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A History of Germany by Bayard Taylor

Was thenceforth named Germania Magna


another revolt of the Celtic Gauls took place, the following year, German mercenaries, enlisted among the Ubii, fought on the Roman side and took an important part in the decisive battle which gave Vercingetorix, the last chief of the Gauls, into Caesar's hands. He was beheaded, and from that time the Gauls made no further effort to throw off the Roman yoke. They accepted the civil and military organization, the dress and habits, and finally the language and religion of their conquerors. The small German tribes in Alsatia and Belgium shared the same fate: their territory was divided into two provinces, called Upper and Lower Germania by the Romans. The vast region inhabited by the independent tribes, lying between the Rhine, the Vistula, the North Sea and the Danube, was thenceforth named _Germania Magna_, or "Great Germany."

Caesar's renown among the Germans, and probably also his skill in dealing with them, was so great, that when he left Gaul to return to Rome, he took with him a German legion of 6,000 men, which afterwards fought on his side against Pompey, on the battle-field of Pharsalia. The Roman agents penetrated into the interior of the country, and enlisted a great many of the free Germans who were tempted by the prospect of good pay and booty. Even the younger sons of the chiefs entered the Roman army, for the sake of a better military education.


style="text-align: justify;">No movement of any consequence took place for more than twenty years after Caesar's last departure from the banks of the Rhine. The Romans, having secured their possession of Gaul, now turned their attention to the subjugation of the Celtic tribes inhabiting the Alps and the lowlands south of the Danube, from the Lake of Constance to Vienna. This work had also been begun by Caesar: it was continued by the Emperor Augustus, whose step-sons, Tiberius and Drusus, finally overcame the desperate resistance of the native tribes. In the year 15 B. C. the Danube became the boundary between Rome and Germany on the south, as the Rhine already was on the west. The Roman provinces of Rhaetia, Noricum and Pannonia were formed out of the conquered territory.

Augustus now sent Drusus, with a large army, to the Rhine, instructing him to undertake a campaign against the independent German tribes. It does not appear that the latter had given any recent occasion for this hostile movement: the Emperor's design was probably to extend the dominions of Rome to the North Sea and the Baltic. Drusus built a large fleet on the Rhine, descended that river nearly to its mouth, cut a canal for his vessels to a lake which is now the Zuyder Zee, and thus entered the North Sea. It was a bold undertaking, but did not succeed. He reached the mouth of the river Ems with his fleet, when the weather became so tempestuous that he was obliged to return.

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