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Thread: The earliest writings about the Germanic people

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    Post The earliest writings about the Germanic people

    What are the oldest documents found that write about the Germanic people?

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    You are not wrong, who deem / That my days have been a dream Johannes de León's Avatar
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    Post Re: The earliest writings about the Germanic people

    Quote Originally Posted by Schytian
    What are the oldest documents found that write about the Germanic people?
    Not sure, perhaps the ones of Tacitus?
    .

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    Senior Member Phill's Avatar
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    Post Re: The earliest writings about the Germanic people

    I know the Greeks used to trade materials to make bronze for amber with the northern people before the Celts came into power. But I don't think there are any significant works that are done by them going into too much detail, if any at all.

    I, too, would say Tacticus mainly, though i don't know too much about him other than he was roman and wrote a lot of more indepth writings about the central and northern tribes. Not sure when he wrote of all this... but didn't some other people who traveled with Julius Ceaser write some stuff also?

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    Post Re: The earliest writings about the Germanic people

    Among the Greeks there were fabulous ideas about the "Hyperborean" peoples. Concrete knowledge on Germanics was then given by the Greek Pytheas of Marseille who travelled around 330 B.C. in the area which is today's North Sea coast of Germany and came into contact with the Germanic tribes there, namely Teutons and Ambrons.

    The Greco-Roman Mediterranean world got later in direct contact as confrontation with Germanic tribes through the migration of Bastarni to Greece and their confrontation there with Makedonians in 179 B.C., and then with the migration of the tribes of the Cimbri, Teutons and Ambrons into the Roman orbis.

    The name Germanics - Germanoí - was first mentioned in 73 B.C. by Poseidonius fr. 32. (Allegedly Germani had been also already mentioned in 222 B.C. in the Roman Fasti capitolini, a chronicle; but as far as I sea this is generally seen as a remark from later times...)

    But massive mentioning and spreading of knowledge on the Germanics came not before the times of Caesar and his De bello Gallico. Not before then also one learned properly to distinguish between Celts and Germanics.
    Last edited by Nordgau; Thursday, July 22nd, 2004 at 06:28 AM.
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    Senior Member Phill's Avatar
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    Post Re: The earliest writings about the Germanic people

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordgau
    Among the Greeks there were fabulous ideas about the "Hyperborean" peoples. Concrete knowledge on Germanics was then given by the Greek Pytheas of Marseille who travelled around 330 B.C. in the area which is today's North Sea coast of Germany and came into contact with the Germanic tribes there, namely Teutons and Ambrons.

    The Greco-Roman Mediterranean world got later in direct contact as confrontation with Germanic tribes through the migration of Bastarni to Greece and their confrontation there with Makedonians in 179 B.C., and then with the migration of the tribes of the Cimbri, Teutons and Ambrons into the Roman orbis.

    The name Germanics - Germanoí - was first mentioned in 73 B.C. by Poseidonius fr. 32. (Allegedly Germani had been also already mentioned in 222 B.C. in the Roman Fasti capitolini, a chronicle; but as far as I sea this is generally seen as a remark from later times...)

    But massive mentioning and spreading of knowledge on the Germanics came not before the times of Caesar and his De bello Gallico. Not before then also one learned properly to distinguish between Celts and Germanics.
    Ah, cool, thanks for clearing that up.

    So Tacticus came after Ceasar? By how long?

    Also, I think I remember reading a bit someone posted of his (i'm pretty sure it was his) works. One part I recall is when he decribed the Celts. There were the "false celtics", which were described as being Alpine as someone mentioned, then there were the true Celts which sounded like the Teutonic Ideal.

    Now, I know Celtic is a linguistic classification, and Keltic is the actual people one... So I take it my confusion could be easily explained by saying some Germanics were in the Celtic culture... But, still, it would be helpful to get this thing cleared up. I have so much to catch up on, and I'm finding different sources that it's not even funny. It'd be great if someone could just clear that all up for once and for all, or at least point me in the right direction.

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    Post Re: The earliest writings about the Germanic people

    Quote Originally Posted by Phill
    So Tacticus came after Ceasar? By how long?
    Ca. 150 years.

    Also, I think I remember reading a bit someone posted of his (i'm pretty sure it was his) works. One part I recall is when he decribed the Celts. There were the "false celtics", which were described as being Alpine as someone mentioned, then there were the true Celts which sounded like the Teutonic Ideal.
    Hmm... I have no idea in the moment what you mean. Do you refer to Caesar or Tacitus?

    Caesar: The Gallic Wars

    Tacitus: Germania


    Now, I know Celtic is a linguistic classification, and Keltic is the actual people one... So I take it my confusion could be easily explained by saying some Germanics were in the Celtic culture... But, still, it would be helpful to get this thing cleared up. I have so much to catch up on, and I'm finding different sources that it's not even funny. It'd be great if someone could just clear that all up for once and for all, or at least point me in the right direction.
    Interesting. I didn't know of this difference which one makes in English, and just used to write Celtic or Keltic without seing a difference in meaning.

    I couldn't tell details in the moment, but as far as I know some Germanic tribes who bordered left of the Rhine to the living space of the Celts or Kelts, were in their habits etc. approximated to them - yet they still were linguistically Germanic.
    Man ſei Held oder Heiliger. In der Mitte liegt nicht die Weisheit, ſondern die Alltäglichkeit.

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    Post Re: The earliest writings about the Germanic people

    Quote Originally Posted by Johannes de León
    Not sure, perhaps the ones of Tacitus?
    No, Ceasars "The Gallic Wars" predates Tacitus Germania by 50+ years.It is the earliest extant body of writings that have survived regarding the Germanic peoples.

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    Post Re: The earliest writings about the Germanic people

    ...Tacitus completed his "Germania" around year 98 AD, while Caesar wrote his "De bello gallico" around his "gestae" in 58-52 BC... the main difference is, Caesar described many inhabitants of continental Europe (approx odiern France, Switzerland, west Germany, Belgium...), such as Gallian (~french Celts), Helvetii, Belgian, germanic tribes, "Aquitani" and "Veneti" ... while around 150 ys later Tacitus focused his work just on germanic tribes, mainly living north-west of the Rhein. According to my High School memories, perhaps just some "Germans" of Julus Caesar were the same described on Tacitus' work, as they named as Germans many germanic tribes...

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    Post Re: The earliest writings about the Germanic people

    Quote Originally Posted by wagdoch
    According to my High School memories, perhaps just some "Germans" of Julus Caesar were the same described on Tacitus' work, as they named as Germans many germanic tribes...
    Caesar himself came of course in touch only with the Germanic tribes at the western margin who border to the Celts, and the mentioning of the Germanics in his work is dine within the frame of his Gallic war; however he makes in his books reflections about the Germanics as whole, not only explicitely about certain single tribes.

    Tacitus' work is immediately concepted as presentation of the whole Germania, though he of course also had best knowledge of those Germanic tribes who are in closer touch to the Mediterranean world.
    Man ſei Held oder Heiliger. In der Mitte liegt nicht die Weisheit, ſondern die Alltäglichkeit.

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