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The Germany of Tacitus.

The Oxford Translation Revised, With Notes. With An Introduction by Edward Brooks, Jr.

Introduction



Very little is known concerning the life of Tacitus, the historian, except that which he tells us in his own writings and those incidents which are related of him by his contemporary, Pliny.

His full name was Caius Cornelius Tacitus. The date of his birth can only be arrived at by conjecture, and then only approximately. The younger Pliny speaks of him as prope modum aequales, about the same age. Pliny was born in 61. Tacitus, however, occupied the office of quaestor under Vespasian in 78 A.D., at which time he must, therefore, have been at least twenty-five years of age. This would fix the date of his birth not later than 53 A.D. It is probable, therefore, that Tacitus was Pliny's senior by several years.

His parentage is also a matter of pure conjecture. The name Cornelius was a common one among the Romans, so that from it we can draw no inference. The fact that at an early age he occupied a prominent public office indicates that he was born of good family, and it is not impossible that his father was a certain Cornelius Tacitus, a Roman knight, who was procurator in Belgic Gaul, and whom the elder Pliny speaks of in his "Natural History."

Of the early life of Tacitus and the training which he underwent preparatory to those literary efforts which afterwards rendered him a conspicuous figure among Roman literateurs we know absolutely nothing.

Of the events of his life which transpired after he attained man's estate we know but little beyond that which he himself has recorded in his writings. He occupied a position of some eminence as a pleader at the Roman bar, and in 77 A.D. married the daughter of Julius Agricola, a humane and honorable citizen, who was at that time consul and was subsequently appointed governor of Britain. It is quite possible that this very advantageous alliance hastened his promotion to the office of quaestor under Vespasian.

Under Domitian, in 88, Tacitus was appointed one of fifteen commissioners to preside at the celebration of the secular games. In the same year he held the office of praetor, and was a member of one of the most select of the old priestly colleges, in which a pre-requisite of membership was that a man should be born of a good family.

The following year he appears to have left Rome, and it is possible that he visited Germany and there obtained his knowledge and information respecting the manners and customs of its people which he makes the subject of his work known as the "Germany."

He did not return to Rome until 93, after an absence of four years, during which time his father-in-law died.

Some time between the years 93 and 97 he was elected to the senate, and during this time witnessed the judicial murders of many of Rome's best citizens which were perpetrated under the reign of Nero. Being himself a senator, he felt that he was not entirely guiltless of the crimes which were committed, and in his "Agricola" we find him giving expression to this feeling in the following words: "Our own hands dragged Helvidius to prison; ourselves were tortured with the spectacle of Mauricus and Rusticus, and sprinkled with the innocent blood of Senecio."

In 97 he was elected to the consulship as successor to Virginius Rufus, who died during his term of office and at whose funeral Tacitus delivered an oration in such a manner to cause Pliny to say, "The good fortune of Virginius was crowned by having the most eloquent of panegyrists."

In 99 Tacitus was appointed by the senate, together with Pliny, to conduct the prosecution against a great political offender, Marius Priscus, who, as proconsul of Africa, had corruptly mismanaged the affairs of his province. We have his associate's testimony that Tacitus made a most eloquent and dignified reply to the arguments which were urged on the part of the defence. The prosecution was successful, and both Pliny and Tacitus were awarded a vote of thanks by the senate for their eminent and effectual efforts in the management of the case.

The exact date of Tacitus's death is not known, but in his "Annals" he seems to hint at the successful extension of the Emperor Trajan's eastern campaigns during the years 115 to 117, so that it is probable that he lived until the year 117.

Tacitus had a widespread reputation during his lifetime. On one occasion it is related of him that as he sat in the circus at the celebration of some games, a Roman knight asked him whether he was from Italy or the provinces. Tacitus answered, "You know me from your reading," to which the knight quickly replied, "Are you then Tacitus or Pliny?"

It is also worthy of notice that the Emperor Marcus Claudius Tacitus, who reigned during the third century, claimed to be descended from the historian, and directed that ten copies of his works should be published every year and placed in the public libraries.

The list of the extant works of Tacitus is as follows: the "Germany;" the "Life of Agricola;" the "Dialogue on Orators;" the "Histories," and the "Annals."

The following pages contain translations of the first two of these works. The "Germany," the full title of which is "Concerning the situation, manners and inhabitants of Germany," contains little of value from a historical standpoint. It describes with vividness the fierce and independent spirit of the German nations, with many suggestions as to the dangers in which the empire stood of these people. The "Agricola" is a biographical sketch of the writer's father-in-law, who, as has been said, was a distinguished man and governor of Britain. It is one of the author's earliest works and was probably written shortly after the death of Domitian, in 96. This work, short as it is, has always been considered an admirable specimen of biography on account of its grace and dignity of expression. Whatever else it may be, it is a graceful and affectionate tribute to an upright and excellent man.

The "Dialogue on Orators" treats of the decay of eloquence under the empire. It is in the form of a dialogue, and represents two eminent members of the Roman bar discussing the change for the worse that had taken place in the early education of the Roman youth.

The "Histories" relate the events which transpired in Rome, beginning with the ascession of Galba, in 68, and ending with the reign of Domitian, in 97. Only four books and a fragment of a fifth have been preserved to us. These books contain an account of the brief reigns of Galba, Otho and Vitellius. The portion of the fifth book which has been preserved contains an interesting, though rather biased, account of the character, customs and religion of the Jewish nation viewed from the standpoint of a cultivated citizen of Rome.

The "Annals" contain the history of the empire from the death of Augustus, in 14, to the death of Nero, in 68, and originally consisted of sixteen books. Of these, only nine have come down to us in a state of entire preservation, and of the other seven we have but fragments of three. Out of a period of fifty-four years we have the history of about forty.

The style of Tacitus is, perhaps, noted principally for its conciseness. Tacitean brevity is proverbial, and many of his sentences are so brief, and leave so much for the student to read between the lines, that in order to be understood and appreciated the author must be read over and over again, lest the reader miss the point of some of his most excellent thoughts. Such an author presents grave, if not insuperable, difficulties to the translator, but notwithstanding this fact, the following pages cannot but impress the reader with the genius of Tacitus.

A Treatise on the Situation, Manners and Inhabitants of Germany [1]



1. Germany [2] is separated from Gaul, Rhaetia, [3] and Pannonia, [4] by the rivers Rhine and Danube; from Sarmatia and Dacia, by mountains [5] and mutual dread. The rest is surrounded by an ocean, embracing broad promontories [6] and vast insular tracts, [7] in which our military expeditions have lately discovered various nations and kingdoms. The Rhine, issuing from the inaccessible and precipitous summit of the Rhaetic Alps, [8] bends gently to the west, and falls into the Northern Ocean. The Danube, poured from the easy and gently raised ridge of Mount Abnoba, [9] visits several nations in its course, till at length it bursts out [10] by six channels [11] into the Pontic sea; a seventh is lost in marshes.

2. The people of Germany appear to me indigenous, [12] and free from intermixture with foreigners, either as settlers or casual visitants. For the emigrants of former ages performed their expeditions not by land, but by water; [13] and that immense, and, if I may so call it, hostile ocean, is rarely navigated by ships from our world. [14] Then, besides the danger of a boisterous and unknown sea, who would relinquish Asia, Africa, or Italy, for Germany, a land rude in its surface, rigorous in its climate, cheerless to every beholder and cultivator, except a native? In their ancient songs, [15] which are their only records or annals, they celebrate the god Tuisto, [16] sprung from the earth, and his son Mannus, as the fathers and founders of their race. To Mannus they ascribe three sons, from whose names [17] the people bordering on the ocean are called Ingaevones; those inhabiting the central parts, Herminones; the rest, Istaevones. Some, [18] however, assuming the licence of antiquity, affirm that there were more descendants of the god, from whom more appellations were derived; as those of the Marsi, [19] Gambrivii, [20] Suevi, [21] and Vandali; [22] and that these are the genuine and original names. [23] That of Germany, on the other hand, they assert to be a modern addition; [24] for that the people who first crossed the Rhine, and expelled the Gauls, and are now called Tungri, were then named Germans; which appellation of a particular tribe, not of a whole people, gradually prevailed; so that the title of Germans, first assumed by the victors in order to excite terror, was afterwards adopted by the nation in general. [25] They have likewise the tradition of a Hercules [26] of their country, whose praises they sing before those of all other heroes as they advance to battle.

3. A peculiar kind of verses is also current among them, by the recital of which, termed "barding," [27] they stimulate their courage; while the sound itself serves as an augury of the event of the impending combat. For, according to the nature of the cry proceeding from the line, terror is inspired or felt: nor does it seem so much an articulate song, as the wild chorus of valor. A harsh, piercing note, and a broken roar, are the favorite tones; which they render more full and sonorous by applying their mouths to their shields. [28] Some conjecture that Ulysses, in the course of his long and fabulous wanderings, was driven into this ocean, and landed in Germany; and that Asciburgium, [29] a place situated on the Rhine, and at this day inhabited, was founded by him, and named Askipurgion. They pretend that an altar was formerly discovered here, consecrated to Ulysses, with the name of his father Laertes subjoined; and that certain monuments and tombs, inscribed with Greek characters, [30] are still extant upon the confines of Germany and Rhaetia. These allegations I shall neither attempt to confirm nor to refute: let every one believe concerning them as he is disposed.

4. I concur in opinion with those who deem the Germans never to have intermarried with other nations; but to be a race, pure, unmixed, and stamped with a distinct character. Hence a family likeness pervades the whole, though their numbers are so great: eyes stern and blue; ruddy hair; large bodies, [31] powerful in sudden exertions, but impatient of toil and labor, least of all capable of sustaining thirst and heat. Cold and hunger they are accustomed by their climate and soil to endure.

5. The land, though varied to a considerable extent in its aspect, is yet universally shagged with forests, or deformed by marshes: moister on the side of Gaul, more bleak on the side of Norieum and Pannonia. [32] It is productive of grain, but unkindly to fruit-trees. [33] It abounds in flocks and herds, but in general of a small breed. Even the beeve kind are destitute of their usual stateliness and dignity of head: [34] they are, however, numerous, and form the most esteemed, and, indeed, the only species of wealth. Silver and gold the gods, I know not whether in their favor or anger, have denied to this country. [35] Not that I would assert that no veins of these metals are generated in Germany; for who has made the search? The possession of them is not coveted by these people as it is by us. Vessels of silver are indeed to be seen among them, which have been presented to their ambassadors and chiefs; but they are held in no higher estimation than earthenware. The borderers, however, set a value on gold and silver for the purpose of commerce, and have learned to distinguish several kinds of our coin, some of which they prefer to others: the remoter inhabitants continue the more simple and ancient usage of bartering commodities. The money preferred by the Germans is the old and well-known species, such as the Serrati and Bigati. [36] They are also better pleased with silver than gold; [37] not on account of any fondness for that metal, but because the smaller money is more convenient in their common and petty merchandise.

6. Even iron is not plentiful [38] among them; as may be inferred from the nature of their weapons. Swords or broad lances are seldom used; but they generally carry a spear, (called in their language framea, [39]) which has an iron blade, short and narrow, but so sharp and manageable, that, as occasion requires, they employ it either in close or distant fighting. [40] This spear and a shield are all the armor of the cavalry. The foot have, besides, missile weapons, several to each man, which they hurl to an immense distance. [41] They are either naked, [42] or lightly covered with a small mantle; and have no pride in equipage: their shields only are ornamented with the choicest colors. [43] Few are provided with a coat of mail; [44] and scarcely here and there one with a casque or helmet. [45] Their horses are neither remarkable for beauty nor swiftness, nor are they taught the various evolutions practised with us. The cavalry either bear down straight forwards, or wheel once to the right, in so compact a body that none is left behind the rest. Their principal strength, on the whole, consists in their infantry: hence in an engagement these are intermixed with the cavalry; [46] so Well accordant with the nature of equestrian combats is the agility of those foot soldiers, whom they select from the whole body of their youth, and place in the front of the line. Their number, too, is determined; a hundred from each canton: [47] and they are distinguished at home by a name expressive of this circumstance; so that what at first was only an appellation of number, becomes thenceforth a title of honor. Their line of battle is disposed in wedges. [48] To give ground, provided they rally again, is considered rather as a prudent strategem, than cowardice. They carry off their slain even while the battle remains undecided. The, greatest disgrace that can befall them is to have abandoned their shields. [49] A person branded with this ignominy is not permitted to join in their religious rites, or enter their assemblies; so that many, after escaping from battle, have put an end to their infamy by the halter.

7. In the election of kings they have regard to birth; in that of generals, [50] to valor. Their kings have not an absolute or unlimited power; [51] and their generals command less through the force of authority, than of example. If they are daring, adventurous, and conspicuous in action, they procure obedience from the admiration they inspire. None, however, but the priests [52] are permitted to judge offenders, to inflict bonds or stripes; so that chastisement appears not as an act of military discipline, but as the instigation of the god whom they suppose present with warriors. They also carry with them to battle certain images and standards taken from the sacred groves. [53] It is a principal incentive to their courage, that their squadrons and battalions are not formed by men fortuitously collected, but by the assemblage of families and clans. Their pledges also are near at hand; they have within hearing the yells of their women, and the cries of their children. These, too, are the most revered witnesses of each man's conduct, these his most liberal applauders. To their mothers and their wives they bring their wounds for relief, nor do these dread to count or to search out the gashes. The women also administer food and encouragement to those who are fighting.

8. Tradition relates, that armies beginning to give way have been rallied by the females, through the earnestness of their supplications, the interposition of their bodies, [54] and the pictures they have drawn of impending slavery, [55] a calamity which these people bear with more impatience for their women than themselves; so that those states who have been obliged to give among their hostages the daughters of noble families, are the most effectually bound to fidelity. [56] They even suppose somewhat of sanctity and prescience to be inherent in the female sex; and therefore neither despise their counsels, [57] nor disregard their responses. [58] We have beheld, in the reign of Vespasian, Veleda, [59] long reverenced by many as a deity. Aurima, moreover, and several others, [60] were formerly held in equal veneration, but not with a servile flattery, nor as though they made them goddesses. [61]

9. Of the gods, Mercury [62] is the principal object of their adoration; whom, on certain days, [63] they think it lawful to propitiate even with human victims. To Hercules and Mars [64] they offer the animals usually allotted for sacrifice. [65] Some of the Suevi also perform sacred rites to Isis. What was the cause and origin of this foreign worship, I have not been able to discover; further than that her being represented with the symbol of a galley, seems to indicate an imported religion. [66] They conceive it unworthy the grandeur of celestial beings to confine their deities within walls, or to represent them under a human similitude: [67] woods and groves are their temples; and they affix names of divinity to that secret power, which they behold with the eye of adoration alone.

10. No people are more addicted to divination by omens and lots. The latter is performed in the following simple manner. They cut a twig [68] from a fruit-tree, and divide it into small pieces, which, distinguished by certain marks, are thrown promiscuously upon a white garment. Then, the priest of the canton, if the occasion be public; if private, the master of the family; after an invocation of the gods, with his eyes lifted up to heaven, thrice takes out each piece, and, as they come up, interprets their signification according to the marks fixed upon them. If the result prove unfavorable, there is no more consultation on the same affair that day; if propitious, a confirmation by omens is still required. In common with other nations, the Germans are acquainted with the practice of auguring from the notes and flight of birds; but it is peculiar to them to derive admonitions and presages from horses also. [69] Certain of these animals, milk-white, and untouched by earthly labor, are pastured at the public expense in the sacred woods and groves. These, yoked to a consecrated chariot, are accompanied by the priest, and king, or chief person of the community, who attentively observe their manner of neighing and snorting; and no kind of augury is more credited, not only among the populace, but among the nobles and priests. For the latter consider themselves as the ministers of the gods, and the horses, as privy to the divine will. Another kind of divination, by which they explore the event of momentous wars, is to oblige a prisoner, taken by any means whatsoever from the nation with whom they are at variance, to fight with a picked man of their own, each with his own country's arms; and, according as the victory falls, they presage success to the one or to the other party. [70]

11. On affairs of smaller moment, the chiefs consult; on those of greater importance, the whole community; yet with this circumstance, that what is referred to the decision of the people, is first maturely discussed by the chiefs. [71] They assemble, unless upon some sudden emergency, on stated days, either at the new or full moon, which they account the most auspicious season for beginning any enterprise. Nor do they, in their computation of time, reckon, like us, by the number of days, but of nights. In this way they arrange their business; in this way they fix their appointments; so that, with them, the night seems to lead the day. [72] An inconvenience produced by their liberty is, that they do not all assemble at a stated time, as if it were in obedience to a command; but two or three days are lost in the delays of convening. When they all think fit, [73] they sit down armed. [74] Silence is proclaimed by the priests, who have on this occasion a coercive power. Then the king, or chief, and such others as are conspicuous for age, birth, military renown, or eloquence, are heard; and gain attention rather from their ability to persuade, than their authority to command. If a proposal displease, the assembly reject it by an inarticulate murmur; if it prove agreeable, they clash their javelins; [75] for the most honorable expression of assent among them is the sound of arms.

