EUROPE, in the most early ages, was inhabited by
one race of men,
whose antiquity is enveloped in inscrutable darkness. From the first
memorial of their existence, they are distinguished by the name of
CELT.E, but the origin of this remarkable people was utterly unknown
to themselves. They had no idea of having ever occupied any other
country than that in which they found themselves; and the Druids, the
depositaries of their traditional knowledge, maintained that they were
aborigines.* This belief was not singular, nor more extraordinary than
That of many other nations, equally ignorant and credulous, but more
polished and refined. The Celtre, on the authority of their priests, do
clared themselves descended from the god Dis, a being identified with
the Pluto of Greek and Roman mythology,! but more probably meant
for the Earth.
This derivation cannot be admitted: the inhabitants of the west must
have proceeded from Asia, the parent country of all mankind, at a
period which neither historical research nor popular tradition has been
able to approach. All history, both sacred and profane, proves this
quarter of the globe to have been the original seat of mankind.
* Ammianus Marcellinus, on the authority of Timogenes.
t Caesar, de Bello Gallico, lib. vi. c. 17. The Germans derived their origin
Tuisto, apparently the same being as the Celtic Dis or Tis. Tacitus, de Mor
20 THE CELTS
In migrating from the east, the human race successively occupied Greece
and Italy, and extended themselves from the Euxine to the Atlantic. As
t-cir numbers increased, they gradually took possession of the whole
country from the Mediterranean to the Baltic, and a scanty population
sought the means of subsistence, among the less inviting wastes, from
thence to the Frozen Sea. Europe and Celtica were indeed synony-
mous:* the sole inhabitants, from the Pillars of Hercules to Archangel,
and from the banks of the Euxine to the German Ocean, being Celts,
however distinguished by particular names, applied at various times to
different tribes and independent communities. The appellation Celtse,
which this primitive people acknowledged as their only proper name,|
and which at first they received from others, in subsequent times under-
went several changes. The ancient Greeks used this term in speaking
of them, but it afterwards became transformed into Calatae and Galatse,J
and the Roman Galli was itself latterly adopted by some Greek writers.^
Numerous etymologies have been offered for the solution of this word.
In all its va'riations it may, with probability, be traced through the Greek
KelToi to some corresponding term in the Celtic language that no longer
exists. It would be a waste of time to enumerate all the conjectures
which have been given, and the result would be unsatisfactory. From
various circumstances one people may become distinguished from another;
but if inquirers were to reflect, that original names cannot arise from
national manners, and that it is more natural for nations to become de-
nominated from the country they inhabit, than that it should receive a
name from its possessors, it would serve to check many romantic and
fanciful conceits. An appellation so very ancient, and so extensively
bestowed, must have arisen from something independent of country, and
appropriate to a numerous race.
To derive the term Celtae from " Hills," or " Woods," or " Waters,"
or from western or northern position, when the people so designated oc-
cupied all parts of an extensive continent, and filled its islands, is mani-
festly absurd. How much more likely it is to have arisen from peculiar
personal appearance, the first and natural origin of names. It has been
supposed that the Greeks applied the term to denote the milky whiteness
of the skin; but in this point the difference between the two people
seems insufficient to give rise to a designation, which the Celts retained
as their own proper name. A striking and a permanent dissimilarity has
always existed between the European and the Ethiopian, both in com-
plexion and personal conformation. Amid conjectures so various, may
we not suppose, that in the infancy of mankind, if I can so speak, per-
* Ortellius, " Geographia vetus." t Caesar, ut sup.
JPausnnias, who wrote about 165, says they were but lately denominated Gauls,
they had always called themselves Celtse. Descriptio Grseciae, lib. i. c. 3.
Gauls seems to have been at first applied to those who had obtained a
Asia, and were long known as Galatians.
$ Appian first uses it in the beginning of the second century.
THE CELTS 21
haps before they had visited Europe, a name arose expressive of the
fair complexion of the white man, compared with the sable negro.*
From the primitive language of those who first peopled the country, the
Greek Galactoi has been undoubtedly derived, and was afterwards given
as the origin of the term, when the most ancient Celtic had become
The practice of distinguishing individuals by personal appearance and
qualifications, is still retained by the Scots Highlanders, the Irish, and
the Welsh; and, in support of the etymology I have above given, it is
worthy of observation, that " Gaelic " has been, by good antiquaries,
translated the language of white men. Gealta signifies whitened, ana
comes from Geal, white.f The similarity of this word to the term Celtae
is striking; from it, in all probability, came the Roman Callus.
