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The Germany and the Agricola of Tacitus by Tacitus

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much as accosting him. [131] Whether this was really the fact, or only a
fiction founded on the genius and character of the prince, is uncertain.
Agricola, in the meantime, had delivered the province, in peace and
security, to his successor; [132] and lest his entry into the city should
be rendered too conspicuous by the concourse and acclamations of the
people, he declined the salutation of his friends by arriving in the
night; and went by night, as he was commanded, to the palace. There, after
being received with a slight embrace, but not a word spoken, he was
mingled with the servile throng. In this situation, he endeavored to
soften the glare of military reputation, which is offensive to those who
themselves live in indolence, by the practice of virtues of a different
cast. He resigned himself to ease and tranquillity, was modest in his garb
and equipage, affable in conversation, and in public was only accompanied
by one or two of his friends; insomuch that the many, who are accustomed
to form their ideas of great men from their retinue and figure, when they
beheld Agricola, were apt to call in question his renown: few could
interpret his conduct.

41. He was frequently, during that period, accused in his absence before
Domitian, and in his absence also acquitted. The source of his danger was
not any criminal action, nor the complaint of any injured person; but a
prince hostile to virtue, and his own high reputation, and the worst kind
of enemies, eulogists. [133] For the situation of public affairs which
ensued was such as would not permit the name of Agricola to rest in
silence: so many armies in Moesia, Dacia, Germany, and Pannonia lost
through the temerity or cowardice of their generals; [134] so many men of
military character, with numerous cohorts, defeated and taken prisoners;
whilst a dubious contest was maintained, not for the boundaries, of the
empire, and the banks of the bordering rivers, [135] but for the winter-
quarters of the legions, and the possession of our territories. In this
state of things, when loss succeeded loss, and every year was signalized
by disasters and slaughters, the public voice loudly demanded Agricola for
general: every one comparing his vigor, firmness, and experience in war,
with the indolence and pusillanimity of the others. It is certain that the
ears of Domitian himself were assailed by such discourses, while the best
of his freedmen pressed him to the choice through motives of fidelity and
affection, and the worst through envy and malignity, emotions to which he
was of himself sufficiently prone. Thus Agricola, as well by his own
virtues as the vices of others, was urged on precipitously to glory.

42. The year now arrived in which the proconsulate of Asia or Africa must
fall by lot upon Agricola; [136] and as Civica had lately been put to
death, Agricola was not unprovided with a lesson, nor Domitian with an
example. [137] Some persons, acquainted with the secret inclinations of
the emperor, came to Agricola, and inquired whether he intended to go to
his province; and first, somewhat distantly, began to commend a life of
leisure and tranquillity; then offered their services in procuring him to
be excused from the office; and at length, throwing off all disguise,
after using arguments both to persuade and intimidate him, compelled him
to accompany them to Domitian. The emperor, prepared to dissemble, and
assuming an air of stateliness, received his petition for excuse, and
suffered himself to be formally thanked [138] for granting it, without
blushing at so invidious a favor. He did not, however, bestow on Agricola
the salary [139] usually offered to a proconsul, and which he himself had
granted to others; either taking offence that it was not requested, or
feeling a consciousness that it would seem a bribe for what he had in
reality extorted by his authority. It is a principle of human nature to
hate those whom we have injured; [140] and Domitian was constitutionally
inclined to anger, which was the more difficult to be averted, in
proportion as it was the more disguised. Yet he was softened by the temper
and prudence of Agricola; who did not think it necessary, by a
contumacious spirit, or a vain ostentation of liberty, to challenge fame
or urge his fate. [141] Let those be apprised, who are accustomed to
admire every opposition to control, that even under a bad prince men may
be truly great; that submission and modesty, if accompanied with vigor and
industry, will elevate a character to a height of public esteem equal to
that which many, through abrupt and dangerous paths, have attained,
without benefit to their country, by an ambitious death.

43. His decease was a severe affliction to his family, a grief to his
friends, and a subject of regret even to foreigners, and those who had no
personal knowledge of him. [142] The common people too, and the class who
little interest themselves about public concerns, were frequent in their
inquiries at his house during his sickness, and made him the subject of
conversation at the forum and in private circles; nor did any person
either rejoice at the news of his death, or speedily forget it. Their
commiseration was aggravated by a prevailing report that he was taken off
by poison. I cannot venture to affirm anything certain of this matter;
[143] yet, during the whole course of his illness, the principal of the
imperial freedmen and the most confidential of the physicians was sent
much more frequently than was customary with a court whose visits were
chiefly paid by messages; whether that was done out of real solicitude, or
for the purposes of state inquisition. On the day of his decease, it is
certain that accounts of his approaching dissolution were every instant
transmitted to the emperor by couriers stationed for the purpose; and no
one believed that the information, which so much pains was taken to
accelerate, could be received with regret. He put on, however, in his
countenance and demeanor, the semblance of grief: for he was now secured
from an object of hatred, and could more easily conceal his joy than his
fear. It was well known that on reading the will, in which he was
nominated co-heir [144] with the excellent wife and most dutiful daughter
of Agricola, he expressed great satisfaction, as if it had been a
voluntary testimony of honor and esteem: so blind and corrupt had his mind
been rendered by continual adulation, that he was ignorant none but a bad
prince could be nominated heir to a good father.

