|Part of a series on|
The Germanic peoples (German: Germanen, from Latin: Germani) are a category of north European ethnic groups, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman authors.[a] They are also associated with Germanic languages, which many of them probably spoke.[b] Starting with Julius Caesar (100-44 BCE), several Roman authors placed their homeland, Germania, roughly between the Lower Rhine and the Vistula, and distinguished them from other broad categories of peoples better known to Rome, especially the Celtic Gauls to their southwest, and "Scythian" Sarmatians to their southeast. Greek writers, in contrast, consistently categorized the Germanic peoples from east of the Rhine as a type of Gaul.
With the possible exception of some tribes near the Rhine, there is no evidence that the Germanic peoples called themselves or their lands "Germanic" (see below). Latin and Greek writers report centuries of historical interactions with Germanic peoples on the Rhine and Danube, but from about 400, several long-established Germanic peoples on the Middle Danube were replaced by newcomers from the north or east. The description of peoples as "Germanic" in late antiquity was mainly restricted to the Rhine region, and thus especially referred to the Franks, and sometimes also the Alamanni.
Broader modern definitions of the Germanic peoples include peoples who were not known as Germani or Germanic peoples in their own time, but who are treated as one group of cultures, mostly because of their use of Germanic languages.[c] Thus, in modern writing, "Germanic peoples" is a term which commonly includes peoples who were not referred to as Germanic by contemporaries, and spoke distinct languages, only categorized as Germanic in modern times. Examples include the late Roman Goths, and the medieval Norse-speaking Vikings.
The languages of the earliest known Germanic peoples of classical antiquity have left only fragmentary evidence. The first long texts which have survived were written outside Germania in the Gothic language from the region that is today Ukraine and in Old English from the British Isles. Languages in this family are widespread today in Europe, and have dispersed worldwide, the family being represented by major modern languages such as English, Dutch, Nordic languages and German. The Eastern Germanic branch of the Germanic language family, once found in what is now Poland and the Ukraine, is extinct.
Apart from language and geography, proposed connections between the diverse Germanic peoples described by classical and medieval sources, archaeology, and linguistics are the subject of ongoing debate among scholars:
- On the one hand there is doubt about whether late Roman-era Germanic peoples should be treated as unified by any single unique shared culture, collective consciousness, or even language. For example, the tendency of some historians to describe late Roman historical events in terms of Germanic language speakers has been criticized by other scholars because it implies a single coordinated group. Walter Goffart has gone so far as to suggest that historians should avoid the term when discussing that period.
- On the other hand, there is a connected debate concerning the extent to which any significant Germanic traditions apart from language, even smaller scale tribal traditions, survived after Roman times, when new political entities formed in Europe after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Some of these new entities are seen as precursors of European nation states that have survived into modern times, such as England and France, and so such proposed connections back to medieval and classical barbarian nations were important to many of the Romanticist nationalist movements, which developed across Europe in modern times (The most notable of these has been "Germanicism", which saw Germans especially as direct heirs of a single Europe-conquering Germanic race and culture - a popular narrative which helped inspire Nazism.) In contrast, more complex proposals about continuity today, such as those proposed by Reinhard Wenskus, tend to focus on the possibility of more limited "kernels" of cultural traditions, which can be carried by relatively small groups with, or without, large-scale migrations.
In the 21st century, genetic studies have begun to look more systematically at questions of ancestry, using both modern and ancient DNA. However, the connection between modern Germanic languages, ethnicity and genetic heritage is thought by many scholars to be unlikely to ever be simple or uncontroversial. Guy Halsall for example writes: "The danger, barely addressed (at best dismissed as a purely ‘ideological’ objection), is of reducing ethnicity to biology and thus to something close to the nineteenth-century idea of race, at the basis of the ‘nation state’."
Definitions of Germanic peoples
Possibly based on discussions with Gaulish allies during his campaign there, Julius Caesar published the first basic definition of what makes any people or peoples "Germanic", rather than for example Gaulish. This definition involved several criteria, allowing the possibility of debatable cases. Definitions of Germanic peoples continue to involve discussion of similar criteria:
- Geography. The Germanic peoples are seen as peoples who originated, before Caesar's time, from somewhere between the Lower Rhine and Lower Vistula, so-called "Germania". Already for Caesar, use of this definition requires knowing which people moved away from this homeland.
- Language. Tacitus already referred to Suebian languages as a way of determining if a people was Germanic. Scholars defined a family of Germanic languages, which at least some of the Germani spoke, for example the Suevi.
- Culture, in the sense of clothing, economy, cults, laws and lifestyle of the different Germanic peoples was already used by Tacitus and Caesar to help distinguish the Germani from other northern peoples. In modern times, archaeologists study the surviving physical evidence left by the peoples of Germania, and they have defined various regional cultures. Of these, there is consensus that at least the Jastorf culture, between the Elbe and Oder rivers, was Germanic-speaking already in the time of Caesar. In parallel, other scholars have looked for textual fragmentary evidence concerning the laws, legends and cults of these peoples, and scholars such as Dennis Howard Green have sought leads in the Germanic languages themselves.
In modern times, attempts to define characteristics which unite all or some of these peoples more objectively, using linguistic or archaeological criteria, have thus led to the possibility of the term "Germanic" being used to apply to more peoples, in other periods and regions. However, these definitions are still based upon the old definitions, and overlap with them.[d]
Such modern definitions have focused attention upon uncertainties and disagreements about the ethnic origins and backgrounds of both early Roman-era Germanic peoples, and late-Roman Germanic peoples.[e]
Roman ethnographic writing, from Caesar to Tacitus
According to all available evidence, the theoretical concept of the Germanic peoples as a large grouping distinct from the Gauls—whose homeland was east of the Rhine, and included areas very far from it—originated with Julius Caesar's published account of his "Gallic Wars", and specifically those parts concerning his battles near the Rhine. Importantly for all future conceptions of what Germanic means, Caesar was apparently the first to categorize distant peoples such as the Cimbri and the large group of Suebian peoples as "Germanic". The Suevians and their languages, which had perhaps never been called Germanic before then, had started expanding their influence in his time, as Caesar experienced personally. Caesar's categorization of the Germani was in the context of explaining his battle against Ariovistus, who had been a Roman ally. He led a large and armed population, made up of several peoples from east of the Rhine, including significant Suebian contingents. Rome had suffered a history of Gaulish invasions from the distant north, including those by the Cimbri, whom they had previously categorized as Gauls. Caesar, while describing his subsequent use of Roman soldiers deep in Gaulish territory, categorized the Cimbri, together with the peoples allied under Ariovistus, not as Gaulish, but as "Germanic", apparently using an ethnic term that was more local to the Rhine region where he fought Ariovistus. Modern scholars are undecided about whether the Cimbri were Germanic speakers like the Suebians, and even where exactly they lived in northern Europe, though it is likely to have been in or near Jutland. Caesar thus proposed that these more distant peoples were the cause of invasions into Italy. His solution was controlling Gaul, and defending the Rhine as a boundary against these Germani.
Several Roman writers—Strabo (about 63 BCE – 24 CE), Pliny the Elder (about 23–79 CE), and especially Tacitus (about 56–120 CE)—followed Caesar's tradition in the next few generations, by partly defining the Germanic peoples of their time geographically, according to their presumed homeland. This "Germania magna", or Greater Germania, was seen as a large wild country roughly east of the Rhine, and north of the Danube, but not everyone from within the area bounded by those rivers was ever described by Roman authors as Germanic, and not all Germani lived there. The opening of Tacitus's Germania gave a rough definition only:
Germania is separated from the Gauls, the Rhaetians, and Pannonii, by the rivers Rhine and Danube. Mountain ranges, or the fear which each feels for the other, divide it from the Sarmatians and Dacians.
It is the northern part of Greater Germania, including the North European Plain, Southern Scandinavia, and the Baltic coast that was presumed to be the original Germanic homeland by early Roman authors such as Caesar and Tacitus. (Modern scholars also see the central part of this area, between the Elbe and the Oder, as the region from which Germanic languages dispersed.) In the east, Germania magna's boundaries were unclear according to Tacitus, although geographers such as Ptolemy and Pomponius Mela took it to be the Vistula. For Tacitus the boundaries of Germania stretched further, to somewhere east of the Baltic Sea in the north, and its people blended with the "Scythian" (or Sarmatian) steppe peoples in the area of today's Ukraine in the south. In the north, greater Germania stretched all the way to the relatively unknown Arctic Ocean. In contrast, in the south of Greater Germania nearer the Danube, the Germanic peoples were seen by these Roman writers as immigrants or conquerors, living with other peoples whom they had come to dominate. More specifically, Tacitus noted various Suebian Germanic-speaking peoples from the Elbe river in the north, such as the Marcomanni and Quadi, pushing into the Hercynian forest regions towards the Danube, where the Gaulish Volcae, Helvetii and Boii had lived.
Roman writers who added to Caesar's theoretical description, especially Tacitus, also at least partly defined the Germani by non-geographic criteria such as their economy, religion, clothing, and language. Caesar had, for example, previously noted that the Germani had no druids, and were less interested in farming than Gauls, and also that Gaulish (lingua gallica) was a language the Germanic King Ariovistus had to learn. Tacitus mentioned Germanic language at least three times, all concerning eastern peoples whose ethnicity was uncertain, and such remarks are seen by some modern authors as evidence of a unifying Germanic language. His comments are not detailed, but they indicate that there were Suebian languages (plural) within the category of Germanic languages, and that customs varied between different Germanic peoples. For example:
- The Marsigni and Buri, near today's southern Silesia, were Suebian in speech and culture and therefore among the Germani in a region where he says non-Germanic people also lived.
- The peoples (gentes) of the Aesti, on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, had the same customs and attire as the Germanic Suebians although "their language more resembles that of Britain". (They are seen today as speakers of Baltic languages, a language group in the same Indo-European language family as Germanic and Celtic.)
- As mentioned above, the Peucini, called by some Bastarnæ, are like Germani in their speech, cultivation, and settlements. (However, Livy says that their language was like that of the Scordisci, a Celtic group.)
Tacitus says nothing about the languages of the Germani living near the Rhine.
Origin of the "Germanic" terminology
The etymology of the Latin word "Germani", from which Latin Germania, and English "Germanic" are derived, is unknown, although several different proposals have been made. Even the language from which it derives is a subject of dispute.[f] Whatever it meant, the name probably applied originally only to a smaller group of people, the so-called "Germani cisrhenani", whose Latin scholarly name simply indicates that these were Germani living on the western side of the Rhine (see below). Tacitus reported that these Germanic peoples in Gaul, ancestors of the Tungri in his time, were the first people to be called Germani. According to Tacitus, their name had transferred to peoples such as those within the alliance of Ariovistus, as a name having connotations that frightened potential enemies. While Caesar and Tacitus saw this Rhineland people as Germanic in the broader sense also, they do not fit easily with the much broader definitions of "Germanic" used by them or modern scholars. These original Germani are therefore a significant complication for all attempts to define the Germanic peoples according to which side of the Rhine they lived on, or according to their probable language.
Caesar described how the country of these Germani cisrhenani stretched well west of the Lower Rhine, into modern Belgium, and it had done so long before the Romans came into close contact. Neither Caesar nor Tacitus saw this as clashing with their broader definitions, because they believed these Germani had moved from east of the Rhine, where the other Germani lived. But this was not recent: Caesar reported that they were already on the west side during the Cimbrian War (113–101 BCE), generations earlier. The early Germani on both sides of the Lower Rhine were however distinguished from the Suebian Germani by Caesar, Tacitus, Pliny the Elder, and Strabo. Strabo even said that the Germani near the Rhine not only differed little from the Celts, but also that the Latin-speakers called them "Germani" because they were the "genuine" Gauls (which is a possible meaning of Germani in Latin). Pliny the Elder and Tacitus reported a tradition that the Lower Rhine Germani could be distinguished from the "Ingaevones" (who lived on the North Sea coast) as "the Istaevones", and the "Herminones" (who included the Suebian peoples) living inland of these groups (see below). Modern historical linguists and archaeologists have also come to doubt that these western Germani spoke a Germanic language as defined today, or shared the same material culture, at least at the time of their first contact with Caesar and the Romans.[g] Caesar himself refers to them also as Gauls.
