Les anciens peuples Germaniques occupaient
une région sensiblement plus vaste à l'est que l'Allemagne actuelle, allant jusqu'aux rives est de la baltique; Au delà, sur le continent, c'était le domaine des redoutables cavaliers Scythes. Les Suèves (Suebi, ou Swebôz en langue locale), était en fait une confédération de tribus mal connues, habitants dans les profondeurs de la forêt. Dernières tribus insoumises par les Romains, elles ne le furent que pendant l'ère impériale. Les Suèves passaient pour les plus sauvages des "barbares", une réputation de cruauté et des traditions pour le moins effrayantes, pour les Gaulois eux-mêmes... Les Suèves étaient vus par les Romains comme de proches alliés des Gaulois, d'où dérive le "germain". Les Teutons et les Cimbres étaient apparentés à cette population, bien qu'arrivée plus tard. C'était au départ un vaste mouvement migratoire de peuples indo-Européens, qui vinrent s'installer sur les rives de la baltique à l'âge du bronze, tandis que d'autres, installés jusque là en scandinavie, poussés par le refroidissement, colonisèrent les vastes zones boisées des rives nord de la Baltique à l'âge du fer.
Les Suèves pour Tacite, incluaient trois grandes tribus, les Quadi, Semmones et Marcomanni, ainsi que plus tard les Hermunduri et enfin les Alamanni les Langobards, d'où dérive le mot "Lombards". Les Suèves occupaient le centre de l'Allemagne actuelle, et laissèrent en héritage leur nom à la province de Souabe. Ils s'impliquèrent dans les affaires Gauloises, allant jusqu'à annexer la tribu des Sequanes, avec Ariovistus, le Roi des grandes tribus de la "confédération" suève. Cette domination prit fin avec les campagnes tardives de César en gaule chevelue. Les tribus mineurs de l'ouest, les Chatti, Sicambres, et Cheruscii formèrent la base des Francs. Les sicambres se disaient descendre des troyens, comme beaucoup de peuples de l'Antiquité. Même après que la gaule se soit trouvée occupée, les Germains ont toujours étés considérés comme un danger d'invasion. En 101 av.jc., deux grandes offensives, celle des Cimbres puis celle des Teutons furent stoppées par les Légions Romaines, au cours de plusieurs batailles, la dernière et décisive étant menée aux portes des Alpes, à Aquae Sextiae (Aix en provence). César, après sa campagne Gauloise, laissa des légions dans le nord-est de la gaule.
Une des motivations de la campagne en gaule fut justement de pouvoir mieux contrôler ces invasions Germaniques. Sous Constantin, les frontières de l'empire furent poussées jusqu'au Rhin et consolidées par un réseau de forts et cités militaires de frontières (limes) définissant une "magna germania" allant du Rhin à la Vistule, incorporant des tribus Celtiques parfois très différentes. La dernière grande confrontation fut celle de la forêt de Teutoburg, où Arminius fit périr deux légions Romaines. Comme les Gaulois, les Suèves étaient réputés pour la guerre d'embuscade, auquel se prêtait à merveille la forêt noire.
Comme la plupart des Celtes, les Suèves comportaient une infanterie d'assaut pléthorique, mais peu d'archers et encore moins de cavalerie, peu à l'aise dans ces grandes fôrets. Javelins, pieux chauffés, massues de bois, épées, haches, étaient autant d'armes utilisées par les Suèves, avec une préférence pour la Hache de lancer chez les Frankammanôz, ancêtres des Francs. Les Chérusques étaient de leur côté réputés pour leurs haches de lancer. De même que pour les Gaulois et Celtes en général, le courage importait d'avantage que le reste, mais l'organisation militaire était pour le moins lapidaire et ces armées n'exclellaient véritabemlement que dans es "coups de mains" et embuscades que les batailles rangées. Les côtes de maille et casques étaient peu courants, tandis que peaux de loups et d'ours avaient la préférence. Les Suèves avaient une réputation effrayante de bêtes sauvages assoiffées de sang, une légende savamment entretenue grâce aux berserkers, et à leur mise volontier mi-homme mi-animale, censée terroriser les Romains.
This was 2310 years ago...
Ancient germany is seen as the last great peoples in Europe that were never conquered by the roman empire. These where the most typical "barbarian" tribes in Europe, strong and savage, well protected in the Darkness of the large forests... The Suebi were the most famous of these tribes, as known as the Sweboz in germanic laguage. In general terms, Romans considered the Germans as "neighbours" or "allies" of the gallic tribes, hence a possible origin for the name "german". This was a vast movement of indo-european peoples, settled around the baltic coast and reach the Scandinavia.
