Cartographica Neerlandica Map Text for Ortelius Map No. 200

Text, translated from the 1595 Latin, 1601 Latin, 1602 German, 1603 Latin, 1606 English, 1608/1612 Italian, 1609/1612 Spanish/Latin & 1624LParergon/1641Spanish (but text in Latin) editions:

200.1. {1595L{GERMANY.

200.2. {not in 1602G{I think there is no one who studies ancient history who does not know that this country was by most of the ancient writers, especially the Greek ones, called CELTICA, and its inhabitants CELTI or CELTÆ. Hence, the word KELT is still with them, which they use to address one another in informal speech and communication. There are some who think that they were called ASCHANAXI, by Josephus, although he says that these are interpreted by the Greek to be the Rhegini, or perhaps rather, and more truly, Rheini, like they lived on the borders of the Rhine, [people] who were also by Stephanus called [in Greek lettering] Rhènoi{1609/1612S/L have erroneously instead{ksènoi[foreigners]}1609/1612S/L instead}.
200.3. Tacitus reports that the word GERMANIA had not been used in his time for long yet, and was only heard of lately. The same author adds that this name was invented by [the Germans] themselves. For which reason I agree all the more easily with him when he derives the origin of this word from the etymology of the country itself, [rather] than from the Romans. For it is much more likely that a nation should impose a name upon itself derived from that language which they understand, than from a foreign tongue which they know nothing about.
200.4. I think therefore that those are mistaken who think this name derives from germine, that is, from buds or young saplings, because of the great fertility and abundance of all kinds of things that grow here. This is the view of Festus and Isidorus. Those also, who derive the name from the Latin word germanus, meaning brother, as Strabo does, as one who would say brothers of the Gauls or Frenchmen, from whom, as he says, they differ little, are equally far from the truth, {1606E only{in my conceited opinion}1606E only}.
200.5. Our countrymen, as well as Rhenanus and others, think it to have been compounded from GAR and MAN, namely GARMAN, that is, all man or manlike. Our Goropius [supposes it to have been composed of] GER and MAN, (approaching more closely its writing or spelling), derived from GEREN, which means to gather, as in scraping together a booty or prey. And the same author elsewhere derives it from GER, which according to him amongst our ancestors meant war, [and explanation] which I also note to please Justus Lipsius most. I know that gerre, (or rather guerre) in modern French means war, but whether this also has the same meaning in the ancient German tongue, I do not know.
200.6. I can easily believe that these people first gave a name to themselves and coined the word WERMAN from WER with a long E, a truly German word which refers to any weapon we can cast or throw at our enemy. Hence, WEREN means to defend oneself against the enemy; and we call any man fit to carry arms WEERMAN or WEERBAERMAN, (that is, a warrior). Thus, they all call themselves wermanos or wermannos, that is, warlike men. And Cæsar and Tacitus, as well as others, are very relevant witnesses that this name fully agrees with the nature and disposition of these people.
200.7. The same can also be found in Dionysius Afer, who surnames these [people] Martialists or warlike men, [in Greek lettering] Areimaneis. But the reason is evident why these people named and described themselves as wermanos or wermannos, that is, warlike men, namely, because they do not have the digram or W, instead of this [they] have substituted the G, which we also see them to have done in similar cases. [Thus], for Wilhelmus they write Guilielmus; for Waltherius Galtherius; for Walfridus Galfridus, &c. Therefore it is also likely that for Walli they wrote and pronounced Galli. For even the Germans on this side of the Rhine, retaining their ancient language, still call these Galli by no other name than WALEN.
200.8. The Galli themselves too, being Romanised (their liberty and ancient tongue having been lost) imitate this change of letters to this very day. The following few words, out of many [more], may serve as an example: they usually both write and pronounce vin for WIJN [NB: note that this is not a supportive example], Guesp for WESP, Gand for WANDT, Guedde for WEEDT, by which they mean Wine, Wasp, Glove and Woad. Similarly I also find in a manuscript Guandali for Wandali. If anyone objects that Strabo, Dionysius Afer, Ptolemæus and some other Greeks who knew the digram {1606E only{Æolicum}1606E only}, {not in 1601L, 1603L, 1608/1612I, 1609/1612S/L & 1624LParergon/1641S{that is, the W, have in spite of this written it with a single V}not in 1601L, 1603L, 1608/1612I, 1609/1612S/L & 1624LParergon/1641S}, I answer that these people were known to these authors in past times only under the name of Celtæ, and that the word GERMAN was first used by Cæsar or other Romans [of that time] in their writings, on the basis of which the Greeks, imitating this form of writing, have translated this word into their language. But if anyone desires to read more about the etymology and ground for the word GERMANY, let him read the twenty-first chapter of Batavia by H. Iunius.
200.9. There are some historians who truly believe that all the GERMANS were later called ALEMANES, as does Vopiscus in his life of Proculus. Yet it is clear from Ælius Spartianus (who reports that Antoninus Caracalla, the Roman emperor who subdued both [these] peoples, took the surname of both for himself, and was graced both by the name GERMANICVS and ALEMANICVS) that these were two different peoples. Moreover, the same thing can be observed in the marble inscriptions of the emperors Valentis, Valentinianus and Gratianus, as also in the titles of emperor Iustinianus. Again, Ammianus writes in his 26th book that the Alemanes crossed the borders of Germany, from which it is as plain as daylight that they were different [from one another]. But one was the name of one family or tribe, the other of the whole group or nation. Yet, although this Alemannia of Stephanus, Ammianus and other writers of that time was considered to be only a part of Germany, namely that [part] which lies around the river Aleman (commonly called ALTMVL), yet all people from other countries, not knowing German, use the word Alemania for all of Germany, and with Alemanes refer to all the Germans.
