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Thread: The Influence of Roman/Greek Culture on Germanics and Its Value

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    Quid dicitis?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thusnelda View Post
    Sure! We owe them some of the most epic victories in our Germanic history. The Goths sacking Rome, the united Germanic tribes under Hermann the Cherusker smashing Romans best legions in the Teutoburg forest...

    Thank you Romans - for trying to grab and occupy our lands like you did with the Gauls in France...and getting your butts kicked by our ancestors!

    What the village of Asterix and Obelix is iconic Celtic fighting spirit in microcosm, is the resistance of the Germanic tribes eastwards of the Rhine River on the large scale.
    No doubt we were worthy foes. But I think you have the wrong interpretation of the Gothic sack of Rome. This was not a show of Germanic might, in any case. Alaric did not sack Rome in order to take it over, on the contrary, he simply moved the Goths up the hierarchy of the Roman Empire.

    The trouble with this 'getting your butts kicked by our ancestors!' is that the Russkies can sit there and Moscow and say the same thing to us . Does this make them better? I have extreme doubts that this logic will be applied to the Russkies, in order to praise their victory.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elessar View Post
    Mmm, as is the case of Greece conquering its conqueror Rome by way of enculturation, the same happened to the Germans who conquered Rome, enter the Germanic Kingdom successor states around the Mediterranean and former Roman provinces, eventually referred to as the Holy Roman Empire.

    Yeah, Anti-Romanism pisses me off, biting the hand that's fed for over 2,000 years. Granted, it is pretty badass how the Germans beat them on multiple occasions, but most of it is entirely unjustified and, frankly, sounds naive,
    Exactly right. The Romans merely preserved and perpetuated Greece, as the Germanics preserved and perpetuated Rome. It's just another version of Horace's famous saying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thusnelda View Post
    Well, we can all agree that the Holy Roman Empire Of German Nation was a mostly Germanic successor of the old Roman Empire in a way that it continued with some of the achievements of the old time, but we must differ between "continuation of some cultural, political and ethic norms" and "military aggression and occupation". There was significant trade of goods and knowledge between the old Roman Empire and the Germanic world - both sides could profit from it.

    But all of this doesn“t change the fact that Roman imperialism and their expansion scenarios regarding the Germanic regions east of the Rhine River posed a an explicit threat to the Germanic sphere as a whole! Had the Romans been successful, chances are high that we Germans would speak a Romance language today like the French, with significant Romance cultural elements. That we speak a Germanic tongue today, with Germanic culturalization, is a consequence of decisive Germanic victories against the Roman Empire. The Romans reaped what they sow. They wanted to conquer the regions known as "Germania Liberia" and ended up being conquered by the Goths and, eventually, being sentences to mere historical figures in history books by the rest of the Germanic sphere.
    Well there is no use lamenting over what could have happened.

    Who can blame the Romans? The most advanced people in the West Mediterranean, of course they're going to spread their glory over realms that they don't necessarily have a right to! Every single region outside of the city of Rome was 'Roman Imperialism'!

    Are you going to say that Roman expansion was unjustified, but be totally fine with German Imperialism by the Teutonic Order on the shores of the Baltic? Yeah Alexander Nevsky... 'Thank you Teutons - for trying to grab and occupy our lands like you did with the Balts...and getting your butts kicked by our ancestors!'

    Double standards all around.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thusnelda View Post
    I“m not into "Anti-Romanism" but your "Romanticism about the Roman Empire" is a little bit exaggerated. There are enough aspects about the old Roman Empire that I respect and esteem, but we can“t forget about their cruelties and long-lasting insolence against Germanic populace on the British Isles (Hadrian“s Wall) and on the continent.
    You can't exaggerate Romanism, just look at the influence people such as Cicero have had, for milennia after their deaths. You don't even realise that the great Germanic poets only saw themselves as heirs to the Greco-Roman greats.

    I have no idea what you are talking about with a 'Germanic populace on the British Isles' ??? Were the Saxons there in the early 2nd Century AD?

    Quote Originally Posted by Žoreišar View Post
    What exactly have we been fed by the Romans? Most of their worthwile inventions and progress that has enriched Europe were merely a continuation of that of the Greeks. In addition to that, they were also the inventors of nationless citizenship, political centralization and religious institutionalism, as well as being responsible for the extinction of several European cultures. Nothing to be too grateful for, in my opionion.
    Yes and will people in the future judge us on our ridiculous liberal-marxist crap of today? England invented liberalism and a German Jew invented Marxism... What about blaming the Teutonic Order for exterminating the Old Prussians? What about blaming the Anglo-Saxons for exterminating the old British culture?

