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A striking resemblance of manners, complexion, religion, and language, seemed to indicate that the Wandals and the Goths were originally one great people.*. The latter appear to have been subdivided into Ostrogoths, Visigoths, and Gepidae.t. The distinction among the Wandals was more strongly marked by the independent names of Heruli, Burgundians, Lombards, and a variety of other petty states, many of which, in a future age, expanded themselves into powerful monarchies.
In the age of the Antonines, the Goths were still seated in Prussia. About the reign of Alexander Severus, the
conquest and conversion of Prussia were completed by those adventurers in the thirteenth century. * Pliny (Hist. Natur. 4, 14) and Procopius (in Bell. Vandal. l. 1, c. 1) agree in this opinion. They lived in distant ages, and possessed different means of investigating the truth. [There is little probable ground for this opinion. The Wandals and the Goths both belonging to the great division of the Suevi, but were two distinct tribes. Those who have written on this portion of history seem not to have observed, that the ancients almost always gave the name of a victorious, and for a time predominant, people, to all the weaker and conquered tribes. Thus Pliny gave the name of Windili to all the people in the north-west of Europe, because at that period the Wandals were, no doubt, the superior tribe. Caesar, on the contrary, ranged under the name of Suevi, many tribes that are classed by Pliny under that of Wandals, because the Suevi were then the most powerful of the Germans. When the Goths had their turn of supremacy, and had overcome all the smaller communities that came in their way, these, losing their arms and their liberty, were considered to be of Gothic origin. The Wandals themselves then ranked as Goths; the Heruli, Gepidae, and others, had the same fate. A common origin was thus attributed to nations only united by conquest; and this error has been the cause of much historical confusion.—GUIzot.] + The Ostro and Visi, the eastern and western Goths, obtained those denominations from their original seats in Scandinavia. In all their future marches and settlements, they preserved with their names the same relative situation. When they first departed from Sweden, the infant colony was contained in three vessels. The third, being a heavy sailer, lagged behind, and the crew, which afterwards swelled into a nation, received from that circumstance the appellation of Gepidae, or loiterers. (Jornandes, c. 17.) [It was not in Scandinavia that the distinctions of Ostrogoths and Visigoths originated, it was introduced in the third century, when they broke into Dacia. Those who came from Mecklenburg and Pomerania, were called Visi (Western) Goths, and those from the south of Prussia and north-west of Poland, took the name of Ostro (Eastern) Goths. Adelung, Anc. Hist., p. 202. Gatterer, p.431.-Guizot.] [In Gibbon's time the archaeology of races was little understood, and his mistakes are pardonable. The languages of Europe indicate its stem-tribes. Those of the nations descended from the contemporaries of falling Rome, then ranging in hostile array through the wide space between the Atlantic, the North Sea, the Baltic, and the Euxine, attest in that confused mixture only three families, the Celtic, Gothic, and Sclavonian. To one of these every tribe that is named must have belonged. The Venedi of the first, the Vandali of the next, and the Wenden of the last, have been too often confounded. The Wandals acted independently, in concert with others distinguished as Goths; they moved by migratory courses in the same directions; and then the former are said to become utterly extinct. Multitudes do not perish after such a fashion. The most probable fact is, that the Vandals melted among their cognate Goths in Spain, where their language, as already noticed, merged in the more prevalent Latin.—ED.] * See a fragment of Peter Patricius in the Excerpta Legationum; and with regard to its probable date, see Tillemont, Hist, des Empereurs, tom. iii, p. 346.