200.10. But its inhabitants nowadays call themselves TEVTSCHEN, Tuiscones, either after the god Tuiscus, son of the earth, mentioned by Tacitus, or after Tuisco, son of Noah, about whom Pseudoberosus speaks. I leave [this matter] to the judgment of the learned reader, for to me it is unclear. So much about its name.
200.11. Ovidius, writing to Livia, graces it with a very heroic surname and honourable titles, when he calls it ORBEM GERMANVM, ORBEM NOVVM & ORBEM IGNOTVM, {1606E & 1608/1612I only{[that is:] The German world, The new world and The unknown world}1606E & 1608/1612I only}. Ptolemæus surnames it THE GREAT. Plinius {not in 1606E{the Second}not in 1606E} in the third book of his Epistles to his friend Macer calls it LATISSIMAM, {1606E & 1608/1612I only{A most wide and spacious country}1606E & 1608/1612I only}. Note its form in Dionysius and his commentator Priscianus, or, as some call him, Rhemnius {not in 1606E{in Periegesi}not in 1606E}, in his comments in the following verse: Hæc tergo similis taurino dicitur esse, {1606E & 1608/1612I only{[that is], In form, they say, it is somewhat similar to a large buffalo hide}1606E & 1608/1612I only}, (but wrongly, for this is truly said about Spain, as Andreas Papius before me has correctly noted)}not in 1602G}.
200.12. The location and borders of this country are described in various different ways, according to the diversity and alterations that occurred over time. Plutarchus in his Life of Marius makes it extend from the Exterior or Outermost sea, and the Northern parts, to the rising of the sun near the fen Mæotis {1606E only{Mar delle Zabbache}1606E only}, where it touches Pontick Scythia. Pomponius Mela too, and Pseudoberosus, confine it to Sarmatia Europæa. And Martianus makes it extend from [the] Hister {1602G, 1606E & 1608/1612I only{Danube}1602G, 1606E & 1608/1612I only} to the ocean, even as high up North as the deserts of Sarmatia (but the word Sarmatia is falsely read as Armenia, if I may correct this mistake from this author, as does Pintianus).
200.13. Dionysius Apher also places the Germans at the fen Mæotis {1595L, not in 1602G, 1606E & 1608/1612I{all the way to the Mæotian woods}1595L, not in 1606E & 1608/1612I}. Yes, and P. Diacono in his first chapter comprehends under the name of Germany all Scandia {1606E only{or Scone in Denmark}1606E only}, where he describes that den or cave near the Scricfinners in which seven men slept. And this I consider to be that Exterior {1595L, 1601L, 1603L, 1609/1612S/L & 1624LParergon/1641S only{[Greek lettering] eksoteras}1595L, 1601L, 1603L, 1609/1612S/L & 1624LParergon/1641S only}, Germany which Eusebius in his sixth book De Præpar. Evang. places towards the North. Isidorus therefore correctly places the Riphæan mountains at the top of Germany}not in 1602G}. Others have claimed the sea, the Alps, the Vistula {1602G & 1606E only{(the river Wixel)}1602G & 1606E only} and the Rhine to be its borders.
200.14. But Tacitus removes from that whatever there is between the Danube and the Alps. For he confines it within the following limits: namely, {not in 1606E{the ocean}not in 1606E}, the Rhine, Danube, the Dacias {1602G & 1606E only{(Transsylvania and Walachia)}1602G & 1606E only} and the Sarmatias, {1606E only{(and Russia)}1606E only} with which also Ptolemæus, the prince of geographers, agrees. Yet, Strabo and Pomponius extend [the borders of Germany] even to the very Alps, and thus by these mountains separate it from Italy, as it were by a certain natural rampart or bulwark. And to this day this is still the true and natural [size of] Germany, which in the North is surrounded by the sea, in the South by the Alps, in the West by the Rhine and in the East by the Vistula {1602G & 1606E only{(Wixel)}1602G & 1606E only} or Oder.
200.15. Moreover, Suetonius, Tacitus and Dion divide this true Germany into UPPER and LOWER [GERMANY]. They call that [part] UPPER GERMANY which is closest to the spring or head of the Rhine; and that [part] LOWER [GERMANY] which extends from there to the ocean. But beyond the Rhine also, namely in Belgica, Ptolemæus distinguishes two other Germanies, to wit [GERMANY] SVPERIOR and [GERMANY] INFERIOR. {1602G only{which extends from the Rhine to the river Marne and the sea, including Picardia, Trier, Gülich, Gelder, Brabant, and all the Low Countries, and separates them into Upper and Lower Land}1602G only}. Marcellinus agrees with this, and calls the former the FIRST, the latter the SECOND. Yet I do not consider these truly to belong to Germany, but it was improperly called like that by the Germans who, {not in 1602G{as Dion states}not in 1602G}, later occupied it, and established themselves there. And [this happened] first by the Tungri, who, as Tacitus writes, were the first of all to cross the Rhine.
200.16. Also, we read in Cæsar about certain Belgæ originating from the Germans. This is the reason why he claims that the Nervij {1602G only{in the bishopric of Tournay in Flanders}1602G only}, {not in 1602G{Aduatici}not in 1602G}, Atrebates, Ambiani, Morini, Menapij {1602G only{who live in the duchy of Geldern & Gülich}1602G only}, Caletes, Verocastes, Veromandui, Catuaci, Condrusi, Eburones {1602G only{in the bishoprick of Luttich}1602G only}, the Cæresi, Pæmani, and Segni were all called GERMANI CISRHENANI {1606E instead{TRANSRHENANI}1606E instead}, Germans on this side of the Rhine. Tacitus says that the Vangiones, Triboci, and Nemetes were called Germans. Suetonius writes that Tiberius the emperor, placed forty-thousand Germans in France near the bank of the Rhine. Eutropius says that there were four hundred thousand of them.
