Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 6.4 Str. 7.1 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 7.2

CHAPTER I. 7.1.1

WE have described Spain and the Keltic nations, together with Italy and the islands adjacent, and must now speak of the remaining portions of Europe, dividing it in the best way we can. That which remains is, on the east, all the country beyond the Rhine, as far as the Don and the mouth of the Sea of Azof; and, on the south, that which the Danube bounds, lying between the Adriatic and the left shores of the Euxine, as far as Greece and the Sea of Marmora, for the Danube, which is the largest of the rivers of Europe, divides the whole territory of which we have spoken, into two portions. This river from its commencement flows southwards, then, making a sudden turn, continues its course from west to east, which [terminates] in the Euxine Sea. It takes its rise in the western confines of Germany, not far from the head of the Adriatic, being distant from it about 1000 stadia, [Note] and falls into the Euxine near the mouths of the Dniester [Note] and the Dnieper, [Note] inclining a little towards the north. Thus the countries beyond the Rhine and Keltica are situated to the north of the Danube, and are occupied by the

-- 443 --

Galatic and German tribes, as far as the territory of the Bastarnæ, [Note] the Tyregetæ, [Note] and the river Dnieper; so also is the country situated between the Dnieper, the Don, and the mouth of the Sea of Azof, which on one side stretches back as far as the [Northern] Ocean, [Note] and on another is washed by the Euxine. To the south of the Danube are situated the people of Illyria and Thrace, and mixed with them certain tribes of Kelts and other races, extending as far as Greece.

We will first speak of those nations to the north of the Danube, for their history is less involved than that of the tribes situated on the other side of the river. 7.1.2

Next after the Keltic nations come the Germans who inhabit the country to the east beyond the Rhine; and these differ but little from the Keltic race, except in their being more fierce, of a larger stature, and more ruddy in countenance; but in every other respect, their figure, their customs and manners of life, are such as we have related of the Kelts. [Note] The Romans therefore, I think, have very appositely applied to them the name Germani, as signifying genuine; for in the Latin language Germani signifies genuine. [Note] 7.1.3

The first division of this country is the land extending along the Rhine from its source to its embouchure. Indeed, the valley of that river extends nearly as far as the whole breadth of Germany on the west. Of the people who occupied this country, some have been transplanted by the Romans into Keltica, the others have retired to the interior, as the Marsi; [Note] there are but few remaining, and some portion of them

-- 444 --

are Sicambri; [Note] next to the inhabitants of this valley succeeds the tribe dwelling between the Rhine and the river Elbe, [Note] which river flows towards the ocean in a direction nearly parallel with the Rhine, and traversing a country of no less extent. There are also between these other navigable rivers, such as the Ems, [Note] on which Drusus defeated the Bructeri [Note] in a naval engagement; all likewise flowing from south to north, and falling into the ocean; for the whole country rises towards the south, and forms a ridge of mountains near the Alps, which extends eastward as though it were a continuation of the Alps; [Note] and some have even so described it, as well on account of its position as because it produces the same system of vegetation; nevertheless, the altitude of this ridge in no part equals that of the Alps. Here is situated the Hercynian Wood, [Note] and the tribes of the Suevi, [Note] some of whom inhabit the forest, as do likewise some of the Quadi. [Note] Among these latter people is situated Bujemum, the royal city of Marobodus, whither he has assembled many strangers and many of the Marcomanni, a kindred nation with his own. This Marobodus, from a private station, raised himself to the administration of affairs after his return from Rome. For he went to that city while a youth, and was patronized by Augustus. After he came home, he acquired the sovereignty of his country, and added to the people I have enumerated, the Luji, [Note] a powerful nation, and the Zumi, [Note] and the Gutones [Note]

-- 445 --

and Mugilones and Sibini, besides the Semnones, another con- siderable tribe of the Suevi. As I have previously stated, a portion of the Suevi dwells within the Forest, while another portion occupies the territory beyond, on the frontiers of the Getæ; wherefore the nation of the Suevi is the most considerable, as it extends from the Rhine as far as the Elbe, and even a part of them, as the Hermonduri and the Langobardi, inhabit the country beyond the Elbe; but at the present time these tribes, having been defeated, have retired entirely beyond the Elbe. All these nations easily change their abode, on account of the scantiness of provisions, and because they neither cultivate the lands nor accumulate wealth, but dwell in miserable huts, and satisfy their wants from day to day, the most part of their food being supplied by the herd, as amongst the nomade races, and in imitation of them they transfer their households in waggons, wandering with their cattle to any place which may appear most advantageous. There are many other smaller German tribes, as the Cherusci, Chatti, Gamabrivi, [Note] Chattuarii, and next the ocean the Sicambri, Chaubi, [Note] Bructeri, [Note] Cimbri, Cauci, Caulci, Campsiani, [Note] and many others.

