Showing posts with label Tacitus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tacitus. Show all posts

12 August 2014

Ingvaeonic Mother Earth deity, Nerthus (Nerþuz, Niörðr, Njörðr, Njörd)

Sú Ansunijo, þizos namo Nerþuz ist, in oxumiz-draganam wagnái.
The goddess, whose name is Nerthus, in ox-drawn wagon
Nerþuz, Nerthus, Njörðr, Njörd
Published, edited, comments/annotations (in red) & images added by Kenneth S. Doig

(websource: Wikipedia)

In Germanic paganism, Nerthus is a goddess associated with fertility. Nerthus is attested by Tacitus, the first century AD Roman historian, in his ethnographic work Germania.

In Germania, Tacitus records that the remote Suebi tribes were united by their veneration of the goddess at his time of writing and maintained a sacred grove on an (unspecified) island and that a holy cart rests there draped with cloth, which only a priest may touch.

30 April 2014

"the Batavia' : an ongoing series : a periodic look at various Scando-Teutonic tribes

a modern batavian
Published, edited, with images added & annotations (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig
(websource: Wikipedia)
The Batavi were an ancient Germanic tribe, that lived around the Rhine delta, in the area that the Romans called Batavia, from the second half of the first century BC to the third century AD. The name is also applied to several military units employed by the Romans that were originally raised among the Batavi. 
The tribal name, probably a derivation from *batawjō ("good island", from Germanic *bat- (cf. better, the unumlauted Gothic reflex, batis & the ON reflex batna "to improve", "to get better") "good, excellent" and *awjō "island, land near water"), refers to the region's fertility, today known (cognate to OE éa river, the 'ieg' or 'eg' in 'iegland', island, cf., Swed. å "river" 'ö' Dano-Norw. ø and nynork øy, Icel/ON ey, the -avia-,in the word, Scandinavia, from earlier a a latinized versions, e.g., Scatnauuia, from Gmc *Skaðinahwia, scathing-waters, for the  dangerous oceanstreams, maelstroms, eddies, rocky coastlines, seafloor obstacles around the Skagerak, Kattegat, the Belts & other dagerous waters in the western Baltic.) as the fruitbasket of the Netherlands(the Betuwe). Finds of wooden tablets show that at least some were literate. 

29 September 2013

The History of The Term "Germanic"

Published, edited, images added and annotations/commentary (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig

Various etymologies for Latin Germani are possible. As an adjective, germani is simply the plural of the adjective germanus (from germen, "seed" or "offshoot"), which has the sense of "related" or "kindred" or "authentic". 

According to Strabo, the Romans introduced the name Germani, because the Germanic tribes were the  authentic Celts (γνησίους Γαλάτας; gnisíous Galátas). Alternatively, it may refer  from this use based on Roman experience of the Germanic tribes as allies of the Celts.

The ethnonym seems to be attested in the Fasti Capitolini inscription for the year 222 AD,  DE GALLEIS INSVBRIBVS ET GERM (aneis), where it may simply refer to "related" peoples, namely related to the Gauls. Furthermore, since the inscriptions were erected only in 17 to 18 BC, the word may be a later addition to the text. 

Another early mentioning of the name, this time by Poseidonios (writing around 80 BC), is also dubious, as it only survives in a quotation by Athenaios (writing around 190 AD); the mention of Germani in this context was  likelier inserted by Athenaios rather than by Poseidonios himself. 

28 July 2013


Published, edited, images/captions added & annotations (in redletter) by Kenneth S. Doig

(websource: Wikipedia)
The Suebi (pronounced /SWAY-bee/) or Suevi (pronounced /SWAY-vee/) were a large group of Germanic peoples who were first mentioned by Julius Caesar (pronounced /YOOL-ee-us/ /KIGH-sahr/)in connection with Ariovistus' campaign in Gaul, c. 58 BC. 
While Caesar treated them as one Germanic tribe, though the largest and most warlike, later authors such as Tacitus, Pliny and Strabo specified that the Suevi "do not, like the Chatti or Tencteri, constitute a single nation. 
They actually occupy more than half of (approximately the area modern-day) Germany, and are divided into a number of distinct tribes under distinct names, though all generally are called Suebi". 

17 March 2013

Origins of the English Nation

Published, edited, commentary (in red) & images added by Kenneth S. Doig
(source: excerpts [chapter IX]from the book- The origin of the English nation – Hector Munro Chadwick)

Roman empire during the reign of Marcus Aurelius 1; but after this they seem to have disappeared as a nation. With regard to the Cimbri and Teutoni the facts are as The Kimbri follows. Ptolemy (n. 1 1, § 12) places a tribe called and Teutoni.

