a momentary glow of martial ardor. But how faint, how cold is the sensation which a peaceful mind can receive from solitary study! It was in the hour of battle, or in the feast of victory, that the bards celebrated the glory of the heroes of ancient days, the ancestors of those warhke chieftains, who listened with transport to their artless but animated strains. The view of arms and of danger heightened the effect of the military song; and the passions which it tended to excite, the desire of fame, and the contempt of death, were the habitual sentiments of a German mind.71 *

Such was the situation, and such were the manners, of the ancient Germans. Their climate, their want of learning, of arts, and of laws, their notions of honor, of gallantry, and of religion, their sense of freedom, impatience of peace, and thirst of enterprise, all contributed to form a people of military heroes. * And yet we find, that during more than two hundred and fifty years that elapsed from the defeat of Varus to the reign of Decius, these formidable barbarians made few considerable attempts, and not any material impression on the luxurious and enslaved provinces of the empire. Their progress was checked by their want of arms and discipline, and their fury was diverted by the intestine divisions of ancient Germany.

I. It has been observed, with ingenuity, and not without

"See Tacit. Germ. c. 3. Diod. Sicul. 1 . v. Strabo. L iv. p. 197. The classical reader may remember the rank of Demodocua in the Phoeacian court, and the ardor infused by Tyrta?us into the {hinting Spartans. Yet there is little probability that the Greeks and the Germans were the same people. Much learned trifling might be spared, if our antiquarians would condescend to reflect, that similar manners will naturally be produced by similar situations.

• Besides these battle songs, the Germans sang at their festival banquets (Tac. Ann. i. 6d.) and around the bodies of their slain heroes. King Thendoric. of the tribe of the Ooths, killed in a battle against Attila, was honored by songs while he was borne from the field of battle. Jornandes, c. 41. The same honor was paid to the remains of Attila. Ibid. c. 49. According to some historians, the Germans had songs also at their weddings; but this appears to me inconsistent with their customs, in which marriage was no more than the purchase of a wife. Besides, there is but one instance of this, that of the Gothic king, Ataulph, who sang himself the nuptial hymn when he espoused Placidia. sister of the emperors Aipadius and Honorius, (Olympiodor. p. 8.) But this marriage was celebrated according to the Roman rites, of which the nuptial songs formed a part Adclung, p. 382. — G. • A

Charlemagne is said to have collected the national songs of the ancient 3< rmana. Eginhard, Vit. Car. Mag. — M.

troth, that the commend of iron soon gives a nation the command of gold. But the rude tribes of Germany, alike destitute of both those valuable metals, were reduced slowly to acquire, by their unassisted strength, the possession of the one as well as the other. The face of a German army displayed their poverty of iron. Swords, and the longer kind of lances, they could seldom use. Their frameee (as they called them in their own language) were long spears headed with a sharp but narrow iron point, and which, as occasion required, they either darted from a distance, or pushed in dose onset. With this spear, and with a shield, their cavalry was contented. A multitude of darts, scattered w with incredible force, were an additional resource of the infantry. Their military dress, when they wore any, was nothing more than a loose mantle. A variety of colors was the only ornament of their wooden or osier shields. Few of the chiefs were distinguished by cuirasses, scarce any by helmets. Though the horses of Germany were neither beautiful, swift, nor practised in the skilful evolutions of the Roman manege, several of the nations obtained renown by their cavalry; but, in general, the principal strength of the Germans consisted in their infantry,'8 which was drawn up in several deep columns, according to the distinction of tribes and families. Impatient of fatigue and delay, these half-armed warriors rushed to battle with dissonant shouts and disordered ranks; and sometimes, by the effort of native valor, prevailed over the constrained and more artificial bravery of the Roman mercenaries. But as the barbarians poured forth their whole souls on the first onset, they knew not how to rally or to retire. A repulse was a sure defeat; and a defeat was most commonly total destruction. When we recollect the complete armor of the Roman soldiers, their discipline, exercises, evolutions, fortified camps, and military engines, it appears a just matter of surprise, how the naked and unassisted valor of the barbarians could dare to encounter, in the field, the strength «f the legions, and the various troops of the auxiliaries, which seconded their operations. The contest was too unequal, till the introduction of luxury had enervated the vigor, and a

"Missilia spargunt, Tacit. Germ. c. 6. Either that historian used a vague expression, or he meant that they were thrown at random.

M It was their principal distinction from the Samatians, who genetilly foupht on horseback.

spirit of disobedience and sedition had relaxed the discipline of the Roman armies. The introduction of barbarian auxiliaries into those armies, was a measure attended with very obvious dangers, as it might gradually instruct the Germans in the arts of war and of policy. Although they were admitted in small numbers and with the strictest precaution, the example of Civilis was proper to convince the Romans, that the danger was not imaginary, and that their precautions were not always sufficient.74 During the civil wars that followed the death of Nero, that artful and intrepid Batavian, whom his enemies condescended to compare with Hannibal and Sertorius,75 formed a great design of freedom and ambition Eight Batavian cohorts, renowned in the wars of Britain and Italy, repaired to his standard. He introduced an army of Germans into Gaul, prevailed on the powerful cities of Treves and Langres to embrace his cause, defeated the legions, destroyed their fortified camps, and employed against the Romans the military knowledge which he had acquired in their service. When at length, after an obstinate struggle, he yielded to the power of the empire, Civilis secured himself and his country by an honorable treaty. The Batavians still jontinued to occupy the islands of the Rhine,78 the allies, not the servants, of the Roman monarchy.