The older concept of the Germani being local to the Rhine remained common among Graeco-Roman writers for a longer time than the more theoretical and general concept of Caesar. Cassius Dio wrote in the 3rd century that "some of the Celts, whom we call Germans", "occupied all the Belgic territory along the Rhine and caused it to be called Germany". At least two well-read 6th century Byzantine writers, Agathias and Procopius, understood the Franks on the Rhine to effectively be the old Germani under a new name, since, as Agathias wrote, they inhabit the banks of the Rhine and the surrounding territory.
Germanic terminology before Caesar
All surviving written evidence implying any clear "Germanic" concept, broad or narrow, from before Julius Caesar is doubtful and unclear. There are two or three cases to consider.
- One is the use of the word Germani in a report describing lost writings of Posidonius (about 135 – 51 BCE), made by the much later writer Athenaios (around 190 CE); however, this word may have been added by the later writer, and if not, probably referred to the Germani cisrhenani. It says only that the Germani eat roasted meat in separate joints, and drink milk and unmixed wine.
- A commemoration in Rome of a triumph in 222 BCE by Marcus Claudius Marcellus, over Galleis Insubribus et Germ[an(eis)]. This victory in the Alpine region at the Battle of Clastidium over the Insubres is known from other sources to have involved a large force of Gaesatae. It is believed by many scholars that the inscription should originally have referred to these Gaesatae.
- A third author sometimes thought to have written about the Germani is Pytheas of Marseille, who wrote about northern Europe, but his works have not survived. Later reports of his writings show that he wrote about the areas and tribes later called Germanic but do not necessarily show that he called them Germanic. (For example, Pliny the Elder says he described the Baltic Sea and mentioned a large country of "Guiones", often interpreted as the Gutones, described by Tacitus. Their land included an estuary that is one day's sail from an island where amber was collected, which in turn neighbours the Teutones, but an alternative interpretation is that these were (In)guiones (see below) on the North Sea coast.)
After Caesar, Roman authors such as Tacitus followed his example in using the Germanic terminology to refer retroactively to peoples known to the Romans or Greeks before Caesar. As noted above, the Cimbri had previously been described as Celtic or Cimmerian, and Greek writers continued to do so, while Caesar described them as Germanic. Tacitus and Strabo both proposed with some uncertainty that the Bastarnae, a large people known to the Graeco-Roman world before Caesar, from the region of what is now Ukrainian Galicia and Moldava, might also have had mixed Germanic ancestry, and according to Tacitus, even a Germanic language. Pliny the Elder categorized them as a separate major division of the Germani like Istvaeones, Ingvaeones, and Irminones, but also separate from an eastern group which contained the Vandals and the Gutones, both in what is now Poland. (As already mentioned however, Livy said they spoke a language like the Scordisci.)
Later Roman "Germanic peoples"
The theoretical descriptions of Germanic peoples by Tacitus, which have been very influential in modern times, may never have been commonly read or used in the Roman era. It is clear in any case that in later Roman times the Rhine frontier (or Limes Germanicus), the area where Caesar had first come in contact with Suevians and Germani cisrhenani, was the normal "Germanic" area mentioned in writing. Walter Goffart has written that "the one incontrovertible Germanic thing" in the Roman era was "the two Roman provinces of 'Germania,' on the middle and lower course of the Rhine river" and: "Whatever 'Germania' had meant to Tacitus, it had narrowed by the time of St Jerome to an archaic or poetic term for the land normally called Francia". Edward James similarly wrote:
It seems clear that in the fourth century 'German' was no longer a term which included all western barbarians. [...] Ammianus Marcellinus, in the later fourth century, only uses Germania when he is referring to the Roman provinces of Upper Germany and Lower Germany; east of Germania are Alamannia and Francia.
As an exceptional case, the poet Sidonius Apollinaris, living in what is now southern France, described the Burgundians of his time as speaking a "Germanic" tongue and being "Germani". Wolfram has proposed that this word was chosen not because of a comparison of languages, but because the Burgundians had come from the Rhine region, and even argued that the use of this word by Sidonius might be seen as evidence against Burgundians being speakers of East Germanic, given that the East Germanic speaking Goths, also present in southern France at this time, were never described this way.[h]
Far from the Rhine, the Gothic peoples in what is today Ukraine, and the Anglo-Saxons in the British Isles, were only called Germanic in one surviving classical text, by Zosimus (5th century), but only in a case where he mistakenly believed he was writing about Rhineland peoples. Otherwise, Goths and similar peoples such as the Gepids, were consistently described as Scythian.
Medieval loss of the "Germanic people" concept
In the Greek-speaking eastern Roman empire which continued to exist in the Middle ages, the Germanic concept was also lost or distorted. As explained by Walter Pohl, the late Roman equation of the Franks to the Germani led there to such non-classical contrasts as the French (West Franks) being Germani and the Germans (East Franks) being Alamanni, or the Normans in Sicily being Franks, but the French being "Franks and also Germani". In the Strategikon of Maurice, written about 600, a contrast is made between three types of barbarian: Scythians, Slavs, and "blonde-haired" peoples such as the Franks and Langobards - apparently having no convenient name to cover them together.
Medieval writers in western Europe used Caesar's old geographical concept of Germania, which, like the new Frankish and clerical jurisdictions of their time, used the Rhine as a frontier marker, although they did not commonly refer to any contemporary Germani. For example, Louis the German (Ludovicus Germanicus) was named this way because he ruled east of the Rhine, and in contrast the kingdom west of the Rhine was still called Gallia (Gaul) in scholarly Latin.
Writers using Latin in West Germanic-speaking areas did recognize that those languages were related (Dutch, English, Lombardic, and German). To describe this they referred to "Teutonic" words and languages, seeing this as a Latin translation of Theodiscus, which was a concept that West Germanic speakers used to refer to themselves. It is the source of the modern words "Dutch", German "Deutsch", and Italian "Tedesco". Romance language speakers and others such as the Welsh were contrasted using words based on another old word, Walhaz, the source of "Welsh", Wallach, Welsch, Walloon, etc., itself coming from the name of the Volcae, a Celtic tribe. Only a small number of writers were influenced by Tacitus, whose work was known at Fulda Abbey, and few used terminology such as lingua Germanica instead of theudiscus sermo.
On the other hand, there were several more origin myths written after Jordanes (see above) which similarly connected some of the post Roman peoples to a common origin in Scandinavia. As pointed out by Walter Pohl, Paul the Deacon even implied that the Goths, like the Lombards, descended from "Germanic peoples", though it is unclear if they continued to be "Germanic" after leaving the north. Frechulf of Lisieux, noted that some believed that the Goths might belong to the "nationes Theotistae", like the Franks, and that both the Franks and the Goths might have come from Scandinavia. It is in this period, the 9th century Carolingian era, that scholars are also first recorded speculating about relationships between Gothic and West Germanic languages. Smaragdus of Saint-Mihiel believed the Goths spoke a teodisca lingua like the Franks, and Walafrid Strabo, calling it a theotiscus sermo, was even aware of their Bible translation. However, though the similarities were noticed, Gothic would not have been intelligible to a West Germanic speaker.
The first detailed origins legend of the Anglo-Saxons was by Bede (died 735), and in his case he named the Angles and Saxons of Britain as tribes who once lived in Germania, like, he says, the Frisians, Rugians, Danes, Huns, Old Saxons (Antiqui Saxones) and the Bructeri. He even says that British people still call them, corruptly, "Garmani". As with Jordanes and the Gutones, there is other evidence, linguistic and archaeological, which is consistent with his scholarly account, although this does not prove that Bede's non-scholarly contemporaries had accurate knowledge of historical details.
In western Europe then, there was a small scholarly awareness of the Tacitean "Germanic peoples", and even their potential connection to the Goths, but much more common were adherence to Caesar's concept of the geographical meaning of Germania east of the Rhine, and a perception of similarities between some Germanic languages - though they were not given this name until much later.
The influence of Jordanes and the Origo Gentes genre
The ethnic military kingdoms which formed in the western Roman empire (see below) each developed their own legends about their ethnic origins, the so-called Origo gentis stories. These often included an ancient connection to Romans or Trojans, as apparently in the stories of the Franks, Burgundians and English, and they also typically mentioned the wild east of "Scythia". However, Jordanes (6th century), who wrote the most detailed surviving Gothic origins story, did effectively propose a connection to northern regions which much earlier authors had described as the remotest parts of Germania, and established a tradition of connecting the earliest origins of Goths and other peoples to Scandinavia, which was for him a distant and almost unknown island. He thus connected the Goths (Gothi) not only with ancient Amazons, Trojans, Huns, and the similarly-named Getae, but also to the Baltic sea. Some modern writers, such as Wolfram and Heather, still see this as confirmed by the mention of similar sounding "Gutones" near the south Baltic coast in earlier authors such as Tacitus and Ptolemy. Others have noted that Jordanes himself believed the Goths would have left the region centuries before those writers, making the identification doubtful. Indeed, he or his sources must have derived the many of the names of ancient peoples and places from reading old Latin and Greek authors.
Very influentially, Jordanes called Scandinavia a "womb of nations" (vagina nationum), asserting that many peoples came from there in prehistoric times. This idea influenced later origin legends including the Lombard origin story, written by Paul the Deacon (8th century) who opens his work with an explanation of this theory. During the Carolingian renaissance he and other scholars even sometimes used the Germanic terminology. (See below.) The Scandinavian theme continued to be influential in medieval times and has even been influential in early modern speculations about Germanic peoples, for example in proposals about not only Goths and Gepids, but also Rugian and Burgundian origins.
The continuing use of Jordanes and similar writers to attempt to prove that the Goths were "Germanic" in more than language continues to arouse debate among scholars, because while his work is unreliable, the Baltic connection on its own is consistent with linguistic and archaeological evidence. However, Walter Goffart in particular has criticized the methodology of many modern scholars for using Jordanes and other origins stories as independent sources of real tribal memories, but only when it matches their beliefs arrived at in other ways.
During the Renaissance there was a rediscovery and renewed interest in secular writings of classical antiquity. By the late 15th century, Tacitus had become a focus of interest all around Europe, and, among other effects, this revolutionized ideas in Germany concerning the history of Germany itself. Tacitus continues to be an important influence in Germanic studies of antiquity, and is often read together with the Getica of Jordanes', who wrote much later.
Tacitus's ethnography won the attention it had formerly been denied because there now was a Germany, the "German nation" that had come into existence since the Carolingians, which Tacitus could now equip with a heaven-sent ancient dignity and pedigree.
In this context, in the 19th century, the famous folklorist and linguist Jacob Grimm helped popularize the concept of Germanic languages as well as of Indo-european languages. Apart from the well-known Grimm's Fairy Tales, collected with his brother Wilhelm, he published, for example, Deutsche Mythologie attempting to reconstruct Germanic mythology, and a German dictionary Deutsches Wörterbuch with detailed etymological proposals attempting to reconstruct the oldest Germanic language. He also popularized a new idea of these Germanic speakers, especially those in Germany, clinging valiantly to their supposed Germanic civilization over the centuries.[i]
The subsequently popular modern assertion of strong cultural continuity between Roman-era Germani and medieval or modern Germanic speakers, especially Germans, assumed a strong connection between a family trees of language categories, and both cultural and racial heritages. The name of the newly defined language family, Germanic, was long unpopular in other countries such as England, where the medieval "Teutonic" was seen as less potentially misleading. Similarly, in Denmark "Gothic" was sometimes used as a term for the language group uniting the Germani and the Goths, and a modified Gothonic was proposed by Gudmund Schütte and used locally.
This romanticist, nationalist approach has been rejected in its simplest forms since approximately World War II. For example, the once common habit of referring to Roman-era Germanic peoples as "Germans" is discouraged by modern historians, and modern Germans are no longer seen as the main successors of the Germani. Not only are ideas associated with Nazism now criticized, but also other romanticized ideas about the Germanic peoples. For example, Guy Halsall has mentioned the popularity of the "view of the peoples of Germania as, essentially, proto-democratic communes of freemen". And Peter Heather has pointed out also that the Marxist theory "that some of Europe's barbarians were ultimately responsible for moving Europe onwards to the feudal modern of production has also lost much of its force".
Further, some historians now question whether there was any unifying Germanic culture even in Roman times, and secondly whether there was any significant continuity at all apart from language, connecting the Roman era Germanic peoples with the mixed new ethnic groups who formed in late antiquity. Skeptics of such connections include Walter Goffart, and others associated with him and Toronto University. Goffart lists four "contentions" about how the Germanic terminology biases the conclusions of historians, and is therefore misleading:
- 1. Barbarian invasions should not be seen as a single collective movement. Different barbarian groups moved for their own reasons under their own leaders.