12. Before this council, it is likewise allowed to exhibit accusations, and to prosecute capital offences. Punishments are varied according to the nature of the crime. Traitors and deserters are hung upon trees: [76] cowards, dastards, [77] and those guilty of unnatural practices, [78] are suffocated in mud under a hurdle. [79] This difference of punishment has in view the principle, that villainy should he exposed while it is punished, but turpitude concealed. The penalties annexed to slighter offences [80] are also proportioned to the delinquency. The convicts are fined in horses and cattle: [81] part of the mulct [82] goes to the king or state; part to the injured person, or his relations. In the same assemblies chiefs [83] are also elected, to administer justice through the cantons and districts. A hundred companions, chosen from the people, attended upon each of them, to assist them as well with their advice as their authority.

13. The Germans transact no business, public or private, without being armed: [84] but it is not customary for any person to assume arms till the state has approved his ability to use them. Then, in the midst of the assembly, either one of the chiefs, or the father, or a relation, equips the youth with a shield and javelin. [85] These are to them the manly gown; [86] this is the first honor conferred on youth: before this they are considered as part of a household; afterwards, of the state. The dignity of chieftain is bestowed even on mere lads, whose descent is eminently illustrious, or whose fathers have performed signal services to the public; they are associated, however, with those of mature strength, who have already been declared capable of service; nor do they blush to be seen in the rank of companions. [87] For the state of companionship itself has its several degrees, determined by the judgment of him whom they follow; and there is a great emulation among the companions, which shall possess the highest place in the favor of their chief; and among the chiefs, which shall excel in the number and valor of his companions. It is their dignity, their strength, to be always surrounded with a large body of select youth, an ornament in peace, a bulwark in war. And not in his own country alone, but among the neighboring states, the fame and glory of each chief consists in being distinguished for the number and bravery of his companions. Such chiefs are courted by embassies; distinguished by presents; and often by their reputation alone decide a war.

14. In the field of battle, it is disgraceful for the chief to be surpassed in valor; it is disgraceful for the companions not to equal their chief; but it is reproach and infamy during a whole succeeding life to retreat from the field surviving him. [88] To aid, to protect him; to place their own gallant actions to the account of his glory, is their first and most sacred engagement. The chiefs fight for victory; the companions for their chief. If their native country be long sunk in peace and inaction, many of the young nobles repair to some other state then engaged in war. For, besides that repose is unwelcome to their race, and toils and perils afford them a better opportunity of distinguishing themselves; they are unable, without war and violence, to maintain a large train of followers. The companion requires from the liberality of his chief, the warlike steed, the bloody and conquering spear: and in place of pay, he expects to be supplied with a table, homely indeed, but plentiful. [89] The funds for this munificence must be found in war and rapine; nor are they so easily persuaded to cultivate the earth, and await the produce of the seasons, as to challenge the foe, and expose themselves to wounds; nay, they even think it base and spiritless to earn by sweat what they might purchase with blood.

15. During the intervals of war, they pass their time less in hunting than in a sluggish repose, [90] divided between sleep and the table. All the bravest of the warriors, committing the care of the house, the family affairs, and the lands, to the women, old men, and weaker part of the domestics, stupefy themselves in inaction: so wonderful is the contrast presented by nature, that the same persons love indolence, and hate tranquillity! [91] It is customary for the several states to present, by voluntary and individual contributions, [92] cattle or grain [93] to their chiefs; which are accepted as honorary gifts, while they serve as necessary supplies. [94] They are peculiarly pleased with presents from neighboring nations, offered not only by individuals, but by the community at large; such as fine horses, heavy armor, rich housings, and gold chains. We have now taught them also to accept of money. [95]

16. It is well known that none of the German nations inhabit cities; [96] or even admit of contiguous settlements. They dwell scattered and separate, as a spring, a meadow, or a grove may chance to invite them. Their villages are laid out, not like ours in rows of adjoining buildings; but every one surrounds his house with a vacant space, [97] either by way of security against fire, [97] or through ignorance of the art of building. For, indeed, they are unacquainted with the use of mortar and tiles; and for every purpose employ rude unshapen timber, fashioned with no regard to pleasing the eye. They bestow more than ordinary pains in coating certain parts of their buildings with a kind of earth, so pure and shining that it gives the appearance of painting. They also dig subterraneous caves, [99] and cover them over with a great quantity of dung. These they use as winter-retreats, and granaries; for they preserve a moderate temperature; and upon an invasion, when the open country is plundered, these recesses remain unviolated, either because the enemy is ignorant of them, or because he will not trouble himself with the search. [100]

17. The clothing common to all is a sagum [101] fastened by a clasp, or, in want of that, a thorn. With no other covering, they pass whole days on the hearth, before the fire. The more wealthy are distinguished by a vest, not flowing loose, like those of the Sarmatians and Parthians, but girt close, and exhibiting the shape of every limb. They also wear the skins of beasts, which the people near the borders are less curious in selecting or preparing than the more remote inhabitants, who cannot by commerce procure other clothing. These make choice of particular skins, which they variegate with spots, and strips of the furs of marine animals, [102] the produce of the exterior ocean, and seas to us unknown. [103] The dress of the women does not differ from that of the men; except that they more frequently wear linen, [104] which they stain with purple; [105] and do not lengthen their upper garment into sleeves, but leave exposed the whole arm, and part of the breast.

18. The matrimonial bond is, nevertheless, strict and severe among them; nor is there anything in their manners more commendable than this. [106] Almost singly among the barbarians, they content themselves with one wife; a very few of them excepted, who, not through incontinence, but because their alliance is solicited on account of their rank, [107] practise polygamy. The wife does not bring a dowry to her husband, but receives one from him. [108] The parents and relations assemble, and pass their approbation on the presents -- presents not adapted to please a female taste, or decorate the bride; but oxen, a caparisoned steed, a shield, spear, and sword. By virtue of these, the wife is espoused; and she in her turn makes a present of some arms to her husband. This they consider as the firmest bond of union; these, the sacred mysteries, the conjugal deities. That the woman may not think herself excused from exertions of fortitude, or exempt from the casualties of war, she is admonished by the very ceremonial of her marriage, that she comes to her husband as a partner in toils and dangers; to suffer and to dare equally with him, in peace and in war: this is indicated by the yoked oxen, the harnessed steed, the offered arms. Thus she is to live; thus to die. She receives what she is to return inviolate [109] and honored to her children; what her daughters-in-law are to receive, and again transmit to her grandchildren.

19. They live, therefore, fenced around with chastity; [110] corrupted by no seductive spectacles, [111] no convivial incitements. Men and women are alike unacquainted with clandestine correspondence. Adultery is extremely rare among so numerous a people. Its punishment is instant, and at the pleasure of the husband. He cuts off the hair [112] of the offender, strips her, and in presence of her relations expels her from his house, and pursues her with stripes through the whole village. [113] Nor is any indulgence shown to a prostitute. Neither beauty, youth, nor riches can procure her a husband: for none there looks on vice with a smile, or calls mutual seduction the way of the world. Still more exemplary is the practice of those states [114] in which none but virgins marry, and the expectations and wishes of a wife are at once brought to a period. Thus, they take one husband as one body and one life; that no thought, no desire, may extend beyond him; and he may be loved not only as their husband, but as their marriage. [115] To limit the increase of children, [116] or put to death any of the later progeny [117] is accounted infamous: and good habits have there more influence than good laws elsewhere. [118]

20. In every house the children grow up, thinly and meanly clad, [119] to that bulk of body and limb which we behold with wonder. Every mother suckles her own children, and does not deliver them into the hands of servants and nurses. No indulgence distinguishes the young master from the slave. They lie together amidst the same cattle, upon the same ground, till age [120] separates, and valor marks out, the free-born. The youths partake late of the pleasures of love, [121] and hence pass the age of puberty unexhausted: nor are the virgins hurried into marriage; the same maturity, the same full growth is required: the sexes unite equally matched [122] and robust; and the children inherit the vigor of their parents. Children are regarded with equal affection by their maternal uncles [123] as by their fathers: some even consider this as the more sacred bond of consanguinity, and prefer it in the requisition of hostages, as if it held the mind by a firmer tie, and the family by a more extensive obligation. A person's own children, however, are his heirs and successors; and no wills are made. If there be no children, the next in order of inheritance are brothers, paternal and maternal uncles. The more numerous are a man's relations and kinsmen, the more comfortable is his old age; nor is it here any advantage to be childless. [124]

21. It is an indispensable duty to adopt the enmities [125] of a father or relation, as well as their friendships: these, however, are not irreconcilable or perpetual. Even homicide is atoned [126] by a certain fine in cattle and sheep; and the whole family accepts the satisfaction, to the advantage of the public weal, since quarrels are most dangerous in a free state. No people are more addicted to social entertainments, or more liberal in the exercise of hospitality. [127] To refuse any person whatever admittance under their roof, is accounted flagitious. [128] Every one according to his ability feasts his guest: when his provisions are exhausted, he who was late the host, is now the guide and companion to another hospitable board. They enter the next house uninvited, and are received with equal cordiality. No one makes a distinction with respect to the rights of hospitality, between a stranger and an acquaintance. The departing guest is presented with whatever he may ask for; and with the same freedom a boon is desired in return. They are pleased with presents; but think no obligation incurred either when they give or receive.

22. [129] [Their manner of living with their guest is easy and affable] As soon as they arise from sleep, which they generally protract till late in the day, they bathe, usually in warm water, [130] as cold weather chiefly prevails there. After bathing they take their meal, each on a distinct seat, and a a separate table. [131] Then they proceed, armed, to business, and not less frequently to convivial parties, in which it is no disgrace to pass days and nights, without intermission, in drinking. The frequent quarrels that arise amongst them, when intoxicated, seldom terminate in abusive language, but more frequently in blood. [132] In their feasts, they generally deliberate on the reconcilement of enemies, on family alliances, on the appointment of chiefs, and finally on peace and war; conceiving that at no time the soul is more opened to sincerity, or warmed to heroism. These people, naturally void of artifice or disguise, disclose the most secret emotions of their hearts in the freedom of festivity. The minds of all being thus displayed without reserve, the subjects of their deliberation are again canvassed the next day; [133] and each time has its advantages. They consult when unable to dissemble; they determine when not liable to mistake.

23. Their drink is a liquor prepared from barley or wheat [134] brought by fermentation to a certain resemblance of wine. Those who border on the Rhine also purchase wine. Their food is simple; wild fruits, fresh venison, [135] or coagulated milk. [136] They satisfy hunger without seeking the elegances and delicacies of the table. Their thirst for liquor is not quenched with equal moderation. If their propensity to drunkenness be gratified to the extent of their wishes, intemperance proves as effectual in subduing them as the force of arms. [137]

24. They have only one kind of public spectacle, which is exhibited in every company. Young men, who make it their diversion, dance naked amidst drawn swords and presented spears. Practice has conferred skill at this exercise; and skill has given grace; but they do not exhibit for hire or gain: the only reward of this pastime, though a hazardous one, is the pleasure of the spectators. What is extraordinary, they play at dice, when sober, as a serious business: and that with such a desperate venture of gain or loss, that, when everything else is gone, they set their liberties and persons on the last throw. The loser goes into voluntary servitude; and, though the youngest and strongest, patiently suffers himself to be bound and sold. [138] Such is their obstinacy in a bad practice -- they themselves call it honor. The slaves thus acquired are exchanged away in commerce, that the winner may get rid of the scandal of his victory.

25. The rest of their slaves have not, like ours, particular employments in the family allotted them. Each is the master of a habitation and household of his own. The lord requires from him a certain quantity of grain, cattle, or cloth, as from a tenant; and so far only the subjection of the slave extends. [139] His domestic offices are performed by his own wife and children. It is usual to scourge a slave, or punish him with chains or hard labor. They are sometimes killed by their masters; not through severity of chastisement, but in the heat of passion, like an enemy; with this difference, that it is done with impunity. [140] Freedmen are little superior to slaves; seldom filling any important office in the family; never in the state, except in those tribes which are under regal government. [141] There, they rise above the free-born, and even the nobles: in the rest, the subordinate condition of the freedmen is a proof of freedom.

26. Lending money upon interest, and increasing it by usury, [142] is unknown amongst them: and this ignorance more effectually prevents the practice than a prohibition would do. The lands are occupied by townships, [143] in allotments proportional to the number of cultivators; and are afterwards parcelled out among the individuals of the district, in shares according to the rank and condition of each person. [144] The wide extent of plain facilitates this partition. The arable lands are annually changed, and a part left fallow; nor do they attempt to make the most of the fertility and plenty of the soil, by their own industry in planting orchards, inclosing meadows, and watering gardens. Corn is the only product required from the earth: hence their year is not divided into so many seasons as ours; for, while they know and distinguish by name Winter, Spring, and Summer, they are unacquainted equally with the appellation and bounty of Autumn. [145]

27. Their funerals are without parade. [146] The only circumstance to which they attend, is to burn the bodies of eminent persons with some particular kinds of wood. Neither vestments nor perfumes are heaped upon the pile: [147] the arms of the deceased, and sometimes his horse, [148] are given to the flames. The tomb is a mound of turf. They contemn the elaborate and costly honours of monumental structures, as mere burthens to the dead. They soon dismiss tears and lamentations; slowly, sorrow and regret. They think it the women's part to bewail their friends, the men's to remember them.

28. This is the sum of what I have been able to learn concerning the origin and manners of the Germans in general. I now proceed to mention those particulars in which they differ from each other; and likewise to relate what nations have migrated from Germany into Gaul. That great writer, the deified Julius, asserts that the Gauls were formerly the superior people; [149] whence it is probable that some Gallic colonies passed over into Germany: for how small an obstacle would a river be to prevent any nation, as it increased in strength, from occupying or changing settlements as yet lying in common, and unappropriated by the power of monarchies! Accordingly, the tract betwixt the Hercynian forest and the rivers Rhine and Mayne was possessed by the Helvetii: [150] and that beyond, by the Boii; [151] both Gallic tribes. The name of Boiemum still remains, a memorial of the ancient settlement, though its inhabitants are now changed. [152] But whether the Aravisci [153] migrated into Pannonia from the Osi, [154] a German nation; or the Osi into Germany from the Aravisci; the language, institutions, and manners of both being still the same, is a matter of uncertainty; for, in their pristine state of equal indigence and equal liberty, the same advantages and disadvantages were common to both sides of the river. The Treveri [155] and Nervii [156] are ambitious of being thought of German origin; as if the reputation of this descent would distinguish them from the Gauls, whom they resemble in person and effeminacy. The Vangiones, Triboci, and Nemetes, [157] who inhabit the bank of the Rhine, are without doubt German tribes. Nor do the Ubii, [158] although they have been thought worthy of being made a Roman colony, and are pleased in bearing the name of Agrippinenses from their founder, blush to acknowledge their origin from Germany; from whence they formerly migrated, and for their approved fidelity were settled on the bank of the Rhine, not that they might be guarded themselves, but that they might serve as a guard against invaders.

29. Of all these people, the most famed for valor are the Batavi; whose territories comprise but a small part of the banks of the Rhine, but consist chiefly of an island within it. [159] These were formerly a tribe of the Catti, who, on account of an intestine division, removed to their present settlements, in order to become a part of the Roman empire. They still retain this honor, together with a memorial of their ancient alliance; [160] for they are neither insulted by taxes, nor oppressed by farmers of the revenue. Exempt from fiscal burthens and extraordinary contributions, and kept apart for military use alone, they are reserved, like a magazine of arms, for the purposes of war. The nation of the Mattiaci [161] is under a degree of subjection of the same kind: for the greatness of the Roman people has carried a reverence for the empire beyond the Rhine and the ancient limits. The Mattiaci, therefore, though occupying a settlement and borders [162] on the opposite side of the river, from sentiment and attachment act with us; resembling the Batavi in every respect, except that they are animated with a more vigorous spirit by the soil and air of their own country. [163] I do not reckon among the people of Germany those who occupy the Decumate lands, [164] although inhabiting between the Rhine and Danube. Some of the most fickle of the Gauls, rendered daring through indigence, seized upon this district of uncertain property. Afterwards, our boundary line being advanced, and a chain of fortified posts established, it became a skirt of the empire, and part of the Roman province. [165]

30. Beyond these dwell the Catti, [166] whose settlements, beginning from the Hercynian forest, are in a tract of country less open and marshy than those which overspread the other states of Germany; for it consists of a continued range of hills, which gradually become more scattered; and the Hercynian forest [167] both accompanies and leaves behind, its Catti. This nation is distinguished by hardier frames, [168] compactness of limb, fierceness of countenance, and superior vigor of mind. For Germans, they have a considerable share of understanding and sagacity; they choose able persons to command, and obey them when chosen; keep their ranks; seize opportunities; restrain impetuous motions; distribute properly the business of the day; intrench themselves against the night; account fortune dubious, and valor only certain; and, what is extremely rare, and only a consequence of discipline, depend more upon the general than the army. [169] Their force consists entirely in infantry; who, besides their arms, are obliged to carry tools and provisions. Other nations appear to go to a battle; the Catti, to war. Excursions and casual encounters are rare amongst them. It is, indeed, peculiar to cavalry soon to obtain, and soon to yield, the victory. Speed borders upon timidity; slow movements are more akin to steady valor.