The suebi or sweboz, for Tacitus, included three great tribes, the Quadi, Semnones and Marcomanni, and later the minor tribe Hermunduri and later other major ones, the Alamanni and the Langobards. The Suebi gave their name to the Swabia, and later, involved in the political Gallic affairs, when Ariovistus, king of the Suebi tribes, subdued the Sequani. They were eventually defeated by Caesar. Small west tribes as the Chatti, Sicambri, and Cheruscii partly formed the Frankish people, but mostly Sicambri, in the local mythology, legendary ancient trojans.
Rome soon feel the danger of new northern invaders, once the Transalpine gaul allied or subdued by the republic. In 101 bc, two major invasions of Cimbri and Teutoni tribes were stopped by the northern legions, the most notable battle was those of Aquae Sextiae in the south-east france. Cesar, after his gallic campaign, has left some troops in roughly the borders of eastern Gaul. The Roman invasion was partly justified by the threat of this Germanic invasions. With the Constantine rule, the empire borders (limes) defined a "magna germania" from the Rhine to the Vistula, incorporing celtic tribes as well. Forts and colonies were founded belong the Rhine, and after the last great struggle, the battle of Teutoburg Forest, the germany borders were firmly established for centuries.
As most of the Northern and western peoples, the Germanic armies were almost entirely composed of infantry, a few archers, slingers or skirmishers, a very few, if not at all cavalry units (light scout units or some mounted nobles) but a versatile semi-heavy infantry, able to launch javelins and fight both with swords, axes, two and one handed, and clubs, as some more primitive weapons. As most of the celtic tribes, courage in battle was most important of all, and tactic and discipline, uniformity or modern equiments were quite unknown. A few warriors has helmets, chainmails, most of them only use some wolves and bear pelts and wood shields. The germanic warriors has a frightening reputation, coming from their primitive customs, savage and merciless way of fightning, their physical strenght, compared to the average romans, and most of all, their ferocious elite warriors, perhaps ancestors of the viking "Berserkers".
SUEVI CONFEDERATE UNITS
FOLKAN GAIZOZ : Suevi confederacy peasant levies, "Commoner gaisos": These are the lowest rank soldiers available. Cheap to recruit, they are of poor quality however, due to their dispararate ages : Men between majority and their great age are sure to be part of any warband, as Tacitus said, war was the only horourable task for any germanic freeman. Those who were not in such business were either farmers and from the labor class, with not any skills for war or appettite for violence. There was pure disgust about them. But when required, they had the same tasks than any peasants of any celtic armies To protect the rear-guard and the baggage train in any raiding party. They were equipped with framea - for the most capable, and fourchs, shaped spears, and various crude weapons but theyr were no given any attack task but only a reserve, passive defence.
SWEBOZ JUGUNTHIZ : These young people formed the vanguard of the infantry. They were not well armed, beeing equipped with a volley of javelins and a dagger, like the ancestor of the famous seaxe. This combination was unsufficient of course in close combat, but like many skirmishers, their best ally was their speed. The Germanic warbands were accostumed to raiding parties, and ambushes.
SWEBOZ FRAMANNOZ : The romans called them "frameanii" because they were equipped with a framea as main weapon and nothing else. This was the most current warriors in any germanic army. Youth received their framea and their cloak during a ceremonial, and this was always a special moment. Every man in a village was virtually a warrior, from this day until his last breath, not including those who neglect this way of living, the only few that were dedicated to any farming production. As tacite said, the germans were hunter-gatherers first, and the wide forests were sufficient to those peoples who experienced a simple and harsh life, eating meat and drinking milk. Alcool was a luxury, and the germans saw badly any man who could be drunk. The framannoz march fully clothed, covered with warm pelts of various animals, but mostly wolves and especially bears, always a mark of courage, but like some celtic warriors, they used to fight half-nude or nude, to be more free of movements and show an impressive sight to the enemy. Some were also tattoed with the brassicae isatis tinctoria, same used by the brythonic tribes, the famous guede blue. Most of these Framannoz were not wealthy enough to afford other weapons- they have only this spear, with a distinctive arrow-shaped head, to fight, and used it for thrusting but also if needs to throw, as this weapon was slightly longer but more sharply than the celtic gaiso, also well-used by fontiersmen like the Marcomanni. Beeing more affordable than swords, it was the most current weapon among germanic peoples.
