Charles Anthon.

A system of ancient and mediæval geography for the use of schools and colleges online

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Eidcrstcdt, Nordstrand, Wicking Harde, and Buking Hardc. Orosius says that
they inhabited a marshy country, which was almost inaccessible to strangers.
Toward the southwest they seem not at first to have extended beyond the Elbe.
The similarity of their language to that of the Persians and ancient Indians af
fords reason for believing that the Saxons were of Eastern origin, and hence
some have derived their name from that of the Sacaj on the Indus. Others,
however, trace it to the word " sassen," that is, "settled," in contradistinction
from those German tribes who led a sort of nomadic life. When, during the
migration of the barbarians, the neighboring tribes changed their countries and
migrated toward the south, the Saxons likewise began to extend in the same
direction, and at last we find them occupying the country between the Elbe, the
Rhine, the Lippe, and the German Ocean. This extensive tract of land is called
by Anglo-Saxon writers " Old Saxony," to distinguish it from " New Saxony or
England. In the third century the Saxons often landed on the coasts of En
gland and France, and ravaged the maritime districts, until, about the middle of
the fifth century, a portion of them joined the Angli, and made a permanent set
tlement in England. Those Saxons who remained in Germany moved gradu
ally toward the interior of Germany, and gradually abandoned their piratical
and plundering mode of life, to become an agricultural people.

III. CIMBRI. A nation commonly, but erroneously, placed on the Cimbric
Chersonese, or modern Jutland. The accounts of the ancients respecting their
seats abound in uncertainties and contradictions. The writers who place them
on the Cimbric. Chersonese are Pliny, Tacitus, and Ptolemy. But, upon exam
ination, it does not appear that they ever inhabited these parts. The Greeks
first became acquainted with them under the name of Cimmcrii, on the northern
coast of the Euxine. They were driven from this quarter, and disappeared from
the knowledge of the Greeks, who fabled that they dwelt on the shores of the
Northern Ocean, in a land shrouded by perpetual night. Pytheas, who circum
navigated the greater part of the northwest of Europe, saw a large peninsula,
where the long nights and the intense cold in winter seemed to agree with the
poetical descriptions of the land of the Cimmerii, and so assigned this country
as their abode. In this he was followed by most of the geographers. No men
tion is made of the Cimbri in the expeditions of Drusus and Germanicus ; and,
though the fleet of the latter discovered the Cimbric Chersonese of Pytheas,
they found no Cimbrians dwelling in it, nor did it bear a name derived from that
people. Ptolemy places them at the extremity of it, merely to fill up a gap, as
he has no other tribe to fix in this locality. Their real country lay probably on
the northeast side of Germany. It was on this side that they invaded Germany,
and were opposed by the Boii, at that time the inhabitants of Bohemia. To
gether with the Teutones they entered Gaul, xvhere they were joined by the
Ambrones. With their combined forces they then invaded Spain, but were re
pulsed by the Celtiberi. The Teutones and Ambrones then proceeded through
Gallia Narbonensis, with the view of making an irruption into Italy, but were
defeated by Marius at Aquae Scxtiae, now Aix. The Cimbri, on the other hand,
having marched into Helvetia, were there joined by the Tigurini, and having
made an irruption into Italy, drove back Catulus, but were at last routed by the
combined forces of Marius and that commander, B.C. 101. From this time lit
tle or no mention is made of the Cimbri in history, but tradition says that the
remnant of them settled in the central valleys of Helvetia, and the inhabitants



GERMANIAMAGNA. 227

of the Waldstdtten and of the Bernese Oberland are supposed to be their descend
ants. The Cimbri appear to have been a Celtic, not a German race. Their
name may still be traced in Cymry, the national appellation of the Welsh.

IV. TEUTONES or TEUTONI, a name given to a tribe said to dwell on the east
of the Albis ; but more probably we have here merely a general appellation for
the whole German race. The word Teuton or Teutones contains evidently the
same root with the modern national term Deutsche or Teutschc.