31. A custom followed among the other German nations only by a few individuals, of more daring spirit than the rest, is adopted by general consent among the Catti. From the time they arrive at years of maturity they let their hair and beard grow; [170] and do not divest themselves of this votive badge, the promise of valor, till they have slain an enemy. Over blood and spoils they unveil the countenance, and proclaim that they have at length paid the debt of existence, and have proved themselves worthy of their country and parents. The cowardly and effeminate continue in their squalid disguise. The bravest among them wear also an iron ring [171] (a mark of ignominy in that nation) as a kind of chain, till they have released themselves by the slaughter of a foe. Many of the Catti assume this distinction, and grow hoary under the mark, conspicuous both to foes and friends. By these, in every engagement, the attack is begun: they compose the front line, presenting a new spectacle of terror. Even in peace they do not relax the sternness of their aspect. They have no house, land, or domestic cares: they are maintained by whomsoever they visit: lavish of another's property, regardless of their own; till the debility of age renders them unequal to such a rigid course of military virtue. [172]

32. Next to the Catti, on the banks of the Rhine, where, now settled in its channel, it is become a sufficient boundary, dwell the Usipii and Tencteri. [173] The latter people, in addition to the usual military reputation, are famed for the discipline of their cavalry; nor is the infantry of the Catti in higher estimation than the horse of the Tencteri. Their ancestors established it, and are imitated by posterity. Horsemanship is the sport of their children, the point of emulation of their youth, and the exercise in which they persevere to old age. Horses are bequeathed along with the domestics, the household gods, and the rights of inheritance: they do not, however, like other things, go to the eldest son, but to the bravest and most warlike.

33. Contiguous to the Tencteri were formerly the Bructeri; [174] but report now says that the Chamavi and Angrivarii, [175] migrating into their country, have expelled and entirely extirpated them, [176] with the concurrence of the neighboring nations, induced either by hatred of their arrogance, [177] love of plunder, or the favor of the gods towards the Romans. For they even gratified us with the spectacle of a battle, in which above sixty thousand Germans were slain, not by Roman arms, but, what was still grander, by mutual hostilities, as it were for our pleasure and entertainment. [178] May the nations retain and perpetuate, if not an affection for us, at least an animosity against each other! since, while the fate of the empire is thus urgent, [179] fortune can bestow no higher benefit upon us, than the discord of our enemies.

34. Contiguous to the Angrivarii and Chamavi backwards lie the Dulgibini, Chasauri, [180] and other nations less known. [181] In front, the Frisii [182] succeed; who are distinguished by the appellations of Greater and Lesser, from their proportional power. The settlements of both stretch along the border of the Rhine to the ocean; and include, besides, vast lakes, [183] which have been navigated by Roman fleets. We have even explored the ocean itself on that side; and fame reports that columns of Hercules [184] are still remaining on that coast; whether it be that Hercules was ever there in reality, or that whatever great and magnificent is anywhere met with is, by common consent, ascribed to his renowned name. The attempt of Drusus Germanicus [185] to make discoveries in these parts was sufficiently daring; but the ocean opposed any further inquiry into itself and Hercules. After a while no one renewed the attempt; and it was thought more pious and reverential to believe the actions of the gods, than to investigate them.

35. Hitherto we have traced the western side of Germany. It turns from thence with a vast sweep to the north: and first occurs the country of the Chauci, [186] which, though it begins immediately from Frisia, and occupies part of the seashore, yet stretches so far as to border on all the nations before mentioned, till it winds round so as to meet the territories of the Catti. This immense tract is not only possessed, but filled by the Chauci; a people the noblest of the Germans, who choose to maintain their greatness by justice rather than violence. Without ambition, without ungoverned desires, quiet and retired, they provoke no wars, they are guilty of no rapine or plunder; and it is a principal proof of their power and bravery, that the superiority they possess has not been acquired by unjust means. Yet all have arms in readiness; [187] and, if necessary, an army is soon raised: for they abound in men and horses, and maintain their military reputation even in inaction.

36. Bordering on the Chauci and Catti are the Cherusci; [188] who, for want of an enemy, long cherished a too lasting and enfeebling peace: a state more flattering than secure; since the repose enjoyed amidst ambitious and powerful neighbors is treacherous; and when an appeal is made to the sword, moderation and probity are names appropriated by the victors. Thus, the Cherusci, who formerly bore the titles of just and upright, are now charged with cowardice and folly; and the good fortune of the Catti, who subdued them, has grown into wisdom. The ruin of the Cherusci involved that of the Fosi, [189] a neighboring tribe, equal partakers of their adversity, although they had enjoyed an inferior share of their prosperity.

37. In the same quarter of Germany, adjacent to the ocean, dwell the Cimbri; [191] a small [192] state at present, but great in renown. [193] Of their past grandeur extensive vestiges still remain, in encampments and lines on either shore, [194] from the compass of which the strength and numbers of the nation may still be computed, and credit derived to the account of so prodigious an army. It was in the 640th year of Rome that the arms of the Cimbri were first heard of, under the consulate of Caecilius Metellus and Papirius Carbo; from which era to the second consulate of the emperor Trajan [195] is a period of nearly 210 years. So long has Germany withstood the arms of Rome. During this long interval many mutual wounds have been inflicted. Not the Samnite, the Carthaginian, Spain, Gaul, or Parthia, have given more frequent alarms; for the liberty of the Germans is more vigorous than the monarchy of the Arsacidae. What has the East, which has itself lost Pacorus, and suffered an overthrow from Ventidius, [196] to boast against us, but the slaughter of Crassus? But the Germans, by the defeat or capture of Carbo, [197] Cassius, [198] Scaurus Aurelius, [199] Servilius Caepio, and Cneius Manlius, [200] deprived the Roman people of five consular armies; [201] and afterwards took from Augustus himself Varus with three legions. [202] Nor did Caius Marius [203] in Italy, the deified Julius [204] in Gaul, or Drusus, [204] Nero, [204] or Germanicus [204] in their own country, defeat then without loss. The subsequent mighty threats of Caligula terminated in ridicule. Then succeeded tranquillity; till, seizing the occasion of our discords and civil wars, they forced the winter-quarters of the legions, [205] and even aimed at the possession of Gaul; and, again expelled thence, they have in latter times been rather triumphed over [206] than vanquished.

38. We have now to speak of the Suevi; [207] who do not compose a single state, like the Catti or Tencteri, but occupy the greatest part of Germany, and are still distributed into different names and nations, although all hearing the common appellation of Suevi. It is a characteristic of this people to turn their hair sideways, and tie it beneath the poll in a knot. By this mark the Suevi are distinguished from the rest of the Germans; and the freemen of the Suevi from the slaves. [208] Among other nations, this mode, either on account of some relationship with the Suevi, or from the usual propensity to imitation, is sometimes adopted; but rarely, and only during the period of youth. The Suevi, even till they are hoary, continue to have their hair growing stiffly backwards, and often it is fastened on the very crown of the head. The chiefs dress it with still greater care: and in this respect they study ornament, though of an undebasing kind. For their design is not to make love, or inspire it; they decorate themselves in this manner as they proceed to war, in order to seem taller and more terrible; and dress for the eyes of their enemies.

39. The Semnones [209] assert themselves to be the most ancient and noble of the Suevi; and their pretensions are confirmed by religion. At a stated time, all the people of the same lineage assemble by their delegates in a wood, consecrated by the auguries of their forefathers and ancient terror, and there by the public slaughter of a human victim celebrate the horrid origin of their barbarous rites. Another kind of reverence is paid to the grove. No person enters it without being bound with a chain, as an acknowledgment of his inferior nature, and the power of the deity residing there. If he accidentally fall, it is not lawful for him to be lifted or to rise up; they roll themselves out along the ground. The whole of their superstition has this import: that from this spot the nation derives its origin; that here is the residence of the Deity, the Governor of all, and that everything else is subject and subordinate to him. These opinions receive additional authority from the power of the Semnones, who inhabit a hundred cantons, and, from the great body they compose, consider themselves as the head of the Suevi.

40. The Langobardi, [210] on the other hand, are ennobled by, the smallness of their numbers; since though surrounded by many powerful nations, they derive security, not from obsequiousness, but from their martial enterprise. The neighboring Reudigni, [211] and the Avions, [212] Angli, [213] Varini, Eudoses, Suardones, and Nuithones, [214] are defended by rivers or forests. Nothing remarkable occurs in any of these; except that they unite in the worship of Hertha, [215] or Mother Earth; and suppose her to interfere in the affairs of men, and to visit the different nations. In an island [216] of the ocean stands a sacred and unviolated grove, in which is a consecrated chariot, covered with a veil, which the priest alone is permitted to touch. He becomes conscious of the entrance of the goddess into this secret recess; and with profound veneration attends the vehicle, which is drawn by yoked cows. At this season, [217] all is joy; and every place which the goddess deigns to visit is a scene of festivity. No wars are undertaken; arms are untouched; and every hostile weapon is shut up. Peace abroad and at home are then only known; then only loved; till at length the same priest reconducts the goddess, satiated with mortal intercourse, to her temple. [218] The chariot, with its curtain, and, if we may believe it, the goddess herself, then undergo ablution in a secret lake. This office is performed by slaves, whom the same lake instantly swallows up. Hence proceeds a mysterious horror; and a holy ignorance of what that can be, which is beheld only by those who are about to perish. This part of the Suevian nation extends to the most remote recesses of Germany.

41. If we now follow the course of the Danube, as we before did that of the Rhine, we first meet with the Hermunduri; [219] a people faithful to the Romans, [220] and on that account the only Germans who are admitted to commerce, not on the bank alone, but within our territories, and in the flourishing colony [221] established in the province of Rhaetia. They pass and repass at pleasure, without being attended by a guard; and while we exhibit to other nations our arms and camps alone, to these we lay open our houses and country seats, which they behold without coveting. In the country of the Hermunduri rises the Elbe; [222] a river formerly celebrated and known among us, now only heard of by name.

42. Contiguous to the Hermunduri are the Narisci; [223] and next to them, the Marcomanni [224] and Quadi. [225] Of these, the Marcomanni are the most powerful and renowned; and have even acquired the country which they inhabit, by their valor in expelling the Boii. [226] Nor are the Narisci and Quadi inferior in bravery; [227] and this is, as it were, the van of Germany as far as it is bordered by the Danube. Within our memory the Marcomanni and Quadi were governed by kings of their own nation, of the noble line of Maroboduus [228] and Tudrus. They now submit even to foreigners; but all the power of their kings depends upon the authority of the Romans. [229] We seldom assist them with our arms, but frequently with our money; nor are they the less potent on that account.

43. Behind these are the Marsigni, [230] Gothini, [231] Osi, [232] and Burrii, [233] who close the rear of the Marcomanni and Quadi. Of these, the Marsigni and Burrii in language [234] and dress resemble the Suevi. The Gothini and Osi prove themselves not to be Germans; the first, by their use of the Gallic, the second, of the Pannonian tongue; and both, by their submitting to pay tribute: which is levied on them, as aliens, partly by the Sarmatians, partly by the Quadi. The Gothini, to their additional disgrace, work iron mines. [235] All these people inhabit but a small proportion of champaign country; their settlements are chiefly amongst forests, and on the sides and summits of mountains; for a continued ridge of mountains [236] separates Suevia from various remoter tribes. Of these, the Lygian [237] is the most extensive, and diffuses its name through several communities. It will be sufficient to name the most powerful of them -- the Arii, Helvecones, Manimi, Elysii, and Naharvali. [238] In the country of the latter is a grove, consecrated to religious rites of great antiquity. A priest presides over them, dressed in woman's apparel; but the gods worshipped there are said, according to the Roman interpretation, to be Castor and Pollux. Their attributes are the same; their name, Alcis. [239] No images, indeed, or vestiges of foreign superstition, appear in their worship; but they are revered under the character of young men and brothers. The Arii, fierce beyond the superiority of strength they possess over the other just enumerated people, improve their natural ferocity of aspect by artificial helps. Their shields are black; their bodies painted: [240] they choose the darkest nights for an attack; and strike terror by the funereal gloom of their sable bands -- no enemy being able to sustain their singular, and, as it were, infernal appearance; since in every combat the eyes are the first part subdued. Beyond the Lygii are the Gothones, [241] who live under a monarchy, somewhat more strict than that of the other German nations, yet not to a degree incompatible with liberty. Adjoining to these are the Rugii [242] and Lemovii, [243] situated on the sea-coast -- all these tribes are distinguished by round shields, short swords, and submission to regal authority.

44. Next occur the communities of the Suiones, [244] seated in the very Ocean, [245] who, besides their strength in men and arms, also possess a naval force. [246] The form of their vessels differs from ours in having a prow at each end, [247] so that they are always ready to advance. They make no use of sails, nor have regular benches of oars at the sides: they row, as is practised in some rivers, without order, sometimes on one side, sometimes on the other, as occasion requires. These people honor wealth; [248] for which reason they are subject to monarchical government, without any limitations, [249] or precarious conditions of allegiance. Nor are arms allowed to be kept promiscuously, as among the other German nations: but are committed to the charge of a keeper, and he, too, a slave. The pretext is, that the Ocean defends them from any sudden incursions; and men unemployed, with arms in their hands, readily become licentious. In fact, it is for the king's interest not to entrust a noble, a freeman, or even an emancipated slave, with the custody of arms.

45. Beyond the Suiones is another sea, sluggish and almost stagnant, [250] by which the whole globe is imagined to be girt and enclosed, from this circumstance, that the last light of the setting sun continues so vivid till its rising, as to obscure the stars. [251] Popular belief adds, that the sound of his emerging [252] from the ocean is also heard; and the forms of deities, [253] with the rays beaming from his head, are beheld. Only thus far, report says truly, does nature extend. [254] On the right shore of the Suevic sea [255] dwell the tribes of the Aestii, [256] whose dress and customs are the same with those of the Suevi, but their language more resembles the British. [257] They worship the mother of the gods; [258] and as the symbol of their superstition, they carry about them the figures of wild boars. [250] This serves them in place of armor and every other defence: it renders the votary of the goddess safe even in the midst of foes. Their weapons are chiefly clubs, iron being little used among them. They cultivate corn and other fruits of the earth with more industry than German indolence commonly exerts. [260] They even explore the sea; and are the only people who gather amber, which by them is called Glese, [261] and is collected among the shallows and upon the shore. [262] With the usual indifference of barbarians, they have not inquired or ascertained from what natural object or by what means it is produced. It long lay disregarded [263] amidst other things thrown up by the sea, till our luxury [264] gave it a name. Useless to them, they gather it in the rough; bring it unwrought; and wonder at the price they receive. It would appear, however, to be an exudation from certain trees; since reptiles, and even winged animals, are often seen shining through it, which, entangled in it while in a liquid state, became enclosed as it hardened. [264] I should therefore imagine that, as the luxuriant woods and groves in the secret recesses of the East exude frankincense and balsam, so there are the same in the islands and continents of the West; which, acted upon by the near rays of the sun, drop their liquid juices into the subjacent sea, whence, by the force of tempests, they are thrown out upon the opposite coasts. If the nature of amber be examined by the application of fire, it kindles like a torch, with a thick and odorous flame; and presently resolves into a glutinous matter resembling pitch or resin. The several communities of the Sitones [266] succeed those of the Suiones; to whom they are similar in other respects, but differ in submitting to a female reign; so far have they degenerated, not only from liberty, but even from slavery. Here Suevia terminates.

46. I am in doubt whether to reckon the Peucini, Venedi, and Fenni among the Germans or Sarmatians; [267] although the Peucini, [268] who are by some called Bastarnae, agree with the Germans in language, apparel, and habitations. [269] All of them live in filth and laziness. The intermarriages of their chiefs with the Sarmatians have debased them by a mixture of the manners of that people. [270] The Venedi have drawn much from this source; [271] for they overrun in their predatory excursions all the woody and mountainous tracts between the Peucini and Fenni. Yet even these are rather to be referred to the Germans, since they build houses, carry shields, and travel with speed on foot; in all which particulars they totally differ from the Sarmatians, who pass their time in wagons and on horseback. [272] The Fenni [273] live in a state of amazing savageness and squalid poverty. They are destitute of arms, horses, and settled abodes: their food is herbs; [274] their clothing, skins; their bed, the ground. Their only dependence is on their arrows, which, for want of iron, are headed with bone; [275] and the chase is the support of the women as well as the men; the former accompany the latter in the pursuit, and claim a share of the prey. Nor do they provide any other shelter for their infants from wild beasts and storms, than a covering of branches twisted together. This is the resort of youth; this is the receptacle of old age. Yet even this way of life is in their estimation happier than groaning over the plough; toiling in the erection of houses; subjecting their own fortunes and those of others to the agitations of alternate hope and fear. Secure against men, secure against the gods, they have attained the most difficult point, not to need even a wish.

All our further accounts are intermixed with fable; as, that the Hellusii and Oxionae [276] have human faces, with the bodies and limbs of wild beasts. These unauthenticated reports I shall leave untouched. [277]




Footnotes for A Treatise on the Situation, Manners and Inhabitants of Germany.



[1] This treatise was written in the year of Rome 851, A.D. 98; during the fourth consulate of the emperor Nerva, and the third of Trajan.

[2] The Germany here meant is that beyond the Rhine. The Germania Cisrhenana, divided into the Upper and Lower, was a part of Gallia Belgica.

[3] Rhaetia comprehended the country of the Grisons, with part of Suabia and Bavaria.

[4] Lower Hungary, and part of Austria.

[5] The Carpathian mountains in Upper Hungary.

[6] "Broad promontories." Latos sinus. Sinus strictly signifies "a bending," especially inwards. Hence it is applied to a gulf, or bay, of the sea. And hence, again, by metonymy, to that projecting part of the land, whereby the gulf is formed; and still further to any promontory or peninsula. It is in this latter force it is here used; -- and refers especially to the Danish peninsula. See Livy xxvii, 30, xxxviii. 5; Servius on Virgil, Aen. xi. 626.