SWEBOZ BUGIMANNOZ : These were the levy, tribal archers of any suebian warband. The archery was a current practice for survival in the forest, and germanic peoples, according to Tacitus, lived by hunting (which prepares also for war) rather than farming and cattle breeding, which were left to slaves and servile peoples. But the best archers were recruited along the baltic coast.
SWEBOZ DRUTHIZ : These were young "warband" (Druthi-) warriors, and for the most, javelinmen. They learn how to fight with a bunch of light javelins, and an affordable wicker shield, a light axe, or a dagger like the seaxe as secondary weapon. This combination was cheap, light and practical, and these warriors were not encumbered by a spear (the Framea), so they were agile and naturally gifted for quick raids and ambushes. They were also young, undisciplined, but brave and endurant. They formed the better part of the would-be combattants, before they could be named "proven".
SWEBOZ SLAGANZ : These javelinmen were given a mace. Tis was the most affordable combination for somewhat more experienced and strongly built warriors. Although the mace was a crude and primitive weapon, it was still widely used by a lot of nations throughout the known world. A mace was still efficient against shields and especially any unit practicing the shieldwall, the queen tactic of any celtic army in 300 bc. Suebi macemen used a light, one-hand mace to be able to carry and throw javelins at the same time.
SWEBOZ Nakwaðaz : Common as first-line units, these "naked spearmen" were the germanic replica of the Gaisates, to the difference that they used more crude weapons, the Framea beeing too expensive and heavy to be carried by a skirmisher. But they were heavy skirmishers, relying on their speed to outflank the enemy, then launching their missiles, causing a quick disarray. They fought nude or half-nude to be free of movements, and kept a framea for closefight if needs.
SWEBOZ DUGUNTHIZ : These warriors were "proven ones", using a bunch of crude javelin and a small axe as seconday weapon. They were relatively young, although well-experienced, and any warchied would prefer to use tham at the first line, because their more agressive tactic. This was, after the frammani, the backbone of any suebi warband. They could be compared to the greek peltasts, because of their dual task and melee combat habilities.
SWEBOZ SPEUTANAUTOZ : These spearmen were suevi battle-proven spearmen. They used some armors, mostly made of leather layers, because of their slower way of fightning. Older, experienced, they form the centre of any sizable army. Like they celtic neighbours, they know ho wto form the shieldwall, and advanced slowly, withdisciplined, on the enemy. This was not an usual feature, reserved to full-scale battles on open terrain, which were most current with border nations, like the Quadi and Marcomanni, even the far away Bastarnae. They were hardened and well-equipped, with several iron-tipped javelin and a framea as melee weapon, a dagger for close quarters. This was a sturdy unit that any warchief could count on to break the enemy center or to block it and allow outflanking manouvers by younger and more agile warriors.
SWEBOZ HARII : These men were the famous "night raiders" depicted in vanilla. They used to fight in night raids, painted in dark blue, with a light shield, a framea, light axe, dagger or even sword, for the most wealthy. Night raids were a particular innerving tactic for any enemy warrior. Such units were trained to march quickly, beeing totally unheard in the hearth of the forest, then attack suddenly with speed and ferocity, and disappearing as fast. If used as a complement to the day attacks, this was destructive for the morale of any battle-harnened and disciplined unit, like the Romans, which was already afraid by the forest in the night, as well as the atrocious human tortures and ritual sacrifices stories told by the legionaries about the germans. Historically, one of the Suevi tribe was called "harii" and was derivative from the "harijoz" or "warrior" general term. Named by Tacitus in Germania, they were all-black painted and fought during the night in forest, their tactic were sudden ambushes and using fear with profit. It seems to have similarities with the later Scandinavian Heinherjar, not far from the berserker. The concept was the "wild hunt". These young warriors learned to be stealthy and kiling as ghostly, night predators.
SWEBOZ HILDISVINI : These chosen men, were relatively poor, but equipped with heavy axes and used to break enemy formations. They were exceptionnally tall, strong, and battle-hardened, so very effective against any unit, even an armoured one. They were also fast and agile, and perfect for flanking manoeuvers, used as the main shock infantry, followed by every warriors. The names litteraly signified "battlepig". They were a metaphoric equivalent of the wild boar. They were also related to the deity Freija.
