ANCIENT NORTHERN TRIBES continues…
Today I present the Ambrones, said to have fled their homeland after a great Flood (another Atlantis myth for the enthusiasts), who may also have been the Ligures, in my “listing the northern tribes” project. Many will be a little confused about all the tribes and how they often seem to get mixed up – keep calm! It may take years to get partly over the confusion, especially since many modern people today expect to find a sort of “golden age” with firm and nice borders between the different traditionalistic and culturally united peoples only to be presented with a myriad of contrasts blending into each other in endless variety:
The Migration Age is often the name given to the Older Celtic and Younger Roman Iron Ages dating roughly between the 5th century BC and the 5th century AD. For a millennium, the maps of Europe were constantly changing.
Not only did the Roman Republic gradually expand into a great Empire covering the entire Mediterranean coastline (including North Africa) and stretching as far west as Britannia and as far east as Persia – but Celtic, German and various eastern European and Asian tribes were also on the move for centuries on end, struggling to find a land to hold and call their own.
We would have a hard time recognizing the tribal and national borders and identities if we suddenly found ourselves back there!
As for multiculturalism and globalism, often described today as if it was something new and unknown to mankind, well: During the Iron Age the multicultural melting pot it was the order of the day – culture, religion, social systems, military strategies, technology as well as genes and DNA were constantly being exchanged and mixed all over Eurasia and North Africa, beginning with great empires, wars, cities and slavery.
People moved not only as private people seeking work in different parts of the empire but also as whole armies – as well as whole tribes – not counting the millions of slaves from all over the world being trafficked in all directions for profit not to forget the millions of slaves from all over the world being trafficked in all directions – a constant movement and interaction between tribes over a millennium which all together broke older tribal boundaries apart and created a situation more akin to the modern world than the Dark Middle Ages that came (with the Church) between our time now and their time then.
Constant cultural interaction sometimes makes it hard to see the difference between the various peoples – Celts and Germans mingled so enthusiastically over countless centuries that it is hard to see the difference sometimes, the more so the further we approach the end of the Empire days, when German soldiers in the Roman army no longer raised altars just to the mothers of their tribe, or to the mothers of the tribes in exile, but then also to the “Matres Germanae”, (see article on this link )and from then on even to the mothers of all the tribes present in the Roman regiment – as when they raised and altar to the divine matrons, addressing them as the “Matribus Italis Germanis Gallis Britis” – likely enough the men of the regiments had mothers and fathers from all these greater nations consisting of countless tribes.
To single out the German tribes among the many “barbarian” tribes that fought their way around the continent during this almost global “Game of Thrones” era is not always easy, because the sources we have sometimes seem to be confused or pointing in different directions. What makes it even possible to speak of “German” tribes is usually just the language spoken and the frequent reference to Scandinavia as a homeland – Scandinavia including Jutland.
Jutland (Jylland) is the peninsula that forms the northernmost part of the European continent, with Denmark in the north and parts of the Netherlands and Germany. It is from this peninsula and the many islands around that many of the Germanic tribes from our oldest known Classical sources began to migrate during the Iron Age (also known as the Migration Age (2nd century BC-5th century AD – a) – the Cimbri, the Teutones, the Jutes, the Angles, the Saxons, as well as the latest rulers of Jutland, the Danes – and the “Ambrones”.
The Ambrones (Ancient Greek: Ἄμβρωνες) were an ancient tribe from Classical sources dating from the 2nd century BC. The sources mainly describe them as people from the Jutland area, but Plutarch also wrote that “Ambrones” was the name that the “Ligures” gave to themselves (while “Ligures” was the Greek name). The Ligures appear much earlier in Classical sources and appear to have inhabited parts southern Europe, such as the islands of Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia and the Rhone valley – which makes it a bit uncertain whether they really are the same as the Scandinavian Ambrones. However, even though the Ligures live in the southern parts of Europe, this could be due to migration – that they settled on islands suggests that they came with ships, , and the physical appearance of the Ligures is described by Lucan in his Pharsalia (c. 61 AD). He described Ligurian tribes as being long-haired, and their hair a shade of auburn (a reddish-brown):
“…Ligurian tribes, now shorn, in ancient days First of the long-haired nations, on whose necks Once flowed the auburn locks in pride supreme.”