[7] Scandinavia and Finland, of which the Romans had a very slight knowledge, were supposed to be islands.

[8] The mountains of the Grisons. That in which the Rhine rises is at present called Vogelberg.

[9] Now called Schwartzwald, or the Black Forest. The name Danubius was given to that portion of the river which is included between its source and Vindobona (Vienna); throughout the rest of its course it was called Ister.

[10] Donec erumpat. The term erumpat is most correctly and graphically employed; for the Danube discharges its waters into the Euxine with so great force, that its course may be distinctly traced for miles out to sea.

[11] There are now but five.

[12] The ancient writers called all nations indigenae (i.e. inde geniti), or autochthones, "sprung from the soil," of whose origin they were ignorant.

[13] It is, however, well established that the ancestors of the Germans migrated by land from Asia. Tacitus here falls into a very common kind of error, in assuming a local fact (viz. the manner in which migrations took place in the basin of the Mediterranean) to be the expression of a general law. -- ED.

[14] Drusus, father of the emperor Claudius, was the first Roman general who navigated the German Ocean. The difficulties and dangers which Germanicus met with from the storms of this sea are related in the Annals, ii. 23.

[15] All barbarous nations, in all ages, have applied verse to the same use, as is still found to be the case among the North American Indians. Charlemagne, as we are told by Eginhart, "wrote out and committed to memory barbarous verses of great antiquity, in which the actions and wars of ancient kings were recorded."

[16] The learned Leibnitz supposes this Tuisto to have been the Teut or Teutates so famous throughout Gaul and Spain, who was a Celto-Scythian king or hero, and subdued and civilized a great part of Europe and Asia. Various other conjectures have been formed concerning him and his son Mannus, but most of them extremely vague and improbable. Among the rest, it has been thought that in Mannus and his three sons an obscure tradition is preserved of Adam, and his sons Cain, Abel, and Seth; or of Noah, and his sons Shem, Ham, and Japhet.

[17] Conringius interprets the names of the sons of Mannus into Ingäff, Istäf, and Hermin.

[18] Pliny, iv. 14, embraces a middle opinion between these, and mentions five capital tribes. The Vindili, to whom belong the Burgundiones, Varini, Carini, and Guttones; the Ingaevones, including the Cimbri, Teutoni, and Chauci; the Istaevones, near the Rhine, part of whom are the midland Cimbri; the Hermiones, containing the Suevi, Hermunduri, Catti, and Cherusci; and the Peucini and Bastarnae, bordering upon the Dacians.

[19] The Marsi appear to have occupied various portions of the northwest part of Germany at various times. In the time of Tiberius (A.D. 14) they sustained a great slaughter from the forces of Germanicus, who ravaged their country for fifty miles with fire and sword, sparing neither age nor sex, neither things profane nor sacred. (See Ann. i. 51.) At this period they were occupying the country in the neighborhood of the Rura (Ruhr), a tributary of the Rhine. Probably this slaughter was the destruction of them as a separate people; and by the time that Trajan succeeded to the imperial power they seem to have been blotted out from amongst the Germanic tribes. Hence their name will not be found in the following account of Germany.

[20] These people are mentioned by Strabo, vii. 1, 3. Their locality is not very easy to determine.

[21] See note, c. 38.

[22] The Vandals are said to have derived their name from the German word wendeln, "to wander." They began to be troublesome to the Romans A.D. 160, in the reigns of Aurelius and Verus. In A.D. 410 they made themselves masters of Spain in conjunction with the Alans and Suevi, and received for their share what from them was termed Vandalusia (Andalusia). In A.D. 429 they crossed into Africa under Genseric, who not only made himself master of Byzacium, Gaetulia, and part of Numidia, but also crossed over into Italy, A.D. 455, and plundered Rome. After the death of Genseric the Vandal power declined.

[23] That is, those of the Marsi, Gambrivii, etc. Those of Ingaevones, Istaevones, and Hermiones, were not so much names of the people, as terms expressing their situation. For, according to the most learned Germans, the Ingaevones are die Inwohner, those dwelling inwards, towards the sea; the Istaevones, die Westwohner, the inhabitants of the western parts: and the Hermiones, die Herumwohner, the midland inhabitants.

[24] It is however found in an inscription so far back as the year of Rome 531, before Christ 222, recording the victory of Claudius Marcellus over the Galli Insubres and their allies the Germans, at Clastidium, now Chiastezzo in the Milanese.

[25] This is illustrated by a passage in Caesar, Bell. Gall. ii. 4, where, after mentioning that several of the Belgae were descended from the Germans who had formerly crossed the Rhine and expelled the Gauls, he says, "the first of these emigrants were the Condrusii, Eburones, Caeresi and Paemani, who were called by the common name of Germans." The derivation of German is Wehr mann, a warrior, or man of war. This appellation was first used by the victorious Cisrhenane tribes, but not by the whole Transrhenane nation, till they gradually adopted it, as equally due to them on account of their military reputation. The Tungri were formerly a people of great name, the relics of which still exist in the extent of the district now termed the ancient diocese of Tongres.

[26] Under this name Tacitus speaks of some German deity, whose attributes corresponded in the main with those of the Greek and Roman Hercules. What he was called by the Germans is a matter of doubt. -- White.

[27] Quem barditum vocant. The word barditus is of Gallic origin, being derived from bardi, "bards;" it being a custom with the Gauls for bards to accompany the army, and celebrate the heroic deeds of their great warriors; so that barditum would thus signify "the fulfilment of the bard's office." Hence it is clear that barditum could not be used correctly here, inasmuch as amongst the Germans not any particular, appointed, body of men, but the whole army chanted forth the war-song. Some editions have baritum, which is said to be derived from the German word beren, or baeren, "to shout;" and hence it is translated in some dictionaries as, "the German war-song." From the following passage extracted from Facciolati, it would seem, however, that German critics repudiate this idea: "De barito clamore bellico, seu, ut quaedam habent exemplaria, bardito, nihil audiuimus nunc in Germaniâ: nisi hoc dixerimus, quòd bracht, vel brecht, milites Germani appellare consueverunt; concursum videlicet certantium, et clamorem ad pugnam descendentium; quem bar, bar, bar, sonuisse nonnulli affirmant." -- (Andr. Althameri, Schol. in C. Tacit De Germanis.) Ritter, himself a German, affirms that baritus is a reading worth nothing; and that barritus was not the name of the ancient German war-song, but of the shout raised by the Romans in later ages when on the point of engaging; and that it was derived "a clamore barrorem, i.e. elephantorum." The same learned editor considers that the words "quem barditum vocant" have been originally the marginal annotation of some unsound scholar, and have been incorporated by some transcriber into the text of his MS. copy, whence the error has spread. He therefore encloses them between brackets, to show that, in his judgment, they are not the genuine production of the pen of Tacitus. -- White.

[28] A very curious coincidence with the ancient German opinion concerning the prophetic nature of the war-cry or song, appears in the following passage of the Life of Sir Ewen Cameron, in "Pennant's Tour," 1769, Append, p. 363. At the battle of Killicrankie, just before the fight began, "he (Sir Ewen) commanded such of the Camerons as were posted near him to make a great shout, which being seconded by those who stood on the right and left, ran quickly through the whole army, and was returned by the enemy. But the noise of the muskets and cannon, with the echoing of the hills, made the Highlanders fancy that their shouts were much louder and brisker than those of the enemy, and Lochiel cried out, 'Gentlemen, take courage, the day is ours: I am the oldest commander in the army, and have always observed something ominous and fatal in such a dull, hollow and feeble noise as the enemy made in their shout, which prognosticates that they are all doomed to die by our hands this night; whereas ours was brisk, lively and strong, and shows we have vigor and courage.' These words, spreading quickly through the army, animated the troops in a strange manner. The event justified the prediction; the Highlanders obtained a complete victory."

[29] Now Asburg in the county of Meurs.

[30] The Greeks, by means of their colony at Marseilles, introduced their letters into Gaul, and the old Gallic coins have many Greek characters in their inscriptions. The Helvetians also, as we are informed by Caesar, used Greek letters. Thence they might easily pass by means of commercial intercourse to the neighboring Germans. Count Marsili and others have found monuments with Greek inscriptions in Germany, but not of so early an age.

[31] The large bodies of the Germans are elsewhere taken notice of by Tacitus, and also by other authors. It would appear as if most of them were at that time at least six feet high. They are still accounted some of the tallest people in Europe.

[32] Bavaria and Austria.

[33] The greater degree of cold when the country was overspread with woods and marshes, made this observation more applicable than at present. The same change of temperature from clearing and draining the land has taken place in North America. It may be added, that the Germans, as we are afterwards informed, paid attention to no kind of culture but that of corn.

[34] The cattle of some parts of Germany are at present remarkably large; so that their former smallness must have rather been owing to want of care in feeding them and protecting them from the inclemencies of winter, and in improving the breed by mixtures, than to the nature of the climate.

[35] Mines both of gold and silver have since been discovered in Germany; the former, indeed, inconsiderable; but the latter, valuable.

[36] As vice and corruption advanced among the Romans, their money became debased and adulterated. Thus Pliny, xxxiii. 3, relates, that "Livius Drusus during his tribuneship, mixed an eighth part of brass with the silver coin;" and ibid. 9, "that Antony the triumvir mixed iron with the denarius: that some coined base metal, others diminished the pieces, and hence it became an art to prove the goodness of the denarii." One precaution for this purpose was cutting the edges like the teeth of a saw, by which means it was seen whether the metal was the same quite through, or was only plated. These were the Serrati, or serrated Denarii. The Bigati were those stamped with the figure of a chariot drawn by two horses, as were the Quadrigati with a chariot and four horses. These were old coin, of purer silver than those of the emperors. Hence the preference of the Germans for certain kinds of species was founded on their apprehension of being cheated with false money.

[37] The Romans had the same predilection for silver coin, and probably on the same account originally. Pliny, in the place above cited, expresses his surprise that "the Roman people had always imposed a tribute in silver on conquered nations; as at the end of the second Punic war, when they demanded an annual payment in silver for fifty years, without any gold."

[38] Iron was in great abundance in the bowels of the earth; but this barbarous people had neither patience, skill, nor industry to dig and work it. Besides, they made use of weapons of stone, great numbers of which are found in ancient tombs and barrows.

[39] This is supposed to take its name from pfriem or priem, the point of a weapon. Afterwards, when iron grew more plentiful, the Germans chiefly used swords.

[40] It appears, however, from Tacitus's Annals, ii. 14, that the length of these spears rendered them unmanageable in an engagement among trees and bushes.

[41] Notwithstanding the manner of fighting is so much changed in modern times, the arms of the ancients are still in use. We, as well as they, have two kinds of swords, the sharp-pointed, and edged (small sword and sabre). The broad lance subsisted till lately in the halberd; the spear and framea in the long pike and spontoon; the missile weapons in the war hatchet, or North American tomahawk. There are, besides, found in the old German barrows, perforated stone balls, which they threw by means of thongs passed through them.

[42] Nudi. The Latin nudus, like the Greek gemnos, does not point out a person devoid of all clothing, but merely one without an upper garment -- clad merely in a vest or tunic, and that perhaps a short one. -- White.

[43] This decoration at first denoted the valor, afterwards the nobility, of the bearer; and in process of time gave origin to the armorial ensigns so famous in the ages of chivalry. The shields of the private men were simply colored; those of the chieftains had the figures of animals painted on them.

[44] Plutarch, in his Life of Marius, describes somewhat differently the arms and equipage of the Cimbri. "They wore (says he) helmets representing the heads of wild beasts, and other unusual figures, and crowned with a winged crest, to make them appear taller. They were covered with iron coats of mail, and carried white glittering shields. Each had a battle- axe; and in close fight they used large heavy swords." But the learned Eccard justly observes, that they had procured these arms in their march; for the Holsatian barrows of that age contain few weapons of brass, and none of iron; but stone spear-heads, and instead of swords, the wedgelike bodies vulgarly called thunderbolts.

[46] Casques (cassis) are of metal; helmets (galea) of leather -- Isidorus.

[46] This mode of fighting is admirably described by Caesar. "The Germans engaged after the following manner: -- There were 6,000 horse, and an equal number of the swiftest and bravest foot; who were chosen, man by man, by the cavalry, for their protection. By these they were attended in battle; to these they retreated; and, these, if they were hard pressed, joined them in the combat. If any fell wounded from their horses, by these they were covered. If it were necessary to advance or retreat to any considerable distance, such agility had they acquired by exercise, that, supporting themselves by the horses' manes, they kept pace with them." -- Bell. Gall. i. 48.

[47] To understand this, it is to be remarked, that the Germans were divided into nations or tribes, -- these into cantons, and these into districts or townships. The cantons (pagi in Latin) were called by themselves gauen. The districts or townships (vici) were called hunderte, whence the English hundreds. The name given to these select youth, according to the learned Dithmar, was die hunderte, hundred men. From the following passage in Caesar, it appears that in the more powerful tribes a greater number was selected from each canton. "The nation of the Suevi is by far the greatest and most warlike of the Germans. They are said to inhabit a hundred cantons; from each of which a thousand men are sent annually to make war out of their own territories. Thus neither the employments of agriculture, nor the use of arms are interrupted." -- Bell. Gall. iv. 1. The warriors were summoned by the heribannum, or army- edict; whence is derived the French arrière-ban.

[48] A wedge is described by Vegetius (iii. 19,) as a body of infantry, narrow in front, and widening towards the rear; by which disposition they were enabled to break the enemy's ranks, as all their weapons were directed to one spot. The soldiers called it a boar's head.

[49] It was also considered as the height of injury to charge a person with this unjustly. Thus, by the Salic law, tit. xxxiii, 5, a fine of 600 denarii (about 9 l.) is imposed upon "every free man who shall accuse another of throwing down his shield, and running away, without being able to prove it."

[50] Vertot (Mém. de l'Acad. des Inscrip.) supposes that the French maires du palais had their origin from these German military leaders. If the kings were equally conspicuous for valor as for birth, they united the regal with the military command. Usually, however, several kings and generals were assembled in their wars. In this case, the most eminent commanded, and obtained a common jurisdiction in war, which did not subsist in time of peace. Thus Caesar (Bell. Gall. vi.) says, "In peace they have no common magistracy." A general was elected by placing him on a shield, and lifting him on the shoulders of the bystanders. The same ceremonial was observed in the election of kings.

[51] Hence Ambiorix, king of the Eburones, declare that "the nature of his authority was such, that the people had no less power over him, than he over the people." -- Caesar, Bell. Gall. v. The authority of the North American chiefs almost exactly similar.

[52] The power of life and death, however, was in the hands of magistrates. Thus Caesar: "When a state engages either in an offensive or defensive war, magistrates are chosen to preside over it, and exercise power of life and death." -- Bell. Gall. vi. The infliction of punishments was committed to the priests, in order to give them more solemnity, and render them less invidious.

[53] Effigiesque et signa quaedam. That effigies does not mean the images of their deities is proved by that is stated at chap. ix., viz. that they deemed it derogatory to their deities to represent them in human form; and, if in human form, we may argue, a fortiori, in the form of the lower animals. The interpretation of the passage will be best derived from Hist. iv. 22, where Tacitus says: -- "Depromptae silvis lucisve ferarum imagines, ut cuique genti inire praelium mos est." It would hence appear that these effigies and signa were images of wild animals, and were national standards preserved with religious care in sacred woods and groves, whence they were brought forth when the clan or tribe was about to take the field. -- White.

[54] They not only interposed to prevent the flight of their husbands and sons, but, in desperate emergencies, themselves engaged in battle. This happened on Marius's defeat of the Cimbri (hereafter to be mentioned); and Dio relates, that when Marcus Aurelius overthrew the Marcomanni, Quadi, and other German allies, the bodies of women in armor were found among the slain.

[55] Thus, in the army of Ariovistus, the women, with their hair dishevelled, and weeping, besought the soldiers not to deliver them captives to the Romans. -- Caesar, Bell. Gall. i.

[56] Relative to this, perhaps, is a circumstance mentioned by Suetonius in his Life of Augustus. "From some nations he attempted to exact a new kind of hostages, women: because he observed that those of the male sex were disregarded." -- Aug. xxi.

[57] See the same observation with regard to the Celtic women, in Plutarch, on the virtues of women. The North Americans pay a similar regard to their females.

[58] A remarkable instance of this is given by Caesar. "When he inquired of the captives the reason why Ariovistus did not engage, he learned, that it was because the matrons, who among the Germans are accustomed to pronounce, from their divinations, whether or not a battle will be favorable, had declared that they would not prove victorious, if they should fight before the new moon." -- Bell. Gall. i. The cruel manner in which the Cimbrian women performed their divinations is thus related by Strabo: "The women who follow the Cimbri to war, are accompanied by gray-haired prophetesses, in white vestments, with canvas mantles fastened by clasps, a brazen girdle, and naked feet. These go with drawn swords through the camp, and, striking down those of the prisoners that they meet, drag them to a brazen kettle, holding about twenty amphorae. This has a kind of stage above it, ascending on which, the priestess cuts the throat of the victim, and, from the manner in which the blood flows into the vessel, judges of the future event. Others tear open the bodies of the captives thus butchered, and, from inspection of the entrails, presage victory to their own party." -- Lib. vii.

[59] She was afterwards taken prisoner by Rutilius Gallicus. Statius, in his Sylvae, i. 4, refers to this event. Tacitus has more concerning her in his History, iv. 61.

