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A History of Germany by Bayard Taylor

Incursions of the Chauci and Chatti



After the flight of Marbod, Hermann seems to have devoted himself to the creation of a permanent union of the tribes which he had commanded. We may guess, but can not assert, that his object was to establish a national organization, like that of Rome, and in doing this, he must have come into conflict with laws and customs which were considered sacred by the people. But his remaining days were too few for even the beginning of a task which included such an advance in the civilization of the race. We only know that he was waylaid and assassinated by members of his own family in the year 21. He was then thirty-seven years old, and had been for thirteen years a leader of his people. The best monument to his ability and heroism may be found in the words of a Roman, the historian Tacitus; who says: "He was undoubtedly the liberator of Germany, having dared to grapple with the Roman power, not in its beginnings, like other kings and commanders, but in the maturity of its strength. He was not always victorious in battle, but in _war_ he was never subdued. He still lives in the songs of the Barbarians, unknown to the annals of the Greeks, who only admire that which belongs to themselves--nor celebrated as he deserves by the Romans, who, in praising the olden times, neglect the events of the later years."




(21--300 A. D.)

Truce between the Germans and Romans. --The Cherusci cease to exist. --Incursions of the Chauci and Chatti. --Insurrection of the Gauls. --Conquests of Cerealis. --The Roman Boundary. --German Legions under Rome. --The _Agri Decumates_. --Influence of Roman Civilization. --Commerce. --Changes among the Germans. --War against Marcus Aurelius. --Decline of the Roman Power. --Union of the Germans in Separate Nationalities. --The Alemanni. --The Franks. --The Saxons. --The Goths. --The Thuringians. --The Burgundians. --Wars with Rome in the Third Century. --The Emperor Probus and his Policy. --Constantine. --Relative Position of the two Races.

[Sidenote: 50.]

After the campaigns of Germanicus and the death of Hermann, a long time elapsed during which the relation of Germany to the Roman Empire might be called a truce. No serious attempt was made by the unworthy successors of Augustus to extend their sway beyond the banks of the Rhine and the Danube; and, as Tiberius had predicted, the German tribes were so weakened by their own civil wars that they were unable to cope with such a power as Rome. Even the Cherusci, Hermann's own people, became so diminished in numbers that, before the end of the first century, they ceased to exist as a separate tribe: their fragments were divided and incorporated with their neighbors on either side. Another tribe, the Ampsivarii, was destroyed in a war with the Chauci, and even the power of the fierce Chatti was broken by a great victory of the Hermunduri over them, in a quarrel concerning the possession of a sacred salt-spring.

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