    Nationless citizenship was not an 'invention' it was a concession. You should know that not even the Samnites, who were part of the Roman Republic since 290 BC; were granted citizenship only in 88 BC, after having rebelled in the 'Social War'. These are people who were literally just down the road from Rome.

    If you don't know what we should be grateful to the Romans for, I don't know what to say really.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elessar View Post
    Neither would I. What I'm saying is major powers throughout history have continued the line of succession, or seen themselves rather as Roman successors; ensigns of European Civilization. See Translatio Imperii.
    100% agreed. The Holy Roman Empire was legitimised with the term 'Roman', and the King with the title 'King of the Romans'. Charlemagne held the Imperial title 'Augustus'. In the same way that Augustus was likened to Alexandros Megas, for his diplomatic triumph over the Parthians, depicted on Augustus of Prima Porta. In the same way the Greeks in turn were successors of a previous power. In the same way the Akkadians viewed themselves as successors to Sumeria, and so on and so forth.

    In the final subjugation of Greece, in the last Macedonian War. The Romans, alongside Pergamon, were actually viewed as liberators of Greece from the Macedonian conquerors.



    Obviously I have stepped on the pride of some people here. How ironic that is the much maligned hubris of the Greco-Roman playwrights . I am so very sorry that we owe yourselves to a legacy of people who weren't Germanic. Even more ironic that Germanic poets and philosophers had no qualms in recognising their debt. How much more ironic that Theodoric the Great Ostrogoth had no qualms in continuing and praising Roman civilitas!

    I guess the only people whom my arguments are pertinent to are those Germanics who were once within the Holy Roman Empire and the Anglo-Saxons. I wouldn't have a clue about the Scandinavians.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thusnelda View Post
    Sure! We owe them some of the most epic victories in our Germanic history. The Goths sacking Rome, the united Germanic tribes under Hermann the Cherusker smashing Romans best legions in the Teutoburg forest...
    The unknown sequel of the defeat of Varus was the revenge that the Romans got when Germanicus came into Germania with his legions. Suffice it to say the Romans pulverized the Germanic tribes that resisted, specifically the Cheruscii, and defeating Hermann in battle a couple of times (Hermann took to his heels rather than fight Germanicus in a set battle). I've always thought it a bad thing to toot the horn of Hermann as he's merely well-known for being successful at sneak attacking an army commanded by a bureaucract (Varus wasn't a fighting-man like Marius or Caesar). Then to say nothing of the fact that he was treacherous, i.e. pretending to be a loyal Roman citizen, friend of Varus (who rather naively trusted him), etc. A bit of a villian to me tbh and his life ended in disaster when he was assassinated by his own tribesmen for being power-hungry.

    Ariovistus, Alaric or Stilicho are much better in my mind. Or kings Boiorix and Teutobod, who obliterated several Roman armies in the Cimbric Wars before Marius stopped them:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cimbrian_War

    Rome was finally victorious, and its Germanic adversaries — who had inflicted on the Roman armies the heaviest losses that they had suffered since the Second Punic War with victories at the battles of Arausio and Noreia — almost completely annihilated, with the victories at Aquae Sextiae and Vercellae.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Primus View Post
    The unknown sequel of the defeat of Varus was the revenge that the Romans got when Germanicus came into Germania with his legions. Suffice it to say the Romans pulverized the Germanic tribes that resisted, specifically the Cheruscii, and defeating Hermann in battle a couple of times (Hermann took to his heels rather than fight Germanicus in a set battle). I've always thought it a bad thing to toot the horn of Hermann as he's merely well-known for being successful at sneak attacking an army commanded by a bureaucract (Varus wasn't a fighting-man like Marius or Caesar). Then to say nothing of the fact that he was treacherous, i.e. pretending to be a loyal Roman citizen, friend of Varus (who rather naively trusted him), etc. A bit of a villian to me tbh and his life ended in disaster when he was assassinated by his own tribesmen for being power-hungry.

    Ariovistus, Alaric or Stilicho are much better in my mind. Or kings Boiorix and Teutobod, who obliterated several Roman armies in the Cimbric Wars before Marius stopped them:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cimbrian_War