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Roman province of Dacia had already experienced their proximity by frequent and destructive inroads." In this interval, therefore, of about seventy years, we must place the second migration of the Goths from the Baltic to the Euxine; but the cause that, produced it lies concealed among the various motives which actuate the conduct of unsettled barbarians. Either a pestilence or a famine, a victory, or a defeat, an oracle of the gods, or the eloquence of a #. leader, were sufficient to impel the Gothic arms on the milder climates of the south. Besides the influence of a martial religion, the numbers and spirit of the Goths were equal to the most dangerous adventures. The use of round bucklers and short swords rendered them formidable in a close engagement; the manly obedience which they yielded to hereditary kings, gave uncommon union and stability to their councils;t and the renowned Amala, the hero of that age, and the tenth ancestor of Theodoric, * of Italy, enforced, by the ascendant of personal merit, the prerogative of his birth, which he derived from the Anses, or demi-gods of the Gothic nation.} The fame of a great enterprise excited the bravest warriors from the Wandalic states of Germany, many of whom are seen a few years afterwards combating under the common standard of the Goths." The first motions of the emigrants carried them to the banks of the Prypec, a river universally conceived by the ancients to be the southern branch of the Borysthenes.t. The windings of that great stream through the plains of Poland and Russia gave a direction of their line of march, and a constant supply of fresh water and pasturage to their numerous herds of cattle. They followed the unknown course of the river, confident in their valour, and careless of whatever power might oppose their progress. The Bastarnae and the Venedi were the first who presented themselves; and the flower of their youth, either from choice or compulsion, increased the Gothic army. The Bastarnae dwelt on the northern side of the Carpathian mountains; the immense tract of land that separated the Bastarnae from the savages of Finland was possessed, or rather wasted, by the Venedi;: we have some reason to believe that the first of these nations, which distinguished itself in the Macedonian war, Š and was afterwards divided into the formidable tribes of the Peucini, the Borani, the Carpi, &c. derived its origin from the Germans." With better authority, a Sarmatian extraction may be assigned to the Wenedi, who rendered themselves so famous in the
+ Omnium harum gentium insigne, rotunda scuta, breves gladii, et erga reges obsequium. Tacit. Germania, c. 43. The Goths probably acquired their iron by the commerce of amber. $ Jornandes, c. 13, 14.
* The Heruli and the Uregundi, or Burgundi, are particularly mentioned. See Mascou's History of the Germans, l. 5. A passage in the Augustan History (p. 28) seems to allude to this great emigration. The Marcomannic war was partly occasioned by the pressure of barbarous tribes, who fled before the arms of more northern barbarians. + D'Anville, Géographie Ancienne, and the third part of his incomparable map of Europe. £ Tacit. Germania, c. 46. § Cluver. Germ. Antiqua, l. 3, c. 43. * The Bastarnae were not originally a German tribe. Pliny alone asserts it; it is doubted by Strabo and Tacitus; Ptolemy and Dion regard them as Scythians, a very vague denomination at that period. Livy, Plutarch, and Diodorus Siculus, call them Gauls, which appears to be the most probable opinion. They descended from the Gauls, who were led into Germany by Sigovesus; they are also found associated with Gallic tribes, such as the Boii, Taurisci, &c., and never with the German tribes. The names of their chiefs or princes, Chlonis, Chlondicus, Deldon, are not German. Those who established themselves in the Danubian island, Peuce, took the name of Peucini. The Carpi appeared first in the year 237 as a Suevic tribe, making an irruption into Maesia. Afterwards they came forth again under the Ostrogoths, with whom they were probably amalgamated. Adelung, Anc. Hist. pp. 236, 278. —Gulzor [Celtae, Galatae, and Galli, are terms indiscriminately used by the ancients to designate the Celts, or more properly Kelts. The offsets of their race which they left during their progress westward, have been already noticed, as well as the fabulous emigrations from Gaul, invented to account for them. Among these the Scordisci, or Kordistae, appear to have been connected with the Gallic tribes occasionally mentioned on the western borders of the Euxine. Strabo (lib. 7) described them particularly as occupying the islands of the Danube; and Pausanias (lib. 10, de Phocicis), records an instructive fact. He stated that a horse was called by that people marcas, which closely resembles the present Gaelic and Welsh names for the same animal. Till the victories of Alexander on the Danube made the Greeks acquainted with this nation they had never known any Celta. (Appian. l. 1, c. 3; l. 7, c. 15.) After that they gave the name of Galatae to the descendants of the Kimmerioi in Asia Minor, who had previously been imperfectly known as Bithynian Thracians, and whom the Romans afterwards denominated Gallo-Graeci. The Scordisci most probably furnished the army of Gauls that attacked Delphi, 278 B.C., and must have been the progenitors of the Albanians, whose resemblance to the Highlanders of Scotland in language and personal appearance has been pointed out by Major Leake (Researches in Greece, p. 237) and by Lord Byron in his Notes to Childe Harold (canto 2, p. 125).-ED. * The Venedi, the Slavi, and the Antes, were the three great tribes of the same people. (Jornandes, c. 24.) [These three tribes constituted the great Sclavonian nation—Guizot.] [The Venedi are here mistaken for the Wenden.—ED.]