200.17. Also, the testimony of Plinius tries to make us believe that the German people dwelled even as far North as the river Schelde. And today the Germans have settled beyond the Schelde, as far {1606E only{North}1606E only} [in fact: west] as the straights of the ocean [the Channel], as is manifestly proved by the language they use. So that it is true what Dion says in his 53rd book, namely that they have spread themselves as far as the British ocean, up to the city of Bononia {1606E only{or Boulogne}1606E only}, which by Zosimus is called a city of Lower Germany.
200.18. But let us leave these matters, and return to the description of true and ancient Germany as we have published on this map. Seneca reports that there is a perpetual winter here, unpleasant air and barren soil. Pomponius writes that it is afflicted with many rivers, [that it is] rough and uneven because of many mountains, and mostly difficult to travel or pass through because of large forests and marshes. {not in 1602G{Frontinus confirms this, where he writes that the Germans used to assault the Romans from these places, providing invisible coverage, to which they could safely retreat again}not in 1602G}.
200.19. Tacitus says that it is everywhere filled and covered by hideous forests, and loathsome, stinking bogs, [that] the land or country is unpleasant, the air sharp, [that] it is difficult to plough it, and not beautiful to behold. {not in 1602G{It is most moist towards Galliæ {1606E only{(France)}1606E only}, windiest towards Noricum {1606E only{(Bayern)}1606E only}, and the Pannoniæ {1606E only{(Austria and Hungary)}1606E only}. I add the reason for this: this is opposite the Alps, which are exposed to the boisterous North wind, beating it back by their extraordinary height, and thus increasing the violence of its blasts. {1601L, not in 1602G{(The copy [of the manuscript] is sound and good here, although a great scholar considers it faulty)}1601L, not in 1602G}.
200.20. There, because the ocean is nearer, Ovidius and Horatius call it hideous, cruel and savage. Manilius says that it is only suitable for wild animals, because it is indeed wholly covered by the Hercynian forest, which is not inferior in size or reputation to any other forest, (as Plinius reports). For this Hercynian forest (which Eratosthenes, Apollonius and Ptolemæus, being Greek, call Orcynium) is by far the largest of all, [since it takes] a journey of a period of sixty days [to cross it in length], as Mela confirms. Nobody has described it better than Cæsar, whose words about this subject are as follows: {not in 1602G{Its breadth is a nine days journey}not in 1602G}. It begins at the borders of the Helvetians and Nemeti, and the Rauraci, and then extends directly along the river Danube, [and then] approaches the confines of the Dacias {1624LParergon/1641S{and Anartium}1624LParergon/1641S}. From there it winds {1606E only{Northwards, or}1606E only} towards the left, leaving the course of the river, and because of its huge size, touches the borders of many nations. Nor is there anyone in the whole of Germany who can say that he has heard about the end of this forest, or reached it, when he has traversed it for altogether sixty days. No one has ever heard where it starts, &c.
200.21. Plinius writes in these words about the same forest: The huge size of the oaks of the Hercynian forest, never lopped or cut since the world was created, almost exceed all other miracles in terms of their immortality. I prefer to omit other things [said about this forest] which would be hard to believe. It is clear that the small hills [found in it] have arisen by the mutual encounter and crossing of its [tree] roots. But where the earth is loose and not compressed, there they [i.e. the trees] rise up with arches all the way to their boughs, and as it were competing among themselves. [The trees] are crooked like broad gates, [so] that whole troops of horsemen may pass underneath them.
200.22. Suidas, on the authority of Julianus, describes the roughness of this forest: If anyone, he says, considers the impassable Tempe of Thessalia, or the narrow straights of Thermopylæ, or the great, steep and high mountain [range] Taurus, [he will conclude] that these are nothing compared to this [forest, as] they are not so difficult and hard to cross, as to pass through this Hercynian forest. So much now about this inaccessible grove or forest, as Florus calls it. Nay, but Plinius adds that the other part of Germany is also full of woods. {not in 1602G{Similarly, Tacitus in the fourth [book] of his annals says that further away they have forests with huge beasts, & at home herds or droves of small cattle}not in 1602G}.
200.23. We read in the same author that the soil of Germany is sandy [and] covered with a thin layer of turf, yet their pastures are very recommendable. Tacitus claims it to be reasonably well provided with cattle, but unsuitable for fruit trees. Herodianus reports that the Germans have [only] few buildings of stone of brick, and that they take pleasure in abiding in arbours and bowers made in thick woods by joining and fixing together the boughs. {not in 1602G{They have no [other] dwellings or houses than those made for a day out of weariness. Seneca in his book on Gods providence reports that they defend themselves against storms and tempest with the help of covers of reeds and leaves. Tacitus says that they dig caves under the earth and cover them up with dung, and use them as places for refuge to which they may retreat [when] in danger}not in 1602G}. A passage in Strabo does not seem to differ much from this opinion, where he says [that] they dwell in cottages made [to last] for a day so that they may more easily move to different grounds, and putting their household stuff into carts, may depart with their cattle from there to wherever they like best [to go].
200.24. For Eusebius claims them to be both ignorant about geometry and about architecture. As a consequence, the same Tacitus most truly denies that the Germans usually live or dwell in cities, or like to join one house to another if they are close together, but instead have them separated and disjoined as it may happen because of some brook, field or wood. I will add to this that in ancient times they had but few cities, for in all ancient histories, in whatever language, I see hardly one or two mentioned before Ptolemæus' time. Nor is there after him any mention of them by any other writer. Capitolinus writes about Maximinus the emperor that he burned down three or four hundred villages, but there is no mention of cities.