2. TRIBES ON THE RIGHT BANK OF THE RHINE.

(A.) Tribes between the Frisii and the River Luppia, and
bounded on the East by the Visurgis.

I. BRUCTEUI. This tribe, in all their wars with the Romans, never changed
their seats. Toward the west they reached to the Vccht ; toward the south to
the Luppia or Lippe ; toward the east almost to the Weser ; and toward the north
they bordered upon the Frisii and Cauci. They were divided into the Bructeri
Majorcs, who dwelt on the east of the Ems, and the Bructeri Minorcs, who dwelt
on the west of that stream. Tacitus says that they were extirpated by the
Chamavi and Angrivarii ; but this is an error, since we find them engaged in
hostilities with the Roman general Spurinna in the reign of Trajan ; and at a still
later period they appear as a powerful people among the members of the Frank
league. Their principal towns were, 1. Mediolanium, now Meteln. 2. Stcreon-
tium, now Stcinfurt.

II. TUB ANTES. Confederates of the Cherusci, and settled at first between the
Rhine and the Ysscl. They retired subsequently from these territories to the
southern side of the Lippe, and, finally, after the overthrow of the Marsi by the
Roman arms, established themselves in the territory of this last-mentioned tribe.

III. CHAMAVI. This tribe originally occupied the tract which extended north
ward to the Vccht, eastward to the Ems, southward to the Lippe, and westward
to the eastern mouth of the Rhine. At a later period they lived between the
Wcser and the Hartz Mountains. In the third century they are again found on
the Rhine as members of the Frank league, and in the next century they spread
themselves along the Waal. Tacitus has most probably committed a mistake
in placing them in the country of the Bructeri.

IV. MARSI. This tribe, according to the most correct opinion, had their set
tlements in the neighborhood of the Logana, now the Lahn.

V. DUL.GIBINI. Ptolemy places this tribe on the eastern bank of the Weser,
but Tacitus assigns them a position in the rear of the Chamavi and Angrivarii,
in what was once the territory of the Bructeri. They belonged to the race of
the Cherusci, and were probably driven eastward by the same irruption of the
Cauci as that which expelled the Angrivarii.

VI. USIPII or USIPETES. This tribe is generally named in connection with the
Tencteri. They frequently changed their settlements. When driven from their
original seats by the Catti, they wandered for three years in Germany, and hav
ing at length come to the Rhine, they crossed the river and seized upon the
lands of the Menapii, Eburones, and Condrusi, between the Rhine and Moselle.
They were defeated by Caesar, and many perished in attempting to recross the
Rhine. The remnant of the nation, after this, took refuge with the Sigambri.
In the time of Claudius and Nero, they are found dwelling between the Sieg and
the Lahn, and they were still living here in the time of Tacitus. In Ptolemy g
time they occupied the northern part of the Black Forest. They became eventu
ally mixed up with the Alemanni.



228 ANCIENT GEOGRAPHY.

(B.) Tribes between the Luppia and Mcenus.

I. SIGAMBRI or SICAMBRI, the most powerful tribe of the Istaevones. Their
original seats were on the River Sicg or Sig, and extended from this river to
the Lippe. The Romans finally conquered them under the leading of Drusus.
Tiberius subsequently transferred a large part of them to the left or southern
bank of the Rhine, where they appear under the name of Gugerni. At a sub
sequent period they became incorporated into the league of the Franks.

II. TENCTERI. These have already been alluded to in the account given of
the Usipii. They lived south of the Lippe, in the region opposite Cologne and
Bonn. At the time of the expeditions of Drusus and Tiberius they had removed
eastward ; but they returned after the overthrow of Varus, and in the age of
Tacitus their possessions extended northward to the Lippe, where they bordered
upon the Bructeri, and southward to the Sieg.