II. The strength of ancient Germany appears formidable, whan we consider the effects that might have been produced by its united effort. The wide extent of country might very possibly contain a million of warriors, as all who were of age to bear arms were of a temper to use them. But this fierce multitude, incapable of concerting or executing any plan of nationa' greatness, was agitated by various and often hostile intec tions. (iermany was divided into more than forty independent states; and, even in each state, the union of the several tribes was extremely loose and precarious. The barbarians were easily provoked; they knew not how to forgive an injury, much less an insult; their resentments were bloody and im

74 The relation of this enterprise occupies a great part of the fourth and fifth books of the History of Tacitus, and is more remarkable for its eloquence than perspicuity. Sir Henry Saville has observed several inaccuracies.

n Tacit. Hist. iv. 13. Like them he had lost an eye.

TM It was contained between the two branches of the old Rhine, at they subsisted before tho face of the country was changed by art and nature. See Cluver. German. Antiq. 1. iii. c. 30 37.

piacable. The casual disputes that so frequently happened in their tumultuous parties of hunting or drinking, were sufficient to inflame the minds of whole nations; the private feuds of any considerable chieftains diffused itself among their followers and allies. To chastise the insolent, or to plunder the defenceless, were alike causes of war. The most formidable states of Germany affected to encompass their territories with a wide frontier of solitude and devastation. The awful distance preserved by their neighbors attested the terror of their arms, and in some measure defended them from the danger of unexpected incursions.77

"The Bructeri • (it is Tacitus who now speaks) were totally exterminated by the neighboring tribes,78 provoked by their insolence, allured by the hopes of spoil, and perhaps inspired by the tutelar deities of the empire. Above sixty thousand barbarians were destroyed; not by the Roman arms, but in our sight, and for our entertainment. May the nations, enemies of Rome, ever preserve this enmity to each other! We have now attained the utmost verge of prosperity,79 and have nothing left to demand of fortune, except the discord of the barbarians."80 — These sentiments, less worthy of the humanity than of the patriotism of Tacitus, express the invariable maxims of the policy of his countrymen. They deemed it a much safer expedient to divide than to combat the barbarians, from whose defeat they could derive neither honor nor advantage. The money and negotiations of Rome insinuated themselves into the heart of Germany; and every art of seduction was used with dignity, to conciliate those nation* whom their proximity to the Rhine or Danube might render the most useful friends as well as the most troublesome

"Csesar de Bel1. Ga1. 1 . vi. 23.

n They are mentioned, however, in the ivth and vth centuries by Nazarius, Ammiahus, Claudian, &c, as a tribe of Franks. See Cluver. Germ. Antiq. 1 . iii. c. 13.

n Urgmtibut is the common reading; but good sense, Lipsius, and Home MS8. declare for Vergentibut.

90 Tacit. Germania, c. 33. The pious Abbe de la Bletcrie is very angry with Tacitus, talks of the devii, who was a murderer fron. the beginning, &c., Stc

• The Bructeri were a non-Suevian tribe, who dwelt below the duchies I f Oldenburgh and Lauenburgh, on the borders of the Lippe, and in the Harts Mountains. It was among them that the priestess Velleda obtained aer renown. — G.


enemies. Chiefs of renown and power were flattered by the most trifling presents, which they received either as marks of distinction, or as the instruments of luxury. In civil dissensions the weaker faction endeavored to strengthen its interest by entering into secret connections with the governors of the frontier provinces. Every quarrel among the Germans was fomented by the intrigues of Rome; and every plan of union and public good was defeated by the stronger bias of private ioalousy and interest.81

The general conspiracy which terrified the Romans under the reign of Marcus Antoninus, comprehended almost all the nations of Germany, and even Sarmatia, from the mouth of the Rhine to that of the Danube.89 It is impossible for us to determine whether this hasty confederation was formed by necessity, by reason, or by passion; but we may rest assured, that the barbarians were neither allured by the indolence, or provoked by the ambition, of the Roman monarch. This dangerous invasion required all the firmness and vigilance of Marcus. He fixed generals of ability in the several stations of attack, and assumed in person the conduct of the most important province on the Upper Danube. After a long and doubtful conflict, the spirit of the barbarians was subdued. The Quadi and the Marcomanni,83 who had taken the lead in the war, were the most severely punished in its catastrophe. Thev were commanded to retire five miles84 from their own banks of the Danube, and to deliver up the flower of the youth, who were immediately sent into Britain, a remote island, where

81 Many traces of this policy may be discovered in Tacitus and Dion; and many more may be inferred from the principles of human nature.

M Hist. Aug. p. 31. Ammian. Marcellin. 1. xxxi. c. 5. Aure1. Victor. The emperor Marcus was reduced to sell the rich furniture of the palace, and to enlist slaves and robbers.

83 'J he Marcomanni, a colony, who, from the banks of the Rhine, occupied Bohemia and Moravia, had once erected a great and formidable monarchy under their king Maroboduus. See Ptrabo, 1 . vii. [p. 290.] Veil. Pat. ii. 108. Tacit. Annal. ii. 63.»

** Mr. Wotton (History of Home, p. 166) increases the prohibition to ten times the distance. His reasoning is specious, but not conclusive. Five miles were sufficient for a fortified barrier.

* The Mark-mannen, the March-men or borderers. There seems iittl* Joubt that this was an appellation, rather than a proper name. of a part if the great Sucvian or Teutonic »ace. —M.

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