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Usipeter and the Suebian tribe of the Hermundurs

The Usipetes (also: Usiper , Usipier , latin : Usipetes , Usipii , Greek  Οὐσιπέται , Οὐσίπιοι Ousipioi ) were a first by Gaius Julius Caesar's De Bello Gallico attested Germanic tribe the right side on the Lower Rhine .

Around the year 55 BC The Usipeters left their traditional settlement area as they were being harassed by their eastern neighbors, the Suebi . They migrated to the mouth of the Rhine, part of which turned west and went up the Maas .

Caesar let 55 BC At the confluence of the Maas and Waal near Kessel and Heerewarden in the province of Gelderland, eight legions up to 200,000 Tenker and Usipeter - women, children and the hopelessly inferior warriors - encircled and murdered because they asked for permission to settle in the river delta at that time not unusual request for asylum .

Caesar forced the Usipeters to return to their old settlement area on the other side of the Rhine. There they were able to expand their old settlement areas considerably.

The eastern border of Gaul was until 15 BC. Chr. Remained without permanent stationing of Roman troops, although Caesar, who had conquered Gaul, including the areas of Germania on the left bank of the Rhine , had propagated the Rhine as the borderline between the imperium romanum and the Germanic tribes. Without a military presence on the Rhine, however, the military situation on Gaul's eastern border remained unstable. There were repeated incursions by Germanic tribes and subsequent (poorly coordinated) punitive expeditions by the Romans.

There were two main reasons that prompted the Teutons to cross the Rhine:

  1. The Suebi pressure that weighed on the Ubiern and forced the Usipeters and Tenkers to leave their original homeland (attempts to settle).
  2. The Gauls attempt to recruit Germanic troops as mercenaries.

Caesar had crossed the Rhine twice as a deterrent (55 and 53 BC) to prevent an uncontrollable influx of Germanic warriors from keeping the Gallic hopes for independence alive. Caesar's German policy ultimately aimed at securing Gaul. For this purpose, he also concluded treaties with tribes on the right bank of the Rhine, which obliged them to protect the Rhine border.

Since Caesar's Rhine crossings and his brief, unsuccessful forays into Germania, it had been shown only too clearly that the hard-won Roman rule over northeastern Gaul could be seriously endangered again and again by incursions on the right bank of the Germanic warbands in alliances or in the pay of rebellious Gallic peoples.

In the year 16 BC Chr. Sugambrer (Sigambrer), Usipeter and Tickterer murdered Romans in Germania on the right bank of the Rhine, then led a plundering campaign to Gaul, defeated the Roman cavalry pursuing them and finally even the 5th Legion. This defeat ( clades Lolliana ) was a severe blow to Augustus' imperial prestige . The Germans withdrew from the dispute and entered into a (sham) peace.

The legionary camp Vetera controlled the settlement areas of the Sugambrer, Brukterer , Tenkerer and Usipeter tribes on the right bank of the Rhine opposite the mouth of the Lippe. It was precisely these peoples who were responsible for the incursions into Gaul. A connection between Veteras and the Münsterland Bay was established through the Lippetal.

Sugambrer and other tribes allied with them broke in 12 BC. BC again entered Gaul when there was serious unrest there due to the first provincial census. Drusus pushed back the invaders with a troop contingent and opened on the other side of the Rhine immediately after August 1st, 12 BC. A punitive expedition that marked the beginning of the Drusus campaigns (12 to 8 BC). The invasion of Germania went from the Lower Rhine area first to the land of the Usipeters (southeast of today's province of Gelderland ), then against the Sugambri, who settled between Lippe and Ruhr and whom Strabon describes as the cause of the outbreak of war. The Sugambrer were later settled by the Romans on the left bank of the Rhine , similar to the Ubier . The settlement areas on the right bank of the Rhine that had become vacant were taken over by the Usipeters by the end of the first century AD, together with the Tenkers , with whom they are often mentioned. The Usipeters fought against Rome in AD 1 to 5 ( immensum bellum ) and AD 9 ( Varus Battle ). Her involvement in the war has been handed down for the years 14 to 16 AD ( Germanicus campaigns ).

The later area of ​​Usipetern and Tenkenerians on the right bank of the Rhine extended between the areas of the Brukterer and Chatten . The Tenkerer settled south to the Sieg , the Usipeter beyond to the lower Lahn .

In the 4th century the Usipeters became part of the Franconian tribal union .


Individual evidence

  1. [1] Cäesars genocide of the Maas
  2. Strabon Geographica 7, 1, 4