As the Celtae moved westward, either from choice or the pressure of
an increasing population in the east, they carried with them a simple
language and mode of life; arid as they met with no inhabitants in the
land they took possession of, their primitive manners could at first suffer
no farther change than what the difference of country and climate would
naturally produce. It may be inferred, with probability, that they con-
tinued for a considerable time less warlike than nations who obtain a
settlement by force of arms, and must of necessity protect their acqui-
sition by similar means. The disconnexion of their tribes, a striking
characteristic of the race, had an apparent tendency to enfeeble the
Celts, and seems to have prevented the formation of any great empire,
as among other nations; but the peace in which they lived was favorable
to population. Their mode of life, while it cherished a love of freedom,
was highly conducive to bodily strength and hardihood; and the princi-
ple of division, which separated the people into so many distinct and
independent tribes, did not prevent them from Uniting in enterprises, by
which their power was often felt in various parts of the world. They in-
vaded Asia, they overspread Thrace, and enriched themselves with the
plunder of the temples of Greece. In the reign of Tarquin the elder,
nearly six centuries before the incarnation, J a numerous body of Celtae,
both horse and foot, accompanied by multitudes of women and children,
left their native seats in search of new settlements. One part of this
army followed Belovesus, and surmounting the Alps, which, till then, it
was believed, had never been crossed, established themselves near the
* So the native Americans call themselves the red men, in contradistinction
t Gaelic Dictionaries. The Pictish Chronicle says, the Albani, who had their
from their while hair, were the people from whom both Scots and Picts were
Those who deduced Celtse from flaxen or reddish colored hair, gave a
mon : C was often used for G, and seems to have been the most ancient letter
Hence we find the Galatians were also called Calatians ; Gallicia was
1 About 570 Bossuet, Histoire Universelle, vol. i. p. 33. Ed. 1706.
22 THE CELTS.
river Po; while the other division, conducted by his brother, Sigovesus
passed into Germany, where these emigrants settled, in the vicinity of
the Hyrcinian, now the Black Forest.* The numeous armies which
the Celtae at times sent abroad, filled with alarm the most warlike and
civilized nations of Europe. Their irresistible inroads, and the terror
of their name, procured peaceful settlements, and even the payment
of heavy annual tribute from powerful states. An army of Gauls, unJ:;
the command of Brennus, went into Italy against the Hetrusci, 390
years before the advent of Christ. The Romans thought proper to in-
terfere in the quarrel, and killed one of the Gallic princes; upon which
their army, marching to Rome, defeated the troops who opposed them,
laid the city in ashes, and finally received one thousand pounds weight
of gold to purchase their retreat, and save the capital from inevitable
destruction. Camillas was fortunately able to repulse them, as they
lingered in the country, unapprehensive of attack; but they were not
deterred by defeat from renewing their overwhelming and destructive
About 270, A. C., in three great divisions, they made inroads on
Pannonia, Thrace, Macedonia, and Illyria. Those who entered Mace-
donia routed the army by which they were opposed, and slew Ptolemy
the king. Passing into Asia, they filled the inhabitants with terror and
dismay, and received from the suffering Bythinians a free settlement in
the country, where they were afterwards known as the Galatians, or
Gallo-Greeks. The other divisions were less fortunate; but they retreat-
ed only to invade Greece with redoubled fury, and a more numerous
The Celta3, notwithstanding the frequent demonstrations of their war-
like powers, were, for a long period, but little known to the more polish-
ed nations of Europe, who were able to transmit authentic information
concerning so singular a people. Their history and their religion were
preserved among themselves; but their rigid adherence to traditional
poetry, as the sole vehicle of record, has left posterity in much igno-
rance concerning the state of the Celtic nations in early ages. Their
ferocious invasions too, however they might excite curiosity, were not
calculated to induce a personal visit to their territories, or a quiet
tigation of their manners and antiquities. When there was, therefore,
scarcely any communication with the north and west parts of the conti-
nent, it was impossible to acquire accurate information respecting these
parts of Europe, or the inhabitants; hence the obscure and contradictory
intimations we find concerning both.
A people who are spread over a vast continent, cannot long remain
an entire nation. Boundaries, marked out by nature, will divide the in-
* Livius, Historia Romana. lib. v. c. 34, 35. Appian, of the Gallic War, c.
t Plutarch, in vita Camilli. Strabo, iv. p. 195, v. p. 213.
t Pausanias, x. 19.
THE HYPERBOREI. 23
habitants into separate communities, and local situation will procure an
appropriate name, and create a difference in manners. In the lapse of
time the dissimilarity is increased, and when, from an obvious and inher-
ent principle, every community aspires to an independent existence, the
most powerful will acquire and retain an ascendency over the others,
w'ho, ultimately, become confederates, and are classed as branches or
subdivisions of a uumerou? association. Thus arises a variety of na-
tions or tribes that long continue to be regulated by similar laws and
customs, and retain their original language, but eventually alter their
dialect, and lose the remembrance of a common origin.
The Celts, who were the sole inhabitants of Europe in the infancy of
time, were at last formed into a number of divisions, distinguished by
peculiar names, but retaining, with their national affini , the general
appellation of Celtae.
The apparent diversity of the ancient people of Europe, arising, as it
should seem, from the confused and indefinite ideas that existed respect-
ing the regions of the north and west, has been a prolific source for
polemical discussion, and has afforded ample matter for *he disquisitions
of those who have applied themselves to investigate the origin of nations.
An ignorance, so favourable to the indulgence of fancy, has given op-
portunity for the introduction of ficticious narration. The Greeks were
extremely credulous, and it is often very difficult to understand what
people were meant in their dark and traditional relations.
The HYPERBOREI, or those who lived beyond the north wind, appear
the most singular of the people of antiquity. So dark are the intima-
tions that are handed down concerning them, that we are inclined to
consider the whole as the fables or allegories of an obscure theology.
According to some historians, si credimus, as Pliny very considerately
adds, they dwelt beyond the Riphaean mountains, which were always
covered with snow, and from whence the north wind arose: a latitude by
no means suitable to the descriptions given by others, of the genial cli-
mate, the fruitful soil, and the happy lives of the inhabitants.* The sit-
uation of the SauromatsB, with whom the Hyperborei have been identi-
fied, does not better justify the appellation. Strabo speaks of the Hy-
perborei as those people, whose geographical position could scarcely
give propriety to the name. Diodorus Siculus, on the authority of Heca-
taeus, a very ancient historian, who wrote, as Herodotus informs us, a
volume on the Hyperborei, describes them as inhabiting an island oppo-
site to Gaul, and as large as Sicily; but he does not appear to give
much credit to the relation, j" These islanders had of long and ancient
time a particular esteem for the Greeks, arising from certain religious
connexions, to be hereafter noticed. This description appears applica-
ble to Britain, if there were not, as Bryant conjectures, a mysterious
* Herodotus, lib. iv. Pliny. Hist. Nat.iv. 12. Pomp. Mela, i. 1, &c. Strabo,
i. p. 61
* Diod. Sic. li. 3.
24 THE CIMBRI.
ignifiration in the name. It was certainly suited to vague and unintel-
ligible ideas respecting some remote people. When Rome was taken
by the Gauls under Brennus, it was reported in the east that his troops
were an army of Hyperborei.* These conflicting accounts prove how
little was really known of those who dwelt beyond the snowy regions
and the north wind.
The CIMMERII, who are placed by Homer "at old Ocean's utmost
bounds," and are otherwise believed to have lived in Italy, near the lake
Avernus, | inhabited the country in the vicinity of the Cimmerian Bos-
phorus, to which, either this people, or an ancient city gave name. J
Eusebius mentions an incursion of the Cimmerii into Greece, 1076 years
before Christ. Subsequently, they made inroads on Ionia and Lydia,
and took the city of Sardes. ^ About 600 years before the Christian era
they were driven into Asia by the Scyths, where they are all supposed
to have perished. They sometimes were called Trerones, from one of
their tribes, the Treres, who bordered on Macedonia; || a considerable
distance, certainly, from the position which the Cimmerians are gener-
ally supposed to have occupied. Although the Cimmerii would appear,
from the above account, to have been extinct nearly 2500 years, Dio-
nysius Periegetes and Pliny speak of some of them as still remaining
in their original situation; and Plutarch says, that the greater and more
warlike part took up their residence "in the remotest regions upon the
northern ocean. "IF
It was a prevalent opinion, that they were the same people as the
CIMBRI, who inhabited Jutland, Holstein, &c. in Denmark, formerly
denominated the Cimbrica Chersonesus, and who introduced themselves
to the notice of the Romans 113 years A. C.**
Diodorus, from the resemblance which the two people bore to each
*Heraclides of Pontus, de anima, quoted by Ritson. Plutarch, in Vita Camilli
ibid. t Strabo, v. p. 244.
t Strabo, xi. p. 494. Mela. James Gronovius says, the city itself received
from the Cimmerians, p. 137, ed. 1697. The Bosphorus is now known as the
Strabo. Callisthenes, apud Gronsvium in Animad. ed. 1739, &c.
|j Strabo, i. p. 61. Pliny, iv. 10. IT In Bello Cimbrico. Pliny, vi. 12.