200.25. Strabo, (as diligent a writer as any of that kind), only remembers Boviasmus, the palace or court of Maroboduus. Tacitus, who knew Germany best, mentions Matium, Arenatum, Batauodurum and one or two castles near the mouth of the Rhine, which anyone would consider to belong to France rather than to Germany. In other writers there is not a word about any cities. So much in general about the soil, the form and nature of this country. Now some things peculiar to it will be considered, and first I will speak about the river Rhine [on the basis of] that which I have read in an epistle of Julianus the emperor to Maximus the philosopher, {not in 1606E{as his commentator Morentinus says}not in 1606E}.
200.26. His words are these: [the] Rhine violently carries off bastard infants as a revenge to the unchaste bed [that produced them], but those that are born within the wedlock of chaste parents it bears aloft on top of its waters, and returns them to the trembling hands of their mother, and by the preservation of the infant as it were provides true and uncorrupted testimony of chaste and laudable wedlock. Nazianzenus, Nonnius in his Dionysiacs and an ancient Greek epigram also claim this to be true. But there are also others, who attribute a different, and in my opinion more truthful cause to this dipping of children in the Rhine, which we will report about in a moment.
200.27. There is a hot spring at the Mattiaci of which the water, when drawn from it, will continue to boil for three days. And around its edges the water generates pumice stone, as Plinius testifies. The same author writes that in Friesland there is a spring of sweet water, and if anyone drinks from it, his teeth will fall out of his head within two years, and that the herb called Britannica that can be found there is an instant remedy against that danger.
200.28. As is the case in the Nile, likewise in the Danube or Ister, (as Suidas reports), there are large waterfalls, growing under the water like a mountain, over the whole width of the river, against which the falling stream with loud and terrible noise swells back, and first rumbling among the rocks, finally overcomes them and causes the stream by its violent fall to turn around, [causing] whirlpools, troubled motion and dangerous waves. {not in 1602G{Strabo also mentions this}not in 1602G}.
200.29. Germany has the best amber, (which, as Tacitus writes, they call GLESSVM) {not in 1602G{which they gather from between the shallow fjords and the sea shores}not in 1602G}; [they also find] brass ore, or brassy stone which they call Cadmia, crystal, callais, a precious stone they prefer above those from Arabia, onyx, and a white kind of stones commonly called Ceraunia, which if you hold it in the open air, will diminish the glittering of the stars, as claimed by Plinius and Solinus. Adamant is also found here, if Scepsius, as reported by this same author, speaks the truth, and Topazius, (unless there is a mistake in the manuscript copy in the fourth and eighth chapter of the 37th book, for some copies read in this place Carmania for Germania).
200.30. Tacitus does not venture to deny that Germany has veins of both silver and gold, and he reports that Curtius Rufus explored a cave in the field of Mattiacum to search for veins of silver. Plinius reports that copper mines were developed only recently in Germany. I find in the same Tacitus that the Gothini daily worked in iron mines.
200.31. Lycophron describes [a kind of] hog fish with four feet [occurring] in the Danube. And in connection with the source or spring of this river, Plinius speaks about a kind of black fish which, if eaten, [leads] to a sudden death. {not in 1602G{The same author mentions the Esox, a fish from the river Rhine (some read Exossem, and for Rhine they read Danube, for I know the fish Exossis as a fish that has no bones at all, not even a back bone, which lives in the Danube, as Iornandes agrees with me, and not in the Rhine), whose clammy flesh, tasting somewhat like young pork, we once tasted in Vienna, Austria, but it did not agree with the stomach. They call [this fish] HAVSEN, after its size, since they show themselves in the water like little houses. Cassiodorus in his twelfth book {not in 1606E{of Variar.}not in 1606E} attributes the carp to the Danube. The river Mœnus [Main](Ælianus calls it Danubius) boasts a fish called Silurus}not in 1602G}. {1602G only{The same author describes the salmon as a fish from the Rhine, and says that the sturgeon occurs in the river Main}1602G only}.
200.32. [Germany also has] the best goose feathers, especially those near to the body [of the goose], radishes as large as children, the herb Corruda, a kind of asparagus, as Plinius claims, who also says that he saw here a honey comb eight feet long.
200.33. The same author, as also Solinus and Cæsar, list the following animals as belonging to this place: the elk, the buffalo, the bear and the machlis [moose]. {1601L{Cassiodorus says in the third book of his Variar. chapter 50 that the German oxen are more precious than those from elsewhere, because of their large bodies}1601L}. Cæsar also, in the sixth book of his French wars mentions a kind of ox about which he says: There is an ox [there] which in shape and proportion looks like a deer. From the middle of its forehead there grows between the ears one horn higher than the rest, and more straight than any of the kind of horns we know. From the top of the head it spreads out like the boughs of a palm tree.
200.34. There are birds in Hercynia whose feathers in the night shine like fire, as Plinius reports, or whose quills, as Solinus says, glitter and shine in the dark, however dark and overcast the night may be. So that the people of that area often arrange their nightly outings in such a manner that they may use them [i.e. these birds] as lights to find their direction and way, and after they cast them in front of them on the dark road, they can see which way to go by the mark of their glittering feathers. About the very same [birds] speaks Priscianus, or whoever was the commentator on Dionysius' Periegesius: Et pascit volucres mirum fulgentibus alis, | Queis ducibus noctu cernuntur flexa viarum. {1602G, 1606E & 1608/1612I only{[that is:] Here lives the gold-feathered fowl, A wonder it is to tell, Whose quills being strewn in the darkest ways, Do guide men passing well}1602G, 1606E & 1608/1612I only}.
200.35. Plinius has left on record that you can see in Germany, especially in winter, the turdus or felfare: [thrush]. {not in 1602G{Plutarchus in his Lesser Parallels writes that there are two altars in Germany which every year on a fixed day sound like trumpets in memory of the daughter of C. Marius who was once sacrificed there}not in 1602G}.