- 2. The pressures on the late Empire did not have a united source, and often came from within.
- 3. The classical Germanic peoples lacked any unity or center, and so they should not be seen as a civilization in the way Rome is.
- 4. We should not, according to Goffart, accept Jordanes as preserving an authentic oral tradition about a migration from Scandinavia.
On the other hand, the possibility of a small but significant "core of tradition" (Traditionskern) surviving with the ruling classes of Roman Germanic peoples, in the societies of new medieval Germanic speaking peoples such as the Franks, Alamanni, Anglo-Saxons, and Goths, continues to be defended by other historians. This Traditionskern concept is associated for example with the Vienna School of History, initiated by Reinhard Wenskus, and later represented by scholars such as Herwig Wolfram and Walter Pohl.
Peter Heather for example, continues to use the Germanic terminology but writes that concerning proposals of Germanic continuity, "all subsequent discussion has accepted and started from Wenskus's basic observations" and "the Germani in the first millenium were thus not closed groups with continuous histories". Heather however believes that such caution now often goes too far in denying any large scale movements of people in specific cases, exemplified by Patrick Amory's explanation of the Ostrogoths and their Kingdom of Italy.
Another proponent of relatively significant continuity, Wolf Liebeschuetz, has argued that the shared use of Germanic languages by, for example, Anglo-Saxons and Goths, implies that they must have had more links to Germania than only language. While little concrete evidence has survived, Liebeschuetz proposes that the existence of Weregild laws, stipulating compensation payments to avoid blood feuds, must be Germanic because such laws were not Roman. Liebeschuetz also argues that recent sceptical scholars "deprive the ancient Germans and their constituent tribes of any continuous identity" and this is "important" because it makes European history a product of Roman history, not "a joint creation of Roman and Germans".
Archaeologists divide the area of Roman-era Germania into several Iron age "material cultures". At the time of Caesar, all had been under the strong influence of the La Tène culture, an old culture in the south and west of Germania, which is strongly associated with Celtic-speaking Gauls, including those in Gaul itself. These La Tène peoples, who included the Germani cisrhenani, are generally considered unlikely to have spoken Germanic languages as defined today, though some may have spoken unknown related languages or Celtic dialects. To the north of these zones however, in southern Scandinavia and northern Germany, the archaeological cultures started to become more distinct from La Tène culture during the Iron Age.
Concerning Germanic speakers within these northern regions, the relatively well-defined Jastorf culture matches with the areas described by Tacitus, Pliny the elder and Strabo as Suevian homelands near the lower River Elbe, and stretching east on the Baltic coast to the Oder river. The Suevian peoples are seen by scholars as early West Germanic speakers. There is no consensus about whether neighbouring cultures in Scandinavia, Poland, and northwestern Germany were also part of a Germanic (or proto-Germanic)-speaking community at first, but this group of cultures were related to each other, and in contact. To the west of the Elbe for example, on what is now the German North Sea coast, was the so-called Harpstedt-Nienburger Group between the Jastorf culture and the La Tène influenced cultures of the Lower Rhine. To the east in what is now northern Poland was the Oksywie culture, later becoming the Wielbark culture with the arrival of Jastorf influences, probably representing the entry of East Germanic speakers. Related also to these and the Jastorf culture, was the Przeworsk culture in southern Poland. It began as strongly La Tène-influenced local culture, and apparently became at least partly Germanic-speaking.
The Jastorf culture came into direct contact with La Tène cultures on the upper Elbe and Oder rivers, believed to correspond to the Celtic-speaking groups such as the Boii and Volcae described in this area by Roman sources. In the south of their range, the Jastorf and Przeworsk material cultures spread together, in several directions.
unlike archaeologists today, Caesar, the originator of the idea of the Germanic peoples, believed that in prehistory, before his time, the Rhine had divided Germani from the Gauls. However, he noted that there must have already been significant movements in both directions, over the Rhine. Not only did he believe that the Germani had a long-standing tendency to make raids and group movements from the northeast, involving peoples such as the Cimbri long before him, and the Suevians in his time, it was also his understanding that there had been a time when the movement went in the opposite direction:
And there was formerly a time when the Gauls excelled the Germans [Germani] in prowess, and waged war on them offensively, and, on account of the great number of their people and the insufficiency of their land, sent colonies over the Rhine . Accordingly, the Volcae Tectosages, seized on those parts of Germany which are the most fruitful [and lie] around the Hercynian forest, (which, I perceive, was known by report to Eratosthenes and some other Greeks, and which they call Orcynia), and settled there.
Modern archaeologists see no sign of such movements, seeing the Gaulish La Tène culture as native to what is now southern Germany, and the La Tène influenced cultures on both sides of the Lower Rhine in this period quite distinct from the Elbe Germanic peoples, well into Roman times. On the other hand, the account of Caesar finds broad agreement with the archaeological record of the Celtic La Tène culture first expanding to the north, influencing all cultures there, and then suddenly having a weaker influence in that area. Subsequently the Jastorf culture expanded in all directions from the region between the lower Elbe and Oder rivers.
It is believed that most of the early Germanic peoples spoke Germanic languages.[j] This language family, named in modern times after the Roman-era peoples, and defined by the "First Germanic Sound Shift" also known as Grimm's law, is a branch of the older and larger Indo-European language family. Since the 19th century, many scholars simply define Germanic peoples as speakers of Germanic languages.[k] Although the Germanic tribes of the Lower Rhine, including the first tribes to be called Germani, probably did not initially speak Germanic languages, and were culturally Gaulish in the time of Caesar, Germanic languages became dominant in many areas, including the Rhine. Moreover, it is often proposed, partly on the basis of descriptions by authors such as Caesar and Tacitus, that they shared traditions other than language, such as religion, customs, costumes, weapons and law.
The urheimat ("original homeland" of the speakers of a proto-language) of the Germanic languages is thought to have been in the area of southern Scandinavia and northeastern Germany. Although both earlier and later scenarios have been proposed, including a larger "polycentric" origin area, Proto-Germanic is believed to have emerged as a separate branch of Indo-European in either the Nordic Bronze Age or later during the Iron age period Jastorf culture (located in eastern Germany between the lower Elbe and lower Oder), which was the southernmost regional culture to develop from the Nordic group. (Indo-European languages ancestral to Germanic and Celtic are believed to have been brought to this area thousands of years earlier by the Corded Ware culture around 2,800 BC, which developed a local variant known as the Battle Axe culture, which preceded the Nordic Bronze Age.)
Germanic contains many distinctive features compared to Indo-European languages, which have been explained by the Germanic substrate hypothesis. By 250 BC, it is believed that Germanic was dividing into distinct dialects.[better source needed] In modern scholarship, the Germanic languages are divided as follows:
- Anglo-Frisian, a group sharing some significant innovations and sometimes described as North Sea Germanic or even "Ingvaeonic", based on speculated connections to ancient groupings. The grouping is principally, although not only, characterized by the Ingvaeonic nasal spirant law, a feature shared by the Old English and Old Frisian languages and attested in Runic inscriptions on both sides of the North Sea after the 5th century (thus posterior to the Anglo-Saxon migrations),
- Continental West Germanic including Old Dutch, Low German, and High German. The "Frankish" dialects are sometimes claimed to show evidence of the existence of an extinct Weser-Rhine Germanic, which is referred to occasionally as "Istvaeonic" in older texts. This claim was partly based on older archaeological ideas that are not longer commonly held, and the continental West Germanic dialects probably only started splitting after the Roman era.
- North Germanic, all modern languages in this group being derived from Primitive Norse, then Old Norse,
- The East Germanic languages, of which only Gothic is known in any detail. It is likely that Vandals, Gepids, Burgundians and related groups also spoke East Germanic languages, although this is based only upon scarce onomastic evidence and no definitive conclusion is possible.
One late classical author who says that at least the Goths, Gepids and Vandals spoke the same language, was Procopius, though in the same passage he says they are also Scythian, Sarmatian and Getic.
By the 1st century CE, the writings of Pliny the Elder, and Tacitus reported a division of Germanic peoples into large groupings. Tacitus, in his Germania, specifically stated that one such division mentioned "in old songs" (carminibus antiquis) derived three such groups from three brothers, sons of Mannus, who was son of an earth-born god, Tuisto. These terms are also sometimes used in older modern linguistic terminology, attempting to describe the divisions of later Germanic languages:
On the other hand, he wrote in the same passage that some believe that there are other groups which are just as old as these three, including "the Marsi, Gambrivii, Suevi, Vandilii". Of these, Tacitus only discussed the Suebi in detail, specifying that they were a very large grouping, with many tribes, with their own names. The largest, he said, was the Semnones near the Elbe, who "claim that they are the oldest and the noblest of the Suebi."
Pliny the Elder, somewhat similarly, named five races of Germani in his Historia Naturalis, with the same basic three groups as Tacitus, plus two more eastern blocks of Germans, the Vandals, and further east the Bastarnae. He clarifies that the Istvaeones are near the Rhine, although he only gives one problematic example, the Cimbri. He also clarifies that the Suevi, though numerous, are actually in one of the three Mannus groups. His list:
- The Vandili, include the Burgundiones, the Varini, the Carini, and the Gutones. The Varini are listed by Tacitus as being Suebic, and the Gutones are described by him as Germanic, leaving open the question of whether they are Suebian.
- The Ingævones include the Cimbri, the Teutoni, and the tribes of the Chauci.
- The Istævones, who "join up to the Rhine", and including the Cimbri [sic, repeated, probably by error]
- The Hermiones, forming a fourth, dwell in the interior, and include the Suevi, the Hermunduri, the Chatti, the Cherusci,
- The Peucini, who are also the Basternæ, adjoining the Daci.
These accounts and others from the period emphasize that the Suebi formed an especially large and powerful group. Tacitus speaks also of a geographical "Suevia" with two halves either side of the Sudetes. The larger group that the Suevi were part of according to Pliny, the Hermiones, is mentioned in one other source: Pomponius Mela in his slightly earlier Description of the World, places "the farthest people of Germania, the Hermiones" somewhere to the east of the Cimbri and the Teutones, apparently on the Baltic. He did not mention Suebians.
Strabo, who focused mainly on Germani between the Elbe and Rhine, and does not mention the sons of Mannus, also set apart the names of Germani who are not Suevian, in two other groups, similarly implying three main divisions: "smaller German tribes, as the Cherusci, Chatti, Gamabrivi, Chattuarii, and next the ocean the Sicambri, Chaubi, Bructeri, Cimbri, Cauci, Caulci, Campsiani".
From the perspective of modern linguistic reconstructions, the classical ethnographers were not helpful in distinguishing two large groups that spoke types of Germanic very different from the Suebians and their neighbours, whose languages are the source of modern West Germanic.
- The Germanic peoples of the far north, in Scandinavia, were treated as Suebians by Tacitus, though their Germanic dialects would evolve into Proto Norse, and later Old Norse, as spoken by the Vikings, and then the North Germanic language family of today.
- The "Gothic peoples" who later formed large nations in the area that is today Ukraine, were not known to Tacitus, Pliny or Strabo, but their East Germanic languages are presumed to derive from languages spoken by Pliny's Vandal group (corresponding in part to the group made up of Gothones, Lemovii and Rugii described by Tacitus, who lived near the Baltic sea), and possibly also the Bastarnae.
The "Gothic peoples" in the territory of present-day Ukraine and Romania were seen by Graeco-Roman writers as culturally "Scythian", and not Germanic, and indeed some of them such as the Alans were clearly not Germanic-speaking either. Whether the Gothic-speaking groups among them had any consciousness of their connections to other Germanic-speaking peoples is a subject of dispute between scholars.
Possible earliest contacts with the classical world (4th–3rd centuries BCE)
Before Julius Caesar, Romans and Greeks had very little contact with northern Europe itself. Pytheas who travelled to Northern Europe some time in the late 4th century BCE was one of the only sources of information for later historians.[l] The Romans and Greeks however had contact with northerners who came south.
The Bastarnae or Peucini are mentioned in historical sources going back as far as the 3rd century BCE all the way through the 4th century CE. These Bastarnae were described by Greek and Roman authors as living in the territory east of the Carpathian Mountains north of the Danube's delta at the Black Sea. They were variously described as Celtic or Scythian, but much later Tacitus, in disagreement with Livy, said they were similar to the Germani in language. According to some authors then, they were the first Germani to reach the Greco-Roman world, and the Black Sea area.