28 September 2011


(By  Jona Lendering)

Tacitus (c.55-c.120): Roman historian, author of a/o the Histories and the Annals.
Early Career

27 September 2011

Tacitus on Boudicca's Revolt



Tacitus (full name, Publius Gaius Cornelius Tacitus, ca. 56 – ca. 117 CE) was a Roman Senator and an important historian of the Roman Empire. In the following passages
Tacitus gives an account of the Iceni Queen ’s revolt against Rome, 60-61 AD

Chapter 31 (Causes of Boudicca’s Revolt)
Prasutagus, the late king of the Icenians, in the course of a long reign had amassed considerable wealth. By his will he left the whole to his two daughters and the emperor in equal shares, conceiving, by that stroke of policy, that he should provide at once for the tranquility of his kingdom and his family.

03 September 2011

twelve caesars : the republic's demise

save image

Published, edited & annotations/comments (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig

(from: the Classics Page)


Originally the city of Rome was ruled by kings. Lucius Junius Brutus introduced republicanism and consulships; dictators were appointed on a temporary basis. The committee of ten did not survive more than two years; the granting of consular authority to military tribunes did not last long either. 
Cinna and Sulla held sway only for a short time. The powers of Pompey and Crassus soon devolved on Caesar. [Octavian] took over the military resources raised by Lepidus and Antony, and, with the entire state exhausted by civil wars, assumed control with the title of princeps (Tacitus, Annals I).

The twenty years that followed Sulla’s death saw the rise of three men of particular ambition and power, and the flowering of the political and forensic skills of a fourth. 
roman republic c. 40 bc
Marcus Licinius Crassus (c. 115 - 53 BC) had prodigious wealth; Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (106 - 48 BC), “Pompey the Great”, was a born military leader and organizer; Gaius Julius Caesar was an astute politician who was also a military-genius.
Together they took advantage of Caesar’s election as consul for 59 BC to form a triumvirate, which ruled unconstitutionally for several years. 

05 May 2011

Acient Roman Historian Tacitus Confirmed Accurate by Modern Archaeology


 by Kenneth S. Doig

Ancient senator and roman historian,  Gaius Cornelius Tacitus (usually referred to as simply "Tacitus") , author of the classic, if not iconic book,  De Origine et situ Germanorum (Concerning the Origin and Situation of the Germanics), known simply as Germania  in 98AD.
He describes in detail the germanic tribes and in detail, the seven tribes in extreme northwestern Germany and in southern Denmark, on the danish  Kimbric Peninsula (Jutland) and several nearby islands. These tribes, called ingvaeones, included two of the major west-germanic peoples who invaded Britain, along with the saxons, frisians and almost certainly some other gmc peoples. These tribes, after centuries of infighting, dynastic wars and danish-vikings invasions, finally coaleseced into one unite nation-state and ethnic group the english. The anglii (the angles, from which the words english, England amd anglican are derived) and the jutes (euodoses, jutes, eotan, geatas, ytan). The angles mainly settled in central and northern England and southeastern

03 May 2011

Another Version of "Germania"

by Cornelius Tacitus (A.D. 98)

1. The country we know under the name of Germany is separated from Gaul, on the one hand, and from Rhaetia and Pannonia, on the other, by the rivers Rhine and Danube, from Sarmatia and Dacia by the barrier of mutual fear or mountain ranges. Its northern coasts, with their broad promontories and vast islands beyond, are lapped by Ocean. It is only in recent times that war has revealed the existence there of nations and kings unknown before. The Rhine rises in a remote and precipitous peak of the Rhaetian Alps and bends gently westward to lose itself in the northern ocean. The Danube flows from a gentle grassy slope of Mount Abnoba and passes more peoples than the Rhine in its course, before it discharges by six channels into the Black Sea. Its seventh mouth is swallowed up in marshes.
2. The Germans themselves, I am inclined to think, are natives of the soil and extremely little affected by immigration or friendly intercourse with other nations. For, in ancient times, if you wished to change your habitat, you travelled by sea and not by land; and the vast ocean that lies beyond and, so to speak, defies intruders, is seldom visited by ships from our world. Besides—to say nothing of the perils of a wild and unknown sea—who would leave Asia, Africa or Italy to visit Germany, with its unlovely scenery, its bitter climate, its general dreariness to sense and eye, unless it were his home?




Tacitus, an important Roman historian, wrote the most detailed early description of the Germans at then end of the first century CE.. In doing so, be warned, he was commenting on the Rome of his own time, as much as on the German themselves.
Note that although this is most of Tacitus' text, some of the later sections are not in this etext.
The Inhabitants. 0rigins of the Name "Germany. " The Germans themselves I should regard as aboriginal, and not mixed at all with other races through immigration or intercourse. For, in former times it was not by land but on shipboard that those who sought to emigrate would

30 January 2011

The Ingvaeones-Ing`s Folk

Sunday, October 15, 2006
The Ingvaeones-Ing`s Folk

In Tacitus` Germania 2.2 it says

"In ancient lays, their only type of historical tradition, they celebrate Tuisto, a god brought forth from the earth. They attribute to him a son, Mannus, the source and founder of their people, and to Mannus three sons, from whose names those nearest the Ocean are called Ingvaeones, those in the middle Herminones, and the rest Istvaeones."