44. Agricola was born in the ides of June, during the third consulate of
Caius Caesar; [145] he died in his fifty-sixth year, on the tenth of the
calends of September, when Collega and Priscus were consuls. [146]
Posterity may wish to form an idea of his person. His figure was comely
rather than majestic. In his countenance there was nothing to inspire awe;
its character was gracious and engaging. You would readily have believed
him a good man, and willingly a great one. And indeed, although he was
snatched away in the midst of a vigorous age, yet if his life be measured
by his glory, it was a period of the greatest extent. For after the full
enjoyment of all that is truly good, which is found in virtuous pursuits
alone, decorated with consular and triumphal ornaments, what more could
fortune contribute to his elevation? Immoderate wealth did not fall to his
share, yet he possessed a decent affluence. [147] His wife and daughter
surviving, his dignity unimpaired, his reputation flourishing, and his
kindred and friends yet in safety, it may even be thought an additional
felicity that he was thus withdrawn from impending evils. For, as we have
heard him express his wishes of continuing to the dawn of the present
auspicious day, and beholding Trajan in the imperial seat,--wishes in
which he formed a certain presage of the event; so it is a great
consolation, that by his untimely end he escaped that latter period, in
which Domitian, not by intervals and remissions, but by a continued, and,
as it were, a single act, aimed at the destruction of the commonwealth.

45. Agricola did not behold the senate-house besieged, and the senators
enclosed by a circle of arms; [149] and in one havoc the massacre of so
many consular men, the flight and banishment of so many honorable women.
As yet Carus Metius [150] was distinguished only by a single victory; the
counsels of Messalinus [151] resounded only through the Albanian citadel;
[152] and Massa Baebius [153] was himself among the accused. Soon after,
our own hands [154] dragged Helvidius [155] to prison; ourselves were
tortured with the spectacle of Mauricus and Rusticus, [156] and sprinkled
with the innocent blood of Senecio. [157]

Even Nero withdrew his eyes from the cruelties he commanded. Under
Domitian, it was the principal part of our miseries to behold and to be
beheld: when our sighs were registered; and that stern countenance, with
its settled redness, [158] his defence against shame, was employed in
noting the pallid horror of so many spectators. Happy, O Agricola! not
only in the splendor of your life, but in the seasonableness of your
death. With resignation and cheerfulness, from the testimony of those who
were present in your last moments, did you meet your fate, as if striving
to the utmost of your power to make the emperor appear guiltless. But to
myself and your daughter, besides the anguish of losing a parent, the
aggravating affliction remains, that it was not our lot to watch over your
sick-bed, to support you when languishing, and to satiate ourselves with
beholding and embracing you. With what attention should we have received
your last instructions, and engraven them on our hearts! This is our
sorrow; this is our wound: to us you were lost four years before by a
tedious absence. Everything, doubtless, O best of parents! was
administered for your comfort and honor, while a most affectionate wife
sat beside you; yet fewer tears were shed upon your bier, and in the last
light which your eyes beheld, something was still wanting.

46. If there be any habitation for the shades of the virtuous; if, as
philosophers suppose, exalted souls do not perish with the body; may you
repose in peace, and call us, your household, from vain regret and
feminine lamentations, to the contemplation of your virtues, which allow
no place for mourning or complaining! Let us rather adorn your memory by
our admiration, by our short-lived praises, and, as far as our natures
will permit, by an imitation of your example. This is truly to honor the
dead; this is the piety of every near relation. I would also recommend it
to the wife and daughter of this great man, to show their veneration of a
husband's and a father's memory by revolving his actions and words in
their breasts, and endeavoring to retain an idea of the form and features
of his mind, rather than of his person. Not that I would reject those
resemblances of the human figure which are engraven in brass or marbles
but as their originals are frail and perishable, so likewise are they:
while the form of the mind is eternal, and not to be retained or expressed
by any foreign matter, or the artist's skill, but by the manners of the
survivors. Whatever in Agricola was the object of our love, of our
admiration, remains, and will remain in the minds of men, transmitted in
the records of fame, through an eternity of years. For, while many great
personages of antiquity will be involved in a common oblivion with the
mean and inglorious, Agricola shall survive, represented and consigned to
future ages.



[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

[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

[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

[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

[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 Ingaff,
Istaf, 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 Germania: nisi hoc
dixerimus, quod _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.--

[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

[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

[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--

[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 arriere-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 (Mem. 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

[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_.

[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.

[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

[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

[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.

[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 180_l._ 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

[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

[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

[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

[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 _agnati_ generally 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.

[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

[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

[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
10,000_l._ 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

[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 Altmuhl, 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 _tantum 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

[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, Mem. de l'Acad. des Inscr. tom. ii. p.

[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

[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

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

[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.

[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.

[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

[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

[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

[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

[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.--

[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

[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
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

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