200.36. Now let us say something about the people. {not in 1602G{Columella says that it is a land with mostly tall people}not in 1602G}. Plinius and Solinus who copied him say that it is very well populated, full of very many big and boisterous people. Sidonius calls the Germans cruel and fierce. Cassiodorus [calls them] proud and numerous. {not in 1602G{Pausanias in his Arcadia says the same}not in 1602G}. Cæsar, Arrianus, Appianus, Herodotus, Polyænus, Vegetius and Columella all jointly confirm that they are all tall of stature, and have very big limbs. {not in 1602G{Dionysius calls them white Germans, Calpurnus Flaccus [calls them] ruddy}not in 1602G}, Tacitus blue-eyed, Juvenalis yellow-haired, others red-haired.
200.37. Martialis and Seneca describe them [as having] their hair wreathed and bound up in a knot. Tertullianus in his book De virginibus velandis highly recommends their excellent [hair] locks. Appianus says that they are very rude in their manners, and prone to cruelty. Cæsar calls them barbarous and cruel, Josephus in his second book on the Jewish war, chapter 16, stout and hardy, Dionysius Afer [calls them] very warlike and martial, Hegesippus boisterous and invincible, Arrianus and Dionysius soldier-like, his old commentator stern and surly, Arrianus proud and arrogant. There is no man more courageous than a German, no one more eager or hot to start an attack or assault, no one more desirous to make war, as Seneca writes in his book of Anger.
200.38. Herodianus calls it a people very tight with money. Ovidius [calls them] faithless and treacherous, Cæsar false traitors and serious pretenders, {not in 1602G{Paterculus most crafty in their excessive cruelty, and born to lie}not in 1602G}. (But who would expect more positive characterisations and reports from their enemy, provoked to the full, beaten back and forced to flee under great losses and slaughter, [something] which happened more than once or twice?). Tacitus, who lived among them, speaks {not in 1624LParergon/1641S{in the third book of his histories}not in 1624LParergon/1641S} in a more realistic manner when he says that their soldiers are most fierce and desperate, and that these people take much delight in war, are not wily or deceitful at all, but easily reveal the secrets of their heart, and disclose their minds to one another, and to those they consider most trustworthy.
200.39. The same author says that Julianus the emperor in his Misopogonos writes that he has learned by experience that they are people who cannot flatter, but love to live freely and simply with everyone. Ptolemæus in the second book of his Quadripartite tells that they are by nature and constitution of body temperate and mild, because of the characteristics of the region where they live. So much about their nature and qualities.
200.40. Now a word or two about their rites and manners. As soon as their children are born, they carry them to the river {not in 1602G{(on a shield, says the Greek epigram)}not in 1602G}, warm as they have come from their mothers womb, as testified by Galenus and by Aristoteles in the eighth book of his Politics. And there, dipping them into the cold water like a smith does with his hot iron, they try out their natural resistance and in this way they strengthen their body. This is what Claudianus says [about the matter]: Nascentes explorat gurgite Rhenus, {1602G, 1606E & 1608/1612I only{[that is:] The river Rhine tries out those that are just born}1608/1612I only}. And this I think to be the more likely cause [as compared to testing the chastity of their parents, see above, as a reason for their being dipped into the water]}1602G & 1606E only}. For this poet attributes the same [habit] to his Italians, where he says: Natos ad flumina primum Deferimus, sæuoq; gelu duramis, & vndis. {1602G, 1606E & 1608/1612I only{[That is:] The babes newborn to rivers cold, In frost and snow we bring, To harden them against all storms, Into the midst we sling}1602G, 1606E & 1608/1612I only}.
200.41. Which is the same [as] what Sidonius writes about the Thracians in these words: Excipit hîc natos glacies, & matris ab alvo, Artus infantum molles nix Cimbrica durat. [See] also Val. Flac. 6 about the Scythians: ubi tam sævo duravimus amne, Progeniem, natosq. rudes, &c}1601L}. {not in 1602G{Suidas, in the work Lycurgus, informs [us] that this was the habit of the Lacedæmonians}not in 1602G}, {1601L{as [does] Seneca in Suaforijs, who also says that that the river Eurota hardens tender youngsters, to enable them to withstand the miseries of warfare better. (This custom still continues among the Iaponians, as Maffeius claims)}1601L}.
200.42. Cæsar says that they expose themselves to hardship from their childhood [onwards]. If he would have been born in Germany, (says Seneca), he would immediately know, [in spite of] being a child, how to handle a small javelin. Young men, by way of pastime, move freely about, naked, according to Tacitus, among swords and dangerous spears.
200.43. The young men abstain for a long time from sexual intercourse, and Cæsar reports that they consider it to be a most filthy thing to know a woman before they are twenty years of age. {not in 1602G here, where this text occurs in §47{Their marriages are strict, [and] they are satisfied with one wife each, except [those] very few that are married for [the sake of] nobility rather than lust. The husband offers a dowry to his wife, [such as] oxen, and a horse, ready with bridle and saddle, buckles, javelin and sword. She is reminded by these tokens of her matrimony, and that she becomes a companion or consort in all labours and perils, both in peace and war, that she is to share and endeavour everything together with her husband.
200.44. Adulteries there were very few}in 1602G in §47}, {not in 1602G{and those [that did occur] were immediately punished in the following manner: The husband, (says Tacitus), thrusts his wife outdoors stark naked in view of her friends and kindred, with her hair entirely cut off, and thus he whips her cleanly through the town}not in 1602G}. {1601L{This demonstrates clearly that Sextus Empyrus, or at least his commentator {not in 1624LParergon/1641S{Gent. Hernetus}not in 1624LParergon/1641S}, is a manifest liar when he says that it is considered no shame or dishonesty among the Germans, but an ordinary thing, to commit incest and buggery}1601L}.