III. MATTIACI. Probably a branch of the Catti, dwelling on the right bank
of the Rhine, in Wetterau and Hesse Darmstadt, the tract possessed by the Ubii
before they crossed the Rhine. In the war of the Batavi, they, together with
the Usipii and Catti, besieged Magontiacum, now Maycnce. After their terri
tories were occupied by the Alemanni, their name was almost extinguished.
Their capital was Mattium, the site of which is most probably to be fixed at
Madcn. Another of their towns was Aqua Mattiacce, now Wisbaden.

(C.) Tribe south of the Masnus.

ALEMANNI. A powerful German people, the limits of whose settlements at
first were the Rhine, the Danube, and the Main. In subsequent ages their ter
ritory extended toward the Alps and the Jura Mountains. The first notice of
them in history occurs in A.D. 214, when a large number of them were treach
erously massacred by Caracalla. From that period they were engaged in al
most constant hostility with the Romans, and made frequent incursions into
Gaul, down to the reign of Constantine the Great, when they were defeated in
a bloody battle at Langrcs. After this they remained until A.D. 337, when
they again invaded Gaul, during the reign of the sons of Constantine. Julian,
however, in 356-361, not only drove them out of this country, but even made
several expeditions into their German domains. We find them, however, even
after this, frequently coming into collision with the Roman arms. Their
strength was finally broken in the bloody battle gained by the Frankish king
Chlodwjg, at Tolbiacum, now Zulpich, in A.D. 496.

3. TRIBES ON THE LEFT BANK OP THE DANUBE.

Tribes between the Danube and the Erzgebirge and Riesen-



I. HERMUNDURI. This tribe occupied what is now Saxony and Anhalt, be
tween the Saale and the Elbe. In the fifth century they appear in this same
quarter under the name of Thuringi. In the name Hermunduri. Hermun is
probably not an essential part, but merely marks that they belonged to the Her-
minones. Duri seems to have been their real name, and this root appears,
with a German ending, in Thur-ingi. Among their towns, as enumerated by
Ptolemy, we may mention, 1. Segodunum, now Wurceburg ; 2. Bcrgium, now
Bamberg ; 3. Menosgdda, now Baruth.

II. NARISCI. This tribe dwelt at the foot of the Fichtelgebirge. Ptolemy
calls them Varisti (Ovapiarui), and Dio Cassius, Narisca (NapiaKai).



GERMANIA MA GNA. 229

III. QUADI. This powerful tribe always appear in the closest connection
with the Marcomanni. The Romans first became acquainted with them after
the conquest of Pannonia. Their most ancient settlements on the Danube
reached eastward to the Tibiscus, now the Theis, where they bordered on the
Getae. They afterward withdrew westward. The Quadi carried on wars with
M. Aurelius, Commodus, Caracalla, Gallienus, Aurelian, Constantine, Julian,
and Valentinian I., &c., until the fifth century, when they appear to have coa
lesced with other nations.

IV. MARCOMANNI. We first hear of this tribe in the army of Ariovistus. At
a subsequent period we find them dwelling between the Danube and the Drave,
in Austria and Hungary, till the Romans conquered Pannonia and the Noric
Alps, when they withdrew to the opposite side of the river, into the country
occupied by the Boii, whom they expelled. This they did under the guidance
of Maroboduus, who had been educated at Rome, and who raised his people to
a high pitch of prosperity. In the reign of Domitian, hostilities broke out be>
tween the Marcomanni and the Romans, and continued almost uninterruptedly
till the fall of the Roman empire. After the death of Attila, in whose army
they served, the Marcomanni are no longer heard of.