In 201–202 BCE, the Macedonians under the leadership of King Philip V, conscripted the Bastarnae as soldiers to fight against the Roman Republic in the Second Macedonian War. They remained a presence in that area until late in the Roman Empire. The Peucini were a part of this people who lived on Peuce Island, at the mouth of the Danube on the Black Sea. King Perseus enlisted the service of the Bastarnae in 171–168 BCE to fight the Third Macedonian War. By 29 BCE, they were subdued by the Romans and those that remained presumably merged into various tribes of Goths into the second century CE.
Another eastern people known from about 200 BCE and sometimes believed to be Germanic speaking, are the Scirii, because they appear in a record in Olbia on the Black Sea which records that the city had been troubled by Scythians, Sciri and Galatians. There is a theory that their name, perhaps meaning pure, was intended to contrast with the Bastarnae, perhaps meaning mixed, or "bastards". Much later, Pliny the Elder placed them to the north near the Vistula together with an otherwise unknown people called the Hirrii. The Hirrii are sometimes equated with the Harii mentioned by Tacitus in this region, who he considered to be Germanic Lugians. These names also been compared to that of the Heruli, who are another people from the area of modern Ukraine, believed to have been Germanic. In later centuries the Scirii, like the Heruli, and many of the Goths, were among the peoples who allied with Attila and settled in the Middle Danube, Pannonian region.
Cimbrian War (2nd century BCE)
Late in the 2nd century BCE, Roman and Greek sources recount the migrations of the far northern "Gauls", the Cimbri, Teutones and Ambrones. Later, Caesar classified them as Germanic. They first appeared in eastern Europe where some researchers propose they may have been in contact with the Bastarnae and Scordisci. In Noricum, in 113 BCE, they defeated the Boii at the Battle of Noreia.
In Gaul, a combined force of Cimbri and Teutoni and others defeated the Romans in 107 in the Battle of Burdigala (at Bordeaux), in 105 in the Battle of Arausio (at Orange in France), and in 102 BCE Battle of Tridentum (at Trento). Their further incursions into Roman Italy were thrust back by the Romans at the Battle of Aquae Sextiae (Aix-en-Provence) in 102 BCE, and the Battle of Vercellae in 101 BCE (in Vercelli in Piedmont).
Julius Caesar (1st century BCE)
The campaigns of Caesar in what is now France ran from 58-50 BCE, in the period of the late Roman Republic. As mentioned above, Caesar had this written up in a way which introduced the term "Germanic" to refer to peoples such as the Cimbri and Suebi.
- 63 BCE Ariovistus, described by Caesar as Germanic, led mixed forces over the Rhine into Gaul as an ally of the Sequani and Averni in their battle against the Aedui, who they defeated at the Battle of Magetobriga. He stayed there on the west of the Rhine. He was also accepted as an ally by the Roman senate.
- 58 BCE. Caesar, as governor of Gaul, took the side of the Aedui against Ariovistus and his allies. He reported that Ariovistus had already settled 120,000 of his people, was demanding land for 24,000 Harudes who subsequently defeated the Aedui, and had 100 clans of Suebi coming into Gaul. Caesar defeated Ariovistus at the Battle of Vosges (58 BC).
- 55-53 BCE. Controversially, Caesar moved his attention to Northern Gaul. In 55 BCE he made a show of strength on the Lower Rhine, crossing it with a quickly made bridge, and then massacring a large migrating group of Tencteri and Usipetes who crossed the Rhine from the east. In the winter of 54/53 the Eburones, the largest group of Germani cisrhenani, revolted against the Romans and then dispersed into forests and swamps.
Still in the 1st century BCE the term Germani was already used by Strabo (see above) and Cicero in ways clearly influenced by Caesar. Of the tribes encountered by Caesar, the Tribocci, Vangiones, Nemetes and Ubii were all found later, on the east of the Rhine, along the new frontier of the Roman empire.
Julio-Claudian dynasty (27 BCE—68 CE) and the Year of Four Emperors (69 CE)
During the reign of Augustus from 27 BCE until 14 CE, the Roman empire became established in Gaul, with the Rhine as a border. This empire made costly campaigns to pacify and control the large region between the Rhine and Elbe. In the reign of his successor Tiberius it became a policy to leave the border at the Rhine, and expand the empire no further in that direction. The Julio-Claudian dynasty, the extended family of Augustus, played close personal attention to management of this Germanic frontier, establishing a tradition followed by many future emperors. Major campaigns were led from the Rhine personally by Nero Claudius Drusus, step-son of Augustus, then by his brother the future emperor Tiberius; next by the son of Drusus, Germanicus (father of the future emperor Caligula and grandfather of Nero).
In 38 BCE, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, consul of Transalpine Gaul, became the second Roman to lead forces over the Rhine. In 31 BCE Gaius Carrinas repulsed an attack by Suebi from east of the Rhine. In 25 BCE Marcus Vinicius took vengeance on some Germani in Germania, who had killed Roman traders. In 17/16 BCE at the Battle of Bibracte the Sugambri, Usipetes, and Tencteri crossed the Rhine and defeated the 5th legion under Marcus Lollius, capturing the legion's eagle.
From 13 BCE until 17 CE there were major Roman campaigns across the Rhine nearly every year, often led by the family of Augustus. First came the pacification of the Usipetes, Sicambri, and Frisians near the Rhine, then attacks increased further from the Rhine, on the Chauci, Cherusci, Chatti and Suevi (including the Marcomanni). These campaigns eventually reached and even crossed the Elbe, and in 5 CE Tiberius was able to show strength by having a Roman fleet enter the Elbe and meet the legions in the heart of Germania. However, within this period two Germanic kings formed large anti-Roman alliances. Both of them, ironically, had spent some of their youth in Rome:
- After 9 BCE, Maroboduus of the Marcomanni, had led his people away from the Roman activities into the Bohemian area, defended by forests and mountains, and formed alliances with other peoples. He was referred to as a king of the Suevians. In 6 CE Rome planned an attack but forces were needed for the Illyrian revolt in the Balkans, until 9 CE, at which time another problem arose in the north...
- In 9 CE, Arminius of the Cherusci, initially an ally of Rome, drew the a large unsuspecting Roman force into a trap in northern Germany, and defeated Publius Quinctilius Varus at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. Tiberius and Germanicus spent the next few years recovering their dominance of northern Germany. They made Maroboduus an ally, and he did not assist Arminius.
- 17-18 CE, war broke out between Arminius and Maroboduus, with indecisive results.
- 19 CE, Marobduus was deposed by a rival claimant, perhaps supported by the Romans, and fled to Italy. He died in 37 CE. Germanicus also died, in Antioch.
- 21 CE. Arminius died, murdered by opponents within his own tribe.
Strabo, writing in this period in Greek, mentioned that apart from the area near the Rhine itself, the areas to the east were now inhabited by the Suevi, "who are also named Germans, but are superior both in power and number to the others, whom they drove out, and who have now taken refuge on this side the Rhine". Various peoples had fallen "prey to the flames of war".
The Julio-Claudian dynasty also recruited northern Germanic warriors, particularly men of the Batavi, as personal bodyguards to the Roman emperor, forming the so-called Numerus Batavorum. After the end of the dynasty, in 69 AD, the Batavian bodyguard were dissolved by Galba in 68 because of its loyalty to the old dynasty. The decision caused deep offense to the Batavi, and contributed to the outbreak of the Revolt of the Batavi in the following year which united Germani and Gauls, all connected to Rome but living both within the empire and outside it, over the Rhine. Their indirect successors were the Equites singulares Augusti which were, likewise, mainly recruited from the Germani. They were apparently so similar to the Julio-Claudians' earlier German Bodyguard that they were given the same nickname, the "Batavi". Gaius Julius Civilis, a Roman military officer of Batavian origin, orchestrated the Revolt. The revolt lasted nearly a year and was ultimately unsuccessful.
Flavian and Antonine dynasties (70–192 CE)
The Emperor Domitian, of the Flavian dynasty faced attacks from the Chatti in Germania superior, with its capital at Mainz, a large tribe which had not been in the alliance of Arminius or Maroboduus. The Romans claimed victory by 84 CE and Domitian also improved the frontier defenses of Roman Germania, consolidating control of the Agri Decumates, and converting Germania Inferior and Germania Superior into normal Roman provinces. In 89 CE the Chatti were allies of Lucius Antonius Saturninus in his failed revolt.  Domitian, and his eventual successor Trajan, also faced increasing concerns about an alliance on the Danube, of the Suevian Marcomanni and Quadi, with the neighbouring Sarmatian Iazyges, and it was in this area that dramatic events unfolded over the next few generations. Trajan himself expanded the empire in this region, taking over Dacia.
The Marcomannic Wars during the time of Marcus Aurelius ended in approximately 180 CE. Dio Cassius called it the war against the Germani, noting that Germani was the term used for people who dwell up in those parts (in the north). A large number of peoples from north of the Danube were involved, not all Germanic-speaking, and there is much speculation about what events or plans led to this situation. Many scholars believe a pressure was being created by aggressive movements of peoples further north, for example with the apparent expansion of the Wielbark culture of the Vistula, probably representing Gothic peoples who may have pressured Vandal peoples towards the Danube.
- In 162 the Chatti once again attacked the Roman provinces of Raetia (with capital at Augsburg) and Germania Superior to their south. During the main war in 973 they were repulsed from the Rhine frontier to their west, along with their neighbours the Suevian Hermunduri.
- In 167, during the Antonine plague the Marcomanni, Quadi, and the Sarmatian Iazyges attacked and pushed their way to Italy where they besieged Aquileia, triggering the main series of wars. A smaller group of Lombards also breached the border together with a group called the Obii, and they were defeated.
Other peoples, perhaps not all Germanic, involved in various actions included the Costoboci, the Hasdingi and Lacringi Vandals, the Varisci (or Naristi) and the Cotini (not Germanic according to Tacitus), and possibly also the Buri.
After these Marcomannic wars, the Middle Danube began to change, and in the next century the peoples living there tended to be referred to as Gothic, rather than Germanic.
New names on the frontiers (170–370)
By the early 3rd century AD, large new groupings of Germanic people appeared near the Roman frontier, though not strongly unified. The first of these conglomerations mentioned in the historical sources were the Alamanni (a term meaning "all men") who appear in Roman texts sometime in the 3rd century CE. These are believed to have been a mixture of mainly Suebian peoples, who coalesced in the Agri Decumates. Emperor Severus Alexander was killed by his own soldiers in 235 CE for paying for peace with the Alamanni and the anti-aristocratic general Maximinus Thrax was elected to be emperor by the Pannonian army. According to the notoriously unreliable Augustan History (Historia Augusta), he was born in Thrace or Moesia to a Gothic father and an Alanic mother,
Secondly, soon after the appearance of the Alamanni, on the Upper Rhine, the Franks begin to be mentioned on the bend of the lower Rhine. In this case, the collective name was new, but the original tribes who composed the group were largely local, and their old names were still sometimes mentioned. The Franks were referred to still sometimes as Germani.
Thirdly, the Goths and other "Gothic peoples" from the area of today's Poland and Ukraine, many of whom were Germanic speaking peoples, began to appear in records of this period.
- In 238, Goths crossed the Danube and invaded Histria. The Romans came an agreement with them, giving them payment, and receiving back prisoners. The Dacian Carpi, who had been paid off by the Romans before then, complained to the Romans that they were more powerful than the Goths.
- After his victory in 244, Persian ruler Shapur I recorded his defeat of the Germanic and Gothic soldiers who were fighting for emperor Gordian III. Possibly this recruitment resulted from the agreements after Histria.
- After attacks by the Carpi into the empire in 246 and 248, Philip the Arab defeated them and then cut off payments to the Goths. In 250 CE a Gothic king Cniva led Goths with Bastarnae, Carpi, Vandals, and Taifali into the empire, laying siege to Philippopolis. He followed victory there with another on the marshy terrain at Abrittus, a battle which cost the life of Roman emperor Decius.
- In 253/254, further attacks occurred reaching Thessalonica and possibly Thrace.
- Approximately 255-257 there were several raids from the Black sea coast by "Scythian" peoples, apparently first led by the Boranes, who were probably a Sarmatian people. These were followed by bigger raids led by the Herules in 267/268, and a mixed group of Goths and Herules in 269/270.
In 260 CE, as the Roman Imperial Crisis of the Third Century reached its climax, Postumus, a Germanic soldier in Roman service, established the Gallic Empire, which claimed suzerainty over Germania, Gaul, Hispania and Britannia. Postumus was eventually assassinated by his own followers, after which the Gallic Empire quickly disintegrated. The traditional types of border battles with Germani, Sarmatians and Goths continued on the Rhine and Danube frontiers after this.