200.45. They do not apply their minds to farming, but devote their entire life to hunting, which is their chief delight. Yet Plinius writes that they usually sow oats, and commonly eat no other leguminous plants. {not in 1602G{Tacitus says that in winter they sit all day long by the fireside}not in 1602G}. Cæsar tells us that the main part of their food consists of milk, meat and cheese, and Appianus says that in poverty and want they are satisfied with green herbs.
200.46. Mela adds that they also feed themselves with raw meat. At dinner, says Athenæus, they serve roasted meat in small pieces, and drink milk or wine with it. Their dishes are simple and plain, consisting of freshly killed venison, wild plants and cream. Their drink, says Tacitus, is a drink made of barley or wheat. There is not any people more riotous in their inns and daily gatherings [than these Germans are].
200.47. It is considered a shameful thing, and a great discourtesy, to drive anyone outdoors, or forbid a person to enter his house, but it is no disgrace for anyone to sit imbibing and drinking for days and nights together. {not in 1602G{Yet, this is no wonder, considering, as Plinius says, that drunkenness reigns in every corner of the world}not in 1602G}. I wonder why Athenæus does not mention the Germans in his catalogue of inebriates and drunk peoples, or are these [Germans] sober compared to those?
200.48. The richer kind of people wear no loose garments, but [only those that are] so straight and close to their bodies {1601L{that one may discern their ribs and muscles if they only stir}1601L}. The others wear skins of wild animals which the ocean at their borders or an unknown sea yields. The very same [thing] is reported by Sallustius, who says that they cover their bodies with garments [made out of animal] skins, as [is] also [reported] by Cæsar, but he adds, as does Tacitus, that a great part of their body is just naked. {not in 1602G{This becomes clear from the words of Isidorus, [who says that their] Rhenones are certain clothes or coverings for the shoulders and breasts, [hanging] down to their navels, made like a rug of course wool and hair which will stand a good rain shower}not in 1602G}.
200.49. {1601L{Varro perhaps speaks about the same kind of garment where he says that [the] Rheno is a French garment. And Servius, [commenting] on Vergilius 3. Georg. [says]: Et pecudum fulvis velantur corpora setis, | Rhenonibus, {1606E & 1608/1612I only{[that is:] Their upper parts are clad in rugs or Rhenones, made of course wool}1606E & 1608/1612I only}, confirms that. For as Sallustius says in his histories, garments made of skins or pelts are called Rhenones. In Persius [this word] seems to refer to a kind of beast, in the following verse: Essedaque ingentes locat Cæsonia Rhenos. Commentators of this passage interpret this to refer to the Germans because, as they say, they do live near the Rhine.
200.50. But if it befits these people to be called after a river, it would be more suitable for them to be called Danubij [after the river] which runs through their country, rather than after the Rhine, which belongs to the French as well as to the Germans. And that it is [also] the name of a living creature is proved to some extent by the silver coins of C. Rhenius, on which a cart with two wheels is portrayed, drawn by two goat-like animals. Olaus describes certain animals called REYNEN, which by Herberstein are called RHEN. So much, as far as I am concerned, about these animals called Rhenones. {not in 1608/1612I{Let other people be of a different opinion if they like}1601L, not in 1608/1612I}. [Here in 1601L, 1603L, 1608/1612I, 1609/1612S/L & 1624LParergon/1641S there is a woodcut of two sides of a coin, the left one showing a helmeted man's head, the right one a cart drawns by two goat-like animals, with a man guiding them from the chariot, with the inscription C.REN | ROMA]}1601L}.
200.51. Plutarchus in [his] 6th. Convivial. writes that they only wear clothes against the frost and cold of winter}not in 1602G}. Pomponius writes that the men cover themselves with tree bark. And the same author, {not in 1602G{as well as Tacitus, writes that they all wear cassocks as a cover, fastened together with a button or needle, and}not in 1602G} that in their childhood they go about naked, even in the greatest cold in mid winter. There is no difference between the clothes of men and women, except that the women often cover themselves with linen garments, {1602G only{but that of the women is often of a crimson colour}1602G only}.
200.52. {not in 1602G{Plinius has observed that they also sow hemp, and that the women make cloth of it, that they know no finer garments than these, and {1624LParergon/1641S{Tacitus says}1624LParergon/1641S} that they mingle it with purple}not in 1602G}. Each mother nurses her own child, and they are not committed to [having] wet nurses. We learn from Eusebius' sixth book de Præparat. {not in 1602G{and from S[t]. Clements ninth book de Recog.}not in 1602G} that they do not engage in childish things, or anything they consider unprofitable, like staging plays, painting or music.
200.53. They do apply themselves to making poetry, but these [poems] are rude and simple, as reported by the Julianus just mentioned in his Misopogonos. And this [poetry] serves them as a kind of history or Chronicle, as Tacitus reports. For the rest they spend their entire life in warlike and military exercises.
200.54. We read in Cæsar that robbery is not regarded as a shameful thing. And Seneca says that there is nothing that they take better care of than their armour and weapons. With those they are born and bred, they are their nourishment. If there is an extensive period of peace in their country, they will voluntarily go and offer their services to those peoples who wage war with each other, as Tacitus reports. {not in 1602G{They arrange their mothers, children and wives to bring to them, when they are going to battle, encouragement, food and drinks, and these [relatives] do not hesitate to suck out and dress their wounds. They start a battle with singing, noise or clashing their weapons, and dancing. They excite and encourage one another with shouting and loud hallowing.
200.55. {1601L{In battle they use long spears and pikes, the [typical] weapons of the Germans or Teutones, as Lucanus says in his sixth book}1601L}. To leave this armour behind on the battlefield was considered the greatest disgrace that could occur in the sense that many, having returned to their homes from the war, have ended that disgrace by hanging themselves. This may be the reason why Eusebius and St. Clement report that many Germans hang themselves}not in 1602G}.
