The Germanic people or Germains (Latin germani , of etymology dubious, perhaps Celtic) are Ethnie S Indo-European originally established in the East of the the Rhine and the Danube, beyond the Roman Limes .
Their prehistory is in the territories known under the name of Germanie (Latin Germania ), of Thulé (Greek term probably indicating the Scandinavia or the north of the Germany), or on banks of the Black Sea (see in particular the article Goths).
Better known in the Latin world as from the 1st century, mainly through the work of the Tacit historian , these people are agitated by internal migrations important at the time Roman and undoubtedly as of third century BC: it is at this period that linguistics makes go up differentiation between these populations in three great groups: the German Eastern ones, German Westerners and the German septentrional ones.
For this purpose, the fundamental unit of the Germanic people is linguistic, and not policy, economic or cultural.
Starting from the Bronze Age, according to German and Scandinavian archeology, of the material “cultures” (with the Anglo-Saxon direction) resulting from the south of the Scandinavia spread themselves gradually towards the south, Germany and southernmost banks of the Baltic. They are spread in the large European plain, to gain at the beginning of the second age of iron (v. 500 av. J. - C.) the fringes of the Celtic world : the lower Rhine, Thuringe and low Silesia. To this phenomenon would probably correspond the good access to iron in Scandinavia and a cooling climate. Perhaps contributed also a demographic expansion generating a new settlement of areas up to that point almost empty men. No testimony writes Greeks or Romans is not available, since they did not have any direct contact with the German ones. Indeed, they were separated by the Germanic forests and the Celts. In any case, as from third century BC, place has one period of training of people which is completed when the German ones enter the History.
As of second century BC take place of massive displacements of populations and armed bands coming from the borders with this “Germanic world”. They can be explained in particular by natural causes (climatic cooling, bad harvests, assembled water…) or demographic (an increase in the populations beyond the threshold that the natural resources can support). The first contacts with the worlds Celtic and Mediterranean are violent one. Towards -110, for example, takes place the invasion of the Gaulle by the Ambrons, the Cimbres and the Teutons: the Roman general Marius faces them not far from Aix-en-Provence, in -102 (the name of the Montagne Holy-Victoire commemorates its victory), then it stops them with Verceil, in Italy, in -101. Later on, the irruption of Germanic bands near the current Suisse causes the migration of the Helvètes. The latter are stopped by Jules César with Bibracte (on the Beuvray mount, in Morvan) in -58.
As from the 1st century, the Roman Empire adopts with regard to German policy which aims at containing them behind a strengthened border: the Files . This border double, is established along the the Rhine and of the the Danube. About year 100, from two to three million German are on the continent while between 600 000 and 800 000 still remain in Scandinavia. The defense of the Empire against the people of beyond its borders, in particular, leads to the division of this one in two parts: Roman Empire of Occident and Roman Empire of the East. Nevertheless, the German ones cross the two borders massively on several occasions, in particular at the 3rd century, then at the 4th century; the Romans, in the broad sense, then adopt a Politique of Clientélisme with regard to the people closest to the Empire: many are, consequently, the German ones which is useful in the Roman army like Auxiliaires, participant in a certain “barbarisation” of the Empire (even if this barbarisation is especially due, in last analysis, with the size and the diversity of the territories subjected to Rome).
Lastly, a last phase takes place when the Roman Empire disappears in Occident, towards the end of the 5th century: some of the Germanic people, either in the past federate, or up to that point completely foreign in the Roman world then establish more or less durable kingdoms on its old territories: in particular as a Gaulle (Francs, Visigoths and Burgondes), in the Iberian peninsula (Suèves, Visigoths), in the island of Brittany (Anglo-Saxon), in Italy (Ostrogoths and more tardily, Lombards) and in North Africa (Vandals and Alains).
The History of each Germanic people is detailed in the articles which are devoted to them.
See also: Germanic Migrations
Geographical, linguistic and cultural data
See also: Germanic Civilization
The Germanic companies were not foreign with slavery. Indeed, they distinguished the free, semi-free people (conquered people) and the slaves.
Agriculture: the German ones are wandering pastors.
From the religious point of view, the knowledge of their Paganisme is reduced. It comes only from Jules César and Tacite. The paganism norrois of the years 1000 is known, but it probably evolved/moved in time. Some were converted before to have even been into contact with the Romans. The shamanism and the practices divinatoires were the prerogative of certain women, the Völva S.
The German ones do not have a Alphabet, except for the runes for the religious offices.
The Germanic people are divided into 2 or 3 principal branches, according to the period considered and for ethnolinguistic reasons:
the Scandinavian branch or Scandinavian
- the branch westic or German Westerners
- the Eastern German branch ostic or
Their population is estimated from 1 to 4 million individuals. The tribes are independent from/to each other and there is no political unit.