In the same direction with the Ems, [Note] the Weser [Note] and the river Lippe [Note] take their course, the latter, distant about 600 stadia from the Rhine, flows through the territory of the Lesser Bructeri. And there is also the river Sala, [Note] between which and the Rhine Drusus Germanicus died, whilst in the midst of his victories. He not only subdued the greater part of the German tribes, but also the islands on the coast he passed along, one amongst which is Byrchanis, [Note] which he took by siege. 7.1.4

All these nations became known through their wars with

-- 446 --

the Romans, at one time submitting, at another revolting and quitting their habitations; and we should have become acquainted with a greater number of their tribes, if Augustus had permitted his generals to pass the Elbe, in pursuit of those who had fled thither; but he considered the war on hand would be more easily brought to a conclusion, if he left the people on the other side of the Elbe unmolested, and not by attacking provoke them to make common cause with his enemies.

The Sicambri inhabiting the country next the Rhine were the first to commence the war, under the conduct of their leader, Melon; other nations afterwards followed their example, at one time being victorious, at another defeated, and again recommencing hostilities, without regard to hostages or the faith of treaties. Against these people mistrust was the surest defence; for those who were trusted effected the most mischief. For example, the Cherusci, and those who were subject to them, amongst whom three Roman legions with their general, Quintilius Varus, perished by ambush, in violation of the truce; nevertheless all have received punishment for this perfidy, which furnished to Germanicus the Younger the opportunity of a most brilliant triumph, he leading publicly as his captives the most illustrious persons, both men and women, amongst whom were Segimuntus, [Note] the son of Segestes, the chief of the Cherusci, and his sister, named Thusnelda, the wife of Armenius, who led on the Cherusci when they treacherously attacked Quintilius Varus, and even to this day continues the war; likewise his son Thumelicus, a boy three years old, as also Sesithacus, the son of Segimerus, [Note] chief of the Cherusci, and his wife Rhamis, the daughter of Ucromirus, [Note] chief of the Chatti, [Note] and Deudorix, the son of Bætorix, the brother of Melon, of the nation of the Sicambri; but Segestes, the father-in-law of Armenius, from the commencement opposed the designs of his son-in-law, and taking advantage of a favourable opportunity, went over to the Roman camp and witnessed the triumphal procession over

-- 447 --

those who were dearest to him, he being held in honour by the Romans. There was also led in triumph Libes the priest of the Chatti, and many other prisoners of the various vanquished nations, the Cathylci and the Ampsani, the Bructeri, the Usipi, the Cherusci, the Chatti, the Chattuarii, the Landi, [Note] the Tubattii. [Note]

The Rhine is distant from the Elbe about 3000 stadia, if one could travel in a direct line; but we are compelled to go a circuitous route, on account of the windings of the marshes and the woods. 7.1.5

The Hercynian Forest [Note] is extremely dense, and overgrown with very large trees, covering an immense circuit of country, fortified by nature. In the midst of it is situated the region well suited for habitation, of which we have spoken. Near this forest are the sources of the Danube and the Rhine, and the lake [Note] situated between these, together with the marshes formed by the Rhine. The circuit of the lake is more than 300 [Note] stadia, and the distance across about 200. In this lake is an island which served Tiberius as an arsenal, in the naval war with the Vindelici. This lake is south of the sources of the Danube and the Hercynian Forest, so that in passing from Keltica [Note] to the forest, one has first to cross the lake, then the Danube, and afterwards by a more passable country, and over elevated plains, you approach the forest. When Tiberius had proceeded but one day's journey from the lake, he came in sight of the sources of the Danube. [Note]

The territory of the Rhæti [Note] borders some portion of this lake, but the greater part of the shores belong to the Helvetii [Note]

-- 448 --

and Vindelici [Note] [the Norici come next after the Vindelici in an easterly direction,] [Note] and the desert of the Boii. [Note] The nations as far as the Pannonians, [Note] but more especially the Helvetii and Vindelici, inhabit high table lands. The Rhæti and the Norici, [Note] verging towards Italy, extend over the very summits of the Alps; the former confining with the Insubri, [Note] the latter the Carni, [Note] and the districts about Aquileia. There is likewise another great forest, named Gabreta, on this side the territory of the Suevi, while beyond them lies the Hercynian Wood, which also is in their possession.



Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 6.4 Str. 7.1 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 7.2

Powered by PhiloLogic