DRUTHINAZ SWEBUSKU : Druthinaz were warbands appointed to a lord, any noble of any rank. These swordsmen were a few, but really gifted and respected warriors. The nobles were - by essence - swordsmen, but all common warriors wealthy enough, could have been equipped with a sword. The Suebi were no exception. They were given a shorter sword than the celts, used for slashing and thursting, and two javelins for preceding their attack. They were well-equipped, with a reinforced shield, a leather jacket under their tunic and a leather helmet. It was the perfect melee infantry, able to deal with the Romans.
SWEBOZ THEGNOZ : These elite swordsmen were lesser nobles attached to their masters (high nobles), generals and kings. The Suevi leader was of course, one of the most powerful, because of the relative weight of his people for the confederacy. But never a king was able to really unite other german tribes, because of the hate of any idea of hegemony and uncontested power. Arminius (Hermann) of the Cherusci, was killed by his own people after his stunning victory over the Romans, because he aspired to this supreme title over the confederacy.
KUNINGAZ BERYANOZ : Of course these warriors were a true elite and were a very few. These noble were close bodyguards and companions of the king, a few high nobles and chieftains. They devoted their life to war, were aged and very experienced, and finely educated warriors, using similar tactics and equipments than celtic nobles. Fightning spear over head and then in melee with their high-quality longsword was common, wel-protected by their guardsmen. They were the very few to be equipped with a leather and metal armor, and an iron helmet as well. Like celtic chieftains, this helmet was decorated to gave them some immediate sight and rally flag for their own warriors...
SWEBOZ GAISOZ RIDANZ : Germanic light cavalry was as famous and skilled than the Celtic cavalry. Their particular way of fightning was noticed and well-described by Julius Caesar in his "De Bello Gallico". Their horses were not impressive, small and cramped, but nervous and well-dressed, and most of all, robust enough to carry two mens and galloping at full speed. Germanic cavalrymen never fought alone, but with foot infantrymen. The last were lightly equipped, mostly with spears, in order to bring chaos into the enemy cavalry. Their tactic was versatile : Against enemy infantry, horses were used as a fast transportation system, and fighters were front-line skirmishers. If the enemy cavalry was near to make a counterattack, the horses came, each cavalryman recovering his own teammate, and run out of danger. Against cavalry, they use their additional infantrymen to disturb enemy cavalrymen, forced to fight against other cavalrymen and against spear infantry at the same time. With less horse than their enemies, Suebi cavalry units was able to defeat any normally built cavalry... The cavalrymen themseves used several javelins and a gaiso for thrusting, "Gaisoz ridanz" meaning "gaiso rider"..
SWEBOZ RIDANZ : The best Suevi cavalrymen came form the lesser nobility. They used several weapons and were highly skilled, however, they don't use light cavalry tactics. They were probably too heavily equipped for that. Their tactics were generally similar to those of the Celts, but their protection wa reduced to a leather jacket, and a leather helmet. "Ridanz" means litteraly "rider".
SWEBOZ MARHATHEGNOZ (General's late cavalry) : This unit was a late one. The Suebi were not known for their cavalry, as some frontiers people. The nobles were foot warriors. But lately, with contacts with their bordering neighbours and the Celts, the most wealthy nobles would have been probably a cavalry unit, with tall, imported horses. Of course this is a pure artificial unit, fruit of an evolution in the game, of the Suevi people over the "germanies".
GERMANIC AOR :
Chatti Jugunthiz : These young Chatti warriors were in fact, the most common auxiliary infantry the Suevi could have raised. The Chatti were a poor people fro Tacitus, they used a framea, javelins and a dagger or a mace as secondary weapon, they were numerous, sturdy and affordable. The versatile Framea was roughly the germanic equivalent to the Celtic Gaiso. It was "the height of a man", but with a specific edge-shaped spearhead, very sharp and distinctive for tacitus which was not a specialist of weapons.
Chatti Framannoz : These Chatti spearmen were better equipped but still a relatively light infantry. They were also an affordable unit, best used as auxiliary to protect the flanks. Their equipment was complete : A framea or a gaiso for thursting, several javelins, and a slashing knife for the melee fighting.
SUIONES AKWINAZ :
Swihoniz Akwinaz : Also called (and better known) as the Suiones in latin sources, these peoples were not unelikely of unique location. It could have been applied to all tribesmen living around the baltic sea. One theory about their name was related to the sea. The Suiones, which derived later to Svensk by Old Norse, were inhabitants of modern Scandinavia, or "Skandia" then, in 300 bc. Few things are known about them before Tacitus. However they were credited to be the common ancestor of the germanic tribes, in a constant migration from Scandinavia to modern germany. These Proto-scandinavian warriors were probably equipped with axes, which was in used there during nearly two milleniums. These axes were specifically built, with an oblique shape, and were light, enough to be thrown. Of course, the warriors were also ambushers and raiders, using javelins and short spears. They were also good navigators, as the Hjostpring ship was credited to them. It was the very early ancestor for the early middle age Snekkars.
