Saturday, September 14, 2019

Kimbern und Teutonen

In conversation today, somehow, the Teutons entered our talk. This triggered in Brigitte’s memory the phrase “Die Kimbern und Teutonen.” She asked me if the phrase meant something to me. “Yes,” I said. “The Teutons naturally do. That great victory in the Teuton Forest in which Herman beat the Roman legions.” Brigitte said “yes, yes,” but still wanted to know about the Kimbern, a peoples I’d never heard off. Next thing I know, she is handing me my Amazon tablet by way of saying that a look-up is necessary. (We fetch, in roughly the same order, coffee, bread, peanut butter, the ears, the telephone, and the Amazon tablet before we begin our mornings. The ears, of course, are tiny devices to let us hear better.)

My look-up made it plain to me that a very cold climate began to spread in the last millennium of the BC age. It played havoc with agriculture. And by the year 120 BC, some very large Germanic tribes inhabiting what is now the Danish peninsula, began to move south. The biggest among them were the Kimbern; they were joined by Teutons and others. In Latin (and in English to this day) they are known as the Cimbri. And the Cimbrian Wars are, you might say, the first of multiple folk migrations that accompanied the Decline of the West.

By the time the Kimbern reached the Alps (around 113 BC), the Age of Global Cooling was beginning to end and a period in climate later known as the Late Roman Warming had begun. Mass movements of humanity—as of temperatures, be it up or down—seem to go together.

I wonder if in some very distant time, when this Our Time will be as ancient to the living as the “late Roman” is to us, somebody will be looking for a famous tribe called the Hispanics—and have problems knowing who they were…

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