V. Bon. This tribe may be here mentioned, because originally settled with
in the limits which we are considering. The settlements of this once power
ful tribe are found in Gaul, and along both sides of the Danube from its source
eastward, probably as far as the mouth of the Enns ; toward the south they
stretched to the mountains which separate Tyrol from Bavaria. The eastern
part of Suabia, with the whole of Bavaria and Bohemia, which took their names
from them (Bavaria having been originally Boiaria), belonged to them. They
also occupied part of Moravia. From Bohemia they were expelled by the Mar
comanni, and settled in Noricum and Bavaria, where Boiodurum, now Innstadt,
took its name from them. At some period or other, but when is uncertain,
they crossed the Alps, and established themselves in Italy, between the Tarus,
the Silarus, and the Apennines. They were subdued by the Romans under
Scipio Nasica, and afterward removed to the banks of the Drave. After this
they were greatly weakened in wars with the Getae, and an extensive tract in
this part was called Deserta Boiorum. Some of the Boii accompanied Brennus
in his invasion of Greece and Asia Minor, and settled in Galatia. Others join
ed the Helvetii when they migrated into Gaul, and were allowed by Caesar to
settle among the ^Edui. Bohemia takes its name from Boiemum or Boihemum,
which means, probably, "the home (heim, hcimath) of the Boii."

4. TRIBES IN THE CENTRAL PARTS.

I. SUEVI. A powerful German tribe, who, according to Tacitus, possessed
all the land from the banks of the Danube northward to the Baltic Sea, between
the Elbe and the Vistula. Caesar gives their name to the Catti. After the time
of Tacitas the name appears to have been lost. The tribes included under the
general name of Suevi were the Semnones, Langobardi, Aviones, Varlni, Eu-
doses, Suardones, and Nuithones. Of these, the only ones deserving of a par
ticular mention are the Semnones and Langobardi.

II. SEMNONES. This tribe lived between the Elbe and the Oder, inhabiting
the tract which comprises what is now Mecklenburg and Brandenburg, with part
of Saxony, Bohemia, Lusatia, Silesia, and Poland. The Romans first came into
contact with them in the expeditions of Tiberius, and in the wars against Ar-
minius (to whom, together with the Langobardi, they went over from Marobo-
dnus), and then again in the time of Domitian, when a king of theirs, whom



230 ANCIENT GEOGRAPHY.

they had driven out, came to Rome. Mannert contends that Semnones was not
the name of any particular tribe, but a common one, like that of Suevi, and
that it was applied to the northern branches of the latter people.

III. LANGOBARDI. This tribe frequently changed their settlements. At first
they dwelt in the neighborhood of the Lower Elbe, in the tract called Barden-
gau, between Magdeburg, Luncberg, and Hamburg, where the town of Bardwick
stands. Here they were subdued by Tiberius, who moved them beyond the
Elbe. They then advanced more into the interior of the country, to the neigh
borhood of the Semnones, and, together with these, revolted from Maroboduus,
under whose dominion they then were, to Arminms. Afterward, on the de
cline of the power of the Cherusci, they extended themselves to the Rhine ;
and here they are placed by Ptolemy, between the Bructeri and Tencteri.
They did not, however, remain here long ; the Saxon league drove them back
to the Elbe. In the fifth century they established themselves in Pannonia.
Then, at the invitation of Narses, and led by Alboinus across the Alps (A.D,
568), they settled in Lombardy, which took its name from them

IV. ANGRIVARII. This tribe dwelt on the east of the Weser, between the
Cauci and Cherusci, and extended over a part of Luncberg and Calenbcrg to the
Steinhudcr Sec, which formed the boundary between them and the Cherusci,
and on both sides of the River Aller. Traces of their name are still found near
the Elbe in Angcrn, Engern > Engershauscn, &c.

V. CHERUSCI. The possessions of this tribe lay in the Hartz Mountains, and
on both sides of them, but chiefly on the south, where the north\vest part of
the Thuringcr Watd separated them from the Catti. They were at first in al
liance with Rome, and Arminius commanded a squadron of German cavalry in
the Roman army, and so far distinguished himself that he was made a Roman
knight. Afterward, however, roused by this leader, the Cherusci joined the
Catti and others in the well-known attack upon Varus. They were subsequent
ly defeated by Germanicus. The Cheruscan league included the Dulgibini,
Ansibdm, Chasudri, Chamdvi, Tubanlcs, Marsi, &c. These and other small
tribes are frequently called Cherusci. With Arminius fell the power of the
Cherusci ; their league was speedily dissolved, and a considerable portion of
their territory was wrested from them by the Langobardi, and they were driven
from the west of the Thuringcr Wald by the Catti.