- In the 270s the emperor Probus fought several Germanic peoples who breached both the Rhine and Danube, and tried to maintain Roman control over the Agri Decumates. He fought not only the Franks and Alamanni, but also Vandal and Burgundian groups now apparently near the Danube.
- In the 280s, Carus fought Quadi and Sarmatians.
- In 291, the 11th panegyric to emperor Maximian given in Trier, was the first time the Gepids, Tervingi and Taifali were mentioned. The passage described a battle outside the empire where the Gepids were on the side of the Vandals, attacked by Taifali and a "part" of the Goths. The other part of the Goths had defeated the Burgundians who were supported by Tervingi and Alemanni.
Migration Period (ca. 375–568)
Since its very beginning, the Roman empire had successfully kept northern tribes at arms length, just as Caesar had proposed. However, the ability to handle the barbarians in the old way broke down in the late 4th century and the western part of the empire itself broke down. In addition to the Franks on the Rhine frontier, and Suevian peoples such as the Alamanni, the eastern Germanic-speaking "Gothic peoples" now played an increasing role both inside and outside imperial territory.
Gothic entry into the empire
The Gothic wars of the late 4th century, were in some ways similar to the biggest border conflicts of the past, but saw the defeat of a major Roman army and killing of emperor Valens at the Battle of Adrianopolis (378). While the eastern empire eventually recovered, the subsequent long reigning western emperor Honorius (reigned 393-423) was unable to impose imperial authority over much of the empire, for most of his reign. In contrast to the eastern empire, in the west the "attempts of its ruling class to use the Roman-barbarian kings to preserve the res publica failed".
The Gothic wars were affected indirectly by the arrival of the nomadic Huns from Central Asia into the Ukrainian region. Some Gothic peoples, such as the Gepids and the Greuthungi (sometimes seen as predecessors of the later Ostrogoths), joined the newly forming Hunnish faction, and played a prominent role in the Hunnic Empire, where Gothic became a lingua franca. Based on the description of Socrates Scholasticus, Guy Halsall has argued that the Hunnish hegemony developed after a major campaign by Valens against the Goths, which had caused great damage, but failed to achieve a decisive victory. Peter Heather has argued that Socrates should be rejected on this point, as inconsistent with the testimony of Ammianus.
In contrast, the Gothic Thervingi had borne the impact of the campaign of Valens, under the leadership of Athanaric, and were losers against the Huns, but clients of Rome. A new faction under leadership of Fritigern, a christian, were given asylum inside the Roman Empire in 376 CE. They crossed the Danube and became foederati. With the emperor occupied in the Middle East, the Tervingi were treated badly, becoming desperate, and significant numbers of mounted Greuthungi, Alans and others were able to cross the river and support a Tervingian uprising leading to the massive Roman defeat at Adrianople.
Around 383, the Romans and the Goths now within the empire came to agreements about the terms under which the Goths should live. There is debate about the exact nature of such agreements, and for example whether it allowed the continuous semi-independent existence of pre-existing peoples, however the Goths do appear to have been allowed more privileges than traditional settlements with such outside groups. One result of the large settlement was that the imperial army now had a large number of Goths, including Gothic generals.
By 383 a new emperor, Theodosius I, was seen as victorious over the Goths and having the situation back under control. Goths were a prominent but resented part of the eastern military. The Greutungi and Alans had been settled in Pannonia by the western co-emperor Gratian (assassinated in 383) who was himself a Pannonian. Theodosius died 395, and was succeeded by his sons: Arcadius in the east, and Honorius, who was still a minor, in the west. The Western empire had however become destabilized since 383, with several young emperors including Gratian having previously been murdered. Court factions and military leaders in the east and west attempted to control the situation.
Alaric was a Roman military commander of Gothic background, who first appears in the record in the time of Theodosius. He became one of the various Roman competitors for influence and power in the difficult situation. The forces he led were described as mixed barbarian forces, and clearly included many other people of Gothic background, which had become common in the eastern empire. In an important turning point for Roman history, during the factional turmoil, his army came to act increasingly as an independent political entity within the Roman empire, and he eventually came to be referred to as their king, probably around 401 CE, when he lost his official Roman title. This is the origin of the Visigoths, who the empire later allowed to settle in what is now southwestern France. While military units had often had their own ethnic history and symbolism, this is the first time that such a group became a new kingdom. There is disagreement about whether Alaric or his family had a royal background, but there is no doubt that this kingdom was a new entity, very different from any previous Gothic kingdoms.
Invasions of 401–411
In the aftermath of the large scale Gothic entries into the empire, the Germanic Rhine groups, the Franks and Alemanni, became more secure in their positions in 395, when Stilicho made agreements with them so that he could withdraw the imperial forces from their Rhine frontier in order to use them in his conflicts with Alaric and the Eastern empire.
On the Danube, change was far more dramatic. In the words of Walter Goffart:
- Between 401 and 411, four distinct groups of barbarians - different from Alaric's Goths - invaded Roman territory, all apparently on one-way journeys, in large-scale efforts to transpose themselves onto imperial soil and not just plunder and return home.
The reasons that these invasions apparently all dispersed from the same area, the Middle Danube, are uncertain. It is most often argued that the Huns must have already started moving west, and pressuring the Middle Danube. Peter Heather for example writes that around 400, "a highly explosive situation was building up in the Middle Danube, as Goths, Vandals, Alans and other refugees from the Huns moved west of the Carpathians" into the area of modern Hungary on the Roman frontier.
Walter Goffart, in contrast, has pointed out that there is no clear evidence of new eastern groups arriving in the area immediately before the great movements, and so it remains possible that the Huns moved West after these large groups had left the Middle Danube. Goffart's suggestion is that the example of the Goths, such as those led by Alaric, had set an example leading to a "common perception that warriors could improve their condition by forcing their existence on the attention of the Empire".
Whatever the chain of events, the Middle Danube later became the centre of Attila's loose empire containing many East Germanic people from the east, who remained there after the death of Attila. The make-up of peoples in that area, previously the home of the Germanic Marcomanni, Quadi and non-Germanic Iazyges, changed completely in ways which had a significant impact on the Roman empire and its European neighbours. In the future, though the new peoples ruling this area still included Germanic-speakers, as discussed above, they were not described by Romans as Germani, but rather "Gothic peoples".
- In 401, Claudian mentions a Roman victory over a large force including Vandals, in the province of Raëtia. It is possible that this group was involved in the later crossing of the Rhine.
- In 405-406, Radagaisus who was probably Gothic, entered the empire on the Middle Danube with a very large force of unclearly defined, but apparently Gothic, composition, and succeeded to invade Italy. He was captured and killed in 406 near Florence and 12000 of his men recruited into Roman forces.
- A more successful invasion apparently also originating from the Middle Danube, reached the Rhine a few months later. As described by Halsall: "On 31 December 405 a huge body from the interior of Germania crossed the Rhine: Siling and Hasding Vandals, Sueves and Alans. [...] The Franks in the area fought back furiously and even killed the Vandal king. Significantly no source mentions any defense by Roman troops." The composition of this group of barbarians, who were not all Germanic-speaking, indicates that they had traveled from the area north of the Middle Danube. (The Suebians involved may well have included remnants of the once powerful Marcomanni and Quadi.) The non-Germanic Alans were the largest group, and one part of them under King Goar settled with Roman agreement in Gaul, while the rest of these peoples entered Roman Iberia in 409 and established kingdoms there, and some traveled further to establish the Vandal kingdom of North Africa.
- In 411 a Burgundian group established themselves in northern Germania Superior on the Rhine, between Franks and Alamanni, holding the cities of Worms, Speyer, and Strassburg. They and a group of Alans helped establish yet another short-lived claimant to the throne, Jovinus, who was eventually defeated by the Visigoths cooperating with Honorius.
Motivated by the ensuing chaos in Gaul, in 406 the Roman army in Britain elected Constantine "III" as emperor and they took control there.
In 408, the eastern emperor Arcadius died, leaving a child as successor, and the west Roman military leader Stilicho was killed. Alaric, wanting a formal Roman command but unable to negotiate one, invaded Rome itself, twice, in 401 and 408.
Constantius III, who became Magister militum by 411, restored order step-by-step, eventually allowing the Visigoths to settle within the empire in southwest Gaul. He also committed to re-taking control of Iberia, from the Rhine-crossing groups. When Constantius died in 421, having been co-emperor himself for one year, Honorius was the only emperor in the West. However, Honorius died in 423 without heir. After this, the Western Roman empire steadily lost control of its provinces.
From Western Roman Empire to medieval kingdoms (420–568)
The Western Roman Empire declined over several steps in the 5th and 6th centuries, and the eastern emperors only had limited control over events in Italy and the western empire. Germanic speakers who by now dominated the Roman military in Europe, and lived both inside and outside the empire, played many roles in this complex dynamic. Notably, as the old territory of the western empire came to be ruled on a regional basis, the barbarian military forces, ruled now by kings, took over administration with differing levels of success. With some exceptions, such as the Alans and Bretons, most of these new political entities identified themselves with a Germanic-speaking heritage.
In the 420s, Flavius Aëtius was a general who successfully used Hunnish forces on several occasions, fighting Roman factions, and various barbarians including Goths and Franks. In 429 he was elevated to the rank of magister militum in the western empire, putting him in control of much of its policy. One of his first conflicts was with Boniface, a rebellious governor of the province of Africa in modern Tunisia and Libya. Both sides sought an alliance with the Vandals based in southern Spain who had acquired a fleet there. In this context, the Vandal and Alan kingdom of North Africa and the western Mediterranean would come into being.
- In 433 Aëtius was in exile and spent time in the Hunnish domain.
- In 434, the Vandals were granted the control of some parts of northwest Africa, but Aëtius defeated Boniface using Hunnish forces.
- In 436 Aëtius defeated the Burgundians on the Rhine with the help of Hunnish forces.
- In 439 the Vandals and their allies captured Carthage. The Romans made a new agreement recognizing the Visigothic kingdom.
- In 440, the Hunnish "empire" as it can now be called, under Attila and his brother Bleda began a series of attacks over the Danube into the eastern empire, and Danubian part of the western empire. They received enormous payments from the eastern empire and then focused their attentions to the west, where they were already familiar with the situation, and in friendly contact with the African Vandals.
- In 442 Aëtius seems to have granted the Alans who had remained in Gaul a kingdom, apparently including Orléans, possibly to counter local independent Roman groups (so called Bagaudae, who also competed for power in Iberia).
- In 443 Aëtius settled the Burgundians from the Rhine deeper in the empire, in Savoy in Gaul.
- In 451, the large mixed force of Attila crossed the Rhine but was defeated by Aetius with forces from the settled barbarians in Gaul - Visigoths, Franks, Burgundians and Alans.
- In 452 Attila attacked Italy, but had to retreat to the Middle Danube because of disease.
- In 453, Aëtius and Attila both died.
- In 454, the Hunnish alliance divided and fought the Battle of Nedao. The original names of the peoples in the alliance appear again. Several of them were allowed to become federates of the eastern empire in the Balkans, and others created kingdoms in the Middle Danube.
In the subsequent decades, the Franks and Alamanni tended to remain in small kingdoms but these began to extend deeper into the empire. In northern Gaul, a Roman military "King of Franks" also seems to have existed, Childeric I, whose successor Clovis I established dominance of the smaller kingdoms of the Franks and Alamanni, who they defeated at the Battle of Zülpich in 496.
Compared to Gaul, what happened in Roman Britain, which was similarly both isolated from Italy and heavily Romanized, is less clearly recorded. However the end result was similar, with a Germanic-speaking military class, the Anglo-Saxons, taking over administration of what remained of Roman society, and conflict between an unknown number of regional powers. While major parts of Gaul and Britain redefined themselves ethnically on the basis of their new rulers, as Francia and England, in England the main population also became Germanic speaking. The exact reasons for the difference are uncertain, but significant levels of migration played a role.
In 476 Odoacer, a Roman soldier who came from the tribes of the Middle Danube in the aftermath of Nedao, became King of Italy, removing the last western emperors from power. He was murdered and replaced in 493 by Theoderic the Great, described as King of the Ostrogoths, one of the most powerful Middle Danube peoples of the old Hun alliance. Theoderic had been raised up and supported by the eastern emperors, and his administration continued a sophisticated Roman administration, in cooperation with the traditional Roman senatorial class. Similarly, Roman lifestyles continued in North Africa under the Vandals, Savoy under the Burgundians, and within the Visigothic realm.