**The name of these people has received different etymological solutions. It
to arise from the Greek Kimeros, mist or darkness, the origin of the Latin
Beloe, on Herodotus. Sheringharn, and Bryan 1 , in his analysis of Ancient
iii. 498, coincide in this derivation. Others have deduced Cimbri from a
signifies robbers in German to this day. Festus, Plutarch, &c. Kimper or
a warrior, is also given as the origin. Whittakei, alluding to the name,
Welch still retain, calls Cymri and Gael, equally the general designations
of the Ce.loe,
being the hereditary name of the Gauls, from Gomer, the son of Japhet. an
that is embraced by others, and seems founded on the conjecture of Josephus,
1.6. It is an origin of the " grand generic term," much easier admitted than
' were produced from the elements of their own proper soil and climate."
Clelland, Voc. p. 202, says the appellation comes from the ancient Celtic
mountain. We find the island of Cimbrei, now Cumray, the kingdom of Cumbria
THE CIMBRI. 25
other in warlike renown, says the Cirnbrians were believed by many to
be descended from the ancient Cimmerians, and Possidonius thinks the
former were the original people, who, extending their arms eastward,
gave their name to the Bosphorus, an opinion in which Strabo seems to
acquiesce.* The memorials of the ancient Cimmerii, who were so great
and powerful, appear to have been chiefly records of their military en-
terprises. Those people, who afterwards were found on the shores of
the Baltic, although bearing a name so much alike, excited little notice
until they burst on the astonished nations, and threatened the subversion
of the Roman empire. It was then natural to inquire what they were,
and whence they came, and it was not strange that the warlike Cirnbri
should be derived from the anciently renowned Cimmerii. Such a de-
scent, notwithstanding the distance between their respective situations,"}"
is not impossible; but a similarity of name is not a decisive proof of na-
tional identity: it demonstrates the existence at some period of a univer-
sal language. In the want of certain information, and from the ambi-
guity of the ancient historians, much diversity of opinion has arisen
concerning these people. Some authors positively affirm, that the Cim-
brians must have been Celts; and others, with equal pertinacity, assert
that they were Germans; and both parties are provided with authorities
in vindication of their belief. The expressions of several ancient writ-
ers, perhaps, leave it doubtful which nation they understood the Cimbri
to be most nearly related to; but others are sufficiently explicit. Plu-
tarch says, that by their gray eyes and large statur;e, they were thought
by some to be Germans, dwelling on the north sea;J and Pomponius
Mela says, the Cimbri and Teutones are situated in the Codan bay,
"beyond the Hermiones and the last of Germany. " Pliny, || Strabo,
Velleius Paterculus, Tacitus, and others agree in calling them Germans.
On the other hand, Cicero, Sallust, Dio, Sextus Rufus, Sec. uniformly
denominate them Celts or Gauls. Valerius Maxirnus, speaking of their
invasion of Italy, says, Sertorius qualified himself for a spy, by assum-
ing the Gallic habit, and learning that language. IT Florus, on the same
subject, says, the Cimbri, Theutoni, and Tigurini, came from the most
remote parts of Gaul:** out of the hidden parts of the ocean, as Ammi-
anus expresses it.|t Diodorus states, that it was the opinion of many,
that the Celts were themselves descended of the ancient Cimmerii, who,
by a corrupt pronunciation, were then called Cimbri. JJ The Gauls who
overran all Asia, he also says, were denominated Cimmerii, and in his
&c. In the Commentaries of Csesar we also find Cimber a proper name. The
are said to assume the name Cumero.
* Lib. vii. p. 293. t Nearly 1400 miles. t In vita Camilli.
De orbis situ, lii. c. 3. || Lib. iv. c. 14.
IT Vita Sertorii. Caesar says, the Aduatici, a tribe of Belgic Gauls, were
li. c. 29. Dio. Cassius repeats this, lib. xxxix. 4, and Appian says the
Nervii, a most
powerful Belgian nation, were descended of the Cimbri and Teutones, lib. vi.
the opinions of various authors in Ritson's Memoirs of the Celts.
** Lib. iii. 3. Strabo, ii. p. 102 ft Lib. xxxi. 6. it Lib. v. 2.
26 THE SCYTHS.
account of the Lusitanians, he calls them the most valiant of all toe
Cimbri. " Celtic sive Galli quos Cimbros vocant," are the striking
words of Appian.*
Some have reconciled these different and contradictory passages by the
consideration, that several tribes of Gauls joined in the expedition to
Italy. If, however, the two people had been entirely disiinct, the dis-
similarity would most probably have been noticed; but the manners of
the Cimbri, as they were displayed to the Romans, do not appear to have
differed materially from those of the other inhabitants of Gaul. The
terror inspired by the overwhelming invasion, through which their name
first became known, 113 years before the Christian era, seems to have
prevented a calm survey of visitors so alarming and so unexpected.
An army of these people, so numerous, that, marching without inter-
mission, six days elapsed before it had wholly passed, burst from the
Alps like an irresistible torrent; t resolved not to stop until the city of
Rome had been razed to its foundations. After several successful bat-
tles, this vast multitude were indeed finally routed, with incredible car-
nage ;"( but the giagnitude of the enterprise, and the desperate valor of
the troops, made the strongest impression.