VI. CHASUARI. This tribe belonged to the nation of the Cherusci. Ptolemy
places their settlements on the western side of the Weser, in what is now Os-
naburg and Padcrborn. They subsequently appear among the Franks, on the
western part of the Lower Rhine, in the dukedom of Gueldres.

VII. CATTI. This tribe were separated from the Cherusci by the Forest of
Bacenis, or the western part of the Thuringcr Wald. Their territory compre
hended that of the modern Hessians, Fulda, the earldoms of Hanau and Inen-
berg, so much of Franconia as lies north of the Main to the mouth of the Saale,
part of Nassau, and the eastern portion of the duchy of Westphalia. Their
name, allowing for the difference of sound in Latin and German, is the same as
that of the Hessians. The Catti were defeated by Drusus, but some time after
ward they took part with the Cherusci in the slaughter of Varus and his legions.
In the reign of Tiberius, Germanicus overran their country; but they contin
ued in arms against the Romans for many years after, and aided the revolt of
the Batavi in the reign of Vitellius. They were also engaged in war with the
Hermunduri, by whom they were nearly extirpated.

VIII. GOTHINI. This tribe are supposed by some to have Jived in Cracow, or
on the banks of the Marus, now the March. Others place them on the south



GERMANIA MAGNA. 231

of the Danube, where there are several iron mines, in Styria. Tacitus speaks
of the iron mines in their country.

IX. GOTONES. The name Gotones is synonymous with that of Tvfiuves as giv
en by Ptolemy, or Goths. They were often erroneously confounded with the
Getse and Scythians. Pytheas is the first who mentions them, when they lived
on the right bank of the Vistula, and on the coast of the Baltic, on the borders
of Silesia and Poland, and afterward a part of them in Scandinavia, where their
name appears in Gothland, Gothenburg, Codanus Sinus, and Gedanum. They
first appear under the name of Goths in the time of Caracalla. Somewhere
about the middle of the second century they seem to have wandered from the
Vistula to the neighborhood of the Dnieper and Dniester, and incessantly har
assed the province of Dacia. In the time of Gallienus they devastated Thrace
and Macedonia, and a portion of them penetrated into Asia Minor, and burned
the temple of Diana at Ephesus. About this period they spread eastward along
the northern coast of the Euxine. In the year 269 they were defeated by Clau
dius in Moesia. Shortly afterward Aurelian abandoned Dacia to them, and they
were now divided into Ostro-Goths, or Eastern Goths, inhabiting the shores of
the Euxine, and Visi- Goths, or Western Goths, who occupied Dacia. The Bo-
rysthenes formed the boundary of the two divisions. About the year 375, the
Huns, under Attila, drove the Ostrogoths upon their western neighbors, who re
tired before them, and were allowed by the Emperor Valens to settle in Mcesia.
Here disputes arose between them and the Romans, and Valens was killed in
attempting to oppose them. In the reign of Honorius, Alaric, at the head of
the Visigoths, invaded Italy, but was defeated by Stilicho. He soon returned,
however, and made himself master of Rome. His successor, Ataulph, made
peace with the Romans, and withdrew to the south of Gaul, from which country
the Visigoths afterward withdrew to Spain, where they maintained their ground
until they were conquered by the Moors. After the death of Attila the Ostro
goths emancipated themselves from the dominion of the Huns, and, under The-
odoric, defeated Odoacer and subdued Italy, A.D. 489. But their dominion here
was overthrown by Narses, the general of Justinian, in 554, and the remnant
of their race became amalgamated with the other inhabitants of Italy.