HERUSKU DRUHTINAZ: These Cherusci swordsmen were a few, but the best warriors around, like most noble sons or from wealhy families. The sword was generally shorter and broader than celtic swords, especially lately. They were good for thursting and slashing as well. These warriors thow also high-quality heavy javelins, generally light versions of the versatile framea, with a very long spearhead conceived as armor-piercing. It was especially well-used against the roman troops, as most germanic warbands were unarmoured. This late weapon was nearly a germani adaptation of the roman pila, after a century of warfare, between the cesarean campaign beyond the rhein to the loss of Varrus legions at Teutoburg...
HERUSKU DUGUNTHIZ : These sturdy Cherusci spearmen were the best troops the Cherusci had to offer. These were experienced warriors, well-protected with a leather jacket and a and wood reinforced helmet, a well-made and wide shield, and a shortsword as auxiliary weapon. The tree on their shield was a traditional symbol of great power. It was the center of the germanic spiritual life, and its prsence on shield was to protect them and the entire army as calling the supreme god.
MARKOMANNI SPEUTAGARDAZ : The Markomanni were a famous tribe, probably was of the more warlike but organized on the battlefield : They were "men of the frontier", accostumed to a constant warfare against the Celts and Taurisci. Among the elites, they were famous spearmen, the Speutagardaz. They were skilled enough to form impressive shieldwalls with five meters spears, a rather unusual feature. The Celtic phalanx, as it was in 300 bc, presented a wall of three to two and a helf meter spears, with long spearheads. Speutagardaz used long spears with a "short and narrow head". They were well equipped, probably having light axes of seaxe-like short blade as a complement, a reinforced leather armor and leather and scale helmet, which was lighter and cheaper than the usual iron helmet, but highly protective.
QUADDI DUGUNTHIZ : These proven spearmen from the Quaddi tribe were reknowned and well-trained, although poor and less-well equipped than those of other tribes. They used heavy spears, not tipped, mostly to block the enemy, more than to attack it. They relied upon their iron-tpiied javelins and a light sword or long dagger, which was more common in this aera. Their reputation came from their open-battles habilities, reling on similar tactics to the Celts rather than the guerilla warfare proper to most germanic peoples.
TIWAZ DRÛTIZ : These "ram warriors" were an elite infantry using the hammer as a weapon for smashing the lines of any army practicing the shieldwall. They were also a chosen, but poor elite in some peoples like the Chatti and Quadi, entirely devouted to their god, Tiwaz, the sacred ram. Such warriors were always a frightening sight for the Romans. They were, like more modern viking "Berserkers", covered with animal pelts, and painted to be more frightening and with sacred symbols related to the protection of Tiwaz.
BASTARNÖZ SLAGANZ : These frontiersmen, germano-thraco-celtic people from the eastern borders were a fierce and populous nation, with so famous warriors that they were well-used as mercenaries by the getics and the greeks. But the Romans used them systematically against the Dacians under Trajan's rule, with a great efficience as they used similar weapons, like the frightening romphaia, with some successes. But the true bastarnoz were probably equipped with local weapons, axes, swords and maces. They were tall and very effective with a hammer also against any shieldwall tactic.
not for the moment axemen
RUGII AKWINAZ : Axemen from the Rugii tribe, neighbours of the Goti.
not for the moment baltic archers
GOTI SKIUTANÖZ : These "Goti shooters" were baltic forestmen and tribesmen. Excellent hunters, the were appreciated auxiliaries, forming a large part of the "baltic archers" recruited througout the sea.
not for the moment heavy spearmen
CIMBRI THEGNOZ :
KUNINGAZ MARHATHEGNOZ : These royal cavalry ("Kuningaz") was one of the most impressive late cavalry that ever emerged in the eastern wide plains of Oriental Prussia, then endure the rule of the emerging Gotti. The last were originated from the island ot gotland in western baltic. They settled in south-east skandia as well as the baltic coast, and uickly spread at the beginning of the Roman empire to the gigantic confederacy of germanic peoples later collectively known as the "Goths". These cavalrymen were nobles, equipped with excellent iron scaled armors, Celto-Sarmatian helmets, large shields, which would become round in time.