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Thread: Which Tribe Was the Most Powerful, Dominant Germanic Tribe in History?

  1. #11
    Senior Member Kauz R. Waldher's Avatar
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    Well ... the Normans have to be looked at.
    The Belgae were the "bravest" at least. Basically, the Gauls have some Germanic blood as well (from what i've read).

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    Account Inactive Halldorr's Avatar
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    Goths

    There is no question that the Goths, mainly the Visigoths were the most powerful of the Germanic tribes. They were almost continuously involved in 1 battle after another for centuries. On August 9th, 378 AD at Adrianople in the Roman province of Thrace, a force of approximately 12,000 Visigoths slaughtered an entire Roman legion and killed the emperor Valens. This was the most disastrous defeat suffered by the Roman army since Hannibal's victory almost 600 years earlier. This was the beginning of the end for the Roman empire. Over time the Goths had learned the tactics of the Romans and had a cavalry force equal to that of the Romans. The Romans underestimated the strength of the Goths and paid dearly for that. After that battle the Roman generals no longer had the courage to confront the Goths in the open field. 2 years later the Goths sacked Rome and took thousands of pounds of gold and silver as booty. There is a lot more to this story, this is just a brief summary. This info comes from a book that was written about the battle. It is called "The Day of the Barbarians". By Alessandro Barbero, a professor of medieval studies at a university in Vercelli, Italy.. Written in 2005.

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    Account Inactive Halldorr's Avatar
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    Goths continued

    The following info is from a Time/Life book called Barbarian Europe, copyright 1968. The actual date of the Visigoths sack of Rome was 408 to 410. Alaric, King of the Visigoths at this time marched his troops to Rome and presented demands for food and land. The Romans refused so Alaric starved them into submission in a bristling siege. Then he exacted an enormous tribute for his withdrawal. 5000 lbs. of gold, 30,000 lbs.of silver, 4000 silk tunics, 3000 scarlet-dyed skins and 3000 lbs. of pepper. Far more significant than this huge booty were the thousands of the Roman Germanic mercenaries that joined the Visigoths ranks. They deserted in outrage over the Roman emperor Honorius butchery of their families. And in addition almost all of the Germanic slaves that were in Rome left the city and joined the Visigoths to the number of 40,000. In Gaul also, oppressed slaves and peasants welcomed the Visigoths as liberators and rose up in revolt. At this time the Visigoths were masters of Europe. It is doubtful that any other Germanic tribe would have the courage to stand against them. With his swollen army, Alaric besieged Rome twice more in the next 2 years. In 409 he was able to blockade the granary at nearby Portus until the Romans bought him off. In 410 sympathizers inside Rome opened the Salarian gate and Alaric turned Rome over to his warriors for 3 days of plunder. Alaric's historic sack of Rome was relatively orderly and restrained. Alaric died a few months after the sack. The Visigoths prospered under successive leaders and expanded through southern Gaul and began overflowing into Spain. One of the Goths, a Bishop Ulfilas, translated the bible into Gothic. In order to write down the tongue of his people he had to develop an alphabet combining Greek, Roman and Scandinavian runes. 3 words are the same as modern English. Name, amen and in. This is the only known writing of the Gothic language, now extinct. I will try to upload a page from this book. It is the Lord's prayer in Gothic.
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    Senior Member Guinevere's Avatar
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    Ah, so many powerful, successful Germanic tribes, I can't only pick one , lol so I will give a top 3 if that's alright, haha. I'd say the Franks, Normans, and Saxons. All three of these tribes were incredibly powerful. I believe that each was the equivalent of 'a world power' in their era. I'm very proud to say that my family has been able to track our ancestry all the way back to notable people of these tribes. Charlemagne is my favorite .

