Were the Suevi German?
Cassius Dio (circa A.D. 155–235) in his History of Rome wrote (Book 51, chapter 22) that:
“Ἐπεὶ δὲ ταῦτα διετέλεσε, τό τε Ἀθήναιον τὸ Χαλκιδικὸν ὠνομασμένον καὶ τὸ βουλευτήριον τὸ Ἰουλίειον, τὸ ἐπὶ τῇ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ τιμῇ γενόμενον, καθιέρωσεν. Ἐνέστησε δὲ ἐς αὐτὸ τὸ ἄγαλμα τὸ τῆς Νίκης τὸ καὶ νῦν ὄν, δηλῶν, ὡς ἔοικεν, ὅτι παρ´ αὐτῆς τὴν ἀρχὴν ἐκτήσατο· ἦν δὲ δὴ τῶν Ταραντίνων, καὶ ἐκεῖθεν ἐς τὴν Ῥώμην κομισθὲν ἔν τε τῷ συνεδρίῳ ἱδρύθη καὶ Αἰγυπτίοις λαφύροις ἐκοσμήθη. Καὶ τοῦτο καὶ τῷ τοῦ Ἰουλίου ἡρῴῳ ὁσιωθέντι τότε ὑπῆρξε· συχνὰ γὰρ καὶ ἐς ἐκεῖνο ἀνετέθη, καὶ ἕτερα τῷ τε Διὶ τῷ Καπιτωλίῳ καὶ τῇ Ἥρᾳ τῇ τε Ἀθηνᾷ ἱερώθη, πάντων τῶν πρότερον ἐνταῦθα ἀνακεῖσθαι δοκούντων ἢ καὶ ἔτι κειμένων ἐκ δόγματος τότε καθαιρεθέντων ὡς καὶ μεμιαμμένων. Καὶ οὕτως ἡ Κλεοπάτρα καίπερ καὶ ἡττηθεῖσα καὶ ἁλοῦσα ἐδοξάσθη, ὅτι τά τε κοσμήματα αὐτῆς ἐν τοῖς ἱεροῖς ἡμῶν ἀνάκειται καὶ αὐτὴ ἐν τῷ Ἀφροδισίῳ χρυσῆ ὁρᾶται. Ἐν δ´ οὖν τῇ τοῦ ἡρῴου ὁσιώσει ἀγῶνές τε παντοδαποὶ ἐγένοντο, καὶ τὴν Τροίαν εὐπατρίδαι παῖδες ἵππευσαν, ἄνδρες τε ἐκ τῶν ὁμοίων σφίσιν ἐπί τε κελήτων καὶ ἐπὶ συνωρίδων τῶν τε τεθρίππων ἀντηγωνίσαντο, Κύιντός τέ τις Οὐιτέλλιος βουλευτὴς ἐμονομάχησε. Καὶ θηρία καὶ βοτὰ ἄλλα τε παμπληθῆ καὶ ῥινόκερως ἵππος τε ποτάμιος, πρῶτον τότε ἐν τῇ Ῥώμῃ ὀφθέντα, ἐσφάγη. Καὶ ὁ μὲν ἵππος ὁποῖός ἐστι, πολλοῖς τε εἴρηται καὶ πολὺ πλείοσιν ἑώραται· ὁ δὲ δὴ ῥινόκερως τὰ μὲν ἄλλα ἐλέφαντί πῃ προσέοικε, κέρας δέ τι κατ´ αὐτὴν τὴν ῥῖνα προσέχει, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο οὕτω κέκληται.”