The Ostrogothic kingdom ended in 542 when the eastern emperor Justinian made a last great effort to reconquer the Western Mediterranean. The conflicts destroyed the Italian senatorial class. The eastern empire was also unable to hold Italy for long, and in 568 the Lombard king Alboin, a Suebian people who had entered the Middle Danubian region from the north conquering and partly absorbing the frontier peoples there, entered Italy and created the Italian Kingdom of the Lombards there. These Lombards now included Suevi, Heruli, Gepids, Bavarians, Bulgars, Avars, Saxons, Goths, and Thuringians. As Peter Heather has written these "peoples" were no longer peoples in any traditional sense.
Older accounts which describe a long period of massive movements of peoples and military invasions are over-simplified, and only describe specific incidents. According to Herwig Wolfram, the Germanic peoples did not and could not "conquer the more advanced Roman world" nor were they able to "restore it as a political and economic entity"; instead, he asserts that the empire's "universalism" was replaced by "tribal particularism" which gave way to "regional patriotism". The Germanic peoples who overran the Western Roman Empire probably numbered less than 100,000 people per tribe, including approximately 15,000-20,000 warriors. They constituted a tiny minority of the population in the lands over which they seized control.[m]
Apart from the common history many of them had in the Roman military, and on Roman frontiers, a new and longer-term unifying factor for the new kingdoms was that by 500, the start of the Middle Ages, most of the old Western empire had converted to the same Rome-based Catholic form of Christianity. A key turning point was the conversion of Clovis I in 508. Before this point, many of the Germanic kingdoms, such as the Goths and Burgundians, were Arian Christians - a form of Christianity which they perhaps took up in the time of the Arian emperor Valens, but which was now considered a heresy.
Early Middle Ages
This section needs additional citations for verification. (March 2020) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
In the centuries after 568, the Visigothic kingdom, by now centred in Spain, was ended by the Umayyad conquest of Hispania in the 8th century. Much of continental catholic Europe became part of a greater Francia under the Merovingian and then the Carolingian dynasty, which began with Pepin the Short, the son of Charles Martel. Charles, though not a king, reconsolidated the Frankish kingdom's dominance over Saxons, Frisians, Bavarians and Burgundians, and defeated the Umayyads at the 732 Battle of Tours. Pepin's son Charlemagne conquered the Lombards in 774, and in an important turning point in European history, was crowned as emperor by Pope Leo III in Rome on Christmas Day, 800 CE. This consolidated a shift in the power structure from the south to the north, and was also a strong symbolic link to Rome and the Roman Christianity. The core of the new empire included what is now France, Germany and the Benelux countries. The empire laid the foundations for the medieval and early modern ancien regime, finally destroyed only by the French Revolution. The Frankish-Catholic way of doing politics and war and religion also had a strong effect upon all neighbouring regions, including what became England, Spain, Italy, Austria, and Bohemia.
The effect of old Germanic culture on this new Latin-using empire is a topic of dispute, because there was much continuity with the old Roman legal systems, and the increasingly important Christian religion. An example which is argued to show an influence of earlier Germanic culture is law. The new kingdoms created new law codes in Latin, with occasional Germanic words. These were Roman-influenced, and under strong church influence all law was increasingly standardized to accord with Christian philosophy, and old Roman law.
Germanic languages in western Europe also faded out of use in most areas apart from the West Germanic group of related languages including England, the "Austrasian" Frankish homelands near the Lower Rhine, Maas and Scheldt rivers, and the large area between the Rhine and Elbe. With the splitting off of this latter area within the Frankish empire, the first ever political entity corresponding loosely to modern "Germany" came into existence.
In Eastern Europe the once relatively developed periphery of the Roman world collapsed culturally and economically, and this can be seen in the Germanic-associated archaeological evidence: in the area of today's southern Poland and Ukraine the collapse was not long after 400, and by 700 Germanic material culture was entirely west of the Elbe in the area where the Romans had been active since Caesar's time, and the Franks were now active. East of the Elbe was to become mainly Slavic speaking.
Outside of the Roman-influenced zone, Germanic-speaking Scandinavia was in the Vendel period and eventually entered the Viking Age, with expansion to Britain, Ireland and Iceland in the west and as far as Russia and Greece in the east. Swedish Vikings, known locally as the Rus', ventured deep into Russia, where they founded the political entities of Kievan Rus'. They defeated the Khazar Khaganate and became the dominant power in Eastern Europe. The dominant language of these communities came to be East Slavic. By 900 CE the Vikings also secured a foothold on Frankish soil along the Lower Seine River valley in what became known as Normandy. On the other hand, the Scandinavian countries were, starting with Denmark, under the influence of Germany to their south, and also the lands where they had colonies. Bit by bit they became Christian, and organized themselves into Frankish- and Catholic-influenced kingdoms.
Roman descriptions of early Germanic people and culture
Caesar and Tacitus gave colorful descriptions of the Germanic peoples, but scholars note that these need to be viewed cautiously. For one thing, many of the tropes used, such as concerning the red or blond hair, the blue eyes, and the undisciplined emotions of the Germanic peoples, were old ones that had long been used for any northern peoples such as Gauls. Secondly, the Germanic descriptions of both authors are recognized as having been intended to be both critical of Roman moral softness, and pushing for specific foreign policies.
Tacitus famously described the Germanic people as ethnically "unmixed", which had an influence on pre-1945 German racist nationalism. It was not necessarily meant to be purely positive:
- For my own part, I agree with those who think that the tribes of Germany are free from all taint of inter-marriages with foreign nations, and that they appear as a distinct, unmixed race, like none but themselves. Hence, too, the same physical peculiarities throughout so vast a population. All have fierce blue eyes, red hair, huge frames, fit only for a sudden exertion. They are less able to bear laborious work. Heat and thirst they cannot in the least endure; to cold and hunger their climate and their soil inure them.
Modern scholars point out that one way of interpreting such remarks is that it is consistent with other comments by Tacitus indicating that the Germanic people lived very remotely, in unattractive countries, for example in the next part of the text:
- Their country, though somewhat various in appearance, yet generally either bristles with forests or reeks with swamps; it is more rainy on the side of Gaul, bleaker on that of Noricum and Pannonia. It is productive of grain, but unfavourable to fruit-bearing trees; it is rich in flocks and herds, but these are for the most part undersized, and even the cattle have not their usual beauty or noble head. 
Archaeological research has revealed that the early Germanic peoples were primarily agricultural, although husbandry and fishing were important sources of livelihood depending on the nature of the environment. They carried out extensive trade with their neighbours, notably exporting amber, slaves, mercenaries and animal hides, and importing weapons, metals, glassware and coins in return. They eventually came to excel at craftsmanship, particularly metalworking. In many cases in fact, ancient Germanic smiths and other craftsmen produced products of higher quality than the Romans.[n]
Before Tacitus, Julius Caesar described the Germani and their customs in his Commentarii de Bello Gallico, though in certain cases it is still a matter of debate if he refers to Northern Celtic tribes or clearly identified Germanic tribes. Caesar notes that the Gauls had earlier dominated and sent colonies into the lands of the Germans, but that the Gauls had since degenerated under the influence of Roman civilization, and now considered themselves inferior in military prowess.[o]
- [The Germani] have neither Druids to preside over sacred offices, nor do they pay great regard to sacrifices. They rank in the number of the gods those alone whom they behold, and by whose instrumentality they are obviously benefited, namely, the sun, fire, and the moon; they have not heard of the other deities even by report. Their whole life is occupied in hunting and in the pursuits of the military art; from childhood they devote themselves to fatigue and hardships. Those who have remained chaste for the longest time, receive the greatest commendation among their people; they think that by this the growth is promoted, by this the physical powers are increased and the sinews are strengthened. And to have had knowledge of a woman before the twentieth year they reckon among the most disgraceful acts; of which matter there is no concealment, because they bathe promiscuously in the rivers and [only] use skins or small cloaks of deer's hides, a large portion of the body being in consequence naked.
- They do not pay much attention to agriculture, and a large portion of their food consists in milk, cheese, and flesh; nor has any one a fixed quantity of land or his own individual limits; but the magistrates and the leading men each year apportion to the tribes and families, who have united together, as much land as, and in the place in which, they think proper, and the year after compel them to remove elsewhere.
In a 2013 book which reviewed studies up until then it was remarked that: "If and when scientists find ancient Y-DNA from men whom we can guess spoke Proto-Germanic, it is most likely to be a mixture of haplogroup I1, R1a1a, R1b-P312 and R1b-106". This was based purely upon those being the Y-DNA groups judged to be most commonly shared by speakers of Germanic languages today. However, as remarked in that book: "All of these are far older than Germanic languages and some are common among speakers of other languages too."
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to |
|Wikisource has the text of a 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article about Germanic peoples.|
- List of Germanic peoples
- Early Germanic culture
- Nordic race
- Italic peoples
- Goffart (2006, p. 5); Müller (1998, p. 14-15); Goffart (1989, p. 112-113). Older terms include "Gothonic" used by the Danish writer Gudmund Schütte, before World War II and "Early Germans" used in a book title by Malcolm Todd (Todd 2004). For criticism of using "Germans" see for example Wolfram (1988, p. 10-13), Halsall (2014). Compare also to the influential old definition in German by the Grimm brothers for "der Germane" (Grimm & Grimm).
- Wolfram (1997, p. 3): "There was a time where it was possible to say: 'The name Germanic peoples refers to those ethnic tribes who spoke a Germanic language'." Pohl (2004a, p. 47): "Für die Zusammenarbeit der Disziplinen ist festzuhalten, dass die von der Philologie rekonstruierten Sprachen, wie eben das Germanische, Abstraktionen sind...". Burns (2003, p. 20): "...there was always a problem with early Germanic because only fourth-century Gothic is extant as a written Germanic language prior to the ninth century..."
- This approach is sometimes questioned. Burns (2003, p. 20): "Concurrent with the creation of these linguistic theories, historians and politicians integrated them into their justifications and explanations of the rise of the nation-state, which is now again in question." Halsall (2014, p. 520), using the Gothic peoples as an example: "Linguistically, we can justify a grouping on the basis that all these peoples spoke a related form of Indo-European language, whether East, West or North Germanic. Such a modern definition, however, does not equate with the classical idea of the Germani." Goffart (2006, p. 222): "No discernible benefit comes from out being reminded again and again in modern writings that many of these barbarians at each other's throats probably spoke dialects of the same language. The G-word can be dispensed with."
- Pohl (2004a, p. 9-10): "Die Sprachwissenschaft kann weiterhin nach bestimmten Kriterien, etwa de 1. Lautverscheibung, die Entstehung der germanischen Sprache(n) definieren und grob zeitlich und räumlch einordnen. Selbst wo sich dabei beachtliche Überschneidungen mit dem Verbreitungsgebiet einer archäologischen Kultur ergeben können (wie der eisenzeitlichen, vorrömischen Jastorf-Kultur mit Zentrum an der Unterelbe), kann diese Bevölkerung archäologisch nicht ohne weiteres als 'Germanen' definiert werden."
- Pohl (2006, p. 103): "what modern philology has accustomed us to see as one family of languages or even a single language was, with all its variants, not an instrument by which all its native speakers could easily comprehend each other."
- See for example Todd (2004, p. 8-9) and Müller (1998, p. 80). The latter gives a detailed summary of some of the many proposals. Wolfram (1988, p. 5), for example, thinks "Germani" must be Gaulish. Historian Wolfgang Pfeifer more or less concurs with Wolfram and surmises that the name Germani is likely of Celtic etymology, related in this case to the Old Irish word gair (neighbors) or could be tied to the Celtic word for their war cries gairm, which simplifies into "the neighbors" or "the screamers". But there is no consensus.
- Roymans (2014, p. 29): "The archaeology of the Late Iron Age argues for a north-south articulation of the northwest European continent, in which the Rhine does not function as a cultural boundary. On the contrary, groups in the southern Netherlands and northern Belgium as well as in Hessen and southern Westphalia were strongly influenced by the La Tène culture, as is shown by the presence of central places, sanctuaries, specialist glass and metalworking, and the adoption of coinage."
- Wolfram (1997, p. 259) cites his letter 5, to his friend Syagrius. In contrast, the use of this word by Sidonius is apparently seen differently for example by Liebeschuetz (2015, p. 157), citing Sidonius Apollinaris, Carm. 12.4.
