Page:Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire vol 1 (1897).djvu/331

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OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE 257 barians, who seemed to fall from a new world, as their name, manners, and complexion were equally unknown on the coast of Africa. 92 II. In that part of Upper Saxony, beyond the Elbe, which is origin and at present called the Marquisate of Lusace, there existed in the suevi ancient times a sacred wood, the awful seat of the superstition of the Suevi. None were permitted to enter the holy precincts without confessing, by their servile bonds and suppliant posture, the immediate presence of the sovereign Deity. 93 Patriotism contributed, as well as devotion, to consecrate the Sonnenwald, or wood of the Semnones. 94 It was universally believed that the nation had received its first existence on that sacred spot. At stated periods the numerous tribes who gloried in the Suevic blood resorted thither by their ambassadors ; and the memory of their common extraction was perpetuated by barbaric rights and human sacrifices. The wide extended name of Suevi filled the interior countries of Germany, from the banks of the Oder to those of the Danube. They were distinguished from the other Germans by their peculiar mode of dressing their long hair, which they gathered into a rude knot on the crown of the head ; and they delighted in an ornament that showed their ranks more lofty and terrible in the eyes of the enemy. 95 Jealous as the Germans were of military renown, they all confessed the superior valour of the Suevi ; and the tribes of the Usipetes and Tencteri, who, with a vast army, encountered the dictator Caesar, declared that they esteemed it not a disgrace to have fled before a people to whose arms the immortal gods them- selves were unequal. 96 In the reign of the Emperor Caracalla, an innumerable swarm a mixed body of Suevi appeared on the banks of the Main, and in the neigh- asaumTthe bourhood of the Roman provinces, in quest either of food, of Aiemanni plunder, or of glory. 97 The hasty army of volunteers gradually coalesced into a great and permanent nation, and, as it was com- posed from so many different tribes, assumed the name of Aiemanni, or Allmen, to denote at once their various lineage and

Aurel. Victor [Cass. 33] . Eutrop. ix. 6. 
Tacit. Germania, 38 [39] . 
Oliver. German. Antiq. iii. 25. 
Sic Suevi a ceteris German is, sic Suevorum ingenui a servis separantur. A 

proud separation !

Caesar in Bello Gallico, iv. 7. 
Victor in Caracal. [Caes. 21]. Dion Cassius, lxxvii. p. 1350 [13]. [The 

invaders were defeated by Caracalla, 213 A.D.]

VOL. I.