[60] Viradesthis was a goddess of the Tungri; Harimella, another provincial deity; whose names were found by Mr. Pennant inscribed on altars at the Roman station at Burrens. These were erected by the German auxiliaries. -- Vide Tour in Scotland, 1772, part ii. p. 406.

[61] Ritter considers that here is a reference to the servile flattery of the senate as exhibited in the time of Nero, by the deification of Poppaea's infant daughter, and afterwards of herself. (See Ann. xv. 23, Dion. lxiii, Ann. xiv. 3.) There is no contradiction in the present passage to that found at Hist. iv. 61, where Tacitus says, "plerasque feminarum fatidicas et, augescente superstitione, arbitrantur deas;" i.e. they deem (arbitrantur) very many of their women possessed of prophetic powers, and, as their religious feeling increases, they deem (arbitrantur) them goddesses, i.e. possessed of a superhuman nature; they do not, however, make them goddesses and worship them, as the Romans did Poppaea and her infant, which is covertly implied in facerent deas. -- White.

[62] Mercury, i.e. a god whom Tacitus thus names, because his attributes resembled those of the Roman Mercury. According to Paulus Diaconus (de Gestis Langobardorum, i. 9), this deity was Wodun, or Gwodan, called also Odin. Mallet (North. Ant. ch. v.) says, that in the Icelandic mythology he is called "the terrible and severe God, the Father of Slaughter, he who giveth victory and receiveth courage in the conflict, who nameth those that are to be slain." "The Germans drew their gods by their own character, who loved nothing so much themselves as to display their strength and power in battle, and to signalize their vengeance upon their enemies by slaughter and desolation." There remain to this day some traces of the worship paid to Odin in the name given by almost all the people of the north to the fourth day of the week, which was formerly consecrated to him. It is called by a name which signifies "Odin's day;" "Old Norse, Odinsdagr; Swedish and Danish, Onsdag; Anglo-Saxon, Wodenesdaeg, Wodnesdaeg; Dutch, Woensdag; English, Wednesday. As Odin or Wodun was supposed to correspond to the Mercury of the Greeks and Romans, the name of this day was expressed in Latin Dies Mercurii." -- White.

[63] "The appointed time for these sacrifices," says Mallet (North. Ant. ch. vi.), "was always determined by a superstitious opinion which made the northern nations regard the number 'three' as sacred and particularly dear to the gods. Thus, in every ninth month they renewed the bloody ceremony, which was to last nine days, and every day they offered up nine living victims, whether men or animals. But the most solemn sacrifices were those which were offered up at Upsal in Sweden every ninth year...." After stating the compulsory nature of the attendance at this festival, Mallet adds, "Then they chose among the captives in time of war, and among the slaves in time of peace, nine persons to be sacrificed. In whatever manner they immolated men, the priest always took care in consecrating the victim to pronounce certain words, as 'I devote thee to Odin,' 'I send thee to Odin.'" See Lucan i. 444.

"Et quibus immitis placatur sanguine diro Teutates, horrensque feris altaribus Hesus."

Teutates is Mercury, Hesus, Mars. So also at iii. 399, &c.

"Lucus erat longo nunquam violatus ab aevo. ... Barbara ritu Sacra Deum, structae diris altaribus arae, Omnis et humanis lustrata cruoribus arbor."

[64] That is, as in the preceding case, a deity whose attributes corresponded to those of the Roman Mars. This appears to have been not Thor, who is rather the representative of the Roman Jupiter, but Tyr, "a warrior god, and the protector of champions and brave men!" "From Tyr is derived the name given to the third day of the week in most of the Teutonic languages, and which has been rendered into Latin by Dies Martis. Old Norse, Tirsdagr, Tisdagr; Swedish, Tisdag; Danish, Tirsdag; German, Dienstag; Dutch, Dingsdag; Anglo-Saxon, Tyrsdaeg, Tyvesdag, Tivesdaeg; English, Tuesday" -- (Mallet's North. Ant. ch. v.) -- White.

[65] The Suevi appear to have been the Germanic tribes, and this also the worship spoken of at chap. xl. Signum in modum liburnae figuration corresponds with the vehiculum there spoken of; the real thing being, according to Ritter's view, a pinnace placed on wheels. That signum ipsum ("the very symbol") does not mean any image of the goddess, may be gathered also from ch. xl., where the goddess herself, si credere velis, is spoken of as being washed in the sacred lake.

[66] As the Romans in their ancient coins, many of which are now extant, recorded the arrival of Saturn by the stern of a ship; so other nations have frequently denoted the importation of a foreign religious rite by the figure of a galley on their medals.

[67] Tacitus elsewhere speaks of temples of German divinities (e.g. 40; Templum Nerthae, Ann. i. 51; Templum Tanfanae); but a consecrated grove, or any other sacred place, was called templum by the Romans.

[68] The Scythians are mentioned by Herodotus, and the Alans by Ammianus Marcellinus, as making use of these divining rods. The German method of divination with them is illustrated by what is said by Saxo-Grammaticus (Hist. Dan. xiv, 288) of the inhabitants of the Isle of Rugen in the Baltic Sea: "Throwing, by way of lots, three pieces of wood, white in one part, and black in another, into their laps, they foretold good fortune by the coming up of the white; bad by that of the black."

[69] The same practice obtained among the Persians, from whom the Germans appear to be sprung. Darius was elected king by the neighing of a horse; sacred white horses were in the army of Cyrus; and Xerxes, retreating after his defeat, was preceded by the sacred horses and consecrated chariot. Justin (i. 10) mentions the cause of this superstition, viz. that "the Persians believed the Sun to be the only God, and horses to be peculiarly consecrated to him." The priest of the Isle of Rugen also took auspices from a white horse, as may be seen in Saxo-Grammaticus.

[70] Montesquieu finds in this custom the origin of the duel, and of knight-errantry.

[71] This remarkable passage, so curious in political history, is commented on by Montesquieu, in his Spirit of Laws. vi 11. That celebrated author expresses his surprise at the existence of such a balance between liberty and authority in the forests of Germany; and traces the origin of the English constitution from this source. Tacitus again mentions the German form of government in his Annals, iv. 33.

[72] The high antiquity of this made of reckoning appears from the Book of Genesis. "The evening and the morning were the first day." The Gauls, we are informed by Caesar, "assert that, according to the tradition of their Druids, they are all sprung from Father Dis; on which account they reckon every period of time according to the number of nights, not of days; and observe birthdays and the beginnings of months and years in such a manner, that the day seems to follow the night." (Bell. Gall. vi. 18.) The vestiges of this method of computation still appear in the English language, in the terms se'nnight and fort'night.

[73] Ut turbae placuit. Doederlein interprets this passage as representing the confused way in which the people took their seats in the national assembly, without reference to order, rank, age, &c. It rather represents, however, that the people, not the chieftains, determined when the business of the council should begin. -- White.

[74] And in an open plain. Vast heaps of stone still remaining, denote the scenes of these national councils. (See Mallet's Introduct. to Hist. of Denmark.) The English Stonehenge has been supposed a relic of this kind. In these assemblies are seen the origin of those which, under the Merovingian race of French kings, were called the Fields of March; under the Carlovingian, the Fields of May; then, the Plenary Courts of Christmas and Easter; and lastly, the States General.

[75] The speech of Civilis was received with this expression of applause. Tacitus, Hist. iv. 15.

[76] Gibbeted alive. Heavy penalties were denounced against those who should take them down, alive or dead. These are particularized in the Salic law.

[77] By cowards and dastards, in this passage, are probably meant those who, being summoned to war, refused or neglected to go. Caesar (Bell. Gall. vi. 22) mentions, that those who refused to follow their chiefs to war were considered as deserters and traitors. And, afterwards, the emperor Clothaire made the following edict, preserved in the Lombard law: "Whatever freeman, summoned to the defence of his country by his Count, or his officers, shall neglect to go, and the enemy enter the country to lay it waste, or otherwise damage our liege subjects, he shall incur a capital punishment." As the crimes of cowardice, treachery, and desertion were so odious and ignominious among the Germans, we find by the Salic law, that penalties were annexed to the unjust imputation of them.

[78] These were so rare and so infamous among the Germans, that barely calling a person by a name significant of them was severely punished.

[79] Incestuous people were buried alive in bogs in Scotland. Pennant's Tour in Scotland, 1772; part i. p. 351; and part ii. p. 421.

[80] Among these slighter offences, however, were reckoned homicide, adultery, theft, and many others of a similar kind. This appears from the laws of the Germans, and from a subsequent passage of Tacitus himself.

[81] These were at that time the only riches of the country, as was already observed in this treatise. Afterwards gold and silver became plentiful: hence all the mulcts required by the Salic law are pecuniary. Money, however, still bore a fixed proportion to cattle; as appears from the Saxon law (Tit. xviii.): "The Solidus is of two kinds; one contains two tremisses, that is, a beeve of twelve months, or a sheep with its lamb; the other, three tremisses, or a beeve of sixteen months. Homicide is compounded for by the lesser solidus; other crimes by the greater." The Saxons had their Weregeld, -- the Scotch their Cro, Galnes, and Kelchin, -- and the Welsh their Gwerth, and Galanus, or compensations for injuries; and cattle were likewise the usual fine. Vide Pennant's Tour in Wales of 1773, pp. 273, 274.

[82] This mulct is frequently in the Salic law called "fred," that is, peace; because it was paid to the king or state, as guardians of the public peace.

[83] A brief account of the civil economy of the Germans will here be useful. They were divided into nations; of which some were under a regal government, others a republican. The former had kings, the latter chiefs. Both in kingdoms and republics, military affairs were under the conduct of the generals. The nations were divided into cantons; each of which was superintended by a chief, or count, who administered justice in it. The cantons were divided into districts or hundreds, so called because they contained a hundred vills or townships. In each hundred was a companion, or centenary, chosen from the people, before whom small causes were tried. Before the count, all causes, as well great as small, were amenable. The centenaries are called companions by Tacitus, after the custom of the Romans; among whom the titles of honor were, Caesar, the Legatus or Lieutenant of Caesar, and his comites, or companions. The courts of justice were held in the open air, on a rising ground, beneath the shade of an oak, elm, or some other large tree.

[84] Even judges were armed on the seat of justice. The Romans, on the contrary, never went armed but when actually engaged in military service.

[85] These are the rudiments of the famous institution of chivalry. The sons of kings appear to have received arms from foreign princes. Hence, when Audoin, after overcoming the Gepidae, was requested by the Lombards to dine with his son Alboin, his partner in the victory, he refused; for, says he, "you know it is not customary with us for a king's son to dine with his father, until he has received arms from the king of another country." -- Warnefrid, De gestis Langobardorum, i. 23.

[86] An allusion to the toga virilis of the Romans. The German youth were presented with the shield and spear probably at twelve or fifteen years of age. This early initiation into the business of arms gave them that warlike character for which they were so celebrated. Thus, Seneca (Epist. 46) says, "A native of Germany brandishes, while yet a boy, his slender javelin." And again (in his book on Anger, i. 11), "Who are braver than the Germans? -- who more impetuous in the charge? -- who fonder of arms, in the use of which they are born and nourished, which are their only care? -- who more inured to hardships, insomuch that for the most part they provide no covering for their bodies, no retreat against the perpetual severity of the climate?"

[87] Hence it seems that these noble lads were deemed principes in rank, yet had their position among the comites only. The German word Gesell is peculiarly appropriated to these comrades in arms. So highly were they esteemed in Germany, that for killing or hurting them a fine was exacted treble to that for other freemen.

[88] Hence, when Chonodomarus, king of the Alamanni, was taken prisoner by the Romans, "his companions, two hundred in number, and three friends peculiarly attached to him, thinking it infamous to survive their prince, or not to die for him, surrendered themselves to be put in bonds." -- Ammianus Marcellinus, xvi. 13.

[89] Hence Montesquieu (Spirit of Laws, xxx, 3) justly derives the origin of vassalage. At first, the prince gave to his nobles arms and provision: as avarice advanced, money, and then lands, were required, which from benefices became at length hereditary possessions, and were called fiefs. Hence the establishment of the feudal system.

[90] Caesar, with less precision, says, "The Germans pass their whole lives in hunting and military exercises." (Bell. Gall, vi. 21.) The picture drawn by Tacitus is more consonant to the genius of a barbarous people: besides that, hunting being the employment but of a few months of the year, a greater part must necessarily be passed in indolence by those who had no other occupation. In this circumstance, and those afterwards related, the North American savages exactly agree with the ancient Germans.

[91] This apparent contradiction is, however, perfectly agreeable to the principles of human nature. Among people governed by impulse more than reason, everything is in the extreme: war and peace; motion and rest; love and hatred; none are pursued with moderation.

[92] These are the rudiments of tributes; though the contributions here spoken of were voluntary, and without compulsion. The origin of exchequers is pointed out above, where "part of the mulct" is said to be "paid to the king or state." Taxation was taught the Germans by the Romans, who levied taxes upon them.

[93] So, in after-times, when tributes were customary, 500 oxen or cows were required annually from the Saxons by the French kings Clothaire I. and Pepin. (See Eccard, tom. i. pp. 84, 480.) Honey, corn, and other products of the earth, were likewise received in tribute. (Ibid. p. 392.)

[94] For the expenses of war, and other necessities of state, and particularly the public entertainments. Hence, besides the Steora, or annual tribute, the Osterstuopha, or Easter cup, previous to the public assembly of the Field of March, was paid to the French kings.

[95] This was a dangerous lesson, and in the end proved ruinous to the Roman empire. Herodian says of the Germans in his time, "They are chiefly to be prevailed upon by bribes; being fond of money, and continually selling peace to the Romans for gold." -- Lib. vi. 139.

[96] This custom was of long duration; for there is not the mention of a single city in Ammianus Marcellinus, who wrote on the wars of the Romans in Germany. The names of places in Ptolemy (ii. 11) are not, therefore, those of cities, but of scattered villages. The Germans had not even what we should call towns, notwithstanding Caesar asserts the contrary.

[97] The space surrounding the house, and fenced in by hedges, was that celebrated Salic land, which descended to the male line, exclusively of the female.

[98] The danger of fire was particularly urgent in time of war; for, as Caesar informs us, these people were acquainted with a method of throwing red-hot clay bullets from slings, and burning javelins, on the thatch of houses. (Bell. Gall. v. 42.)

[99] Thus likewise Mela (ii. 1), concerning the Sarmatians: "On account of the length and severity of their winters, they dwell under ground, either in natural or artificial caverns." At the time that Germany was laid waste by a forty years' war, Kircher saw many of the natives who, with their flocks, herds, and other possessions, took refuge in the caverns of the highest mountains. For many other curious particulars concerning these and other subterranean caves, see his Mundus Subterraneus, viii. 3, p. 100. In Hungary, at this day, corn is commonly stored in subterranean chambers.

[100] Near Newbottle, the seat of the Marquis of Lothian, are some subterraneous apartments and passages cut out of the live rock, which had probably served for the same purposes of winter-retreats and granaries as those dug by the ancient Germans. Pennant's Tour in 1769, 4to, p.63.

[101] This was a kind of mantle of a square form, called also rheno. Thus Caesar (Bell. Gall. vi. 21): "They use skins for clothing, or the short rhenones, and leave the greatest part of the body naked." Isidore (xix. 23) describes the rhenones as "garments covering the shoulders and breast, as low as the navel, so rough and shaggy that they are impenetrable to rain." Mela (iii. 3), speaking of the Germans, says, "The men are clothed only with the sagum, or the bark of trees, even in the depth of winter."

[102] All savages are fond of variety of colors; hence the Germans spotted their furs with the skins of other animals, of which those here mentioned were probably of the seal kind. This practice is still continued with regard to the ermine, which is spotted with black lamb's-skin.

[103] The Northern Sea, and Frozen Ocean.

[104] Pliny testifies the same thing; and adds, that "the women beyond the Rhine are not acquainted with any more elegant kind of clothing." -- xix. 1.

[105] Not that rich and costly purple in which the Roman nobility shone, but some ordinary material, such as the vaccinium, which Pliny says was used by the Gauls as a purple dye for the garments of the slaves, (xvi. 18.)

[106] The chastity of the Germans, and their strict regard to the laws of marriage, are witnessed by all their ancient codes of law. The purity of their manners in this respect afforded a striking contrast to the licentiousness of the Romans in the decline of the empire, and is exhibited in this light by Salvian, in his treatise De Gubernatione Dei, lib. vii.

[107] Thus we find in Caesar (Bell. Gall. i. 53) that Ariovistus had two wives. Others had more. This indulgence proved more difficult to abolish, as it was considered as a mark of opulence, and an appendage of nobility.

[108] The Germans purchased their wives, as appears from the following clauses in the Saxon law concerning marriage: "A person who espouses a wife shall pay to her parents 300 solidi (about 180l. sterling); but if the marriage be without the consent of the parents, the damsel, however, consenting, he shall pay 600 solidi. If neither the parents nor damsel consent, that is, if she be carried off by violence, he shall pay 300 solidi to the parents, and 340 to the damsel, and restore her to her parents."

[109] Thus in the Saxon law, concerning dowries, it is said: "The Ostfalii and Angrarii determine, that if a woman have male issue, she is to possess the dower she received in marriage during her life, and transmit it to her sons."