Here a list of principal of these people, as well as the dates on which them existence is known by the historical sources.
German septentrional or ScandinavianIn the state of current knowledge, it is allowed that populations usually described as “Germanic” formed the first settlement of the south of Scandinavia to the Bronze Age, while the north of this one (major part of Sweden, Norway and Finland) was populated of Finnish (see Lapons). However, the fastening of the first Scandinavians to “German”, term which never included them, owes much a posteriori with national historiographies in mythological matter of the Early middle ages and with the German historiography of the 19th century. Also, the qualifier of “Scandinavians”, more precis and less connoted, is adapted more for these populations.
- Goths (Scandinavia)
German WesternersParadoxically, these are those of which prehistory and the protohistoire are the least well-known because of the shifts in population of which it was question previously and of mixings of populations that these movements involved with the edge of the Roman world. Because of their diversity, the German Westerners are subdivided in three sub-groups by the linguists: German of the Rhineland (established between the Rhine and the Weser), German of Elba and German of the North Sea . The independent sources which we have on these people are the Roman sources, in particular work in ethnographic matter of Tacite (the Germanie ) and the writings of Pline Old the.
- German of the Rhineland : Chérusques, Batavian, Bructères, Chamaves, Chattuaires (or She-cats), Ubiens, Sicambres, etc
- Some of these German formed at the beginning of the Christian era an important confederation of people for the history of the Early middle ages: the Frank ( franci , with the etymology, dubious: “bold the, valiant ones” or “free men”). Saliens, part of the latter, were used like auxiliaries as Rome without being really subjected to the Empire to the 5th century. Since the provinces of Belgium first and second, where some their “kings” had a military command (duke), they constituted then a kingdom which extended to the 6th century on the major part of the Gaulle S.
- Of others, then established in Bohemia, took the name of Bavarois ( Bai has Warjoz : “descendants of the inhabitants of Bohemia” (Patrick Périn)), with an unspecified date. They crossed the Danube on its middle price towards the end of the 5th century and were successively subjected to Alamans, Ostrogoths, then with the Francs before gaining their independence at the end of the 7th century.
- Some of these German, in particular of Quades and Marcomans indicated under the name of Suèves (“Souabes”), took share with the invasion of Gaulle at the sides of the Vandales and the Alains, in 406 - 409, before gaining the Iberian peninsula and being established in Galicia.
- Of others, remained beyond the Roman border in the Fields Décumates, between the Danube and the Rhine superiors, formed the league of the Alamans ( Allmannen : “all men”), mentioned for the first time at the beginning of the 3rd century. This league extended considerably its territory to the 5th century, after the destruction of the empire of the Huns; Alamans ran up then against the Francs and were overcome several time, in particular at the time of the Bataille of Tolbiac, in 496. Placed under frank protectorate, they revolted in vain before disappearing as a nation following a last defeat in 746 and with the Massacre from Cannstatt.
- Some of these tribes, in particular of the Angles and Warnes gathered at the 4th century to form the league of the Thuringes . Established between Elba and the Hand at the beginning of the 5th century, they were subjected to the protectorate of the Huns before creating a transitory kingdom into Germanic interior, once émancipés of the domination of the latter (a. 453); running up against the Francs at the beginning of the 6th century, they disappeared as a nation before the end from the 7th century.
- Of others was established in the island of Brittany starting from the first third of the 5th century; they founded the Anglo-Saxon Royaumes there during the Early middle ages before giving rise to the English nation, mainly in contact with the other people of the island, between the 7th century and the 10th century (see Anglo-Saxon ).
German EasternIt is about the most homogeneous group which brings together the people which preserved best to them Culture, them Langue and their unicity during the Moyen-âge. Stories or Historiae in ethnic matter written during this period inform us about the origins of some of them, while others disappeared precociously. It is commonly allowed that these German, or at least a part of them, is originating in Scandinavia.
- the Greuthunges , from where the Ostrogoths
- would result the Thervinges from where would result the Visigoths
Other peopleNot-Germanic people having taken part in the cruel invasions in contact with the German ones:
- People of the steppes
- Celtic People in Breton British Isles
- Tacit, Origin and territory of German the , known as Germanic the (Latin Germaniae - electronic edition with accompanying notes with charts available on Bibliotheca Classica Selected)
- “Drang nach Osten”, the Germanic expansion in Central and Eastern Europe by Georges Castellan, Professor emeritus at the National institute of the languages and Eastern civilizations.
- Index of German in the Roman sources, on the http://www.romansonline.com/ site (in English)
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