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Julius Caesar Defeats the Suevi

The Suevi also known as the Suebi was once a confederation from Germany and had migrated throughout Europe. They consisted of at least seven tribes that included the Semnones, Langobardi, the Hermunduri, Elbe, Anglii, Varini and the Nuitones.

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Germanic tribes

The Romans dealt with the Suevi along the Rhine River as a threat to their empire. They appear on the Bible Timeline Poster with World History in 58 BC, when they were defeated by Julius Caesar. Julius Caesar was the first Roman ruler to describe the Suevi. He said that they were a nomadic people that didn’t have a centralized government. They developed chiefs when they settled down into one area later on the chiefs became kings and nobles.

He claimed that they wore animal skins, cleansed themselves in Rivers and forbade the people to drink wine. Since they didn’t have a great need for wealth whenever they amassed plunder, they would trade with other tribes or kingdoms to get rid of their extra goods. The people were incredibly warlike, and they constantly raided areas inside of Gaul, which was under the protection of the Romans.

Caesar went on to say that he had no choice but to deal with these people because of this reason. Since Caesar was the governor of Gaul, it was up to him to keep the Suevi in check. As Rome was starting to expand its territories, it was gaining allies and becoming well known in Europe. Many of the tribal peoples who lived in Europe resented the Roman’s encroachment into their land. Other tribes realized that the Romans had become a necessary evil that they must endure, and they became their allies. The Suevi didn’t pay attention to the Romans but as they encountered them, it became clear to them that the Romans were not another simple European tribe. Before his confrontation with the Suevi in 58 B.C., Caesar constructed bridges along the Rhine and set up his forces in this area. Once he did this, he sent a formal decree to the Suevi to get them to stop harassing Rome’s allies in the area.

The Suevi abandoned their settlements along the Rhine and moved back into Germany. They did this so that they could start to build up an army to take on Rome. Within a short period the Suevi managed to amass a large force, and they were now marching against Rome. They had hundreds of units that were being led by two chieftains named Nasua and Cimberius. The Suevi began to line up along the Rhine River in clans, and the Battle of Vosges begins. The Romans used their superior tactics to break through the Suevi formations. The Suevi were being beaten so bad that they retreated. During their retreat, the allies of the Suevi turned against them and their chiefs. The different tribes once again went back to Germany to reorganize their armies so that they could attack the Romans in the future. According to Caesar, the Suevi didn’t come back into the Rhine or Gaul during his term as governor.

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