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AE´STUI

Eth. AE´STUI (this is the correct reading), a people of Germany, consisting of several tribes (Aestuorum gentes), whose manners are minutely described by Tacitus (Germ. 45). They dwelt in the NE. of Germany, on the SE. or E. of the Baltic, bordering on the Venedi of Sarmatia. In their general appearance and manners they resembled the Suevi: their language was nearer to that of Britain. They worshipped the mother of the gods, in whose honour they wore images of boars, which served them as amulets in war. They had little iron, and used clubs instead of it. They worked more patiently at tilling the land than the rest of the Germans. They gathered amber on their coasts, selling it for the Roman market, with astonishment at its price. They called it Glessum, perhaps Glas, i. e. glass. They are also mentioned by Cassiodorus (Var. v. Ep. 2.) They were the occupants of the present coast of Prussia and Courland, as is evident by what Tacitus says about their gathering amber. Their name is probably collective, and signifies the East men. It appears to have reached Tacitus in the form Easte, and is still preserved in the modern Esthen, the German name of the Esthonians. The statement of Tacitus, that the language of the Aestui was nearer to that of Britain, is explained by Dr. Latham by the supposition that the language of the Aestui was then called Prussian, and that the similarity of this word to British caused it to be mistaken for the latter. On the various questions respecting the Aestui, see Ukert, vol. iii. pt. i. pp. 420--422, and Latham, The Germania of Tacitus, p. 166, seq.

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