    Rome was finally victorious, and its Germanic adversaries — who had inflicted on the Roman armies the heaviest losses that they had suffered since the Second Punic War with victories at the battles of Arausio and Noreia — almost completely annihilated, with the victories at Aquae Sextiae and Vercellae.
    People forget the mutual respect that Romans had for Germanics.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tacitus
    Rome was in its six hundred and fortieth year when the alarm of Cimbrian arms was first heard, in the consulship of Caecilius Metellus and Papirius Carbo. Reckoning from that year to the second consulship of the Emperor Trajan, we get a total of just about two hundred and ten years: so long is the conquest of Germania taking. In the course of that great span of time there have been many losses on each side. Neither the Samnites nor the Carthaginians, neither Hispania nor Gaul, not even the Parthians have taught us more painful lessons.The freedom of Germania is a deadlier enemy than the despotism of the Arsaces. After all, with what has the East to taunt us except the slaughter of Crassus? And it soon lost Pacorus and was humbled at the feet of Ventidius. But the Germania routed or captured Carbo, Cassius, Scaurus Aurelius, Servilius Caepio and Mallius Maximus, robbing the Roman people at almost a single stroke of five consular armies; even from Caesar they stole Varus and his three legions.
    Little of the Empire period should be taken to heart, as Rome had fallen into the same trap as the Greeks of the Hellenistic era, by adopting decadent customs and over-valuing money.

    This is what Tacitus lamented in his time, and he praised the Germanic tribes for their virtuous and uncorrupted characters.

    I concur in opinion with those who deem the Germans never to have intermarried with other nations; but to be a race, pure, unmixed, and stamped with a distinct character.
    Silver and gold the gods, I know not whether in their favor or anger, have denied to this country. [35] Not that I would assert that no veins of these metals are generated in Germany; for who has made the search? The possession of them is not coveted by these people as it is by us. Vessels of silver are indeed to be seen among them, which have been presented to their ambassadors and chiefs; but they are held in no higher estimation than earthenware.
    They even suppose somewhat of sanctity and prescience to be inherent in the female sex; and therefore neither despise their counsels, [57] nor disregard their responses.
    The matrimonial bond is, nevertheless, strict and severe among them; nor is there anything in their manners more commendable than this. [106] Almost singly among the barbarians, they content themselves with one wife; a very few of them excepted, who, not through incontinence, but because their alliance is solicited on account of their rank, [107] practise polygamy
    They live, therefore, fenced around with chastity; [110] corrupted by no seductive spectacles, [111] no convivial incitements. Men and women are alike unacquainted with clandestine correspondence. Adultery is extremely rare among so numerous a people. Its punishment is instant, and at the pleasure of the husband. He cuts off the hair [112] of the offender, strips her, and in presence of her relations expels her from his house, and pursues her with stripes through the whole village.
    Lending money upon interest, and increasing it by usury, [142] is unknown amongst them: and this ignorance more effectually prevents the practice than a prohibition would do.
    Here's the thing now. We would not even know things if it were not for the Romans recording them

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    In my opinion it would be better if we still used runes to write...

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    True, there weren“t Germanics north of the Hadrian“s Wall at that time, I got this wrong in all haste.

    Quote Originally Posted by Primus View Post
    The unknown sequel of the defeat of Varus was the revenge that the Romans got when Germanicus came into Germania with his legions. Suffice it to say the Romans pulverized the Germanic tribes that resisted, specifically the Cheruscii, and defeating Hermann in battle a couple of times (Hermann took to his heels rather than fight Germanicus in a set battle). I've always thought it a bad thing to toot the horn of Hermann as he's merely well-known for being successful at sneak attacking an army commanded by a bureaucract (Varus wasn't a fighting-man like Marius or Caesar). Then to say nothing of the fact that he was treacherous, i.e. pretending to be a loyal Roman citizen, friend of Varus (who rather naively trusted him), etc. A bit of a villian to me tbh and his life ended in disaster when he was assassinated by his own tribesmen for being power-hungry.
    Indeed, but something that is often forgotten among us Germanics is the bloody and perverse revenge the Romans took a few years after their epic defeat in Teutoburg forest!

    In year 14 AD, five years after the battle in Teutoburg forest, the Romans committed horrible deeds during a Germanic Tanfana feast on innocent people. Please read my thread about it:

    http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=130843

    Far too less people know about this incident. It shows the other face of the oh so advanced and civilized Roman Empire...

    "Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thusnelda View Post
    True, there weren“t Germanics north of the Hadrian“s Wall at that time, I got this wrong in all haste.


    Indeed, but something that is often forgotten among us Germanics is the bloody and perverse revenge the Romans took a few years after their epic defeat in Teutoburg forest!

    In year 14 AD, five years after the battle in Teutoburg forest, the Romans committed horrible deeds during a Germanic Tanfana feast on innocent people. Please read my thread about it:

    http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=130843

    Far too less people know about this incident. It shows the other face of the oh so advanced and civilized Roman Empire...
    Every great civilization has its dark side. In this case it was the desire of the Romans to deter the Germanic tribes from being adventursome and in revenge for the defeat of Varus. Romans undertook punitive expeditions like this one against the Marsi not just against Celtic and Germanic tribes but against anyone that opposed the pax Romana- the Romans had a similar situation with King Jugurtha in North Africa who, like Arminius, led his people in hit-and-run wars against Rome for some time before Marius arrived on the scene and finally defeated and captured Jugurtha thanks to the cleverness of his lieutenant (and later rival) Sulla.