The Cimbri remained long after this in their ancient seats, and ob-
tained the friendship of the Romans, but never regained their former
The history of the people denominated SCYTHS, who, from their vari-
ous achievements, appear to have been a numerous and powerful race,
is involved in singular obscurity. It has excited much interest, but the
labors of those who have investigated the subject, notwithstanding their
care in the pursuit, have riot produced a very satisfactory result. Great
learning, assisted by ingenious conjecture, has been exerted to ascertain
whether the Celtoe or the ScythjE are the most ancient people. The lat-
ter appear in a period the most remote, and they are mentioned with so
much ambiguity, that it seems impossible to unravel the intricacy of their
history. They are represented as conquering Asia 3660 years before the
epoch of redemption, and effecting 1 various other important revolutions in
succeeding ages, until the seventh century before our era, when they ap-
pear in Medea, whither they had pursued the Cimmerians. J They are sup-
posed by many to have been those who are now called Tartars, and by some
they are identified with the Celtae. Bryant, observing that there were
Scyths in Asia and Africa, as well as in Europe, thinks the name was giv-
en to mixed and wandering tribes in different parts of the world ;^ in which
opinion Gibbon concurs, calling it " a vague but familiar appellation. "|j
Strabo says, that, as Homer has intimated, all nations were originally
called Scythae or Nomades; and afterwards, in the countries of the west,
*In Illyricis, c. 2. t See Plutarch's account of the Cimbrian war
t Herodotus, iv. i . Analysis of Ancient Mythology,
y Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
THE GOTHS. 27
they began to acquire the appellations of Celtce, Celto Scythos, and
Iberi; but all the nations had at first one name.*
The Scythians were certainly not recent settlers among the Aborigi-
nes; for, like the Celta3, they had no idea of having ever possessed oth-
er lands, but believed themselves more ancient than the Egyptians, who
called themselves the most ancient of men.t The term SKYGMS, a
word, that has, like others, received an abundant share of different ety-
mologies, was probably first used among the Greeks by ^Eschylus, 625
years anterior to the Christian era.J Amongst the Persians, Sacae was a
general name for all Scythians ; but in Europe, it seems to have been
limited to the most celebrated nation amongst these people. || The Greeks
long retained the name of ScythaB,1T which they applied to those nations
known to the Romans, at first as GET^E or Getians, latterly as GOTHS.
Zosimus and other late Greek writers, always denominate those Scythians,
who were called Getes by the Romans; and Dexippus, who wrote in the
third century, entitles his history of their wars with the empire,
When Darius made his famous expedition against the European '
Scythse, 514 years before Christ, he found the Getse a warlike people,
situated on the western shores of the Euxine, and having subdued them,
he went in pursuit of the Scyths, who studiously avoided a collision with
his forces. One hundred and eighty years afterwards, Alexander led
his troops on a similar expedition, and found the same inhabitants. ||
From these invasions, the Greeks appear to have acquired their first
knowledge of the Scythic nations.
Pliny says, these people inhabited from the mouth of the Danube, in-
land, and that their tribes acquired various names, the ancient denomi-
nation being retained by those only who lived in the most remote and
unknown parts. JJ Priscus, Theophanes, and others, speak of this peo-
*Lib. i. p. 33. Falconer, in his edition, i. p. 48, remarks on ]\ r
u/uad<tQ, '' apud Ho-
merum non memini me legere hoc vocabulum." Xylander had done the same. Cas-
aubon thinks the word used was different, but of the same signification.
expressive of the shepherd state of society. Nomades and Georgians appear to
pastoral and agricultural people. Pliny, iv. 12. The Greeks, according to
placed the Scyths towards the north, the Celts to the west, and the
Celto-Scythse in a
middle situation. Newton says all Europe was peopled with Cimmerii and
before the time of Samuel. Chronology
t Justin, quoted in a note on Beloe's Herodotus.
I Pinkerton's Dissertation on the Goths. Scyth comes from Scytan ; which, in
eastern language, signifies a dart. Wachter. Sciot. is in old Gaelic, a dart
" Ogygia." Cleliand says, Scuyt, is a man of the north. The Scyths were
Aerpata, " ab aeor, vir, et pata, caedere," sic. Herodotus, ii. 12. See the
of the name Scot.
Herodotus, vii. c. 60. Sacae appears a corruption of Scythae. Appian, in.
|| Pliny. Diod. Sic. 11 " Even until the 14th century." Pinkerton.
** It has been supposed, that Scythne, Skutae, Kutae, are but different
Getse. Beloe, ut sup. Get, or Got, according to Torfeus, anciently signified
dier, tt Herodotus, iv.
ft Lib. iv. 12. The term Gothi began, in his time, to supplant the ancient
28 THE DAC1ANS.
plo under both the Greek and Roman appellations; and the philosopher
ALiiacharsis, celebrated as a learned Scythian, was related to ths royal
princes of Getia. The two names were, therefore, certainly applied to
the same people.
" To the left (of the Danube) are the Scythae nomades towards the
west, who are spread even to the east sea and India," are the words of
Strabo;* who elsewhere says, the most considerable river which flows
through Scythia, is the Danube : and this river is placed by Diodorus among
those of Gaul, "j" where it certainly arose, and discharged itself in the
Euxine, in the territories of the Getje, who lived on the north bank of
the stream. Pliny speaks of the Scythians inhabiting a part of Moesia,
towards Pontus; and those who lived in that country were afterwards
classed among the Gothic nations. . Herodotus says, where Thrace ends,
Scythia begins, and extends westward to the city Carcinitis.J
From this indefinite application of the term Scythoe, it appears to have
been suitable to various tribes, and most probably was used to designate
those who remained in the state of Nomades, while others, who were
settled, became distinguished by peculiar names, as Pliny seems to have
understood.^ It is otherwise scarcely possible to account for the remote
and disconnected situations in which this people are found.
Their vagrant habits were proverbial. Herodotus says, they had nei-
ther towns nor fortified places, but carried their habitations along with
them, so that their constant abode might be said to be in their wagons ;||
and these habits characterized them in the time of Ammianus, who des-
cribes them as wandering over the wilds in their carts, whensoever and
whither they pleased :1T a mode of life which Horace seems to envy.**
The DACI, who lived contiguous to the Getae, are often confounded
with them, which evidently shows that little difference could exist be-
tween the two people. They are, it is true, frequently mentioned dis-
tinctively, but we have Strabo's authority, that the terms were indiscrim-
inately used;tf and Pliny tells us, that the Romans called the people by
either name, " Getoe, Daci, Romanis dicti." Strabo says, the Daci
" ab antiquo" lived towards Germany, around the sources of the Dan-
ube,^ which is considerably to the west of the situation which is after-
wards assigned them; but it is apparent that the Celts themselves have
been considered Scyths. Plutarch says, "the Celtre extend from the
Western Ocean to the part of Scythia on the Euxine; that the two na-
tions mingle together; and that, notwithstanding they are distinguished
by different names, according to their tribes, yet their whole army is
* Lib. xi. p. 507. t Lib. v. 2. J Lib. iv. 9G.
