Germanic excursion

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As Germanenexkurs the chapters are in 21-28 Caesars of his work's sixth book De Bello Gallico referred. This passage fits into a series of geographical and ethnographic excursions in this work. Further excursions are the Sueben excursion (IV 1,1–3), the Meuse / Rhine excursion (IV 10), the Britannia excursion (V, 12–14) and the Gaul excursion immediately preceding the Germanic excursion (VI, 11–20). The Germanic excursion is one of the first sources on the life of the Germanic tribes . Although mentioned Poseidonios already Germanoi but to locate without it. According to Künzl , Caesar was "the first to describe them historically effectively and thus made them a historical reality." Only later did Tacitus deal more closely with this people in his " Germania ".

Content and structure

Caesar was the first to differentiate between Gauls and Germanic peoples, the border of which he considered the Rhine. Above all, the different customs and traditions of these two peoples were a distinguishing criterion ( Germani multum ab hac consuetudine differunt . VI, 21,1). Caesar goes into this in more detail in the individual chapters.

The following structure of the excursus can be recognized:

  • Cape. 21,
    • 1–2: religion, simple natural religion; only Sol (sun), Vulcanus (fire) and Luna (moon) are named as gods
    • 3–5: Lifestyle, hunting and war as the only activities, long abstinence as a prerequisite for strength.
  • Cape. 22
    • 1: little agriculture, food mostly milk, cheese and meat
    • 2-4: Agricultural communism to prevent the oppression of the weaker
  • Cape. 23: Warfare and the state constitution (wasteland belt, order of war , raids, hospitality)
  • Cape. 24: direct comparison of Gauls and Teutons (Gauls inferior in strength to Teutons due to their proximity to the Roman province)
  • Cape. 25–28: Animals in the Herkynian Forest . The authenticity of these four chapters is disputed.


  • Eduard Norden : The Germanic excursion in Caesars Bellum Gallicum. The ethnographic sections on Suebi and Germani , in: D. Rasmussen (Ed.), Caesar , Darmstadt 1974, pp. 116-137.
  • Niklas Holzberg : The ethnographic excursions in Caesar's Bellum Gallicum as a means of narrative strategy , in: Suggestion 33, 1987, pp. 85–98.
  • Otto Seel : To the Germanic excursion. Die Elche , in: Ders., Caesar Studies , Stuttgart 1967, pp. 37-43.