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middle ages.” But the confusion of blood and manners on that doubtful frontier often perplexed the most accurate observers.f. As the Goths advanced near the Euxine sea, they encountered a purer race of Sarmatians, the Jazyges, the Alani,t and the Roxolani; and they were probably the first Germans who saw the mouths of the Borysthenes and of the Tanais. If we inquire into the characteristic marks of the people of Germany and of Sarmatia, we shall discover that these two great portions of human kind were o distinguished by fixed huts or moveable tents, by a close dress, or flowing garments, by the marriage of one or several wives, by a military force, consisting for the most part, either of infantry or cavalry; and, above all, by the use of the Teutonic, or of the Sclavonian language; the last of which has been diffused by conquest, from the confines of Italy to the neighbourhood of Japan. The Goths were now in possession of the Ukraine, a country of considerable extent and uncommon fertility, intersected with navigable rivers, which from either side discharge themselves into the Borysthenes, and interspersed with large and lofty forests of oaks. The plenty of game and fish, the innumerable bee-hives deposited in the hollow of old trees, and in the cavities of rocks, and forming, even in that rude age, a valuable branch of commerce, the size of the cattle, the temperature of the air, the aptness of the soil for every species of grain, and the luxuriancy of the vegetation, all displayed the liberality of nature, and tempted the industry of man.” But the Goths withstood all these temptations, and still adhered to a life of idleness, of poverty, and of rapine. The Scythian hordes, which, towards the east, bordered on the new settlements of the Goths, presented nothing to their arms, except the doubtful chance of an unprofitable victory. But the prospect of the Roman territories was far more alluring; and the fields of Dacia were covered with rich harvests, sown by the hands of an industrious, and exposed to be gathered by those of a warlike, people. It is probable, that the conquests of Trajan, maintained by his successors, less for any real advantage than for ideal dignity, had contributed to weaken the empire on that side. The new and unsettled province of Dacia was neither strong enough to resist, nor rich enough to satiate, the rapaciousness of the barbarians. As long as the remote banks of the Niester were considered as the boundary of the Roman power, the fortifications of the Lower Danube were more carelessly guarded, and the inhabitants of Moesia lived in supine security, fondly conceiving themselves at an inaccessible distance from any barbarian invaders. The irruptions of the Goths, under the reign of Philip, fatally convinced them of their mistake. The king, or leader of that fierce nation, traversed with contempt the province of Dacia, and passed both the Niester and the Danube without encountering any opposition capable of retarding his progress. The
+ Tacitus most assuredly deserves that title, and even his cautious suspense is a proof of his diligent inquiries. : Jac. Reineggs thinks that he discovered among the Caucasian mountains some descendants of the ancient Alani. They are called by the Tartars Edeki Alan ; and use a particular dialect of the ancient language spoken by the Tartars of Caucasus. Iteueggs Description of Caucasus, Germ. ed. PP. ll, 15. -Guizot.