, Lib. iv. 12. The Scholiast of Appollonius Rhodius, who flourished 230
years, A. c
speaks of 50 nations of Scyths. || Lib. iv. 11 Lib. xsii. 8.
** " Campestres melius Scythae
Quorum plaustra vagas rite trahunt domoa
Vivunt, et rigidi Getae." Lib. iii. 23. 9.
1 \ Lib. vii. p. 304. ft Lib. vii
THE SCYTHIANS. 29
called Celto-Scythse."* That the Greeks denominated the northein na-
tions Celto-Scyths, has been before observed. Anastasius, a writer of
the ninth century, says the ancients were accustomed to call all the
northern region Scythia, where are the Goths and Danes ;"f and Ortellius
remarks, " Celtas cum Scythis, conjungit Aristoteles de rnundo."^ A
line of demarcation has been drawn between the two people, at the point
" where the waters flow eastward to the Euxine, and westward to the
Atlantic;"^ but they are so little discriminated, that a precise definition
of their territories is impossible, and when we speak of the one people,
we must " often include an idea of both."||
The. Goths, or Scythians, are, therefore, an aboriginal people of Eu-
rope, differing in some resoects from their predecessors the Celts. That
they were of the same race, but later in the stream of population that
flowed westward, is the clear inference from all that the ancients have
left us concerning them.
Strabo observes, that the Greeks called the Getse, Dacians, and reck-
oned both Thracians, because they all used the same language. Thrace
anciently extended from the Danube to the Gulf of Corinth, 11 and when
the dispute between Erectheus, and Eumolpus the Thracian, who laid
claim to Athens as part of his father's territory, was settled, it was
agreed that both people should be considered as one, and that the mys-
teries celebrated at Eleusis, the capital of Thrace, should be equally re-
vered at Athens.** Thus, 3000 years ago, the Greeks and Barbarians
were but beginning to consider themselves different people. The cog-
nate marks by which nations of identic origin are recognised, were not
effaced among the Scythic race long after the unmixed Celts had been
confined to the west. WhenXenophon finished the retreat of the 10,000
among the Getae, 398 years, A. c. the Greeks were then received as a
The wisdom, the learning, the justice, and the clemency of the Scy-
thic nations, have been much extolled. So great praise could not have
been bestowed without some reason, and we therefore find many illustri-
ous persons of antiquity were connected by birth with the Getic tribes.
The Celts, who were " the most remote inhabitants towards the
west "$) 500 years before the advent of Christ, retained the same posi-
* In vita Marii. t Pinkerton's Inquiry, i. 1! 2.
t Geographia, 1505. He considers all the ancient inhabitants of Europe,
quotes many authorities to prove all the northern nations of that race. See
of Europe, &c.
Caledonia, i. p 10. .|| Ogygia.
1T Thucydides, ii. 29. Hence Pausanias speaks of the Getse obtaining " that
Thrace which is beyond the Ister," i. c. 9.
** See Clarke on Coins, p. 66, with his authorities.
ft Herodotus, iv. 93, ap. Caledonia. Strabo, Lib. vii. saya the Celts and
U Ariacharsis. Menander, the inventor of comedy. Zamalxis, who wrote of a
<>f happiness in a future state, &c. &c. &c.
^ Except the Cynetse. Herodotus, iv. c. 3.
30 THE BELGIANS AND GERMANS.
tion when Caesar commenced the Gallic war, fifty-seven years befoie
that era. At this time they appeared in three great divisions: the Cel-
tae, the Belgae, and the Aquitani; distinct from each other, and sepa-
rated from the Germans by the river Rhine. * We have here a proof
of the gradual formation of several nations, from one numerous and
wide-spread race; for the more ancient historians were ignorant of these
divisions, and the terms, even at the above period, seem to have been
applied more as local distinctions of the same race, than indications
of different people.
Diodorus relates, what he tells us few knew any thing about, that
" the Celtoe inhabited the inland parts about the Alps, and on this side
the Pyrennean mountains, called Celtica; and those who were below
this part, southward to the ocean, and the mountain Hyrcinus, and all
as far as Scythia, were called Gauls; but the Romans called all the in-
habitants by one and the same name of Gauls. "| Ca3sar, who describes
the three nations as differing from each other in customs, language, and
laws, at the same time says, that the whole people continued to denomi-
nate themselves Celtae, which term was also sometimes used by the Ro-
mans with the more familiar appellation of Galli, as other writers also
Amrnianus Marcellinus, who lived 438 years later than Caesar, thinks
it rather a matter of conjecture than of fact, that Gaul was inhabited by
three sorts of people, and he as a soldier, had often come in contact with
their troops, and had served in Gaul and Germany, along with numer-
ous bodies of Celtic auxiliaries.
An examination of the ancient historians and geographers, will show
the positions of the three nations, and wherein they differed from each
other, and from the people who dwelt around them.
From the Garonne to the Seine and Marne was the possession of the
CELTJE, who retained their ancient and appropriate name, as they did also
that of their country, which was called Celtica. From the S^ine to the
Rhine were the territories of the BELGJE, who were the most celebrated
nation of Gaul. This people believed themselves descended of the GER-
MANNI, from whom they were only separated by the Rhine; but in those
ancient times, when the Germans are said to have sent this colony
across the river to settle in Belgica, were they not themselves Celtae,
with whom they retained the common tradition of being indigenous?^
Dio Nicaeus says, that, in the most ancient times, the inhabitants of both
sides of the Rhine called themselves by the same name, Celts; and he
himself calls the Belgians, Celtics. |j Josephus calls the German legion,
* Caesar de Bello Gallico, i. 1 Lib. v. c. 2.
t De Bello Gallico. Pliny, iv.
Tacitus de Moribus Germanorum. Like the Celts, they also affected a
crigin. In their old poems they celebrated Tuisto, a god sprung from the
ais son, Mannus, as their first parents.
(j Quoted in Ritson'a Memoirs of the Celts.
THE BELGIANS AND GERMANS. 31
which formed Caligula's body guard, the Celtic; and Ortellius, who
cites many authorities, says the unanimous opinion of all historians is,
that those called Gauls and Germans were Celts.* Strabo found the
two people closely, resembled each other in manners and personal ap-
pearance, from which he conceived that the Germans had been rightly
named the brethren of the Gauls. His etymology may be wrong, "f but
the term was certainly imposed by the Romans, and never acknowledg-
ed by themselves. J Suidas, in like manner, affirms that the Celts were
also called Germans, but Schoepflin understands him to mean otherwise.