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    Senior Member Kauz R. Waldher's Avatar
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    I almost named my son Alaric. It was voted out at the last minute by the family. Alaric is probablythe most inspirational figure to me personally. I have always had a "beef" with Rome. Always. And reading about and watching the story of alaric and the Visigoths was VERY motivating. All of us should know this story and pass it to our children.
    "The mystery and secret of Wotan is not that "knowledge" of him is passed along through clandestine cults or even through the re-discovery of old books and texts--but rather that such knowledge is actually encoded in a mysterious way in the DNA, in the very genetic material, of those who are descended from him." - Secret of the Gothick God of Darkness

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    Goths and Anglo-Saxons

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    I think the obvious answer would be the Franks who already in their tribal phase laid the groundwork of later European history. The Anglo-Saxons would be a good answer as well, weren't it for the fact that they became influential and dominant in proportions worthy of being a rival to the Franks only after they ceased to be an actual tribe.

  8. #18
    Account Inactive Halldorr's Avatar
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    Goths, strange alliances

    Around 445, the Roman leader was Aetius. To harass the Germanic tribes he paid Attila and the Huns to attack the Visigoths and the Burgundians, who were expanding along the west bank of the Rhine river. And also paid them to crush a slave revolt in western Gaul. But in 451, Attila launched a western campaign on his own behalf. His Huns burst into Gaul and swept all before them. Aetius and the Germanic tribes had no choice but to join together to defeat the Huns. The Visigoths were joined by warriors from the Franks, the Burgundians and the Saxons. The Huns were joined by some people they had subjugated including a Germanic tribe. This tribe was the Visigoths cousins the Ostrogoths. Can you believe that? Amazing. For those that might not know visi is a Latin word for western and ostro a Latin word for eastern. The 2 great armies came together near Troyes(about 130 miles southeast of Paris). on a rolling expanse of plains. There was probably well in excess of 150,000 warriors on each side. The Gothic historian Jordanes gave a rousing account of the great battle. "The fight was fierce, monstrous, unrelenting. A fight like no ancient time has ever recorded." However it is believed that he grossly over exaggerated the death toll. But probably more than 50,000 died on the battlefield. Jordanes was not considered to be as accurate a historian as others of that time. In the end the Huns were driven off and it was a victory for the Germanics and the Romans. But not a decisive one. A year later Attila invaded norther Italy. But shortly after Attila died and the Huns disbanded and returned to central Asia . This was the first time the Visigoths encountered the Saxons. It would be interesting to find out what the relatively civilized and refined Visigoths thought of the crude and rough Saxons. But Jordanes never mentioned it. I think this was the only major battle the Saxons fought in on continental Europe. In their battles with the Romans and the Huns, the Visigoths changed the course of history. By being so close to the Romans they had to endure 2 centuries of warfare with the Romans but they persevered and in the end were the greatest of all the Germanic tribes. Ever!

  9. #19
    Senior Member svartleby's Avatar
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    I'm surprised no one's said it yet, but the Langobardi did a pretty fair number on Italy and maintained power there for over 200 years.

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    Account Inactive Halldorr's Avatar
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    Alaric

    Alaric was one of the more interesting leaders of the Goths. He lived from 370 to 410 AD. He actually served as a Roman general in the eastern province around Constantinople. He commanded a legion of Germanic mercenaries. But the Romans did not trust him and gave him the boot. He returned to the Goths and eventually became their leader. He admired the Roman civilization and wanted land for his people. He promised to pledge loyalty to the Roman emperor and provide troops for the Roman army. However the Romans rebuffed him every time. They treated the Goths with incredible brutality and inhumane acts. Reading some of it wants to make you want to vomit. When the Goths were being attacked by the Huns, they were finally allowed to cross a river into Roman territory. They were promised food but were not given any. Many Goths starved to death. They finally were given dog food. But at a price. 1 Gothic child for 1 dog. There is an old saying: "What goes around comes around." And during the Goth's siege of Rome from 408 to 410, the Romans food supply was cut off and they were starving to death. The corpses piled up in the streets and the Romans turned to cannibalism to stay alive. During this siege Alaric continued to ask the Romans for land for his people and a supply of grain. And he wanted to be a Roman general again. This would be expected since he commanded one of the largest Germanic armies ever assembled. But the Romans refused. The Goths could have been one of Rome's greatest allies . But instead the Romans turned them into one of their greatest enemies. They played an important part of the destruction of the Roman empire. An empire that at its height covered some 2.2 million square miles and ruled some 120 million people. Two fifths of the entire population of the world at that time.

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