    In the end it was the Germanic tribes that had the last laugh- a rotten Roman Empire, decadent citizens, etc. The Romans were so weak that they were replaced as the masters of civilization by the Germanic tribes. The Roman/Germanic conflicts, instead of being negative in a historical sense, could be called the crucible out of which the Germanic race as a whole emerged and the Germanic/Romano-Germanic civilizations of the post-Roman period attest to the early vibrancy of groups like the Anglosaxons, Franks, Goths, etc.

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    Civilisation seems to be a thin veneer over the base barbarism of all cultures.

    Civilisation always leads to corruption, vice and decadence. Then it destroys itself by its own 'virtues'.

    It begs the question what is better for us, a pretense of being civilised or an embracing of our true nature?

    A few apt quotes that I believe to be all to true (I seem to be quoting alot recently for some reason?!!)

    'Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.' Tower of the Elephant Robert E Howard

    "If that's true, then answer this priest, why are we in these pits, hiding from some animal?" Conan asked "Someday, when all your civilization and science are likewise swept away, your kind will pray for a man with a sword." Rogues in the House Robert E Howard

    "Barbarism is the natural state of mankind. Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph." Beyond the Black River Robert E Howard

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thusnelda View Post
    Indeed, but something that is often forgotten among us Germanics is the bloody and perverse revenge the Romans took a few years after their epic defeat in Teutoburg forest!

    In year 14 AD, five years after the battle in Teutoburg forest, the Romans committed horrible deeds during a Germanic Tanfana feast on innocent people. Please read my thread about it:

    http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=130843

    Far too less people know about this incident. It shows the other face of the oh so advanced and civilized Roman Empire...
    There is no use whinging about it today. If we are truthful, every group of people in Europe is guilty of atrocities, in some way or another. Unfortunately, that just seems to be how human nature guides things.

    Only one group of people on this planet like to whinge about crap that happened too long ago to care about; you know who I'm talking about. And I'll be damned before I turn into one of them.


    Perhaps my words will be construed. But to be precise, I am not arguing that we must praise imperialism or condemn imperialistic actions. The thing is, it happens. Everyone is guilty, the Romans clearly, the French in Elsaß-Lothringen and Savoie, the English in Wales and Ireland, the Russkies in their Empire, Germany in the Polish partitions and the actions of the Teutonic Order, and so it goes.

    I don't condemn it, or condone it. My stance is 'let them try'. The Romans tried, and they failed. I am not going to cry about an injustice that they did, I simply acknowledge that we came out the better warriors. Our ancestors tried on the shores of the Baltic, but this was quashed by the Novgorodians and the Poles. I shan't condemn it, but I just acknowledge that the Russians and Poles came out the better in those battles. Like the soldiers of the Iliad, who were sworn enemies, there was still respect between them. To be worthy foes is best. Which is indeed what we were.

    It is best to just move on and look to the future, rather than dwell in the miserable events of times gone by, lest we grow huge noses and end up at the Wailing Wall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Theodericus View Post
    There is no use whinging about it today. If we are truthful, every group of people in Europe is guilty of atrocities, in some way or another. Unfortunately, that just seems to be how human nature guides things.
    Memorializing an event isn't the same thing as moaning about something. In Thussy's mind the massacre of the Marsii by the legions of Germanicus is something to remember as it shows the brutal consequences of a foreign invasion into Germania (and it might draw parallels to more modern-day, but less violent, invasions of Germany).

    It's true however- atrocities are "nothing new under the sun." But in this case the massacre of the Marsii serves as a moral and cautionary lesson.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Theodericus View Post
    Yes and will people in the future judge us on our ridiculous liberal-marxist crap of today? England invented liberalism and a German Jew invented Marxism... What about blaming the Teutonic Order for exterminating the Old Prussians? What about blaming the Anglo-Saxons for exterminating the old British culture?
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Theodericus View Post
    Nationless citizenship was not an 'invention' it was a concession. You should know that not even the Samnites, who were part of the Roman Republic since 290 BC; were granted citizenship only in 88 BC, after having rebelled in the 'Social War'. These are people who were literally just down the road from Rome.
    No, I didn't know that. Nor do I see how it changes my point. The Romans were the ones to start granting people citizenship regardless of national origins in Europe. Not from day one, surely, but over time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Theodericus View Post
    If you don't know what we should be grateful to the Romans for, I don't know what to say really.
    Then I think you should keep your tongue untill you have some potent arguments to offer. My initial question was merely a question, as I personally don't see what of value the Romans have brought to the table that makes up for their destructive conduct.
    A nation is an organic thing, historically defined.
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