The Roman historian Tacitus writing in 97CE categorised the Germanic peoples in to three distinct groups. For the time being we are going to focus on just one of these groups-the Ingvaeones.
So who were the Ingvaeones?
According to Pliny the Ingvaeones included the Cimbri, Teutones and the Chauci, all of which were coastal tribes.
These tribes occupied the Danish and north German coastal areas and it is from this area that the Germanic tribes of the Angles and Jutes joined with the Saxons, Frisians and Franks in their invasion and colonisation of southern Britain, the direct ancestors of the modern English.
John Grigsby in his ground-breaking work, `Beowulf and Grendel` states that "these tribes had been settled in Denmark and northern Germany for at least 2,000 years before Tacitus mentioned them by name." [Chapter 1-`Clans of the Sea Coasts`] .
This would mean that the ancestors of the English had a common cultural and genetic heritage with the Danes.
It is in this area of Old Angeln[Old England] that the poet of the Anglo-Saxon classic `Beowulf` sites the hall of Heorot, the scene of the climatic action between Beowulf and the `monster` Grendel.
The Beowulf poet refers to the `Ingwine` or `friends of Ing`. Hrothgar, the lord of Heorot is referred to as `Lord of the Ingwine`.
Could this mean that the Ingvaeones were descended from the god Ing? Was Ing originally their primary deity? If so then why was he later eclipsed by Woden?

"Ing waes aerest mid Eastdenum
gesewen secgun, oth he siddan est
ofer waeg gewat; waen aefter ran;
thus heardingas thone haele nemdun."

"Ing was amongst the East-Danes first
seen by men, till later east
he went over the wave; his wain followed after;
the Heardings named the hero so."

[Louis J Rodrigues translation from "Anglo-Saxon Verse Runes"]

The rune Ing or Inguz is the 22nd rune of the 3rd aett or the Tyr aett of the Common Germanic Futharc or the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc and represents the god Ing. It is aso associated with the god Frejr and is symbolic of fertility.
Indeed it has been argued that Ing is a manifestation of the
Vanir god of fertility Freyr. Freyr and his sister-wife Freyja are children of the coastal god Njorthr and Nerthus, also a brother-sister fertility pairing.
Ing is associated with the Swedish Yngvi-Freyr which is the name that Snorri gives to the god Frejr in his Ynglinga Saga. The Swedish Yngling kings counted him as their ancestor and founder of the Yngling dynasty.
According to Rudolf Simek Ing`s association with the Gothic name of the yew-rune enguz points to the great age of the god Ing.
Simek states in his "Dictionary of Northern Mythology" "Yngvi could as a result be a derivation from *Ingwia-fraujaz `lord of the Ingaevones` whereby a great age for the construction Yngvi-Freyr must be assumed".
Mr Grigsby argues in `Beowulf and Grendel` that Beowulf was more than just a folk tale but was also based in history and in myth. Whilst there is no direct evidence to support the existence of an historical Beowulf he argues that the story of his killing of Grendel and his mother represents the acting out of an ancient Vanic fertility rite and mystery in the same way the Grail myth is a Celtic representation of this same ancient northern rite.[See his `Warriors of the Wasteland`.]
At the time of the written composition of the Beowulf poem the cult of Odin/Woden/Wotan and the Aesir pantheon had already supplanted the older Vanir gods but the Vanir held out longest in northern Germany and Denmark because of their relative isolation from their more southern Germanic cousins. Being a coastal community the Ingvaeones had a deeper and longer held connection to the Vanir, being gods of the sea and fertility.
Again as before in his earlier work[`Warriors of the Wasteland] he draws a direct connection between the Danish bog sacrifices and the ancient re-enactment of the sacrificial rites of the Old Europeans.
The story of Beowulf`s struggle with Grendel and his mother represents the struggle between the Aesir and the Vanir which is referred to in Snorri`s `Younger Edda` or `Prose Edda` and the Ynglinga Saga.
The worship of the fertility goddess Nerthus singled out these English tribes as being different from their Germanic neighbours.
Tacitus says this of Nerthus:
"There is nothing noteworthy about them individually[ie the Ingvaeones], except that collectively they worship Nerthus, or Mother Earth, and believe that she takes part in human affairs and rides among the peoples.
On an island in the Ocean is a holy grove, and in it a consecrated wagon covered with hangings; to one priest alone is it permitted so much as to touch it. He perceives when the goddess is present in her innermost recess, and with great reverence escorts her as she is drawn along by heifers. Then there are days of rejoicing, and holidays are held wherever she deigns to go and be entertained.
They do not begin wars, they do not take up arms; everything iron is shut away; peace and tranquillity are only then known and only then loved, until again the priest restores to her temple the goddess, sated with the company of mortals.
Then the wagon and hangings, if you will, the goddess herself are washed clean in a hidden lake. Slaves perform this service, and the lake at once engulfs them: there is as a result a mysterious fear and a sacred ignorance about something seen only by those doomed to die.
[Germania, 40.2-40.4]
Posted by Wotans Krieger at 10/15/2006 05:08:00 PM

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