Many Gallic nations were settled on the German side of the Rhine,
and one of the most considerable was that of the Helvetii, who are de-
scribed by Caesar as in no respect different from the other inhabitants ;||
at the same time he says, they were not entirely similar to the Celts.lT
This is inconsistent with what he has elsewhere observed of these colo-
nies,** and perhaps implies no greater variation than what is observable
between the remote districts of all countries; for throughout his Com-
mentaries, it does not appear that the difference between the Celtic na-
ions was very material. Tacitus, finding so many Gauls in Germany,
endeavors to account for part of them, by saying they were vagabonds,
who, being reduced by poverty to the necessity of leaving their own
country, settled on the waste lands that appeared to belong to no certain
proprietor. Caesar says, these Gaulish emigrants established themselves
in the most fruitful places; but even had these tracts been entirely un-
occupied, bands of robbers, however desperate they may have become,
would have had some difficulty in taking forcible possession of them.
The Germans looked sharply after their waste lands, and were by no means
inclined to let strangers occupy even the most desert places. The poor
Ansibarians, one of their own tribes, after an unsuccessful revolt, were
not permitted to settle any where among them, but were exposed to all
the Roman vengeance for asserting their liberty, and wandered about
until they were utterly exterminated. |f The probability is, that the
Gallic colonies obtained peaceable settlements from the claims of nation-
al affinity; and it may be proof of a good understanding between the two
people, if it goes not farther, that several German tribes made common
cause with the Belgio armies in the Gallic war. Tacitus has himself, in
another place, acknowledged the close resemblance of the nations in-
habiting both sides of the Rhine; and the tradition that the Belgians were
n colony of Germans, may have arisen from some faint recollection of the
progress of the ancient Celtae to the west of Europe.
It has been much disputed whether the Germans are of Scythic or Sar-
* Geographia, sub Europa. He also speaks of" Celtica sive Germanica." See
Sheringham, de Anglorum gentis origine.
t Lib. iv. p. 195, vii. p. 290.
t Mr. Groatheed, in Archaelogia, xvi. Clarke says the word signifies
warriors " Vindicise Celticse."
j| Kfllo Gnllico, vi. c. 22. IT Ibid. vi. c. 19.
*lhid vi. c. 10. 1 t Tacitus, Anuals
32 THE AQUITAN1 GAULS AND IBERIANS.
matian origin. It is scarcely necessary to add much on a subject which
has been treated with a greater degree of attention than it perhaps mer-
its.* Pomponius Mela says, the Sarrnatae and the Germanni were the same
people, and Pliny affirms that they were anciently Scyths: the name
Scythae, says he, is changed into that of Sarmatians and Germans.f
Pausanias remarks the nomadic state in which the Sauromatee lived, J
and in which they bore so strong a resemblanpe to the Scythians, of
whom, according to Procopius, they were but a tribe. Some of the Sar-
matas appear, from Pliny, to have been in Pannonia, and Diodorua
brings them from Medea; but they may, with some propriety, be said to
have perambulated rather than inhabited a country.
The extent of Germania in later times seems not to have been very
well ascertained. It was called Lochlin^ or Lychlin, by the British
tribes; a name that repeatedly occurs in the works of the bards, and was
extended to Scandinavia. A Gaelic MS., of the ninth or tenth century,
describes Gaul and Lochlin as one and the same country, only divided
by the Rhine. ||
The AQUITANI, the third division of the Celtae, were situated between
the river Garonne and the Pyrennean mountains, and they called their
country Aremorica.11" The most considerable difference between the
Gauls was found in the inhabitants of this district, who resembled the
Iberians more than the other Celts.**
This personal resemblance of the two nations may have arisen from
their vicinity to each other, and a different complexion from the northern
Gauls appears to have been the effect of a warmer climate; but a bettei
reason for the similarity may be found in the authorities already quoted,
as well as in others, where it appears that the Iberians were themselves
originally Celtae, who, crossing the Pyrennees, acquired the name of Gel-
tiberi, or rather Celtse-Iberi; the inhabitants of both sides of these moun-
tains living in amity and friendship, intermarrying, and wearing the same
dress, the Celts inhabiting the accessible parts of the mountain itself. |f
Ephorus, according to Strabo, extends Gaul to the city of Cadiz.
The Gauls, after having remained in the west and north of Europe
until they had become very numerous, sent back their redundant popu-
lation to seek for new settlements in the countries which were peopled
by the first Celtic migrations, but where all recollection of their common
origin was apparently lost, and h.^ny colonies were established in vari-
* See the works of Dr. and James Macpherson, Pinkerton, and many others.
t Lib. iv. c. 12. In lib. ii. c. 13, he expressly says, European Scythia
Germany. t Lib. i. c. 21. Macpherson's Introduction.
|| Report of the Committee of the Highland Society on the Poems of Ossian,
pendix, p. 309. Lychlyn, i. e. the lake of standing water, is the Welsh name
Biiltie. II Caesar, de B. G. vii. c. 32. Pliny, iv. c. 17.
** Strabo, iv. p. 176.
tt Diod. Sic. v. c. 2. Strabo, Hi. p. 162. Appian, in Ibericis, lib. vi. c.
2. " Gallorura
Celtsfi miscentes nomen Iberis." Lucan, iv. 9
ANCIENT LANGUAGES. 33
Italy itself was originally peopled by the Celtic, in their progressive
Advances to the extremities of the west. The Umbrians, " an exceed-
ing great and ancient people," were the first known inhabitants, and
were certainly Gauls,* and the progenitors of the Sabines, whom Cicero
calls the flower of Italy. Like the Aquitani about the Pyrennees, the
Celts dwelt on each side of the Alps. Near them were the Turinois,
Agoniens, and many other natnus of the same race."f" The Ligurians,
Hetruscans, Venetians, In.-subiians, &c. were undoubtedly Celts; but
many Gallic colonies at different periods settled in Italy, where a nation-
al relationship, in all probability, assisted them in obtaining favorable
possessions. The territories of this people were called by the Romans
Cisalpine Gaul; and when they had been subdued, and had obtained the
privileges of Roman citizens, the province was distinguished by the name
of Gall i a Togata.