- Goffart (2006, p. 48) says: "A whole library of nineteenth- and twentieth-century scholarship can be evoked to show that a "Germanic antiquity" existed in parallel to its Greco-Roman counterpart."
- Heather (2006, p. 49) "Germanic-speaking groups dominated most of central and northern Europe beyond Rome's riverine frontiers. [...] The more one moved south and east through the region during the Roman period, the more likely it is that Germanic-speakers constituted a politically dominant force in very mixed societies."
- Rosenwein (2018, p. 21): "The Romans called all these peoples “barbarians,” though, borrowing a term from the Gauls, they designated those beyond the Rhine as “Germani”—Germans. Historians today tend to differentiate these peoples linguistically: “Germanic peoples” are those who spoke Germanic languages." Hachmann (1971, p. 49): "[T]he Germani [are] defined by modern scholars as a population group in central and northern Europe speaking Germanic languages or dialects."
- Ancient authors we know by name who saw Pytheas' text were Dicaearchus, Timaeus, Eratosthenes, Crates of Mallus, Hipparchus, Polybius, Artemidorus and Posidonius, as Lionel Pearson remarked in reviewing Hans Joachim Mette, Pytheas von Massalia (Berlin: Gruyter) 1952, in Classical Philology 49.3 (July 1954), pp. 212–214.
- Wolfram (1997, p. 7): "[T]hese tribes were surprisingly small: fifteen to twenty thousand warriors—which means a total of about one hundred thousand people in a tribe—was the maximum number a large people could raise... These people are likewise presented as conquerors of the Roman Empire, even though they constituted a vanishing minority within it."
- "Some smiths were able to rework iron into high-quality steel and make sword blades with a core of softer steel for flexibility and harder steel on the exterior to keep a sharp edge, far finer weapons than those used in the Roman army at the time."Waldman & Mason (2006, pp. 324) "Furthermore, the skills of Germanic smiths and other craftsmen were as good as, or better than those found inside the Roman empire."MacDowall (2000, p. 16)
- Caesar (2019, pp. 156, 6.24): "Proximity to our provinces and familiarity with seaborne imports bring the Gauls many things to use and keep, so they gradually grew accustomed to defeat, losing many battles and not even claiming to be the Germans' equals in courage now." Caesar (2019, pp. 29, 1.39): "[O]ur men inquired and heard Gauls and merchants describing the Germans' huge bodies, their incredible strength, and their experience in arms. They had often encountered them and could not stand the sight of them or endure their gaze. Great fear suddenly seized our whole army...".
- Wolfram (1997, p. 5-6); Müller (1998, p. 14).
- Pohl 2004a, p. 51.
- Todd (2004, p. 8-9); Müller (1998, p. 14).
- Todd 2004, p. 11.
- Müller (1998, p. 14-15); Liebeschuetz (2015, p. 97); Pohl (2004a, pp. 47,50-51).
- Goffart (2006, Preface): "Strange as it may seem to hear it said, there were no Germanic peoples in late antiquity. The illusion that there were can be outgrown."
- Heather 2009, p. 13.
- See for example Wolfram (1988, p. 10-13), Halsall (2014).
- Examples: Heather (2009, pp. 13-14,19-20); Halsall (2007, pp. 14-15); Goffart (2006, pp. 50-51)
- Halsall 2014, p. 518.
- Pohl 2004a, p. 52-53.
- Pohl (2006, p. 100); Müller (1998, pp. 8-10).
- Green 2007.
- Müller 1998, p.6 col.2.
- Pohl 2004a, p. 13.
- Caesar, Gallic Wars, 1.51. Also Harudes, Marcomanni, Tribocci, Vangiones, Nemetes, and Sedusii were listed. See below.
- Pohl (2006, p. 11); Kaul & Martens (1995); Goffart (2006, p. 282).
- Müller 1998, pp. 9-10.
- Liebeschuetz 2002, p. 59-60.
- Tacitus, Germania, 1.
- See below.
- Tacitus, Germania, 45-46; Ptolemy, Geography, 3.5 and 2.10; Pomponius Mela, Description of the World, 31.
- Caesar, Gallic Wars 6.24; Tacitus, Germania 28; Heather (2009, p.6,p.53).
- Wolfram 1997, p. 6.
- Caesar, Gallic Wars, 1.47, 6.21.
- Liebeschuetz (2015, p.95 n.4; p.97) for example, argues that Tacitus described the Germani as united by language.
- Pohl 2006, p. 121.
- Tacitus, Germania, 43. For the position of the Buri, there is also reference in Ptolemy's Geography of Germany.
- Tacitus, Germania, 45: "Aestiorum gentes [...], quibus ritus habitusque Sueborum", lingua Britannicae propior".
- Tacitus, Germania, 46.
- Pfeifer 2000, p. 434.
- Müller (1998, p. 4-5); Petrikovits (1999)
- Tacitus Germania, 2).
- Caesar, 2.4.
- Strabo, Geography, 7.1.2.
- Caesar, Gallic War, 6.34, for example, refers to the main tribe of these Germani, the Eburones as Gauls.
- Cassius Dio, 53.12.6.
- Procopius, Gothic War, 5.11.29; Agathias, Histories, 1.2.
- See for example Müller (1998, p. 2-4) where Neumann goes through many proposals.
- Athenaeus, Deipnosophists, Book 4.
- Polverini 1994, p. 2.
- Christensen 2002.
- Pliny the elder, Natural History, 4.27(/"13") and 37.11(/"7"). See Timpe (1989, p. 330).
- Strabo, Geography, 7.3.17; Tacitus, Germania, 46; Pliny, Natural History,4.28.
- Livy, History of Rome, 40.57.
- Goffart 2006, p. 49.
- Goffart (2006, p. 187) and Goffart (1989, p. 112-113).
- James 2009, p. 29.
- Pohl 2004b, p. 172.
- Pohl 2004b, pp. 171-172.
- Wolfram 1997, p. 11.
- Ringe, Don. "Inheritance versus lexical borrowing: a case with decisive sound-change evidence." Language Log, January 2009.
- Goffart (2006, p.278 & 282); Goffart (1989, p. 153).
- Pohl 2004b, p. 174.
- Goffart 2006, p. 46.
- Green 2007, pp. 409-413.
- Halsall (2007, p. 198); Bede, History, 5.9.
- Heather 2009, p. 115.
- Concerning the archaeological evidence, for the Gothic peoples see Heather (2009, p. 120).
- Goffart (2006, p. 46-47); Goffart (1989, p. 29).
- Goffart 2006, 43, pp.48ff.
- Chadwick 1945, p. 143.
- Nielsen 2004.
- Wolfram 1997, Introduction.
- Halsall 2014, p. 516.
- Heather 2010, p. 614.
- Halsall 2014, p. 18.
- Goffart 2006, p. 7.
- Heather 2009, p. 19.
- Heather 2007.
- Liebeschuetz 2015, pp. 94-96.
- Liebeschuetz 2015, p. 90.
- See map at Müller (1998, p. 145).
- Martens (2014)
- Caesar, Gallic Wars, 6.24
- Pohl (2006, p. 100); Liebeschuetz (2015, p. 96) (law).
- Polomé, Fee & Leeming (2006); Ringe (2006, p. 85); Lippi-Green (1992, p. 47); Koivulehto (2002, p. 591); Schmidt (1991, pp. 129-133); Wofagiewicz (1997).
- Heyd (2017); Kristiansen (2017)
- Encyclopædia Britannica, "Germanic Languages".
- Bremmer, Rolf H. (2009). An Introduction to Old Frisian: History, Grammar, Reader, Glossary. John Benjamins. p. 127. ISBN 978-90-272-3255-7.
On the other hand, the North Sea did not just divide, it also bridged England with Frisia. An awareness of cultural similarity is evidenced by the fact that both in England and Frisia, the same runic characters were used to represent the new sounds that had developed from Gmc *a. In the original runic alphabet, a was represented by ᚩ. In England and Frisia around 500 A.D., this rune came now to be used for æ, which was the result of fronting (§33).
- Hines, John (2017). "The Anglo-Frisian Question". In Hines, John; IJssennagger, Nelleke (eds.). Frisians and Their North Sea Neighbours: From the Fifth Century to the Viking Age. Boydell & Brewer. p. 30. ISBN 978-1-78327-179-5.
- Harm 2013.
- Procopius, Gothic War, 3.2.
- Plin. Nat. 4.28
- Pomponius Mela, Description of the World, trans. F.E. Romer, 3.31–3.32
- Strabo, Geography, 7.1.3
- Todd 2004, p. 23.
- Maciałowicz 2016.
- Waldman & Mason 2006, p. 61.
- Müller 2011.
- Wolfram 1997, pp. 3-4.
- Pliny the Elder, Natural History, 4.27(/39).
- Kaul & Martens 1995.
- Ozment 2005, p. 58fn.
- Woolf 2012, pp. 105–107.
- Kaul & Martens 1995, p. 153.
- Caesar, Gallic Wars, 1.51
- Cicero, Against Piso, 33.
- Cassius Dio, 48.49.
- Cassius Dio, 51.21.
- Cassius Dio, 53.26.
- Tacitus, Annales, 2.26.
- Strabo, Geography, 4.3.4.
- Suetonius, Galba 12.
- Tacitus, The History, 2.5.[re-check]
- Fuhrmann 2012, pp. 128-129.
- Goldsworthy 2016, pp. 201, 210, 212.
- Boatwright, Gargola & Talbert (2004, p. 360)Jones (1992, p. 128)
- Waldman & Mason 2006, p. 304.
- Dio Cassius, Book 72. Greek:  "Γερμανοὺς γὰρ τοὺς ἐν τοῖς ἄνω χωρίοις οἰκοῦντας ὀνομάζομεν" and  "πολέμῳ τοῦ Μάρκου τῷ πρὸς τοὺς Γερμανούς".
- Heather 2009, p. 101.
- Geary 1999, p. 109.
- Southern 2001, p. 63.
- Historia Augusta, "Life of Maximinus", 1.5.
- Todd (2004, p. 140)
- Heather 2009, pp. 127-228.
- Wolfram 1988, p. 44.
- Heather (2009, p. 112)
- Wolfram 1988, p. 48.
- Wolfram 1997, pp. 46–49.
- Pohl (1998, p. 131); Wolfram (1988, pp. 57-59);Nixon; Saylor Rodgers, eds. (January 1994), In Praise of Later Roman Emperors: The Panegyrici Latini, pp. 100–101, ISBN 9780520083264; Christensen (2002, pp. 207-209)
- Heather 2009, p. 112.
- Halsall (2007, pp. 234-237)
- Wolfram 1997, p. 103.
- Wolfram 1997, p. 142.
- Halsall 2007, p. 173.
- Heather 2009, p. 160.
- Heather 2009, p. 594.
- Halsall (2007, pp. 176-178); Wolfram (1997, pp. 79-87).
- Contrast Halsall (2007, pp. 180-185) and Heather (2009, pp. 189-196).
- Halsall (2007, pp. 183-185); Heather (2009, p. 194); Wolfram (1997, p. 110).
- Halsall 2007, pp. 206,217.
- Halsall 2007, p. 199.
- Goffart 2006, p. 94.
- Heather 2009, pp. 182-183,197.
- Goffart 2006, ch.5.
- Goffart 2006, pp. 88-89.
- Heather 2009, p. 182.
- Halsall 2007, p. 211.
- Halsall 2007, p. 240.
- Halsall 2007, p. 244.
- Halsall 2013.
- Geary 2002, p. 113.
- Heather (2009, p. 240), citing Paul the Deacon.
- Wolfram 1997, p. 308.
- Liebeschuetz 2015, p. 97.
- Geary 2002, pp. 123-128,137-138.
- Heather 2009, pp. 371-372.
- Derry (2012, pp. 16–35); Clements (2005, pp. 214–229); Waldman & Mason (2006, p. 310)
- Vasiliev 1936, pp. 117-135.
- Tacitus (2009, p. 39) Germania, 4.
- Tacitus (2009, p. 39) Germania, 5.
- Owen 1960, pp. 166-174.
- Owen 1960, pp. 174-178.
- Waldman & Mason 2006, p. 23.
- Caesar, Gallic Wars, 6.21.
- Caesar (2019, pp. 153–154), Gallic Wars, 6.22.
- Manco 2013, p. 208.
- Boatwright, Mary T.; Gargola, Daniel J.; Talbert, Richard J. A. (2004). The Romans: From Village to Empire. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-511875-9.
- Burns, Thomas (2003). Rome and the Barbarians, 100 B.C.—A.D. 400. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-7306-5.
