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GERMANICS AND GERMANI (PRE-TEUTONIC): A ROMAN MISUNDERSTANDING?

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GermanenAD50
The Germanic tribes around AD 50. The tribes of the North Sea, the Rhine-Weser area and the Elbe had probably a strong pre-Teutonic (‘Germani’?) ethnic component.

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By Periklis Deligiannis
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[NOTE: This article is actually a part of my published  book  The Celts, Athens 2008, unfortunately available only in Greek.]
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…. Apart from the most considerable Boii and Volcae peoples, other important Celtic tribes of central Europe were the Helvettii who originally were dwelling  in the valley of the river Main (modern Germany) before migrating to modern Switzerland, the Vendelici, the Norici, the Ambisontes, the Arabisci and others.
Of course, the Celts were not the only inhabitants of central Europe. In the 20th century, the study of place names and some archaeological data identified a large ethno-cultral group (and possibly linguistic) in the areas of modern Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg and northern Germany, between the rivers Somme and Aller, which group did not speak neither Germanic nor Celtic (Gallic). These people possibly descended from the early Neolithic population of the region and they broadly adopted the Gallic culture but not the Celtic language (at least most of them). The people of the Lusatian culture in modern eastern Germany and Poland which was destroyed mainly by Scythian invaders (6th century BC), and the pre-Germanic inhabitants of Thuringia, northern Bohemia and other regions were possibly members of the same unknown ethnic group or groups. It was an unknown people (perhaps pre-Indo-European) who lived in a broad zone between the Celts and the Teutonics (Germanics) and most probably belonged to more than one linguistic group.

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RES VITAE ET MORS: ROMΑNS, CIMBRI AND TEUTONES– PART IΙ

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Celts
The  Late  Cimbri  and  Teutones  who  confronted  the  Romans,  consisted  largely  of  Celts,  probably  in  the  most  part  according  to  many  historians. Their  appearance  was  frightening  for  the  peoples  of  the  Mediterranean,  as  it  is  analyzed  in  the  Greco-Roman  sources,  and  undoubtedly  many  if  not  almost  all  of  them,  bore  the  typical  Celtic  tattoo,  like  the  Celt  in  the  photograph  (an  accurate  reenactment  of  Celtic  warriors,  Silurian  in  this  case, by  a   Welsh  historic  society. Note specifically Taranis’  wheel tattooed on the forhead of the warrior) 
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By  Periklis    Deligiannis

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CONTINUED FROM PART I

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The  Romans  appealed  to  general  Gaius  Marius who  was meant  to  be  the  greatest  reformer  of  the  Roman  army.  Marius,  just  25  years old,  radically  reorganized  the  Roman  army. He  turned  the  Roman  legionnaire  from  a  half-armored  citizen-warrior  of  limited  military  service  to  a  fully  armored  and  professional  soldier  of  permanent  service,  aided  by  strong  allied  troops  (auxilia, socii) of  the  subjugated  peoples.  He  trained  his  legionnaires  with  his  own  methods,  creating  in  two  years  a  well-organized  and  disciplined  army.  Meanwhile  the  Cimbri-Teutones  invaded  Spain  and  Gaul,  marching  in  the  territories  of  tribes  who  were  not  their  allies,  probably  trying  to make  them  their  allies  by  force.  They  were  repulsed  by  the Celtiberians  in  Spain  and  by  the  Belgians  in  Gaul.  Their  Celtic  kinsmen  knew (unlike  the  Romans)  very  well  how  to  deal  with  them.  Ultimately  the  Cimbri-Teutones  decided  to  invade  Italy  but  they  divided  their  forces,  possibly  due  to  disagreement  between  their  leaders  or  in  order  to  cause  confusion  to  the  Roman  military  leadership  and  divide  the  Roman  army.  The  allied  tribes  were  also  devided  between  the  two  major  tribal  unions.  For  example,  the  Tigurini  joined  the  Cimbri  and  the  Ambrones  joined  the  Teutones.  In  my  opinion,  this  ‘strange’  equality  of  military  forces  among  the  two  major  tribal  unions,  denotes  that  the  bisection  of  the  barbarian  forces  took  place  after  an  agreement  among  their  warlords.

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RES VITAE ET MORS: ROMANS, CIMBRI AND TEUTONES – PART I

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Guard Roman
The  skilful general  Gaius  Marius  turned  the  Roman  army  into  a  war  machine  of  fully  armored  professional  soldiers  (credit:  Εrmine  Street  Guard  Roman  Reenactment  Society).
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By  Periklis    Deligiannis

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[This  article is actually a part of my book  ‘The Celts‘, Periscope publ., Athens 2008, unfortunately available only in Greek]

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In  113  BC  a  great  threat  appeared  in  the  horizon  of  the  Roman  world:  the  Cimbri  and  the  Teutones.  The  ancient  writers  usually  consider  these  two  peoples  as  Germanic,  but  their  leaders  had  Gallic/Celtic  names  (Boiorix,  Lugius,  Gaesorix  etc)  or  Celtisized  (Claodicus)  and  their  arms  and  armor  were  clearly  Celtic.  Plutarch  mentions,  in  an  episode  of  his  narrative  about  the  Cimbri-Teutones  invasions,  that  the  Cimbri  descended  quickly  the  slopes  of  the  Alps  using  their  shields  as  sleds  –  therefore  these  shields  were  of  the  large  Gallic  thyroid  type  rather  than  the  small  and  weak  Germanic  type.  When  the  Roman  officer  Sertorius  was  sent  by  Marius  to  spy  the  Cimbrian  camp,  he  wore  Celtic  clothes  and  learned  the  Gallic/Celtic  language  in  preparation  for  his  mission.  The  tribal  name  “Cimbri”  is  of  Celtic  origin  and  the  word  (and  verbal  prefix)  “Teuton-”  (meaning  “people”  and  “army”)  was  used  equally  by  Celts  and  Germans  (apparently  a  verbal  type  of  Proto-Indo-European  extraction).  These  are  just  some  of  the  evidence  that  led  many  researchers  of  the  20th  century  to  consider  the  two  tribes  as  Celtic  peoples  mistaken  by  the  Romans  to  be  Germanic.  However,  the  ancient  writers  mention  their  homeland,  the  Cimbrian  Peninsula  (modern  Jutland),  a  region  undoubtedly  Germanic  in  antiquity.  In  addition,  the  Massaliot  Greek  navigator  Pytheas  had  found  the  Teutones  living  on  an  island  in  the  Baltic  Sea  (4th  century  BC):  the  Baltic  coastal  areas  have  never  been  Celtic.

Ptolemy

Map  of  Germany  according  to  the  Geography  of  Claudius  Ptolemy.  We  can  see  the  remaining  Cimbri  at  the  northern  ends  of  the  land  (in  ‘Chersonesus  Cimbrica’,  modern  Jutland)  and  the  remaining  Teutones  somewhere  in  modern  Northeastern  Germany.
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