[110] Ergo septae pudicitia agunt. Some editions have septa pudicitia. This would imply, however, rather the result of the care and watchfulness of their husbands; whereas it seems the object of Tacitus to show that this their chastity was the effect of innate virtue, and this is rather expressed by septae pudicitia, which is the reading of the Arundelian MS.

[111] Seneca speaks with great force and warmth on this subject: "Nothing is so destructive to morals as loitering at public entertainments; for vice more easily insinuates itself into the heart when softened by pleasure. What shall I say! I return from them more covetous ambitious, and luxurious." -- Epist. vii.

[112] The Germans had a great regard for the hair, and looked upon cutting it off as a heavy disgrace; so that this was made a punishment for certain crimes, and was resented as an injury if practised upon an innocent person.

[113] From an epistle of St. Boniface, archbishop of Mentz, to Ethelbald, king of England, we learn that among the Saxons the women themselves inflicted the punishment for violated chastity; "In ancient Saxony (now Westphalia), if a virgin pollute her father's house, or a married woman prove false to her vows, sometimes she is forced to put an end to her own life by the halter, and over the ashes of her burned body her seducer is hanged: sometimes a troop of females assembling lead her through the circumjacent villages, lacerating her body, stripped to the girdle, with rods and knives; and thus, bloody and full of minute wounds, she is continually met by new tormenters, who in their zeal for chastity do not quit her till she is dead, or scarcely alive, in order to inspire a dread of such offences." See Michael Alford's Annales Ecclesiae Anglo-Saxon., and Eccard.

[114] A passage in Valerius Maximus renders it probable that the Cimbrian states were of this number: "The wives of the Teutones besought Marius, after his victory, that he would deliver them as a present to the Vestal virgins; affirming that they should henceforth, equally with themselves, abstain from the embraces of the other sex. This request not being granted, they all strangled themselves the ensuing night." -- Lib. vi. 1.3.

[115] Among the Heruli, the wife was expected to hang herself at once at the grave of her husband, if she would not live in perpetual infamy.

[116] This expression may signify as well the murder of young children, as the procurement of abortion; both which crimes were severely punished by the German laws.

[117] Quemquam ex agnatis. By agnatigenerally in Roman law were meant relations by the father's side; here it signifies children born after there was already an heir to the name and property of the father.

[118] Justin has a similar thought concerning the Scythians: "Justice is cultivated by the dispositions of the people, not by the laws." (ii. 2.) How inefficacious the good laws here alluded to by Tacitus were in preventing enormities among the Romans, appears from the frequent complaints of the senators, and particularly of Minucius Felix; "I behold you, exposing your babes to the wild beasts and birds, or strangling the unhappy wretches with your own hands. Some of you, by means of drugs, extinguish the newly-formed man within your bowels, and thus commit parricide on your offspring before you bring them into the world." (Octavius, c. 30.) So familiar was this practice grown at Rome, that the virtuous Pliny apologises for it, alleging that "the great fertility of some women may require such a licence." -- xxix. 4, 37.

[119] Nudi ac sordidi does not mean "in nakedness and filth," as most translators have supposed. Personal filth is inconsistent with the daily practice of bathing mentioned c. 22; and nudus does not necessarily imply absolute nakedness (see note 4, p. 293).

[120] This age appears at first to have been twelve years; for then a youth became liable to the penalties of law. Thus in the Salic law it is said, "If a child under twelve commit a fault, 'fred,' or a mulct, shall not be required of him." Afterwards the term was fifteen years of age. Thus in the Ripuary law, "A child under fifteen shall not be responsible." Again, "If a man die, or be killed, and leave a son; before he have completed his fifteenth year, he shall neither prosecute a cause, nor be called upon to answer in a suit: but at this term, he must either answer himself, or choose an advocate. In like manner with regard to the female sex." The Burgundian law provides to the same effect. This then was the term of majority, which in later times, when heavier armor was used, was still longer delayed.

[121] This is illustrated by a passage in Caesar (Bell. Gall. vi. 21): "They who are the latest in proving their virility are most commended. By this delay they imagine the stature is increased, the strength improved, and the nerves fortified. To have knowledge of the other sex before twenty years of age, is accounted in the highest degree scandalous."

[122] Equal not only in age and constitution, but in condition. Many of the German codes of law annex penalties to those of both sexes who marry persons of inferior rank.

[123] Hence, in the history of the Merovingian kings of France, so many instances of regard to sisters and their children appear, and so many wars undertaken on their account.

[124] The court paid at Rome to rich persons without children, by the Haeredipetae, or legacy-hunters, is a frequent subject of censure and ridicule with the Roman writers.

[125] Avengers of blood are mentioned in the law of Moses, Numb. xxxv. 19. In the Roman law also, under the head of "those who on account of unworthiness are deprived of their inheritance," it is pronounced, that "such heirs as are proved to have neglected revenging the testator's death, shall be obliged to restore the entire profits."

[126] It was a wise provision, that among this fierce and warlike people, revenge should be commuted for a payment. That this intention might not be frustrated by the poverty of the offender, his whole family were conjointly bound to make compensation.

[127] All uncivilized nations agree in this property, which becomes less necessary as a nation improves in the arts of civil life.

[128] Convictibus et hospitiis. "Festivities and entertainments." The former word applies to friends and fellow-countrymen; the latter, to those not of the same tribe, and foreigners. Caesar (Bell. Gall. vi. 23) says, "They think it unlawful to offer violence to their guests, who, on whatever occasion they come to them, are protected from injury, and considered as sacred. Every house is open to them, and provision everywhere set before them." Mela (iii. 3) says of the Germans, "They make right consist in force, so that they are not ashamed of robbery: they are only kind to their guests, and merciful to suppliants. The Burgundian law lays a fine of three solidi on every man who refuses his roof or hearth to the coming guest." The Salic law, however, rightly forbids the exercise of hospitality to atrocious criminals; laying a penalty on the person who shall harbor one who has dug up or despoiled the dead? till he has made satisfaction to the relations.

[129] The clause here put within brackets is probably misplaced; since it does not connect well either with what goes before or what follows.[130] The Russians are at present the most remarkable among the northern nations for the use of warm bathing. Some of the North American tribes also have their hypocausts, or stoves.

[131] Eating at separate tables is generally an indication of voracity. Traces of it may be found in Homer, and other writers who have described ancient manners. The same practice has also been observed among the people of Otaheite; who occasionally devour vast quantities of food.

[132] The following article in the Salic law shows at once the frequency of these bloody quarrels, and the laudable endeavors of the legislature to restrain them; -- "If at a feast where there are four or five men in company, one of them be killed, the rest shall either convict one as the offender, or shall jointly pay the composition for his death. And this law shall extend to seven persons present at an entertainment."

[133] The same custom is related by Herodotus, i. p. 66, as prevailing among the Persians.

[134] Of this liquor, beer or ale, Pliny speaks in the following passage: "The western nations have their intoxicating liquor, made of steeped grain. The Egyptians also invented drinks of the same kind. Thus drunkenness is a stranger in no part of the world; for these liquors are taken pure, and not diluted as wine is. Yet, surely, the Earth thought she was producing corn. Oh, the wonderful sagacity of our vices! we have discovered how to render even water intoxicating." -- xiv. 22.

[135] Mela says, "Their manner of living is so rude and savage, that they eat even raw flesh; either fresh killed, or softened by working with their hands and feet, after it has grown stiff in the hides of tame or wild animals." (iii. 3.) Florus relates that the ferocity of the Cimbri was mitigated by their feeding on bread and dressed meat, and drinking wine, in the softest tract of Italy. -- iii. 3.

[136] This must not be understood to have been cheese; although Caesar says of the Germans, "Their diet chiefly consists of milk, cheese and flesh." (Bell. Gall. vi. 22.) Pliny, who was thoroughly acquainted with the German manners, says more accurately, "It is surprising that the barbarous nations who live on milk should for so many ages have been ignorant of, or have rejected, the preparation of cheese; especially since they thicken their milk into a pleasant tart substance, and a fat butter: this is the scum of milk, of a thicker consistence than what is called the whey. It must not be omitted that it has the properties of oil, and is used as an unguent by all the barbarians, and by us for children." -- xi. 41.

[137] This policy has been practised by the Europeans with regard to the North American savages, some tribes of which have been almost totally extirpated by it.

[138] St. Ambrose has a remarkable passage concerning this spirit of gaming among a barbarous people: -- "It is said that the Huns, who continually make war upon other nations, are themselves subject to usurers, with whom they run in debt at play; and that, while they live without laws, they obey the laws of the dice alone; playing when drawn up in line of battle; carrying dice along with their arms, and perishing more by each others' hands than by the enemy. In the midst of victory they submit to become captives, and suffer plunder from their own countrymen, which they know not how to bear from the foe. On this account they never lay aside the business of war, because, when they have lost all their booty by the dice, they have no means of acquiring fresh supplies for play, but by the sword. They are frequently borne away with such a desperate ardor, that, when the loser has given up his arms, the only part of his property which he greatly values, he sets the power over his life at a single cast to the winner or usurer. It is a fact, that a person, known to the Roman emperor, paid the price of a servitude which he had by this means brought upon himself, by suffering death at the command of his master."

[139] The condition of these slaves was the same as that of the vassals, or serfs, who a few centuries ago made the great body of the people in every country in Europe. The Germans, in after times, imitating the Romans, had slaves of inferior condition, to whom the name of slave became appropriated; while those in the state of rural vassalage were called lidi.

[140] A private enemy could not be slain with impunity, since a fine was affixed to homicide; but a man might kill his own slave without any punishment. If, however, he killed another person's slave, he was obliged to pay his price to the owner.

[141] The amazing height of power and insolence to which freedmen arrived by making themselves subservient to the vices of the prince, is a striking characteristic of the reigns of some of the worst of the Roman emperors.

[142] In Rome, on the other hand, the practice of usury was, as our author terms it, "an ancient evil, and a perpetual source of sedition and discord." -- Annals, vi. 16.

[143] All the copies read per vices, "by turns," or alternately; but the connection seems evidently to require the easy alteration of per vicos, which has been approved by many learned commentators, and is therefore adopted in this translation.

[144] Caesar has several particulars concerning this part of German polity. "They are not studious of agriculture, the greater part of their diet consisting of milk, cheese, and flesh; nor has any one a determinate portion of land, his own peculiar property; but the magistrates and chiefs allot every year to tribes and clanships forming communities, as much land, and in such situations, as they think proper, and oblige them to remove the succeeding year. For this practice they assign several reasons: as, lest they should be led, by being accustomed to one spot, to exchange the toils of war for the business of agriculture; lest they should acquire a passion for possessing extensive domains, and the more powerful should be tempted to dispossess the weaker; lest they should construct buildings with more art than was necessary to protect them from the inclemencies of the weather; lest the love of money should arise amongst them, the source of faction and dissensions; and in order that the people, beholding their own possessions equal to those of the most powerful, might be retained by the bonds of equity and moderation." -- Bell. Gall. vi. 21.

[145] The Germans, not planting fruit-trees, were ignorant of the proper products of autumn. They have now all the autumnal fruits of their climate; yet their language still retains a memorial of their ancient deficiencies, in having no term for this season of the year, but one denoting the gathering in of corn alone -- Herbst, Harvest.

[146] In this respect, as well as many others, the manners of the Germans were a direct contrast to those of the Romans. Pliny mentions a private person, C. Caecilius Claudius Isidorus, who ordered the sum of about 10,000l. sterling to be expended in his funeral: and in another place he says, "Intelligent persons asserted that Arabia did not produce such a quantity of spices in a year as Nero burned at the obsequies of his Poppaea." -- xxxiii. 10, and xii. 18.

[147] The following lines of Lucan, describing the last honors paid by Cornelia to the body of Pompey the Great, happily illustrate the customs here referred to: --

Collegit vestes, miserique insignia Magni. Armaque, et impressas auro, quas gesserat olim Exuvias, pictasque togas, velamina summo Ter conspecta Jovi, funestoque intulit igni. -- Lib. ix. 175.

"There shone his arms, with antique gold inlaid, There the rich robes which she herself had made, Robes to imperial Jove in triumph thrice display'd: The relics of his past victorious days, Now this his latest trophy serve to raise, And in one common flame together blaze." -- ROWE.

[148] Thus in the tomb of Childeric, king of the Franks, were found his spear and sword, and also his horse's head, with a shoe, and gold buckles and housings. A human skull was likewise discovered, which, perhaps, was that of his groom.

[149] Caesar's account is as follows: -- "There was formerly a time when the Gauls surpassed the Germans in bravery, and made war upon them; and, on account of their multitude of people and scarcity of land, sent colonies beyond the Rhine. The most fertile parts of Germany, adjoining to the Hercynian forest, (which, I observe, was known by report to Eratosthenes and others of the Greeks, and called by them Orcinia,) were accordingly occupied by the Volcae and Tectosages, who settled there. These people still continue in the same settlements, and have a high character as well for the administration of justice as military prowess: and they now remain in the same state of penury and content as the Germans, whose manner of life they have adopted." -- Bell. Gall. vi. 24.

[150] The inhabitants of Switzerland, then extending further than at present, towards Lyons.

[151] A nation of Gauls, bordering on the Helvetii, as appears from Strabo and Caesar. After being conquered by Caesar, the Aedui gave them a settlement in the country now called the Bourbonnois. The name of their German colony, Boiemum, is still extant in Bohemia. The aera at which the Helvetii and Boii penetrated into Germany is not ascertained. It seems probable, however, that it was in the reign of Tarquinius Priscus; for at that time, as we are told by Livy, Ambigatus, king of the Bituriges (people of Berry), sent his sister's son Sigovesus into the Hercynian forest, with a colony, in order to exonerate his kingdom which was overpeopled. (Livy, v. 33; et seq.)

[152] In the time of Augustus, the Boii, driven from Boiemum by the Marcomanni, retired to Noricum, which from them was called Boioaria, now Bavaria.

[153] This people inhabited that part of Lower Hungary now called the Palatinate of Pilis.

[154] Towards the end of this treatise, Tacitus seems himself to decide this point, observing that their use of the Pannonian language, and acquiescence in paying tribute, prove the Osi not to be a German nation. They were settled beyond the Marcomanni and Quadi, and occupied the northern part of Transdanubian Hungary; perhaps extending to Silesia, where is a place called Ossen in the duchy of Oels, famous for salt and glass works. The learned Pelloutier, however, contends that the Osi were Germans; but with less probability.

[155] The inhabitants of the modern diocese of Treves.

[156] Those of Cambresis and Hainault.

[157] Those of the dioceses of Worms, Strasburg, and Spires.

[158] Those of the diocese of Cologne. The Ubii, migrating from Germany to Gaul, on account of the enmity of the Catti, and their own attachment to the Roman interest, were received under the protection of Marcus Agrippa, in the year of Rome 717. (Strabo, iv. p. 194.) Agrippina, the wife of Claudius and mother of Nero, who was born among them, obtained the settlement of a colony there, which was called after her name.

[159] Now the Betuwe, part of the provinces of Holland and Guelderland.

[160] Hence the Batavi are termed, in an ancient inscription, "the brothers and friends of the Roman people."

[161] This nation inhabited part of the countries now called the Weteraw, Hesse, Isenburg and Fulda. In this territory was Mattium, now Marpurg, and the Fontes Mattiaci, now Wisbaden, near Mentz.

[162] The several people of Germany had their respective borders, called marks or marches, which they defended by preserving them in a desert and uncultivated state. Thus Caesar, Bell. Gall. iv 3: -- "They think it the greatest honor to a nation, to have as wide an extent of vacant land around their dominions as possible; by which it is indicated, that a great number of neighboring communities are unable to withstand them. On this account, the Suevi are said to have, on one side, a tract of 600 (some learned men think we should read 60) miles desert for their boundaries." In another place Caesar mentions, as an additional reason for this policy, that they think themselves thereby rendered secure from the danger of sudden incursions. (Bell. Gall. vi. 13.)

[163] The difference between the low situation and moist air of Batavia, and the high and dry country of the Mattiaci, will sufficiently justify this remark, in the opinion of those who allow anything to the influence of climate.

[164] Now Swabia. When the Marcommanni, towards the end of the reign of Augustus, quitting their settlements near the Rhine, migrated to Bohemia, the lands they left vacant were occupied by some unsettled Gauls among the Rauraci and Sequani. They seem to have been called Decumates (Decimated), because the inhabitants, liable to the incursions of the Germans, paid a tithe of their products to be received under the protection of the Romans. Adrian defended them by a rampart, which extended from Neustadt, a town on the Danube near the mouth of the river Altmühl, to the Neckar near Wimpfen; a space of sixty French leagues.

[165] Of Upper Germany.

[166] The Catti possessed a large territory between the Rhine, Mayne and Sala, and the Hartz forest on this side of the Weser; where are now the countries of Hesse, Thuringia, part of Paderborn, of Fulda, and of Franconia. Learned writers have frequently noted, that what Caesar, Florus and Ptolemy have said of the Suevi, is to be understood of the Catti. Leibnitz supposes the Catti were so called from the active animal which they resemble in name, the German for cat being Catte, or Hessen.

[167] Pliny, who was well acquainted with Germany, gives a very striking description of the Hercynian forest: -- "The vast trees of the Hercynian forest, untouched for ages, and as old as the world, by their almost immortal destiny exceed common wonders. Not to mention circumstances which would not be credited, it is certain that hills are raised by the repercussion of their meeting roots; and where the earth does not follow them, arches are formed as high as the branches, which, struggling, as it were, with each other, are bent into the form of open gates, so wide, that troops of horse may ride under them." -- xvi. 2.

