Germany History – The Roman Province Part IV

At varying distances between them they were located behind the land defense, not far from it in general more than half a km. or 1 km., the forts: we recall among the best known and most fully explored, those of Saalburg, Nidda-Heddernheim, Niederbieder, Zugmantel, etc. The army of Germany was constituted in the century. I from eight legions: four in the lower, two stationed in Vetera (Xanten), one in Novaesium (Neuss) and one in Noviomagus (Nijmegen), and four in the upper, in Mainz (two legions), Argentoratum (Strasbourg) and Vindonissa (Windisch near Zurich): there were naturally several auxiliary corps. With the beginning of the second century the strength of the garrison was reduced in each of the two provinces first to three, then to two legions; the auxiliary corps remained, which however, after the experience of the revolt of 69 and 70 (see below), were only partially enlisted on the spot.

The history of the two Germanys is largely identified with that of the Gauls. The events of 69 and 70 AD are of particular interest to the former. C., which originated from the Batavi insurrection, and which had the territory of the Rhenish provinces as their main theater. The army here had been greatly weakened by the civil war, which had brought the Legate of Lower Germany, Vitellius, to the throne; wherefore the insurgents, led by Giulio Civile, and with whom many tribes from beyond the Rhine had been united, pushed into war by a girl prophetess of the Bructeri, Veleda, easily broke the resistance of the legions, laying siege to Vetera: to the liberation of this move the army of Upper Germany, led, rather than by the actual commander, Ordeonio Flacco, old and inept, by the legate Dillio Vocula: Vetera was freed, but on the return the troops rebelled and only with difficulty Vocula was able to bring them back to obedience. The Germans were now joined by the tribes of Belgica who proclaimed the Gallic Empire: in vain Vocula tried to stand up to the insurgents: Vetera, besieged again, capitulated like Mainz, Bonna and Novaesium: all the Rhine could be said to have been lost for the Romans: Cologne itself was about to be set on fire, if Civile and Veleda himself had not opposed this. But shortly thereafter the new legions sent by Vespasiano under the command of Annio Gallo in the upper and Petillio Ceriale in the lower arrived: the latter in particular was responsible for the recovery of the provinces and the dispersion of the rebels, who were first defeated ahead of Treveri., then to Vetera: Civile escaped beyond the Rhine, Veleda was taken prisoner to Rome (autumn 70). Since then the provinces were quiet, nor was their peace greatly disturbed by the wars, generally of limited size, which were fought later: among the most important is that of Domitian against the Catti in 83.

According to diseaseslearning, the civil development of Germanys proceeds substantially along the same lines as that of Gauls (see Gaul, to which voice is also referred to for the evangelization of the region): however, the proximity of the camps, a lively center of radiance of Romanism, and the fact that the major cities were all born from these more than from previous indigenous centers, could not fail to give the life and culture of the Rhenish lands an aspect that is in some respects different from that of the rest of Gaul: it is the aspect of a borderland, where everything lives in function of the defense of this and of the army that provides this defense, and where the very different influences that bring on the one hand the soldiers from Italy and the various lands of the empire join and mingle together, and on the other the neighboring Germans from beyond the Rhine.

In the century III, when the Germans form stronger and more ordered groups, the new names appear in place of the names of the old tribes: they are the Saxons closest to the sea, between the mouth of the Elbe and that of the Rhine, the Franks on the Lower Rhine, between Noviomagus and Bonna, the Alamanni on the Upper Rhine, from Mainz around noon. Each of these groupings presses on the borders of the empire, and every time one of them breaks them (see Gaul), the Rhenish provinces are the first to suffer the effects. The diocletian reform does not change the order of them much: the upper Germany is divided into Germany first and into Maxima Sequanorum, the lower remains as it is with the name of Germania secunda: all are reunited to the dioecesis Galliarum: the military commanders assume the utmost importance in front of the governors. With the beginning of the settlements of the barbarians in the lands of the empire, Germanys are the first to be occupied: since the end of the century. III Constantius allows the Salî Franks to settle on the island of the Batavi.

Germany History - The Roman Province 4