200.56. Dion and Herodotus say that they usually cross rivers by swimming, for the lightness of their armour and the tallness of their stature lift them up, and keep them above the waterline, as Tacitus reports. Plinius says that [their soldiers, like] pirates, sail in various hollowed trees, some of which can carry thirty men each.
200.57. The same authors says that they still have the custom that the conquered offer herbs to the conquerors. Appianus Alexandrinus says that they scorn death, because they are convinced that they shall return to life again. This may be the reason why Tacitus speaks about them as follows: They do not want to have elaborate funerals. The only thing they observe is that the corpses of the better kind of men may be burned with some specific kind of wood. They heap upon the fire neither garments nor any sweet smells. {not in 1602G{Every man's armour, and some men's horse too used to be cast into the fire. The sepulchre is raised with turfs &c.
200.58. They also practice a certain kind of punishment only used here, as Tacitus says, who writes that they hang traitors and renegades on trees, but idle and lecherous fellows (Lipsius reads big-limbed and lazy lubbers) they throw into puddles and fens, casting a grating or lattice over them. (Cæsar in his sixth book of de bello Gall. tries to convince me of the reading Lipsius advances where, if I am not wrong, he claims those to be slothful who belong to the number of runaways, cowards and traitors, but I do not see in what respect there is a difference between accusing a man of idleness and accusing him of slothful laziness). This diversity of punishments depends on the diversity of the offences}not in 1602G}.
200.59. They do not make any sacrifices, and they only take into consideration those gods (if we may believe Cæsar) whom they can see, [such] as the sun, the moon and vulcanus [fire]. But later, as becomes clear from Tacitus, who lived during [the period of] Nerva the emperor, they adopted other gods too, [such] as Mercurius, Hercules {1601L{(whom, if we may trust Lucianus, they called Ogmion)}1601L}, Mars, Isis, and the mother of the gods, next to one named Alcis. The same Tacitus adds that they also listed Velleda and Aurinia among their gods. {not in 1602G{Suidas mentions this, but [also] that he reads Beleda for Velleda}not in 1602G}.
200.60. Theodosius, on the authority of Dion, writes that the virgin Ganna gave out oracles. He also mentions the temple of Tanfannæ. {not in 1602G{He says that the Suevi, (the largest group of people of all Germany), worshipped mother Earth, whom (according to Lipsius) they called Aërtha, [now] still called AERDE}not in 1602G}. But they have no images. {not in 1602G{Tertullianus writes in his Apologetico (if the reading is not corrupted) that Belenus is the god of the Norici}not in 1602G}, and following Plutarchus, Clemens Alexandrinus tells that they have certain holy women, (soothsayers Tacitus calls them, whereas Agathias & Polyænus call them fortune tellers and prophetesses) who foretold things by the roaring, whirling and circumvolutions of rivers. It is very likely that Cæsar referred to these people where he reports to Ariovistus that it was the Germans not permitted to win a victory if they fought right before the new moon.
200.61. {not in 1602G{This also explains those things which Strabo discusses when talking about the prophetess of the Cimbrians, (a people in Germany), in his seventh book. Ælianus has noted in the second book of his Var. Hist., chapter 31, that they predict coming events also by [observing] birds, entrails of animals, signs and sooth-sayings. Tacitus witnesses that they even experimented in predictions on the basis of the neighing of their horses}not in 1602G}. It is clear from Suetonius' Domitianus that they also had diviners, who predicted by looking at the entrails of animals.
200.62. We read in Tacitus that at a fixed moment they publicly sacrificed those men, which happened in their consecrated woods, {not in 1602G{and by reciting the names of their gods, which I also gather from Claudianus' first book in praise of Stilicon, who calls these woods cruel because of this ancient tradition}not in 1602G}. {1595L only{This is done by some kind of lottery, says Adamus in his Hist. Ecclesiastica}1595L only}. {1601L{Tacitus also attributes to these [people the habit of] casting lots. Josephus in the eighth book of his Antiq., chapter 8, tells a pretty tale worth reading about a captive soldier, having to do with their skill in sooth-saying through birds}1601L}.
200.63. These few details about ancient Germany is what we have selected out of many things. [Germany] now has a new face, very different fashions, rites and manners than it had at that time. Cæsar will provide the avid reader with more, but Tacitus with more still, especially in his book specifically written about the Germans. Moreover, you may also find some things in a Panegyric speech addressed to Aurelius Maximus the emperor}1602G ends here}.
200.64. In the Epitome of Livius, in the 104th book, we see that he wrote about the situation and manners of Germany. Cæcilius reports that Plinius Secundus, his relative, wrote twenty books about the wars in Germany. {1601L, not in 1608/1612I{Agathius reports that Asinius Quadratus most interestingly describes the state [of affairs] of Germany}1601L, not in 1608/1612I}.
200.65. But so far we are in lack of all these books by Plinius and Livius. Yet there are some men without any reputation who brag that they have those books at their disposal, and allow them to remain hidden, and resist the worms, which causes great harm and damage to science in society. {1608/1612I only{Agathias says that Asinus Quadratus has written very diligently about German matters, which in contrast to what has just been said, have been lost}1608/1612I only}.
200.66. From this vanquished but invincible Germany, the following men took their names or surnames, namely: Nero Claudius Drusus, (about whom Ovidius speaks like this: Et mortem & nomen Druso Germanis fecit, {1606E only{[that is:] Great Drusus was after Germany named, and there he lies entombed)}1606E only}, Germanicus Cæsar, this mans son, Tiberius {not in 1606E{Cæsar, C. Cæsar, Nero, Vitellius & Domitianus, as Suetonius states, [as well as] Dion, Tacitus, and on coins also Nerva, Hadrianus, Antoninus Pius}not in 1606E}, Traianus, M. Aurelius Antoninus, Commodus, Caracalla, Maximinus, Maximus' son Gallienus, and Claudius, as their ancient coins clearly tell us. Also Aurelianus, Maximianus, Valentinianus, Valens and Gratianus, as we see on ancient stones and inscriptions. Finally, Valerius Maximinus, as Eusebius in the ninth book of his de Histor. Eccles. confirms.
