View Full Version : The Ubii on the Rhine

Thursday, July 10th, 2008, 08:38 PM
The Ubii

The Ubii were a Germanic tribe first encountered dwelling on the right bank of the Rhine in the time of Julius Caesar, who formed an alliance with them in 55 BC in order to launch attacks across the river. They were transported in 39 BC by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa to the left bank, apparently at their own request, as they feared the incursions of their neighbors the Chatti. There Agrippa founded the city of Cologne as their capital, the Oppidum Ubiorum (modern Cologne) whose Latin name Colonia Agrippensis is the origin of the current form. The Ubii were also at Bonna (Bonn) of the Eburones.

The Ubii remained loyal allies of Rome; they were instrumental in crushing the Batavian rebellion in 70 and were among the foederati supporting Roman troops in Pannonia in the Marcomannic Wars in 166-67. They seem to have been so thoroughly Romanized that they adopted the name Agrippenses in honour of their “founder”, and their later history is submerged in that of eastern Gaul as a whole.

Roman interactions

In 55 BC Julius Caesar was preparing for an invasion of Britain, when several Germanic tribes, including the Ubii, crossed the Rhine river. This movement included the Usipetes and Tenchteri tribes who were looking for safer land, to escape the Suevi. Caesar, concerned that fighting might break out in the region and draw troops away from his planned invasion, marched toward the Rhine. He met with ambassadors from the Germanic tribe and offered them land with the Ubii and an alliance against the Suevi. However, Caesar soon became worried that the tribes were delaying until their cavalry could return.

Considerable Roman remains can be found in contemporary Cologne (an ancient settlement opposite the position of the Ubii) especially near the wharf area, where a notable discovery of a 1900 year old Roman boat was made in late 2007.