[168] Duriora corpora. "Hardier frames;" i.e. than the rest of the Germans. At Hist. ii 32. the Germans, in general, are said to have fluxa corpora; while in c. 4 of this treatise they are described as tantùm ad impetum valida.

[169] Floras, ii. 18, well expresses this thought by the sentence "Tanti exercitus, quanti imperator." "An army is worth so much as its general is."

[170] Thus Civilis is said by our author (Hist. iv. 61), to have let his hair and beard grow in consequence of a private vow. Thus too, in Paul Warnefrid's "History of the Lombards," iii. 7, it is related, that "six thousand Saxons who survived the war, vowed that they would never cut their hair, nor shave their beards, till they had been revenged of their enemies, the Suevi." A later instance of this custom is mentioned by Strada (Bell. Belg. vii. p. 344), of William Lume, one of the Counts of Mark, "who bound himself by a vow not to cut his hair till he had revenged the deaths of Egmont and Horn."

[171] The iron ring seems to have been a badge of slavery. This custom was revived in later times, but rather with a gallant than a military intention. Thus, in the year 1414, John duke of Bourbon, in order to ingratiate himself with his mistress, vowed, together with sixteen knights and gentlemen, that they would wear, he and the knights a gold ring, the gentlemen a silver one, round their left legs, every Sunday for two years, till they had met with an equal number of knights and gentlemen to contend with them in a tournament. (Vertot, Mém. de l'Acad. des Inscr. tom. ii. p. 596.)

[172] It was this nation of Catti, which, about 150 years afterwards, uniting with the remains of the Cherusci on this side the Weser, the Attuarii, Sicambri, Chamavi, Bructeri, and Chauci, entered into the Francic league, and, conquering the Romans, seized upon Gaul. From them are derived the name, manners, and laws of the French.

[173] These two tribes, united by a community of wars and misfortunes, had formerly been driven from the settlements on the Rhine a little below Mentz. They then, according to Caesar (Bell. Gall. iv. 1, et seq.), occupied the territories of the Menapii on both sides the Rhine. Still proving unfortunate, they obtained the lands of the Sicambri, who, in the reign of Augustus, were removed on this side the Rhine by Tiberius: these were the present counties of Berg, Mark, Lippe, and Waldeck; and the bishopric of Paderborn.

[174] Their settlements were between the rivers Rhine, Lippe (Luppia), and Ems (Amisia), and the province of Friesland; now the countries of Westphalia and Over-Issel. Alting (Notit. German. Infer, p. 20) supposes they derived their name from Broeken, or Bruchen, marshes, on account of their frequency in that tract of country.

[175] Before this migration, the Chamavi were settled on the Ems, where at present are Lingen and Osnaburg; the Angrivarii, on the Weser (Visurgis), where are Minden and Schawenburg. A more ancient migration of the Chamavi to the banks of the Rhine is cursorily mentioned by Tacitus, Annal. xiii. 55. The Angrivarii were afterwards called Angrarii, and became part of the Saxon nation.

[176] They were not so entirely extirpated that no relics of them remained. They were even a conspicuous part of the Francic league, as before related. Claudian also, in his panegyric on the fourth consulate of Honorius, v. 450, mentions them.

Venit accola sylvae Bructerus Hercyniae.

"The Bructerian, borderer on the Hercynian forest, came."

After their expulsion, they settled, according to Eccard, between Cologne and Hesse.

[177] The Bructeri were under regal government, and maintained many wars against the Romans. Hence their arrogance and power. Before they were destroyed by their countrymen, Vestricius Spurinna terrified them into submission without an action, and had on that account a triumphal statue decreed him. Pliny the younger mentions this fact, book ii. epist. 7.

[178] An allusion to gladiatorial spectacles. This slaughter happened near the canal of Drusus, where the Roman guard on the Rhine could be spectators of the battle. The account of it came to Rome in the first year of Trajan.

[179] As this treatise was written in the reign of Trajan, when the affairs of the Romans appeared unusually prosperous, some critics have imagined that Tacitus wrote vigentibus, "flourishing," instead of urgentibus, "urgent." But it is sufficiently evident, from other passages, that the causes which were operating gradually, but surely, to the destruction of the Roman empire, did not escape the penetration of Tacitus, even when disguised by the most flattering appearances. The common reading is therefore, probably, right. -- Aikin.

[180] These people first resided near the head of the Lippe; and then removed to the settlements of the Chamavi and Angrivarii, who had expelled the Bructeri. They appear to have been the same with those whom Velleius Paterculus, ii. 105, calls the Attuarii, and by that name they entered into the Francic league. Strabo calls them Chattuarii.

[181] Namely, the Ansibarii and Tubantes. The Ansibarii or Amsibarii are thought by Alting to have derived their name from their neighborhood to the river Ems (Amisia); and the. Tubantes, from their frequent change of habitation, to have been called Tho Benten. or the wandering troops, and to have dwelt where now is Drente in Over-Issel. Among these nations, Furstenburg (Monum. Paderborn.) enumerates the Ambrones, borderers upon the river Ambrus, now Emmeren.

[182] The Frieslanders. The lesser Frisii were settled on this side, the greater, on the other, of the Flevum (Zuyderzee).

[183] In the time of the Romans this country was covered by vast meres, or lakes; which were made still larger by frequent inundations of the sea. Of these, one so late as 1530 overwhelmed seventy-two villages; and another, still more terrible, in 1569, laid under water great part of the sea-coast of Holland, and almost all Friesland, in which alone 20,000 persons were drowned.

[184] Wherever the land seemed to terminate, and it appeared impossible to proceed further, maritime nations have feigned pillars of Hercules. Those celebrated by the Frisians must have been at the extremity of Friesland, and not in Sweden and the Cimmerian promontory, as Rudbeck supposes.

[185] Drusus, the brother of Tiberius, and father of Germanicus, imposed a tribute on the Frisians, as mentioned in the Annals, iv. 72, and performed other eminent services in Germany; himself styled Germanicus.

[186] The Chauci extended along the seacoast from the Ems to the Elbe (Albis); whence they bordered on all the fore-mentioned nations, between which and the Cherusci they came round to the Catti. The Chauci were distinguished into Greater and Lesser. The Greater, according to Ptolemy, inhabited the country between the Weser and the Elbe; the Lesser, that between the Weser and Ems; but Tacitus (Annals xi. 19) seems to reverse this order. Alting supposes the Chauci had their name from Kauken, signifying persons eminent for valor and fidelity, which agrees with the character Tacitus gives them. Others derive it from Kauk, an owl, with a reference to the enmity of that animal to cats (Catti). Others, from Kaiten, daws, of which there are great numbers on their coast. Pliny has admirably described the country and manners of the maritime Chauci, in his account of people who live without any trees or fruit-bearing vegetables: -- "In the North are the nations of Chauci, who are divided into Greater and Lesser. Here, the ocean, having a prodigious flux and reflux twice in the space of every day and night, rolls over an immense tract, leaving it a matter of perpetual doubt whether it is part of the land or sea. In this spot, the wretched natives, occupying either the tops of hills, or artificial mounds of turf, raised out of reach of the highest tides, build their small cottages; which appear like sailing vessels when the water covers the circumjacent ground, and like wrecks when it has retired. Here from their huts they pursue the fish, continually flying from them with the waves. They do not, like their neighbors, possess cattle, and feed on milk; nor have they a warfare to maintain against wild beasts, for every fruit of the earth is far removed from them. With flags and seaweed they twist cordage for their fishing-nets. For fuel they use a kind of mud, taken up by hand, and dried, rather in the wind than the sun: with this earth they heat their food, and warm their bodies, stiffened by the rigorous north. Their only drink is rain-water collected in ditches at the thresholds of their doors. Yet this miserable people, if conquered to-day by the Roman arms, would call themselves slaves. Thus it is that fortune spares many to their own punishment." -- Hist. Nat. xvi. 1.

[187] On this account, fortified posts were established by the Romans to restrain the Chauci; who by Lucan are called Cayci in the following passage:

Et vos crinigeros bellis arcere Caycos Oppositi. -- Phars. i. 463.

"You, too, tow'rds Rome advance, ye warlike band, That wont the shaggy Cauci to withstand." -- ROWE

[188] The Cherusci, at that time, dwelt between the Weser and the Elbe, where now are Luneburg, Brunswick, and part of the Marche of Brandenburg on this side the Elbe. In the reign of Augustus they occupied a more extensive tract; reaching even this side the Weser, as appears from the accounts of the expedition of Drusus given by Dio and Velleius Paterculus: unless, as Dithmar observes, what is said of the Cherusci on this side the Weser relates to the Dulgibini, their dependents. For, according to Strabo, Varus was cut off by the Cherusci, and the people subject to them. The brave actions of Arminius, the celebrated chief of the Cherusci, are related by Tacitus in the 1st and 2d books of his Annals.

[189] Cluver, and several others, suppose the Fosi to have been the same with the ancient Saxons: but, since they bordered on the Cherusci, the opinion of Leibnitz is nearer the truth, that they inhabited the banks of the river Fusa, which enters the Aller (Allera) at Cellae; and were a sort of appendage to the Cherusci, as Hildesheim now is to Brunswick. The name of Saxons is later than Tacitus, and was not known till the reign of Antoninus Pius, at which period they poured forth from the Cimbric Chersonesus, and afterwards, in conjunction with the Angles, seized upon Britain.

[191] The name of this people still exists; and the country they inhabited is called the Cimbric Chersonesus, or Peninsula; comprehending Jutland, Sleswig, and Holstein. The renown and various fortune of the Cimbri is briefly, but accurately, related by Mallet in the "Introduction" to the "History of Denmark."

[192] Though at this time they were greatly reduced by migrations, inundations and wars, they afterwards revived; and from this storehouse of nations came forth the Franks, Saxons, Normans, and various other tribes, which brought all Europe under Germanic sway.

[193] Their fame spread through Germany, Gaul, Spain, Britain, Italy, and as far as the Sea of Azoph (Palus Maeotis), whither, according to Posidonius, they penetrated, and called the Cimmerian or Cimbrian Bosphorus after their own name.

[194] This is usually, and probably rightly, explained as relating to both shores of the Cimbric Chersonesus. Cluver and Dithmar, however, suppose that these encampments are to be sought for either in Italy, upon the river Athesis (Adige), or in Narbonnensian Gaul near Aquae Sextiae (Aix in Provence), where Florus (iii. 3) mentions that the Teutoni defeated by Marius took post in a valley with a river running through it. Of the prodigious numbers of the Cimbri who made this terrible irruption we have an account in Plutarch, who relates that their fighting men were 300,000, with a much greater number of women and children. (Plut. Marius, p. 411.)

[195] Nerva was consul the fourth time, and Trajan the second, in the 85lst year of Rome; in which Tacitus composed this treatise.

[196] After the defeat of P. Decidius Saxa, lieutenant of Syria, by the Parthians, and the seizure of Syria by Pacorus, son of king Orodes, P. Ventidius Bassus was sent there, and vanquished the Parthians, killed Pacorus, and entirely restored the Roman affairs.

[197] The Epitome of Livy informs us, that "in the year of Rome 640, the Cimbri, a wandering tribe, made a predatory incursion into Illyricum, where they routed the consul Papirius Carbo with his army." According to Strabo, it was at Noreia, a town of the Taurisci, near Aquileia, that Carbo was defeated. In the succeeding years, the Cimbri and Teutonia ravaged Gaul, and brought great calamities on that country; but at length, deterred by the unshaken bravery of the Gauls, they turned another way; as appears from Caesar, Bell. Gal. vii. 17. They then came into Italy, and sent ambassadors to the Senate, demanding lands to settle on. This was refused; and the consul M. Junius Silanus fought an unsuccessful battle with them, in the year of Rome 645. (Epitome of Livy, lxv.)

[198] "L. Cassius the consul, in the year of Rome 647, was cut off with his army in the confines of the Allobroges, by the Tigurine Gauls, a canton of the Helvetians (now the cantons of Zurich, Appenzell, Schaffhausen, &c.), who had migrated from their settlements. The soldiers who survived the slaughter gave hostages for the payment of half they were worth, to be dismissed with safety." (Ibid.) Caesar further relates that the Roman army was passed under the yoke by the Tigurini: -- "This single canton, migrating from home, within the memory of our fathers, slew the consul L. Cassius, and passed his army under the yoke." -- Bell. Gall. i. 12.

[199] M. Aurelius Scaurus, the consul's lieutenant (or rather consul, as he appears to have served that office in the year of Rome 646), was defeated and taken by the Cimbri; and when, being asked his advice, he dissuaded them from passing the Alps into Italy, assuring them the Romans were invincible, he was slain by a furious youth, named Boiorix. (Epit. Livy, lxvii.)

[200] Florus, in like manner, considers these two affairs separately: -- "Neither could Silanus sustain the first onset of the barbarians; nor Manlius, the second; nor Caepio, the third." (iii. 3.) Livy joins them together: -- "By the same enemy (the Cimbri) Cn. Manlius the consul, and Q. Servilius Caepio the proconsul, were defeated in an engagement, and both dispossessed of their camps." (Epit. lxvii.) Paulus Orosius relates the affair more particularly: -- "Manlius the consul, and Q. Caepio, proconsul, being sent against the Cimbri, Teutones, Tigurini, and Ambronae, Gaulish and German nations, who had conspired to extinguish the Roman empire, divided their respective provinces by the river Rhone. Here, the most violent dissensions prevailing between them, they were both overcome, to the great disgrace and danger of the Roman name. According to Antias, 80,000 Romans and allies were slaughtered. Caepio, by whose rashness this misfortune was occasioned, was condemned, and his property confiscated by order of the Roman people." (Lib. v. 16.) This happened in the year of Rome 649; and the anniversary was reckoned among the unlucky days.

[201] The Republic; in opposition to Rome when governed by emperors.

[202] This tragical catastrophe so deeply affected Augustus, that, as Seutonius informs us, "he was said to have let his beard and hair grow for several months; during which he at times struck his head against the doors, crying out, 'Varus, restore my legions!' and ever after kept the anniversary as a day of mourning." (Aug. s. 23.) The finest history piece, perhaps, ever drawn by a writer, is Tacitus's description of the army of Germanicus visiting the field of battle, six years after, and performing funeral obsequies to the scattered remains of their slaughtered countrymen. (Annals, i. 61.)

[203] "After so many misfortunes, the Roman people thought no general so capable of repelling such formidable enemies, as Marius." Nor was the public opinion falsified. In his fourth consulate, in the year of Rome 652. "Marius engaged the Teutoni beyond the Alps near Aquae Sextiae (Aix in Province), killing, on the day of battle and the following day, above 150,000 of the enemy, and entirely cutting off the Teutonic nation." (Velleus Paterculus, ii. 12.) Livy says there were 200,000 slain, and 90,000 taken prisoners. The succeeding year he defeated the Cimbri, who had penetrated into Italy and crossed the Adige, in the Raudian plain, where now is Rubio, killing and taking prisoners upwards of 100,000 men. That he did not, however, obtain an unbought victory over this warlike people, may be conjectured from the resistance he met with even from their women. We are told by Florus (iii. 3) that "he was obliged to sustain an engagement with their wives, as well as themselves; who, entrenching themselves on all sides with wagons and cars, fought from them, as from towers, with lances and poles. Their death was no less glorious than their resistance. For, when they could not obtain from Marius what they requested by an embassy, their liberty, and admission into the vestal priesthood (which, indeed, could not lawfully be granted); after strangling their infants, they either fell by mutual wounds, or hung themselves on trees or the poles of their carriages in ropes made of their own hair. King Boiorix was slain, not unrevenged, fighting bravely in the field." On account of these great victories, Marius, in the year of Borne 652, triumphed over the Teutoni, Ambroni, and Cimbri.

[204] In the 596th year of Rome, Julius Caesar defeated Ariovistus, a German king, near Dampierre in the Franche-Comte, and pursued his routed troops with great slaughter thirty miles towards the Rhine, filling all that space with spoils and dead bodies. (Bell. Gall. i. 33 and 52.) He had before chastised the Tigurini, who, as already mentioned, had defeated and killed L. Cassius. Drusus: This was the son of Livia, and brother of the emperor Tiberius. He was in Germany B.C. 12, 11. His loss was principally from shipwreck on the coast of the Chauci. See Lynam's Roman Emperors, i. 37, 45, Nero; i.e. Tiberius, afterwards emperor. His name was Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero. See Lynam's Roman Emperors, i. 51, 53, 62, 78. Germanicus: He was the son of Drusus, and so nephew of Tiberius. His victories in Germany took place A.D. 14-16. He too, like his father, was shipwrecked, and nearly at the same spot. See Lynam's Roman Emperors, i. 103-118.

[205] In the war of Civilis, related by Tacitus, Hist. iv. and v.

[206] By Domitian, as is more particularly mentioned in the Life of Agricola.

[207] The Suevi possessed that extensive tract of country lying between the Elbe, the Vistula, the Baltic Sea, and the Danube. They formerly had spread still further, reaching even to the Rhine. Hence Strabo, Caesar, Florus, and others, have referred to the Suevi what related to the Catti.

[208] Among the Suevi, and also the rest of the Germans, the slaves, seem to have been shaven; or at least cropped so short that they could not twist or tie up their hair in a knot.