“Ταῦτά τε οὖν ἐσήχθη, καὶ ἀθρόοι πρὸς ἀλλήλους Δακοί τε καὶ Σουῆβοι ἐμαχέσαντο. Εἰσὶ δὲ οὗτοι μὲν Κελτοί, ἐκεῖνοι δὲ δὴ Σκύθαι τρόπον τινά· καὶ οἱ μὲν πέραν τοῦ Ῥήνου ὥς γε τἀκριβὲς εἰπεῖν (πολλοὶ γὰρ καὶ ἄλλοι τοῦ τῶν Σουήβων ὀνόματος ἀντιποιοῦνται), οἱ δὲ ἐπ´ ἀμφότερα τοῦ Ἴστρου νέμονται, ἀλλ´ οἱ μὲν ἐπὶ τάδε αὐτοῦ καὶ πρὸς τῇ Τριβαλλικῇ οἰκοῦντες ἔς τε τὸν τῆς Μυσίας νομὸν τελοῦσι καὶ Μυσοί, πλὴν παρὰ τοῖς πάνυ ἐπιχωρίοις, ὀνομάζονται, οἱ δὲ ἐπέκεινα Δακοὶ κέκληνται, εἴτε δὴ Γέται τινὲς εἴτε καὶ Θρᾷκες τοῦ Δακικοῦ γένους τοῦ τὴν Ῥοδόπην ποτὲ ἐνοικήσαντος ὄντες. Οὗτοι οὖν οἱ Δακοὶ ἐπρεσβεύσαντο μὲν πρὸ τοῦ χρόνου τούτου πρὸς τὸν Καίσαρα, ὡς δ´ οὐδενὸς ὧν ἐδέοντο ἔτυχον, ἀπέκλιναν πρὸς τὸν Ἀντώνιον, καὶ ἐκεῖνον μὲν οὐδὲν μέγα ὠφέλησαν στασιάσαντες ἐν ἀλλήλοις, ἁλόντες δὲ ἐκ τούτου τινὲς ἔπειτα τοῖς Σουήβοις συνεβλήθησαν. Ἐγένετο δὲ ἡ θεωρία ἅπασα ἐπὶ πολλάς, ὥσπερ εἰκὸς ἦν, ἡμέρας, οὐδὲ διέλιπε καίτοι τοῦ Καίσαρος ἀρρωστήσαντος, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀπόντος αὐτοῦ δι´ ἑτέρων ἐποιήθη. καὶ ἐν αὐταῖς οἱ βουλευταὶ μίαν τινὰ ὡς ἕκαστοι ἡμέραν ἐν τοῖς τῶν οἰκιῶν σφων προθύροις εἱστιάθησαν, οὐκ οἶδ´ ὅθεν ἐς τοῦτο προαχθέντες· οὐ γὰρ παραδέδοται.”
Herbert Baldwin Foster of the Delphi edition translates Κελτοί as “Celts.” However, Ian Scott Kilvert of Penguin Classics and then Earnest Cary of the Loeb edition translate the same as “Germans“. The text of the Loeb edition has this as:
“After finishing this celebration Caesar dedicated the temple of Minerva, called also the Chaldicum, and the Curia Iulia, which had been built in honour of his father. In the latter he set up the statue of Victory which is still in existence, thus signifying that it was from her that he had received the empire. It had belonged to the people of Tarentum, whence it was now brought to Rome, placed in the senate-chamber, and decked with the spoils of Egypt. The same course was followed in the case of the shrine of Julius which was consecrated at this time, for many of these spoils were placed in it also; and others were dedicated to Jupiter Capitolinus and to Juno and Minerva, after all the objects in these temples which were supposed to have been placed there previously as dedications, or were actually dedications, had by decree been taken down at this time as defiled. Thus Cleopatra, though defeated and captured, was nevertheless glorified, inasmuch as her adornments repose as dedications in our temples and she herself is seen in gold in the shrine of Venus.”
“At the consecration of the shrine to Julius there were all kinds of contests, and the boys of the patricians performed the equestrian exercise called “Troy,” and men of the same rank contended with chargers, with pairs, and with four-horse teams; furthermore, one Quintus Vitellius, a senator, fought as a gladiator. Wild beasts and tame animals were slain in vast numbers, among them a rhinoceros and a hippopotamus, beasts then seen for the first time in Rome. As regards the nature of the hippopotamus, it has been described by many and far more have seen it. The rhinoceros, on the other hand, is in general somewhat like an elephant, but it has also a horn on its very nose and has got its name because of this. These beasts, accordingly, were brought in, and moreover Dacians and Suebi fought in crowds with one another. The latter are Celts [but he says Germans!], the former Scythians of a sort. The Suebi, to be exact, dwell beyond the Rhine (though many people elsewhere claim their name), and the Dacians on both sides of the Ister; those of the latter, however, who live on this side of the river near the country of the Triballi are reckoned in with the district of Moesia and are called Moesians, except by those living in the immediate neighbourhood, while those on the other side are called Dacians and are either a branch of the Getae are Thracians belonging to the Dacian race that once inhabited Rhodope. Now these Dacians had before this time sent envoys to Caesar; but when they obtained none of their requests, they went over to Antony. They proved of no great assistance to him, however, owing to strife among themselves, and some who were afterwards captured were now matched against the Suebi. The whole spectacle lasted many days, as one would expect, and there was no interruption, even though Caesar fell ill, but it was carried on in his absence under the direction of others. On one of the days of this celebration the senators gave banquets in the vestibules of their several homes; but what the occasion was for their doing this, I do not know, since it is not recorded.”
From the Lacus Curtius wbesite we learn that:
“While it follows the standard system used in the Boissevain edition, Prof. Cary exercised a good deal of editorial judgment on the fragmentary texts of Dio.”
Maybe there is a different manuscript than the standard Boissevain edition above?
Or maybe this made sense to Kilvert and Cary because “many people elsewhere claim their name” so let’s go with the default of “Germans”?
Or maybe it was just all Greek to them?
(In addition, Dio states too that the Bastarnae were Scythians).
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