Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 7.1.1 Str. 7.1.5 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 7.2.4


All these nations became known through their wars with

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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

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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]

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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.


SOME of the accounts which we receive respecting the Cimbri are not worthy of credit, while others seem likely enough: for instance, no one could accept the reason given for their wandering life and piracy, that, dwelling on a peninsula, they were driven out of their settlements by a very high tide; [Note] for they still to this day possess the country which they had in former times, and have sent as a present to Au-

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gustus the caldron held most sacred by them, supplicating his friendship, and an amnesty for past offences; and having obtained their request, they returned home. Indeed, it would have been ridiculous for them to have departed from their country in a pet, on account of a natural and constant phenomenon, which recurs twice every day. It is likewise evidently a fiction, that there ever occurred an overwhelming flood-tide, for the ocean, in the influences of this kind which it experiences, receives a certain settled and periodical increase and decrease. [Note] Neither is it true, as has been related, [Note] that the Cimbri take arms against the flood-tides, or that the Kelts, as an exercise of their intrepidity, suffer their houses to be washed away by them, and afterwards rebuild them; and that a greater number of them perish by water than by war, as Ephorus relates. For the regular order the flood-tides observe, and the notoriety of the extent of the country subject to inundation by them, could never have given occasion for such absurd actions. For the tide flowing twice every day, how could any one think for an instant that it was not a natural and harmless phenomenon, and that it occurs not only on their coasts, but on all others bordering on the ocean? Is not this quite incredible? Neither is Clitarchus to be trusted, [Note] when he says that their cavalry, on seeing the sea flowing in, rode off at full speed, and yet scarcely escaped by flight from being overtaken by the flood; for we know, by experience, that the tide does not come in with such impetuosity, but that the sea advances stealthily by slow degrees. And we should think, besides, that a phenomenon of daily occurrence, which would naturally strike the ear of such as

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approached it, before even they could see it with their eyes, could not by any means terrify them so as to put them to flight, as if they had been surprised by some unexpected catastrophe.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 7.1.1 Str. 7.1.5 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 7.2.4

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