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The first parts of this country are those that are next to the Rhenus, beginning at its source and extending a far as its outlet; and this stretch of river-land taken as a whole is approximately the breadth of the country on its western side. Some of the tribes of this river-land were transferred by the Romans to Celtica, whereas the others anticipated the Romans by migrating deep into the country, for instance, the Marsi; and only a few people, including a part of the Sugambri,1 are left. After the people who live along the river come the other tribes that live between the Rhenus and the River Albis,2 and traverses no less territory than the former. Between the two are other navigable rivers also (among them the Amasias,3 on which Drusus won a naval victory over the Bructeri), which likewise flow from the south towards the north and the ocean; for the country is elevated towards the south and forms a mountain chain4 that connects with the Alps and extends towards the east as though it were a part of the Alps; and in truth some declare that they actually are a part of the Alps, both because of their aforesaid position and of the fact that they produce the same timber; however, the country in this region does not rise to a sufficient height for that. Here, too, is the Hercynian Forest,5 and also the tribes of the Suevi, some of which dwell inside the forest, as, for instance, the tribes of the Coldui,6 in whose territory is Boihaemum,7 the domain of Marabodus, the place whither he caused to migrate, not only several other peoples, but in particular the Marcomanni, his fellow-tribesmen; for after his return from Rome this man, who before had been only a private citizen, was placed in charge of the affairs of state, for, as a youth he had been at Rome and had enjoyed the favor of Augustus, and on his return he took the rulership and acquired, in addition to the peoples aforementioned, the Lugii (a large tribe), the Zumi, the Butones, the Mugilones, the Sibini,8 and also the Semnones, a large tribe of the Suevi themselves. However, while some of the tribes of the Suevi dwell inside the forest, as I was saying, others dwell outside of it, and have a common boundary with the Getae.9 Now as for the tribe of the Suevi,10 it is the largest, for it extends from the Rhenus to the Albis; and a part of them even dwell on the far side of the Albis, as, for instance, the Hermondori and the Langobardi; and at the present time these latter, at least, have, to the last man, been driven in flight out of their country into the land on the far side of the river. It is a common characteristic of all the peoples in this part of the world11 that they migrate with ease, because of the meagerness of their livelihood and because they do not till the soil or even store up food, but live in small huts that are merely temporary structures; and they live for the most part off their flocks, as the Nomads do, so that, in imitation of the Nomads, they load their household belongings on their wagons and with their beasts turn whithersoever they think best. But other German tribes are still more indigent. I mean the Cherusci, the Chatti, the Gamabrivii and the Chattuarii, and also, near the ocean, the Sugambri, the Chaubi, the Bructeri, and the Cimbri, and also the Cauci, the Caülci, the Campsiani, and several others. Both the Visurgis12 and the Lupias13 Rivers run in the same direction as the Amasias, the Lupias being about six hundred stadia distant from the Rhenus and flowing through the country of the Lesser Bructeri.14 Germany has also the Salas River;15 and it was between the Salas and the Rhenus that Drusus Germanicus, while he was successfully carrying on the war, came to his end.16 He had subjugated, not only most of the tribes, but also the islands along the coast, among which is Burchanis,17 which he took by siege.

1 e.g., the Ubii (see 4. 3. 4).

2 The Elbe.

3 The Ems.

4 The chain of mountains that extends from northern Switzerland to Mt. Krapak.

5 Now called the “Black Forest,” although the ancient term, according to Elton (Origins, p. 51, quoted by Tozer), embraced also “the forests of the Hartz, and the woods of Westphalia and Nassau.”

6 Müller-Dübner and Forbiger, perhaps rightly, emend “Coldui” to “Coadui.” But as Tozer (p. 187) says, the information Strabo here gives about Germany “is very imperfect, and hardly extends at all beyond the Elbe.”

7 Hence the modern “Bohemia,” “the home of the Boii.”

8 Scholars have suggested different emendations for “Zumi,” “Butones,” “Mugilones,” and “Sibini,” since all these seem to be corrupt (see C. Müller, Ind. Var. Lect., p 981). For “Butones” it is fairly certain that Strabo wrote “Gutones” (the Goths).

9 The “Getae,” also called “Daci,” dwelt in what are now Rumania and souther Hungary.

10 Strabo now uses “tribe” in its broadest sense.

11 Including the Galatae (see 4. 4. 2).

12 The Weser.

13 The Lippe.

14 The Lesser Bructeri appear to have lived south of the Frisii and west of the Ems, while the Greater Bructeri lived east of it and south of the Western Chauci (cp. Ptolemaeus 2.11.6-7).

15 The Thüringian Sasle.

16 In his thirtieth year (9 A.D.) his horse fell on him and broke his leg (Livy Ep. 140).

17 Now Borkum. The Romans nicknamed it “Fabaria” (“Bean Island”) because of the wild beans that grew there (Pliny 4.27).

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