[209] The Semnones inhabited both banks of the Viadrus (Oder); the country which is now part of Pomerania, of the Marche of Brandenburg, and of Lusatia.

[210] In the reign of Augustus, the Langobardi dwelt on this side the Elbe, between Luneburg and Magdeburg. When conquered and driven beyond the Elbe by Tiberius, they occupied that part of the country where are now Prignitz, Ruppin, and part of the Middle Marche. They afterwards founded the Lombard kingdom in Italy; which, in the year of Christ 774, was destroyed by Charlemagne, who took their king Desiderius, and subdued all Italy. The laws of the Langobardi are still extant, and may be met with in Lindenbrog. The Burgundians are not mentioned by Tacitus, probably because they were then an inconsiderable people. Afterwards, joining with the Langobardi, they settled on the Decuman lands and the Roman boundary. They from thence made an irruption into Gaul, and seized that country which is still named from them Burgundy. Their laws are likewise extant.

[211] From Tacitus's description, the Reudigni must have dwelt in part of the present duchy of Mecklenburg, and of Lauenburg. They had formerly been settled on this side the Elbe, on the sands of Luneburg.

[212] Perhaps the same people with those called by Mamertinus, in his Panegyric on Maximian, the Chaibones. From their vicinity to the fore- mentioned nations, they must have inhabited part of the duchy of Mecklenburg. They had formerly dwelt on this side the Elbe, on the banks of the river Ilmenavia in Luneburg; which is now called Ava; whence, probably, the name of the people.

[213] Inhabitants of what is now part of Holstein and Sleswig; in which tract is still a district called Angeln, between Flensborg and Sleswig. In the fifth century, the Angles, in conjunction with the Saxons, migrated into Britain, and perpetuated their name by giving appellation to England.

[214] From the enumeration of Tacitus, and the situation of the other tribes, it appears that the Eudoses must have occupied the modern Wismar and Rostock; the Suardones, Stralsund, Swedish Pomerania, and part of the Hither Pomerania, and of the Uckerane Marche. Eccard, however, supposes these nations were much more widely extended; and that the Eudoses dwelt upon the Oder; the Suardones, upon the Warte; the Nuithones, upon the Netze.

[215] The ancient name of the goddess Herth still subsists in the German Erde, and in the English Earth.

[216] Many suppose this island to have been the isle of Rugen in the Baltic sea. It is more probable, however, that it was an island near the mouth of the Elbe, now called the isle of Helgeland, or Heiligeland (Holy Island). Besides the proof arising from the name, the situation agrees better with that of the nations before enumerated.

[217] Olaus Rudbeck contends that this festival was celebrated in winter, and still continues in Scandinavia under the appellation of Julifred, the peace of Juul. (Yule is the term used for Christmas season in the old English and Scottish dialects.) But this feast was solemnized not in honor of the Earth, but of the Sun, called by them Thor or Taranium. The festival of Herth was held later, in the month of February; as may be seen in Mallet's "Introduction to the History of Denmark."

[218] Templo here means merely "the consecrated place," i.e. the grove before mentioned, for according to c.9 the Germans built no temples.

[219] It is supposed that this people, on account of their valor, were called Heermanner; corrupted by the Romans into Hermunduri. They were first settled between the Elbe, the Sala, and Bohemia; where now are Anhalt, Voightland, Saxony, part of Misnia, and of Franconia. Afterwards, when the Marcomanni took possession of Bohemia, from which the Boii had been expelled by Maroboduus, the Hermunduri added their settlements to their own, and planted in them the Suevian name, whence is derived the modern appellation of that country, Suabia.

[220] They were so at that time; but afterwards joined with the Marcomanni and other Germans against the Romans in the time of Marcus Aurelius, who overcame them.

[221] Augusta Vindelicorum, now Augsburg; a famous Roman colony in the province of Rhaetia, of which Vindelica was then a part.

[222] Tacitus is greatly mistaken if he confounds the source of the Egra, which is in the country of the Hermuduri, with that of the Elbe, which rises in Bohemia. The Elbe had been formerly, as Tacitus observes, well known to the Romans by the victories of Drusus, Tiberius, and Domitius; but afterwards, when the increasing power of the Germans kept the Roman arms at a distance, it was only indistinctly heard of. Hence its source was probably inaccurately laid down in the Roman geographical tables. Perhaps, however, the Hermunduri, when they had served in the army of Maroboduus, received lands in that part of Bohemia in which the Elbe rises; in which case there would be no mistake in Tacitus's account.

[223] Inhabitants of that part of Bavaria which lies between Bohemia and the Danube.

[224] Inhabitants of Bohemia.

[225] Inhabitants of Moravia, and the part of Austria between it and the Danube. Of this people, Ammianus Marcellinus, in his account of the reign of Valentinian and Valens, thus speaks: -- "A sudden commotion arose among the Quadi; a nation at present of little consequence, but which was formerly extremely warlike and potent, as their exploits sufficiently evince." -- xxix. 15.

[226] Their expulsion of the Boii, who had given name to Bohemia, has been already mentioned. Before this period, the Marcomanni dwelt near the sources of the Danube, where now is the duchy of Wirtemburg; and, as Dithmar supposes, on account of their inhabiting the borders of Germany, were called Marcmanner, from Marc (the same with the old English March) a border, or boundary.

[227] These people justified their military reputation by the dangerous war which, in conjunction with the Marcomanni, they excited against the Romans, in the reign of Marcus Aurelius.

[228] Of this prince, and his alliance with the Romans against Arminius, mention is made by Tacitus, Annals, ii.

[229] Thus Vannius was made king of the Quadi by Tiberius. (See Annals, ii. 63.) At a later period, Antoninus Pius (as appears from a medal preserved in Spanheim) gave them Furtius for their king. And when they had expelled him, and set Ariogaesus on the throne, Marcus Aurelius, to whom he was obnoxious, refused to confirm the election. (Dio, lxxi.)

[230] These people inhabited what is now Galatz, Jagerndorf, and part of Silesia.

[231] Inhabitants of part of Silesia, and of Hungary.

[232] Inhabitants of part of Hungary to the Danube.

[233] These were settled about the Carpathian mountains, and the sources of the Vistula.

[234] It is probable that the Suevi were distinguished from the rest of the Germans by a peculiar dialect, as well as by their dress and manners.

[235] Ptolemy mentions iron mines in or near the country of the Quadi. I should imagine that the expression "additional disgrace" (or, more literally, "which might make them more ashamed") does not refer merely to the slavery of working in mines, but to the circumstance of their digging up iron, the substance by means of which they might acquire freedom and independence. This is quite in the manner of Tacitus. The word iron was figuratively used by the ancients to signify military force in general. Thus Solon, in his well-known answer to Croesus, observed to him, that the nation which possessed more iron would be master of all his gold. -- Aikin.

[236] The mountains between Moravia, Hungary, Silesia, and Bohemia.

[237] The Lygii inhabited what is now part of Silesia, of the New Marche, of Prussia and Poland on this side the Vistula.

[238] These tribes were settled between the Oder and Vistula, where now are part of Silesia, of Brandenburg, and of Poland. The Elysii are supposed to have given name to Silesia.

[239] The Greeks and Romans, under the name of the Dioscuri, or Castor and Pollux, worshipped those meteorous exhalations which, during a storm, appear on the masts of ships, and are supposed to denote an approaching calm. A kind of religious veneration is still paid to this phenomenon by the Roman Catholics, under the appellation of the fire of St. Elmo. The Naharvali seem to have affixed the same character of divinity on the ignis fatuus; and the name Alcis is probably the same with that of Alff or Alp, which the northern nations still apply to the fancied Genii of the mountains. The Sarmatian deities Lebus and Polebus, the memory of whom still subsists in the Polish festivals, had, perhaps, the same origin.

[240] No custom has been more universal among uncivilized people than painting the body, either for the purpose of ornament, or that of inspiring terror.

[241] Inhabitants of what is now Further Pomerania, the New Marche and the Western part of Poland, between the Oder and Vistula. They were a different people from the Goths, though, perhaps, in alliance with them.

[242] These people were settled on the shore of the Baltic, where now are Colburg, Cassubia, and Further Pomerania. Their name is still preserved in the town of Rugenwald and Isle of Rugen.

[243] These were also settlers on the Baltic, about the modern Stolpe, Dantzig, and Lauenburg. The Heruli appear afterwards to have occupied the settlements of the Lemovii. Of these last no further mention occurs; but the Heruli made themselves famous throughout Europe and Asia, and were the first of the Germans who founded a kingdom in Italy under Odoacer.

[244] The Suiones inhabited Sweden, and the Danish isles of Funen, Langlaud, Zeeland, Laland, &c. From them and the Cimbri were derived the Normans, who, after spreading terror through various parts of the empire, at last seized upon the fertile province of Normandy in France. The names of Goths, Visigoths, and Ostrogoths, became still more famous, they being the nations who accomplished the ruin of the Roman empire. The laws of the Visigoths are still extant; but they depart much from the usual simplicity of the German laws.

[245] The Romans, who had but an imperfect knowledge of this part of the world, imagined here those "vast insular tracts" mentioned in the beginning of this treatise. Hence Pliny, also, says of the Baltic sea (Codanus sinus), that "it is filled with islands, the most famous of which, Scandinavia (now Sweden and Norway), is of an undiscovered magnitude; that part of it only being known which is occupied by the Hilleviones, a nation inhabiting five hundred cantons; who call this country another globe." (Lib. iv. 13.) The memory of the Hilleviones is still preserved in the part of Sweden named Halland.

[246] Their naval power continued so great, that they had the glory of framing the nautical code, the laws of which were first written at Wisby, the capital of the isle of Gothland, in the eleventh century.

[247] This is exactly the form of the Indian canoes, which, however, are generally worked with sails as well as oars.

[248] The great opulence of a temple of the Suiones, as described by Adam of Bremen (Eccl. Hist. ch. 233), is a proof of the wealth that at all times has attended naval dominion. "This nation," says he, "possesses a temple of great renown, called Ubsola (now Upsal), not far from the cities Sictona and Birca (now Sigtuna and Bioerkoe). In this temple, which is entirely ornamented with gold, the people worship the statues of three gods; the most powerful of whom, Thor, is seated on a couch in the middle; with Woden on one side, and Fricca on the other." From the ruins of the towns Sictona and Birca arose the present capital of Sweden, Stockholm.

[249] Hence Spener (Notit. German. Antiq.) rightly concludes that the crown was hereditary, and not elective, among the Suiones.

[250] It is uncertain whether what is now called the Frozen Ocean is here meant, or the northern extremities of the Baltic Sea, the Gulfs of Bothnia and Finland, which are so frozen every winter as to be unnavigable.

[251] The true principles of astronomy have now taught us the reason why, at a certain latitude, the sun, at the summer solstice, appears never to set: and at a lower latitude, the evening twilight continues till morning.

[252] The true reading here is, probably, "immerging;" since it was a common notion at that period, that the descent of the sun into the ocean was attended with a kind of hissing noise, like red hot iron dipped into water. Thus Juvenal, Sat. xiv, 280: --

Audiet Herculeo stridentem gurgite solem. "Hear the sun hiss in the Herculean gulf."

[253] Instead of formas deorum, "forms of deities," some, with more probability, read equorum, "of the horses," which are feigned to draw the chariot of the sun.

[254] Thus Quintus Curtius, speaking of the Indian Ocean, says, "Nature itself can proceed no further."

[255] The Baltic Sea.

[256] Now, the kingdom of Prussia, the duchies of Samogitia and Courland, the palatinates of Livonia and Esthonia, in the name of which last the ancient appellation of these people is preserved.

[257] Because the inhabitants of this extreme part of Germany retained the Scythico-Celtic language, which long prevailed in Britain.

[258] A deity of Scythian origin, called Frea or Fricca. See Mallet's Introduct. to Hist. of Denmark.

[259] Many vestiges of this superstition remain to this day in Sweden. The peasants, in the month of February, the season formerly sacred to Frea, make little images of boars in paste, which they apply to various superstitious uses. (See Eccard.) A figure of a Mater Deum, with the boar, is given by Mr. Pennant, in his Tour in Scotland, 1769, p. 268, engraven from a stone found at the great station at Netherby in Cumberland.

[260] The cause of this was, probably, their confined situation, which did not permit them to wander in hunting and plundering parties, like the rest of the Germans.

[261] This name was transferred to glass when it came into use. Pliny speaks of the production of amber in this country as follows: -- "It is certain that amber is produced in the islands of the Northern Ocean, and is called by the Germans gless. One of these islands, by the natives named Austravia, was on this account called Glessaria by our sailors in the fleet of Germanicus." -- Lib. xxxvii. 3.

[262] Much of the Prussian amber is even at present collected on the shores of the Baltic. Much also is found washed out of the clayey cliffs of Holderness. See Tour in Scotland, 1769, p. 16.

[263] Insomuch that the Guttones, who formerly inhabited this coast, made use of amber as fuel, and sold it for that purpose to the neighboring Teutones. (Plin. xxxvii. 2.)

[264] Various toys and utensils of amber, such as bracelets, necklaces, rings, cups, and even pillars, were to be met with among the luxurious Romans.

[265] In a work by Goeppert and Berendt, on "Amber and the Fossil Remains of Plants contained in it," published at Berlin, 1845, a passage is found (of which a translation is here given) which quite harmonizes with the account of Tacitus: -- "About the parts which are known by the name of Samland an island emerged, or rather a group of islands, ... which gradually increased in circumference, and, favored by a mild sea climate, was overspread with vegetation and forest. This forest was the means of amber being produced. Certain trees in it exuded gums in such quantities that the sunken forest soil now appears to be filled with it to such a degree, as if it had only been deprived of a very trifling part of its contents by the later eruptions of the sea, and the countless storms which have lashed the ocean for centuries." Hence, though found underground, it appears to have been originally the production of some resinous tree. Hence, too, the reason of the appearance of insects, &c. in it, as mentioned by Tacitus.

[266] Norwegians.

[267] All beyond the Vistula was reckoned Sarmatia. These people, therefore, were properly inhabitants of Sarmatia, though from their manners they appeared of German origin.

[268] Pliny also reckons the Peucini among the German nations: -- "The fifth part of Germany is possessed by the Peucini and Bastarnae, who border on the Dacians." (iv. 14.) From Strabo it appears that the Peucini, part of the Bastarnae, inhabited the country about the mouths of the Danube, and particularly the island Peuce, now Piczina, formed by the river.

[269] The habitations of the Peucini were fixed; whereas the Sarmatians wandered about in their wagons.

[270] "Sordes omnium ac torpor; procerum connubiis mixtis nonnihil in Sarmatarum habitum foedantur." In many editions the semicolon is placed not after torpor, but after procerum. The sense of the passage so read is: "The chief men are lazy and stupid, besides being filthy, like all the rest. Intermarriage with the Sarmatians have debased." &c.

[271] The Venedi extended beyond the Peucini and Bastarnae as far as the Baltic Sea; where is the Sinus Venedicus, now the Gulf of Dantzig. Their name is also preserved in Wenden, a part of Livonia. When the German nations made their irruption into Italy, France and Spain, the Venedi, also called Winedi, occupied their vacant settlements between the Vistula and Elbe. Afterwards they crossed the Danube, and seized Dalmatia, Illyricum, Istria, Carniola, and the Noric Alps. A part of Carniola still retains the name of Windismarck, derived from them. This people were also called Slavi; and their language, the Sclavonian, still prevails through a vast tract of country.

[272] This is still the manner of living of the successors of the Sarmatians, the Nogai Tartars.

[273] Their country is called by Pliny, Eningia, now Finland. Warnefrid (De Gest. Langobard. i. 5) thus describes their savage and wretched state: -- "The Scritobini, or Scritofinni, are not without snow in the midst of summer; and, being little superior in sagacity to the brutes, live upon no other food than the raw flesh of wild animals, the hairy skins of which they use for clothing. They derive their name, according to the barbarian tongue, from leaping, because they hunt wild beasts by a certain method of leaping or springing with pieces of wood bent in the shape of a bow." Here is an evident description of the snow-shoes or raquets in common use among the North American savages, as well as the inhabitants of the most northern parts of Europe.

[274] As it is just after mentioned that their chief dependence is on the game procured in hunting, this can only mean that the vegetable food they use consists of wild herbs, in opposition to the cultivated products of the earth.

[275] The Esquimaux and the South Sea islanders do the same thing to this day.

[276] People of Lapland. The origin of this fable was probably the manner of clothing in these cold regions, where the inhabitants bury themselves in the thickest furs, scarcely leaving anything of the form of a human creature.

[277] It is with true judgment that this excellent historian forbears to intermix fabulous narrations with the very interesting and instructive matter of this treatise. Such a mixture might have brought an impeachment on the fidelity of the account in general; which, notwithstanding the suspicions professed by some critics, contains nothing but what is entirely consonant to truth and nature. Had Tacitus indulged his invention in the description of German manners, is it probable that he could have given so just a picture of the state of a people under similar circumstances, the savage tribes of North America, as we have seen them within the present century? Is it likely that his relations would have been so admirably confirmed by the codes of law still extant of the several German nations; such as the Salic, Ripuary, Burgundian, English and Lombard? or that after the course of so many centuries, and the numerous changes of empire, the customs, laws and manners he describes should still be traced in all the various people of German derivation? As long as the original constitution and jurisprudence of our own and other European countries are studied, this treatise will be regarded as one of the most precious and authentic monuments of historical antiquity.

Tacitus - Agricola

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