The apparent variety of LANGUAGES among the ancient inhabitants of
Europe, is advanced as a strong argument in proof of a diversity of
races. The Celts were the sole people who, after their migrations, set-
tled in the west and north of Europe, and spreading themselves over a
large continent, they became separated into cantons or nations, that ac-
quired or assumed distinctive appellations. As the learned Dr. Murray
observes, "each horde soon multiplied into various nations, regulated
by similar customs, and loosely connected by language." Various cir-
cumstances operating on their common speech, gave rise to peculiar
pronunciation or dialect. J The change of old, the substitution of new
words, and other causes affecting articulation, produce, in time, great
difference between the speech of distant places in an extensive country;
but among nations of identic origin, there must long continue a close
affinity of language. That the Celtic and Gothic are derived from the
same source is evinced by many works of profound learning, and if a
resemblance or connexion between them is still to be traced, the similar-
ity must have been much more perceptible 2000 years ago. Thucydides
says, that before Homer's time, there was no distinction known between
the Greeks and those called Barbarians; that the whole inhabitants
closely resembled each other in customs, manners, and language, and
lived in a good understanding with each other.
The language of the Greeks and Thracians was anciently as much
alike as their religion; and Orpheus, Musaeus, with several other poets,
celebrated as Greeks, were certainly Thracians. (^ Ovid says that the
Getic language, although much altered, still retained evident marks of
its Grecian original. Wachter shows that the Celto-Scyths, being the
* Servius, in Eneid, Solinus. Tzetzes on Lycophron, Pezron, &c. Pliny tells
the Tuscans won 300 cities from them, and amera, according to Cato, was
%4 years before the war with Perseus. t Polybius, &c.
\ M. Bullet, Memoir sur la langue Celtique, i. c. 4, says the difference of
will alter a language.
Orpheus is represented as a native of Thessaly, but this country was
of Thrace. Strabo.
34 ANCIENT LANGUAGES.
most ancient Germans, and the progenitors of the Goths, Saxons, and
other nations, " their tongue, although from the mutations of ages now
very much altered," must have originally been the Celtic language.*
The Anglo-Saxon itself, derived from the Ingevones, " is the maritime
daughter of Celtica, and the first born, from her nativity neither entire y
similar, nor altogether unlike." j* SchilterJ and Gebelin also prove
this family connexion. "These vastly learned authors demonstrate,
without intending it, that the Celtic and Teutonic languages had a com-
mon origin. "|| The similarity of the Greek and Teutonic has often been
observed. This fact first struck Camderi, Stephens, and Scaliger; but
" Salmasius, Francis Junius, and Meric Casaubon, first inferred that
the Greek and Gothic languages, which were so similar in many re-
spects, must have come from a common parent; "IT and this evidence of
speaking the same tongue, may be acknowledged as one of the surest
proofs of original descent.**
The Latin, which is composed, according to Dr. Smith, "\^ of the
Greek and ancient languages of Italy, affords a less striking resemblance
to the Gothic. The dialects of Italy were derived from the Celtic, but
from the late formation of the Latin the affinity is less obvious: yet
Quintillian observes, that among the words derived from other languages,
those from the Gallic were most numerous, and gives several instances.JJ
The grammatical construction of the old Latin was exactly similar to the
Cellic. Thus, pennai, aulai, for pennse, aulae, in the genitive, is exactly
the fionnai, malai, of the Gaelic. In like manner the ablative was
formed by the addition ofd: pucnandod, preedad, now pugnando, pra3da,
precisely resembling the cogadh, creachadh, of the Gaelic, in which it
is to be observed that the final d is not sounded; and this quiescence in
the old Latin is the apparent reason of its ultimate omission.
If the various languages which ancient authors speak of, were radical-
ly different, the number of nations and of races will be wonderfully
increased. Mithridates, king of Pontus, is said to have learned twenty-
two languages, that he might be able to converse with all his subjects,
and Timosthenes says, that in a town of Colchis, three hundred nations,
* Glossarium Germannicum, Prefatio, c. xxviii.
t Ibid. Lingua Anglo Saxonica, cum sit ab Ingevonibus orta, filia est
tima et primogenita, natalibus suis nee omnino similis, nee omnino
dissimilis, c. xli.
I Thesaurus Ant. Teutonicum. Monde, primitif, ix. 41 , 51.
|| Caledonia,!, p. 12. If Ibid.
** Clarke, on Coins, p. 77. The similarity of weights and measures offers to
telligent writer an additional evidence of identic origin. A Mr. Kuithan
published a work, to shaw that not only were the Greek and German languages
but that the people were originally the same. Cluverius thinks the German is
purest relic of the Celtic.
ft On the formation of language.
tt Festus calls a Gallic chariot, Petoritum. Pedwar, Welch, is four, Rheda.
Tnia is noticed by Cluver, Dr. Murray, &c. Caterva, a legion ; Cad ; Gaelic,
Turva, multitude, &e.
& Report on the poems of Ossian, Appendix, p. 2G3.
ANCIENT LANGUAGES. 35
each of a different language, met to traffic;* but these accounts arc or
variance with the express testimony which we find, of the close affinity of
the languages anciently spoken in Europe. We ought, in most cases,
to understand dialect only, an inference that is justified by the writers
themselves. Strabo, who gives the Alani, an inconsiderable people,
twenty-six languages, tells us the Getae and Daci, both very powerful
nations, or rather the same people, had but one speech;! and represents
the Gauls, whose three divisions, according to Ca3sar, had peculiar and
distinct languages, as differing little from each other in manners, and
still less in speech. J St. Jerome says, the Galatians, who were un-
doubtedly Celts, besides the Greek, spoke the same language as the
Treviri, a people of, or bordering on, Belgic-Gaul.^ Herodotus says
the Scythic nations resembled each other in their manners generally,
but had particular dialects, and that the Sauromatae used the Scythic
speech. || If this language had been radically different from that spoken
in Western Europe, some traces of it would certainly have remained, but
no specimen can be produced. The Gothic tongue undoubtedly sprang
from the Celtic. Tacitus informs us, that in his time the Gothini spoke
the Gallic language, and the Cimbri and ^Estii used the British speech. 11
That it was Celtic, is beyond dispute. Reinerus Reineccius, an author
of credit, who is quoted by Camden, affirms that both Gauls and Cirnbri
used the same speech;** which, indeed, appears from those authors who
speak of the people as of the same race.