- Caesar, Julius (2019). The War for Gaul: A New Translation. Translated by James O’Donnell. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-69117-492-1.
- Chadwick, Munro (1945). Nationalities of Europe and the Growth of National Ideologies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. OCLC 868629664.
- Christensen, Arne Søby (2002). Cassiodorus, Jordanes and the History of the Goths: Studies in a Migration Myth. ISBN 9788772897103.
- Clements, Jonathan (2005). A Brief History of the Vikings: Last Pagans or the First Modern Europeans?. London: Constable & Robinson. ISBN 978-1-84529-076-4.
- Cunliffe, Barry (2011). Europe between the Oceans, 9000 BC–AD 1000. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-17086-3.
- Derry, T.K. (2012). A History of Scandinavia: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0-8166-3799-7.
- Fuhrmann, Christopher (2012), Policing the Roman Empire: Soldiers, Administration, and Public Order, OUP, ISBN 978-0-19-973784-0
- Geary, Patrick J. (1999). "Barbarians and Ethnicity". In G.W. Bowersock; Peter Brown; Oleg Grabar (eds.). Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-51173-6.
- Geary, Patrick J. (2002). The Myth of Nations: The Medieval Origins of Europe. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-69109-054-2.
- Goffart, Walter (1989). Rome's Fall and After. London: Hambledon Press. ISBN 978-1-85285-001-2.
- Goffart, Walter (2006). Barbarian Tides: The Migration Age and the Later Roman Empire. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0-81222-105-3.
- Goldsworthy, Adrian (2016). Pax Romana. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-30017-882-1.
- Green, D. H. (2004). Language and History in the Early Germanic World. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521794234.
- Green, Dennis (2007). Barnish; Marazzi (eds.). Linguistic and Literary Traces of the Ostrogoths, The Ostrogoths from the Migration Period to the Sixth Century: An Ethnographic Perspective. Studies in Historical Archaeoethnology. 7. ISBN 9781843830740.
- Encyclopædia Britannica. "Germanic Languages: The Emergence of Germanic Languages". Britannica. Retrieved 27 March 2020.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
- Grimm, Jacob; Grimm, Willhelm, Deutsches Wörterbuch
- Hachmann, Rolf (1971). The Germanic peoples. Barrie and Jenkins.
- Halsall, Guy (2007). Barbarian Migrations and the Roman West, 376–568. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-52143-543-7.
- Halsall, Guy (2013), Halsall, Worlds of Arthur: Facts and Fictions of the Dark Ages
- Halsall, Guy (December 2014). "Two Worlds Become One: A 'Counter-Intuitive' View of the Roman Empire and 'Germanic' Migration". German History. Oxford University Press. 32 (4): 515–532. doi:10.1093/gerhis/ghu107. Retrieved 17 January 2020.
- Harm, Volker (2013), ""Elbgermanisch", "Weser-Rhein-Germanisch" und die Grundlagen des Althochdeutschen", in Nielsen; Stiles (eds.), Unity and Diversity in West Germanic and the Emergence of English, German, Frisian and Dutch, North-Western European Language Evolution, 66, pp. 79–99
- Heather, Peter. "Germany: Ancient History". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
- Heather, Peter (2010), "Afterword", in Curta, Florin (ed.), Neglected Barbarians, Studies in the Early Middle Ages, 32
- Heather, Peter (2006). The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195325416.
- Heather, Peter (2007), "Merely an Ideology? - Gothic identity in Ostrogothic Italy", in Barnish; Marazzi (eds.), Linguistic and Literary Traces of the Ostrogoths, The Ostrogoths from the Migration Period to the Sixth Century: An Ethnographic Perspective, Studies in Historical Archaeoethnology, 7, ISBN 9781843830740
- Heather, Peter (2009). Empires and Barbarians: The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-989226-6.
- Heather, Peter (2014). The Restoration of Rome: Barbarian Popes and Imperial Pretenders. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-936851-8.
- Heyd, Volker (2017). "Kossinna's smile" (PDF). Antiquity. 91 (356): 348–359. doi:10.15184/aqy.2017.21. hdl:10138/255652.
- James, Edward (2009). Europe's Barbarians, AD 200-600. ISBN 9781317868255.
- Jones, Brian W. (1992). The Emperor Domitian. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-10195-0.
- Koivulehto, Jorma (2002), "Contact with non-Germanic languages II: Relations to the East", The Nordic Languages, 1, ISBN 9783110148763
- Kristiansen, Kristian; Allentoft, Morten; Frei, Karin M (2017). "Re-theorising mobility and the formation of culture and language among the Corded Ware Culture in Europe". Antiquity. 91 (356): 334–347. doi:10.15184/aqy.2017.17.
- Kaul, Flemming; Martens, Jes (1995), "Southeast European Influences in the Early Iron Age of Southern Scandinavia. Gundestrup and the Cimbri", Acta Archaeologica, 66
- Liebeschuetz, Wolf (2002), "Gens into regnum: the Vandals", in Goetz; Jarnut; Pohl (eds.), Regna and Gentes, pp. 55–83
- Liebeschuetz, Wolf (2015). East and West in Late Antiquity: Invasion, Settlement, Ethnogenesis and Conflicts of Religion. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-28952-9.
- Lippi-Green, Rosina (1992), Recent Developments in Germanic Linguistics, ISBN 9027235937
- MacDowall, Simon (2000). Germanic Warrior 236-568 AD. Bloomsbury USA. ISBN 1841761524.
- Maciałowicz, Andrzej; Rudnicki, Marcin; Strobin, Anna (2016), "With gold and sword. Contacts of Celts and early Germanics in central Europe. The historical background: 3rd - 1st c. BC", in Rzeszotarska-Nowakiewicz (ed.), The Past Societies. Polish lands from the first evidence of human presence to the early Middle Ages", vol. 4: "500 BC - 500 AD", pp. 133–161
- Manco, Jean (2013). Ancestral Journeys: The Peopling of Europe from the First Venturers to the Vikings. New York: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-05178-8.
- Martens, Jes (2014), "Jastorf and Jutland (On the northern extent of the so-called Jastorf Culture)", Das Jastorf-Konzept und die vorrömische Eisenzeit im nördlichen Mitteleuropa
- Müller, Christel (2011), "Autopsy of a Crisis: Wealth, Protogenes and the City of Olbia in c. 200 BC", in Archibald; Davies; Gabrielsen (eds.), The Economies of Hellenistic Societies. Third to First Centuries BC, Oxford University Press, pp. 324–344
- Müller, Rosemarie, ed. (1998), Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde, ISBN 9783110808315
- Nielsen, Hans Frede (2004), "On the Terms for Germanic Employed by Scandinavian Scholars in the 19th and 20th Centuries", in Beck; Geuenich; Steuer; Hakelberg (eds.), Zur Geschichte der Gleichung "germanisch–deutsch", Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde, 34, ISBN 9783110910964
- Owen, Francis (1960). The Germanic People. New York: Bookman Associates.
- Ozment, Steven (2005). A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People. New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN 978-0-06-093483-5.
- Petrikovits (1999), "Germani Cisrhenani", in Beck (ed.), Germanenprobleme in heutiger Sicht, De Gruyter
- Pfeifer, Wolfgang (2000). Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Deutschen. München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag. ISBN 978-3-05000-626-0.
- Pohl, Walter (1998). "The Barbarian Successor States". In Leslie Webster; Michelle Brown (eds.). The Transformation of the Roman World, AD 400–900. London: British Museum Press. ISBN 978-0-7141-0585-7.
- Pohl, Walter (2002). Die Völkerwanderung: Eroberung und Integration (in German). Stuttgart: Kohlhammer Verlag. ISBN 3-17-015566-0.
- Pohl, Walter (2004a), Die Germanen, Enzyklopädie deutscher Geschichte, 57, ISBN 9783486701623
- Pohl, Walter (2004b), "Der Germanenbegriff vom 3. bis 8. Jahrhundert – Identifikationen und Abgrenzungen", in Beck; Geuenich; Steuer; Hakelberg (eds.), Zur Geschichte der Gleichung "germanisch–deutsch", Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde, 34, ISBN 9783110910964
- Pohl, Walter (2006), "Telling the Difference; Signs of ethnic identity", in Noble (ed.), From Roman Provinces to Medieval Kingdoms, ISBN 9781134337651
- Polomé, Edgar Charles; Fee, Christopher R.; Leeming, David Adams (2006). "Germanic mythology". In Leeming, David Adams (ed.). The Oxford Companion to World Mythology. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199916481. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- Polverini, Leandro (1994). "Germani in Italia prima dei Cimbri". Germani in Italia.
- Ringe, Don (2006), From Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic, 1 (2 ed.), ISBN 9780192511188
- Rosenwein, Barbara H. (2018). "The Barbarians". A Short History of the Middle Ages (5 ed.). University of Toronto Press. pp. 21–24. ISBN 9781442636224.
- Roymans, Nico (2014). Ethnic Identity and Imperial Power : The Batavians in the Early Roman Empire. Amsterdam University Press. doi:10.5117/9789053567050. ISBN 9789053567050.
- Schmidt, Karl Horst (1991). "The Celts and the Ethnogenesis of the Germanic People". Historische Sprachforschung. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. 104 (1): 129–152. JSTOR 40849016.
- Schütte, Gudmund (2013). Our Forefathers. Translated by Young, Jean. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107674783.
- Southern, Pat (2001), The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine, ISBN 9781134553815
- Tacitus, Cornelius (2009). Agricola and Germany. Translated by Anthony R. Birley. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19953-926-0.
- Timpe, Dieter (1989), "Entdeckungsgeschichte", in Beck, Heinrich (ed.), Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde, 7, p. 307–391, ISBN 9783110114454
- Todd, Malcolm (2004), The Early Germans, Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 1-4051-1714-1
- Vasiliev, Alexander A. (1936). The Goths in the Crimea. Medieval Academy of America.
- Verhart, Leo (2006). Op Zoek naar de Kelten, Nieuwe archeologische ontdekkingen tussen Noordzee en Rijn (in Dutch). Utrecht: Matrijs. ISBN 978-90-5345-303-2.
- Waldman, Carl; Mason, Catherine (2006). Encyclopedia of European Peoples. New York: Facts on File. ISBN 978-0-8160-4964-6.
- Wofagiewicz, Ryszard (1997), "The Pre-Roman Iron Age in Pomerania", Chronological Problems of the Pre-Roman Iron Age in Northern Europe, Arkæologiske skrifter, 7
- Wolfram, Herwig (1988). History of the Goths. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-05259-5.
- Wolfram, Herwig (1997). The Roman Empire and its Germanic Peoples. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-08511-6.
- Woolf, Greg (2012). Rome: An Empire's Story. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-932518-4.
Convenience links, bilingual where possible:
- Agathias, Histories: https://books.google.com/books?id=Wp92bUzuMoQC
- Bede, Ecclesiastical history of England : https://archive.org/details/venerablebedesec00bede/ Latin: https://www.thelatinlibrary.com/bede/bede5.shtml
- Caesar, De Bello Gallico: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=urn:cts:latinLit:phi0448.phi001
- Cicero, Against Piso: http://data.perseus.org/texts/urn:cts:latinLit:phi0474.phi027
- Dio Cassius, Roman History: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Cassius_Dio/
- Gregory of Tours
- Historia Augusta: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Historia_Augusta/home.html
- Jordanes, Getica: https://archive.org/details/gothichistoryofj00jorduoft/page/n4/mode/2up
- Titus Livy, History of Rome: http://data.perseus.org/texts/urn:cts:latinLit:phi0914.phi00140
- Paul the Deacon, History of the Langobards: https://archive.org/details/historyoflangoba00pauluoft Latin: https://www.thelatinlibrary.com/pauldeacon.html
- Pliny the Elder, Natural Histories, http://data.perseus.org/texts/urn:cts:latinLit:phi0978.phi001
- Pomponius Mela, Description of the World: https://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015042048507
- Procopius, Gothic War: https://books.google.com/books?id=nt0KDAAAQBAJ
- Ptolemy, Geography, http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Periods/Roman/_Texts/Ptolemy
- Strabo, Geography: http://data.perseus.org/texts/urn:cts:greekLit:tlg0099.tlg001
- Suetonius, 12 Caesars: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/L/Roman/Texts/Suetonius/12Caesars/
- Tacitus, Germania: http://data.perseus.org/texts/urn:cts:latinLit:phi1351.phi002
- Tacitus, The History: http://data.perseus.org/texts/urn:cts:latinLit:phi1351.phi004