March 27, 2013

"The concept of Germany as a distinct region in central Europe can be traced to Roman commander Julius Caesar..."

"... who referred to the unconquered area east of the Rhine as Germania, thus distinguishing it from Gaul (France), which he had conquered...."
In the first years of the 1st century, Roman legions conducted a long campaign in Germania, the area north of the Upper Danube and east of the Rhine, in an attempt to expand the Empire's frontiers and shorten its frontier line. They subdued several Germanic tribes, such as the Cherusci. The tribes became familiar with Roman tactics of warfare while maintaining their tribal identity. In 9 AD, a Cherusci chieftain named Arminius defeated a Roman army in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, a victory credited with stopping the Roman advance into Germanic territories and forming the birth of German history....
Much more happens in Germany, today's "History of" country.

30 comments:

ironrailsironweights said...

Southern and eastern Germany are the snowiest parts of the country. The North Sea coastal areas, the least.

Peter

Alex said...

"Arausio, 105 BC: The armies of consul Cn. Mallius Maximus and proconsul Q. Servilius Caepio are defeated by the Cimbri and Teutones on the Rhône. Some sources report even higher casualties than at Cannae: Livy cites the claim by the annalist Valerius Antias that 80,000 soldiers and 40,000 servants and camp followers were killed, though this is probably an exaggeration. The most important result is the rise to power of C. Marius and his reform of the legions into a professional army." -KL47

Basta! said...

According to Suetonius, Augustus flipped out on hearing of the rout at Teutoburg --- he lost perhaps 20,000 soldiers there --- and began beating his head against the walls, screaming: Varus, give me back my legions! A good scene in "I, Claudius".

Varus being the commander of the Roman troops, who did the *noble* thing, i.e. committed suicide when the extent of his defeat became obvious.

The loss was considered so shameful that the Romans never used those legion numbers again.

The Drill SGT said...

Varus, Give me back my Legions...

James Pawlak said...

If my memory serves me, in the year 1776 there were 1776 independent German states. 'Too bad they ever united.

Alex said...

VARUS!!!!

edutcher said...

Contrary to popular belief, the Krauts were pikers in the business of mass killing.

Dolf and the boys - 14 mil

Joe - 40 mil (and he wanted to take up with da Jooz where Dolf left off)

Mao - 66 mil

Alex said...

edutcher - what horrifies people most about Germany is how a supposed civilized country invented a mass murder machine the likes of which had never been seen. Nobody expects Russia or China to be anything but what they were.

cubanbob said...

Alex you assume that the Germans like other Europeans being civilized would be incapable of mass murder on a grand scale but you would be wrong. Under the veneer, Europeans are savages. Still the Germans are unique in their methodical and pathological madness in industrializing mass murder.

edutcher said...

Alex said...

edutcher - what horrifies people most about Germany is how a supposed civilized country invented a mass murder machine the likes of which had never been seen. Nobody expects Russia or China to be anything but what they were.

He obviously never heard of Holy Russia.

He also never heard of what the French, Spaniards, and Belgians did on a mass scale in their colonies. What Joe did in the gulag was a very old formula.

Archilochus said...

I wrote one of my first college essays on a short passage from Tacitus' Germania.

bagoh20 said...

We of German decent have always been efficient and effective, and unfortunately often over-reaching. In 9 AD, 1914, 1941, and soon Europe will destroy what they built yet again.

bagoh20 said...

I'm always amazed at how many men ancient nations could both pull together and support in wars so long ago when the population was so much less. It took a lot of time and work just to support normal life with the technologies of the time, yet they were able to somehow do that and waste all this manpower at the same time. Amazing stuff.

YoungHegelian said...

As you can guess from my nom de plume here, I'm quite the fan of German philosophy.

For those of you who ever read philosophy, you owe it to yourself to investigate German philosophy from Christian Wolff (1679-1754) to the late works of Frederick Schelling (1775-1854). Not just the big guys, like Hegel & Kant, but ever the lesser known guys like Fries, Hoderlin, Novalis, Mendelsohn, Lessing, Fichte, Hammann, etc. are all worth a read.

This period of philosophy seems to get down to brass tacks and tackle the major issues unlike any other in our history. We still have yet to work through the implications of much of their thought.

The downside is that they're rarely literary stylists, to say the least, and many of the English translations are beastly.



chuck said...

The painting seems to have missed the forests, ravines, and swamps that were said to be characteristic of the area. And that was known from antiquity. Modern discoveries have added much to that picture.

edutcher said...

bagoh20 said...

I'm always amazed at how many men ancient nations could both pull together and support in wars so long ago when the population was so much less. It took a lot of time and work just to support normal life with the technologies of the time, yet they were able to somehow do that and waste all this manpower at the same time. Amazing stuff.

This is particularly true when you consider being a soldier (warrior) was something of a calling; the levee en masse was a long way in the future.

traditionalguy said...