X. BURGUNDIONES. Pliny numbers this race among the branches of the great
stock of the Vindlli or Vandals ; Ptolemy places these Vindili upon the lower
Vistula. They first came into contact with the Romans during the reign of
Probus. They invaded Gaul at different periods with various success : but in
the reign of Honorius that emperor ceded to them part of Gaul, near the banks
of the Rhine, and from this cession arose the kingdom of Burgundy.

XL VANDALII or VINDILI. A German tribe, who lived at first on the shores
of the Baltic, between the Albis and Vistula, in what is now Pomcrania and part
of Poland ; but, being forced to evacuate their possessions in their wars with
Aurelian and Probus, they first settled in Dacia and Sarmatia, then in Pannonia
and Gallia, and in the year 406, together with the Alani, they migrated to Spain.
Being afterward overpowered by the Goths, they took refuge in Africa, and
were there subdued by Justinian in the year 534.

DECUMATES AGRI.

BEFORE leaving the subject of Germany, we may allude briefly to the Dccu-
matcs Agri. This name was applied by the Romans to certain lands conquered
by them, and in which, for the sake of security, that no hostile tribe might dwell
close to their borders, they allowed Gauls or Roman soldiers to settle, who were
charged with the payment of a tithe (dccima) to the Romans. The situation of



232 ANCIENT GEOGRAPHY.

these lands is variously laid down. Some authors place them on the banks of
the Neckar, others hetween the Lahn and Main, and on the banks of the Dan
ube, opposite the province of Raetia, or within the Roman vallum, reaching from
Magontiacum to the Danube, near the source of which lay the territories of the
Marcomanni, which the Romans took possession of after Maroboduus removed
to Bohemia. Drusus Germanicus, having built a fort on Mount Taunus, seems
to have laid the first foundation of the lines, inclosing the Decumates Agri, which
was gradually advanced, especially by Trajan and Hadrian, and fortified.
Though the occupation of these lands depended on the will of the emperor,
towns gradually sprang up in them. There are still remains of a Roman w r all
running from Ingolstadt, on the Danube, to the River Main. Toward the end
of the third century, these lands were wrested from the Romans by the Ale-
manni, whom Julian and Valentinian in vain endeavored to expel.

II. SCANDINAVIA.

I. THE ancient Scandinavia answered to the modern Sweden and Norway.
The ancients, however, had a very imperfect knowledge of what they called
Scandinavia, believing it to be either one large island of unascertained dimen
sions, or a collection of several islands.

II. According to Pliny, the only part of Scandinavia known in his time was
occupied by the H dlcmoncs, a numerous nation, who inhabited five hundred
pagi or districts. Tacitus, in a later age, when enumerating the tribes of Ger
many, speaks of the Suiones and Siioncs as living in the remote north. By the
Suiones are probably meant the inhabitants of Sweden, and by the Sitones those
of Norway.

III. According to the ancient error, which divided Scandinavia into many isl
ands, there are found in Pliny the names of Bergi and Nerigos, as indicating
two of these islands. It is thought by the best geographers that the former
of these appellations points to Bergen, one of the principal towns in Norway, and
that the latter, which was given to what the ancients deemed the largest island,
refers to the country of Norway itself, called in Swedish Norrigc, and in Danish
Norge. The Sevo Mons of Pliny has already been alluded to (page 11).

IV. The Thulc described by Procopius is supposed to have been different from
the island of that name already referred to by us (page 212), and the modern
canton of Tele-mark or Tyle-mark retains, as is thought, evident traces of the
ancient appellation.

V. In connection with Scandinavia may be mentioned the country of Finnin-
gia, or the modern Fimiland. Pliny makes it an island. The first mention of



Online LibraryCharles AnthonA system of ancient and mediæval geography for the use of schools and colleges → online text (page 24 of 89)