200.67. The most learned Justus Lipsius has correctly observed and commented on the first book of Tacitus' annals that almost all emperors after Tiberius have taken their surnames from this most belligerent people. I have a brass coin on which there is the image of M. Aurelius Antoninus with the following inscription: M. ANTONINVS AVG. TR. P. XXV. On its back there is a fir tree and standing near by Victoria, with a shield on which is written VIC. GER., and around its edge IMP. VI. COS. III. No wonder that Germany should be represented by a fir tree, for this is very common and specific for this region, and Plinius says that the best of them all are in the Alps, on that side or part which looks towards Germany. For we have observed that few or none [at all] grow in any part of the Alps facing Italy.
200.68. And this is the Germany with which the Roman people waged war from the year six hundred and forty-three after the founding of Rome, when Cæcilius Metellus and Papirius Carbo were consuls, all the way to the year one thousand one hundred and sixty-four, at which time it [Rome] was conquered by the Goths, a people from Germany, during the reign of emperor Honorius. It took so long to conquer Germany that I may quote Tacitus who freely confesses that it was triumphantly, rather than basely conquered. [In the 1595L which ends here as well as in the 1601L, 1603L, 1608/1612I, 1609/1612L/S and the 1624LParergon/1641S edition there is a woodcut here showing the two sides of the coin just discussed, the left with emperor Antoninus, the right with Victoria and a fir tree].
200.69. {1601L{To understand the nature of the country better, I do not think it amiss to add these few histories to those already told. About the SIMPLICITY of these people, [I quote] from Suetonius de Claudio. He, being moved by the simplicity and trust of the Germans permitted their ambassadors to sit in the main rooms of the theatre because, when they were [first] brought to the places where the commoners and common people used to sit, they noted that the Parthians and Armenians were sitting among the senators, and boldly, of their own accord, they moved to those more honourable seats, claiming that their valour and condition was in no sense inferior to that of those [Partians and Armenians].
200.70. Also note Tacitus in his 13. Annal., speaking about the Frisian Germans, who had come to Rome. While they waited and paused for Nero, who was busy with other matters, among the things which are usually shown to barbarians, they were taken to Pompeius' theatre, to watch the large crowd of people assembled there. Sitting idle there (for they took a foolish delight in plays), they enquired about the rules for being seated, and asked about ranks, demanding who that gentleman was, who was a senator [&c.], when they noticed some people in strange clothes in the seats of the senators. And asking who these were, they understood that such honour was given to the ambassadors of those people who excelled in virtue and friendship with the Romans. [Then] they cried out loudly that NO MORTAL MEN MAY BE PREFERRED ABOVE THE GERMANS IN VALOUR AND FIDELITY. they rose, left their seats and placed themselves among the senators, which was taken in good spirit by those who watched them, and considered as a sign of their ancient spirit and courageous nature. Nero made them freemen of the city of Rome.
200.71. About their SECURITY, from Arrianus 1. Alexand. Alexander asked the Celts (or Germans) what in all the world they feared most, thinking that the greatness of his power and name had penetrated as far as the Celts, yes, and [even] far beyond them, and expected them to answer that they feared him more than anyone else in the world. But the Celts answered him in a manner very different from what he expected, namely that they feared most that heaven would fall down on them, because they lived far from Alexander, and dwelled in places that were hard to reach, and that they noticed that he made his expeditions in a different direction. Alexander called them his friends, and entertained and included them among his other friends and confederates, sent them home again, adding this single thing, that the Celts are proud and haughty fellows.
200.72. About their CONFIDENCE IN THEIR OWN STRENGTH, from Cæsar. Comment. lib. 4. The Germans said that neither did they start the first war, nor did they refuse to reciprocate when they were provoked, and to meet them [in battle] wherever they wanted. [This], because it is a custom among them, continued since their ancestors, to answer whoever proclaims war against them, and never to offer conditions for peace to their enemies. Yet they admitted that they came to this place [i.e. Rome] unwillingly, since they were expelled from their houses and homes. If the Romans desired their friendship and amity, they might be able to get along with them and do them good service, or else be given land, or at least allow them to hold on to those lands they had gained by the sword. They consider themselves inferior to no other people, except to the Suevi only, whom they think even the gods cannot match, but for the rest there is no people on earth they cannot overcome.
200.73. About their MAGNANIMITY, from L. Flor. lib. 3. How was it with the pride of Ariovistus, king of the Germans? When the ambassadors said: Come to Cæsar, he answered: But who is Cæsar? And if he wants to come, he said, let he come himself. What does he care how our Germany is doing? Do I meddle with the Romans? But these matters of Ariovistus are discussed at greater length by Cæsar himself in his 1. Comm. de Bel. Gall}1601L, 1603L, 1606E, 1608/1612I & 1609/1612L/S end here}.
200.74. {1624LParergon/1641S only{The publisher greets the reader. Two maps about the German Empire, once published by Gerard de Jode, although not devoted to Ancient Geography, such as Ortelius has depicted in his Parergon, may next be seen: for Baptista Vrintius has inserted them in his Ortelian Parergon, for I do not think that they are to be omitted, in the hope that no one looking at this atlas expects from me enlarged and improved matters, but that realises from now on that a hem has been added to this apparel which is the [Thesaurus] Geographica. And truly, benevolent reader, if you want to know more about the origin and institution read the illustrious Church annals, 10th volume, in the year of Christ 996., under Otto III., Imp.1.}1624LParergon/1641S only, which ends here.}[This is an introduction to the next two plates from de Jode, showing the German Imperial Electors, Ort201,202].

Bibliographical sources

For questions/comments concerning this page, please e-mail