The Scythians, who were attacked by Darius, either spoke Gothic, or
it cannot be admitted that either they or their descendants ever came
into Europe. In this part of the world the Celtae first arrived, tc and
supplied a language; then, in the course of thousands of years, came
different tribes of the same people, the language of each radically the
same as the first, but from the lapse of time somewhat changed. ""j"j"
Nations that are favorably situated for commercial pursuits suffer a
change in their language sooner than those who are inland and removed
from intercourse with strangers. When manufactures and arts begin to
excite the attention of mankind, there arise new ideas, and a necessity
for new expressions. When the productions of one country become
objects of desire to the inhabitants of others, the wants which are re-
ciprocally supplied by the exchange of commodities increase with the
facility of gratification; and hence, as the arts of civil life begin to be
encouraged, new words are required, and language undergoes a gradual
and inevitable alteration. Thus the speech of a people who are in a
state of progressive improvement becomes much changed in process o/
* As quoted in Lewis's History of Britain, fol. 1729. When Diod. Sic. says
nibal's troops, that they differed as much in their humors as they did in
guages, are we to understand him literally ?
t Lib. viii. * | Lib. iv. Comment, on Galatians, ii.
|j Lib. iv. 117. T[ De moribus Germanorum.
*" CaiiKion, Hinging, Lewis, &c. ft Higgins's " Celtic Drjids," p &L.
36 ANCIENT LANGUAGES.
time. Polybius writes, that the Latin was then so different, from what i<.
had been in the time of Lucius Junius Brutus and Marcus Valerius, who
were consuls when the first treaty between the Romans and Carthagini-
ans was made, that little of that document could be then understood.*
But when a nation, on the contrary, is stationary in civilisation, the lan-
guage necessarily remains the same.
The Romans were always studious to introduce their language into
all countries which were brought under their dominion ; f but they would
have been less successful in producing any change among the Gauls,
had they not been able, at the same time, to establish a considerable
commercial intercourse. These nations found a stimulus to their natu-
ral ingenuity, and a gratification to their avarice, of which they are
said to have had a good share, by the advantages of a friendly inter-
course and profitable trade with the luxurious Romans; and their par-
^ality to the wines of Italy had, no doubt, a tendency to soften their
cmtraeleristic dislike to innovation.
It is equally customary, even in these days, to call peculiar dialects
by the name of languages, as it is to generalize various dialects under
one denomination. The Gaelic of Scotland, the Welch, the Irish, and
the Manx, are considerably different from each other, and yet they are
but dialects of the same speech, and the term Briton is common to the
whole inhabitants of the island; yet the English, the Scots, and the
Welch are distinct people, and they all use the English language, (ex-
cept in the Gaelic parts;) but the dialects are, in some cases, so differ-
ent, that they scarcely appear the same, and are, indeed, sometimes cal-
led different languages. J
The Yorkshire, and the west country dialects, have no great resem-
blance to that of Middlesex; nor is the speech of the people in the north
like that used by the inhabitants of the southern provinces of Scotland.
Thus do we find a primaeval race, arriving in Europe at some unknown
and remote period, and filling with inhabitants a vast extent of territory
Different divisions of these aborigines acquired distinct names with ap-
propriate possessions, and, in the lapse of ages, became dissimilar in
manners, in colloquial idiom, and pronunciation. A due consideration
of these apparently natural and certain effects of separation, may prevent
much unsatisfactory argument, that bewilders and perplexes the mind, in
the vain attempt to find distinct and various races of men, where all must
have had a common origin. The Barbarians appeared to the early
Greeks and Romans, who knew little of them, under different lights, and
t " So sensible were the Romans of the influence of language over national
ners, that it was their most serious care to extend, with the progress of
their arms, the
use of the Latin tongue." Gibbon.
t" The Scotch is not to be considered a provincial dialect, it is the
language of a
whole country, the common speech of the whole nation in early life."
Review, vol. xiii. p. 259.
FEROCITY OF THE CUMBRIANS.
were viewed as consisting of many nations: when they came under more
particular observation in later times, there had arisen differences suffi-
cient to justify a national appellation.
There is, it must be confessed, a gloom around the early history of
the Celts, which neither the writings of antiquity, nor the deepest inves-
tigations of modern ages, are able entirely to penetrate.
The faint light by which the Hyperborei, the Cimbri, the Scythae, and
the Celtae are presented to our view, is clouded by fable, and obscured
by the conjectures of credulity. The polished Greeks and Romans des-
pised and contemned all who were without the pale of their own domin-
ion. It was only when they wished to subjugate those barbarians, or
were exposed to their furious inroads, that they deigned to notice them.
Then, the savage manners, and strange appearance of these nations
made a strong, and perhaps unjust, impression on those who were more
civilized.* The desperate exploits of the enemy were related by those
who witnessed them, with all the exaggeration which fear could suggest;
and the wonderful recitals were, it may be safely presumed, often height-
ened by a desire to exalt the bravery and resolution of soldiers who had
ventured to contend with such terrific assailants. The tremendous ar-
mies of the Cimbri and Teutones filled the Romans with the utmost ter-
ror and dismay, and people from whom they had so narrowly escaped
utter destruction, were represented as almost supernatural. " No man,'
says Plutarch, "knew what they were, or from whence they came.
They were of immense stature, with horrid countenances, speaking a
language scarcely human. They advanced with a host that trod down,
or swept all before them, and their bowlings and horrid bellowings were
like those of wild beasts, "j Such expressions betray the trepidation of
the Romans, increased by the boldness of an enemy, that, passing the
Alps as if by miracle, presented themselves in the plains of Italy, and,
marching towards Rome, threatened the speedy destruction of the em-
pire. Yet it must be confessed, that there was abundant caase for ter-
ror, after making allowance for considerable overcharge in the picture.
The Cimbrians, it is further said by Plutarch, like the giants of old,
* When the first alarm had subsided, their numerous hosts were often
very inferior numbers. Their great strength, and native valor gave waj to
discipline and military tact of the Greeks and Romans.
t Plutarch, of the Cimbrian war. Polyasnus. Mil. Strat. viii. 10.
38 FEROCITY OF THE CUMBRIANS.
tore up hills and massy rocks, and pulled up trees by the roots, to fill a
river which they had to pass. Their women, too, who would rush into
the thickest battle, and with their naked arms pull away the shields of
the enemy, cutting them down with a sword or battle-axe, were not the
least frightful part in the scene. Before such opponents, it is little cause
of wonder that the Roman soldiers should not evince their accustomed
bravery. It was with difficulty any man could be kept to his duty, and,
as the panic increased, they began to desert their colors, and at last gave
way in precipitate retreat.