently they, alone of the Germans, trade not merely on the banks of the river, but far inland, and in the most flourishing colony of the province of Rætia. Everywhere they are allowed to pass without a guard; and while to the other tribes we display only our arms and our camps, to them we have thrown open our houses and country-seats, which they do not covet. It is in their lands that the Elbe takes its rise, a famous river known to us in past days; now we only hear of it.
42. Elbtheedish Stems III. : Marcomanni and Quadi Edit
The Narisci border on the Hermunduri, and then follow the Marcomanni and Quadi. The Marcomanni stand first in strength and renown, and their very territory, from which the Boii were driven in a former age, was won by valour. Nor are the Narisci and Quadi inferior to them. This I may call the frontier of Germany, so far as it is completed by the Danube. The Marcomanni and Quadi have, up to our time, been ruled by kings of their own nation, descended from the noble stock of Maroboduus and Tudrus. They now submit even to foreigners; but the strength and power of the monarch depend on Roman influence. He is occasionally supported by our arms, more frequently by our money, and his authority is none the less.
43. Marsigni, Buri, Gotini, Osi and Ligii Edit
Behind them the Marsigni, Gotini, Osi, and Buri, close in the rear of the Marcomanni and Quadi. Of these, the Marsigni and Buri, in their language and manner of life, resemble the Suevi. The Gotini and Osi are proved by their respective Gallic and Pannonian tongues, as well as by the fact of their enduring tribute, not to be Germans. Tribute is imposed on them as aliens, partly by the Sarmatæ, partly by the Quadi. The Gotini, to complete their degradation, actually work iron mines. All these nations occupy but little of the plain country, dwelling in forests and on mountain-tops. For Suevia is divided and cut in half by a continuous mountain-range, beyond which live a multitude of tribes. The name of Ligii, spread as it is among many states, is the most widely extended. It will be enough to mention the most powerful, which are the Harii, the Helvecones, the Manimi, the Helisii and the Nahanarvali. Among these last is shown a grove of immemorial sanctity. A priest in female attire has the charge of it. But the deities are described in Roman language as Castor and Pollux. Such, indeed, are the attributes of the divinity, the name being Alcis. They have no images, or, indeed, any vestige of foreign superstition, but it is as brothers and as youths that the deities are worshipped. The Harii, besides being superior in strength to the tribes just enumerated, savage as they are, make the most of their natural ferocity by the help of art and opportunity. Their shields are black, their bodies dyed. They choose dark nights for battle, and, by the dread and gloomy aspect of their death-like host, strike terror into the foe, who can never confront their strange and almost infernal appearance. For in all battles it is the eye which is first vanquished.
44. Gothones, Rugii, Lemovii and Suiones Edit
Beyond the Ligii are the Gothones, who are ruled by kings, a little more strictly than the other German tribes, but not as yet inconsistently with freedom. Immediately adjoining them, further from the coast, are the Rugii and Lemovii, the badge of all these tribes being the round shield, the short sword, and servile submission to their kings.
And now begin the states of the Suiones, situated on the Ocean itself, and these, besides men and arms, are powerful in ships. The form of their vessels is peculiar in this respect, that a prow at either extremity acts as a forepart, always ready for running into shore. They are not worked by sails, nor have they a row of oars attached to their sides; but, as on some rivers, the apparatus of rowing is unfixed, and shifted from side to side as circumstances require. And they likewise honour wealth, and so a single ruler holds sway with no restrictions, and with no uncertain claim to obedience. Arms are not with them, as with the other Germans, at the general disposal, but are in the charge of a keeper, who is actually a slave; for the ocean forbids the sudden inroad of enemies, and, besides, an idle multitude of armed men is easily demoralized. And indeed it is by no means the policy of a monarch to place either a nobleman, a freeborn citizen, or even a freedman, at the head of an armed force.
45. Æstii and Sitones Edit
Beyond the Suiones is another sea, sluggish and almost motionless, which, we may certainly infer, girdles and surrounds the world, from the fact that the last radiance of the setting sun lingers on till sunrise, with a brightness sufficient to dim the light of the stars. Even the very sound of his rising, as popular belief adds, may be heard, and the forms of gods and the glory round his head may be seen. Only thus far (and here rumour seems truth) does the world extend.
At this point the Suevic sea, on its eastern shore, washes the tribes of the Æstii, whose rites and fashions and style of dress are those of the Suevi, while their language is more. like the British. They worship the mother of the gods, and wear as a religious symbol the device of a wild boar. This serves as armour, and as a universal defence, rendering the votary of the goddess safe even amidst enemies. They often use clubs, iron weapons but seldom. They are more patient in cultivating corn and other produce than might be expected from the general indolence of the Germans. But they also search the deep, and are the only people who gather amber (which they call “glesum”), in the shallows, and also on the shore itself. Barbarians as they are they have not investigated or discovered what natural cause or process produces it. Nay, it even lay amid the sea's other refuse, till our luxury gave it a name. To them it is utterly useless; they gather it in its raw state, bring it to us in shapeless lumps, and marvel at the price which they receive. It is however a juice from trees, as you may infer from the fact that there are often seen shining through it, reptiles, and even winged insects, which, having become entangled in the fluid, are gradually enclosed in the substance as it hardens. I am therefore inclined to think that the islands and countries of the West, like the remote recesses of the East, where frankincense and balsam exude, contain fruitful woods and groves; that these productions, acted on by the near rays of the sun, glide in a liquid state into the adjacent sea, and are thrown up by the force of storms on the opposite shores. If you test the composition of amber by applying fire, it burns like pinewood, and sends forth a rich and fragrant flame; it is soon softened into something like pitch or resin.
Closely bordering on the Suiones are the tribes of the Sitones, which, resembling them in all else, differ only in being ruled by a woman. So low have they fallen, not merely from freedom, but even from slavery itself. Here Suevia ends.
46. Rims of Suevia Edit
As to the tribes of the Peucini, Veneti, and Fenni I am in doubt whether I should class them with the Germans or the Sarmatæ, although indeed the Peucini called by some Bastarnæ, are like Germans in their language, mode of life, and in the permanence of their settlements. They all live in filth and sloth, and by the intermarriages of the chiefs they are becoming in some degree debased into a resemblance to the Sarmatæ. The Veneti have borrowed largely from the Sarmatian character; in their plundering expeditions they roam over the whole extent of forest and mountain between the Peucini and Fenni. They are however to be rather referred to the German race, for they have fixed habitations carry shields, and delight in strength and fleetness of foot, thus presenting a complete contrast to the Sarmatæ, who live in waggons and on horseback. The Fenni are strangely beast-like and squalidly poor; neither arms nor homes have they; their food is herbs, their clothing skins, their bed the earth. They trust wholly to their arrows, which, for want of iron, are pointed with bone. The men and the women are alike supplied by the chase; for the latter are always present, and demand a share of the prey. The little children have no shelter from wild beasts and storms but a covering of interlaced boughs. Such are the homes of the young, such the resting place of the old. Yet they count this greater happiness than groaning over field-labour, toiling at building, and poising the fortunes of themselves and others between hope and fear. Heedless of men, heedless of gods, they have attained that hardest of results, the not needing so much as a wish. All else is fabulous, as that the Hellusii and Oxiones have the faces and expressions of men, with the bodies and limbs of wild beasts. All this is unauthenticated, and I shall leave it open.