The Germans fell for Der Fuhrer's "kill the inferior people" trick that had long been taught at Darwinian inspired college courses as a necessary modern progressive action calling itself the science of Eugenics.

The Nazis are still lurking around today as population scientists and death panelists claiming to be able to save the weather from too many people breathing and using cheap electricity.

William said...

The twentieth century was not kind to the Germans, nor they to the twentieth century. They're about due to have a good century.....Good people who have produced many of the world's desirable blondes, but they have a tendency to destroy western civ on their off days.

Eric said...

He also never heard of what the French, Spaniards, and Belgians did on a mass scale in their colonies. What Joe did in the gulag was a very old formula.

Or the Brits to the Boers in South Africa. Can't forget the Turks, either, even if there aren't many Armenians around to remind you.

Genocide is as old as civilization. What made the Nazis stand out was they managed to rack up such large numbers in such a short time: between about 1938 when Hitler solidified his power and 1945 when the Russians came knocking at his bunker.

Eric said...

Ah, Arminius. Also known as Hermann the German. The Romans had this idea if they brought the sons of important barbarians to Rome and educated them the subject countries would be easier to rule. Well, they were hostages, too, but whatever.

So Hermann spent some time in Rome, was trained as a Roman soldier, picked up a Roman name, and even became a Roman citizen.

And when he returned to Germany he used all that training against the Romans. Moral of the story? Don't teach your enemies how you fight.

ampersand said...

Most of Western Europe is German origin, The Norsemen,Anglo-Saxons,Franks,Visigoths in Spain and Italy. Europe is basically Germans and Slavs.

joe said...

What, no She-Devil of the SS commenting on her homeland?

LarsPorsena said...

Blogger The Drill SGT said...

Varus, Give me back my Legions...

3/27/13, 7:08 PM
________________________________


Alternative version: "Varus, give me back my eagles (legion standards)."

Inga said...

joe, it's not my homeland. My ancestors haven't been there since 1720.

Mitch H. said...

Alex, never take a figure from Livy as anything but poetic assertion. He's definitely not one of the "scientific" historians in the tradition of Polybius, Thucydides, and Tacitus. More of a "great deeds recorded for national greatness" sort. And Suetonius was a writer of historical soap opera, it's very apt that everybody remembers his scenes, re-written by Robert Graves and again by the BBC.

Note how so much of ancient German history is really Roman history? Thus great empires reflect their times and neighbors, like warped and mistempered mirror-glass.

If my memory serves me, in the year 1776 there were 1776 independent German states.

That can only have been arrived at if the claimant was including individual Reichsritter as states in and of themselves, which is preposterous. That ties back to my favorite old saw about the Germanies - "This agglomeration which was called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire." Thank you, Voltaire!

Peter said...

Well, Germany may have been a "region" since the time of Caesar, but it only became a nation in 1871. (Except for Kleindeutschland, of course- an omission which His Mustached Majesty temporarily fixed in 1938.)

Yet surely we'd all (Germans too!) have been better off had the Holy Roman Empire had never been dissolved.

Mitch H. said...

Peter, I doubt the Germans of the time would have agreed with you on that. The atomization, and in some cases, total vaporization of authority in the Germanies in the later centuries of the Holy Roman Empire did not make for a particularly secure or livable environment. The Thirty Years War saw their populations crash in a way not seen anywhere outside of the "Bloodlands" of Poland and Belarus in the 1940s. Foreign armies regularly raped and pillaged their way through the principalities and no-mans-lands of Southern Germany. You could time the atrocities by the waves of German refugees fleeing to the American colonies. And in between the locust-like armies, was the predations of the local princelings, who used that threat of instability to impose Europe's heaviest taxes, in cash, service and kind, on their rightly-terrified subjects. The resulting standing pocket armies, being too expensive even for the ruinous taxes thus imposed, were regularly lent out to wealthier, larger neighbors, to be sent halfway 'round the world to fight rebels in New Jersey, or to man fortress complexes in the Low Countries, or even to be marched bloodily through the lands of their neighbors and kin.

No, Hobbes was right about that, almost anything is better than weakness and division in the face of such a world.

Howard said...

Sorry ampersand. The Germans in Germany today are Vikings, just like most of England and certainly Scandinavia.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

@Bastal.
The Texas National Guard Division mobilized under its 36th Division colors for WWII. Gen Mark Clark ordered it to make a river crossing in Italy that came under heavy fire and was driven back. The Germans dismissed the attempt as a 'reconnaissance in force' at the time. After the war there was a congressional hearing on the advisability of the General's order. Nothing much came of it except the Army changed the division designation to the 45th Armored Division. It trains at Ft. Hood and State Highway 36 still runs to the base. Recently it was National Medal of Honor Day; I saw a flyer which said that the highest number or concentration of honorees was from Gainesville, Texas. The overall commander of the German Forces in Italy on meeting with an American General in the 50's told him, 'If you ever invade Italy again, I would advise you to attack higher up on the peninsula.'

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