The Ligures seem to have been ready to engage as mercenary troops in the service of others. Ligurian auxiliaries are mentioned in the army of the Carthaginian general Hamilcar in 480 BC. Greek leaders in Sicily continued to recruit their mercenary forces from the same quarter as late as the time of Agathocles. The Ligures fought long and hard against the Romans, but were displaced from their homeland and eventually assimilated into Roman culture during the 2nd century BC.
Little is known of the Ligurian language. Only place-names and personal names remain. It appears to be an Indo-European branch with both Italic and particularly strong Celtic affinities. Strabo tells us that they were of a different race from the Celts (by which he means Gauls) who inhabited the rest of the Alps, though they resembled them in their mode of life.
From these descriptions, it appears likely that the Ligures were Germanic/Scandinavian (different from Celts but similar, auburn hair, ship migrations, mercenaries…), but then we get some trouble with other sources about them:
Aeschylus represents Hercules as contending with the Ligures on the stony plains near the mouths of the Rhone, and Herodotus speaks of Ligures inhabiting the country above Massilia (modern Marseilles, founded by the Greeks). Thucydides also speaks of the Ligures having expelled the Sicanians, an Iberian tribe, from the banks of the river Sicanus, in Iberia. The Periplus of Pseudo-Scylax describes the Ligyes (Ligures) living along the Mediterranean coast from Antion (Antibes) as far as the mouth of the Rhone; then intermingled with the Iberians from the Rhone to Emporion in Spain.
If the Ambrones are the same as the earlier Ligurians, then they had traveled and mingled with others a LOT before they became known by their own name for themselves, Ambrones, a people with distant origins in Jutland.
THE FLOOD LEGEND (A Scandinavian “Atlantis” Myth)
(Wikipedia: The exact location of the homeland of the Ambrones is unknown. They had been driven out of it by floÓðinng before Greek and Roman geographers began to note the locations of the tribes of northern Europe. Their name has been connected to the islands of Fehmarn, old name Imbria, and Amrum. If so they may be the Ymbers of Widsith. However the inundation of the Wadden Sea region during this period suggests that they lived west of Jutland, not east of Jutland.
As to their ethnicity there is no agreement. While the Teutones were likely Germanic there is evidence that the Ambrones and Cimbri may have been a different or amalgamated people. Later in their brief and sanguinary course across Europe, the Cimbri were ruled by Boiorix, a Celtic name, “King of the Boii.” The Ambrones followed a Celtic custom in shouting the name of their tribe going into battle. However they apparently came from an area that had been recently Germanized from the North, and this was also a time when the Germanic tribes were influenced by Celtic culture.)
(Me: Additionally, some descriptions of the Cimbrian customs of sacrifice has clear parallels in the Danish archaeological record. Mutual influence and mixing of the tribes is a possible explanation for the Celtic-Germanic question regarding the Ambrones and the Cimbri)
It is possible that the homeland of the Ambrones is Amrum (Öömrang North Frisian: Oomram) one of the North Frisian Islands on the GermanNorth Sea coast, south of Sylt and west of Föhr. Settlements on Amrum have been traced back to the Neolithicum when the area was still a part of the mainland of the Jutland peninsula. During the Middle Ages, Frisian settlers arrived at Amrum and engaged in salt making and seafaring. A part of the modern population still speaks Öömrang, a dialect of the North Frisian language, and Frisian traditions are kept alive.
The oldest traces of settlements in the area date back to the Neolithicum, among them a number of dolmens. Also many tomb sites from the Bronze and Iron Ages have been preserved. In the dunes west of the decoy pond the remainders of an Iron Age hamlet have been found. It is unknown whether the Ambrones, who together with the Cimbri and Teutones threatened Rome around 100 B.C., stemmed from this island which back then was still connected to the mainland by a land bridge. In the early Middle Ages the island was colonised by the Frisians. The oldest known record of Amrum island has been found in the Danish Census Book of King Valdemar II of Denmark from 1231.
The island is made up of a sandy core of geestland and features an extended beach all along its west coast, facing the open North Sea. The east coast instead borders to mud flats and tidal creeks of the Wadden Sea. Sand dunes are a characteristical part of Amrum’s landscape, resulting in a vegetation that is largely made up of heath and shrubs. The island’s only forest was planted in 1948. Amrum is a refuge for many species of birds and a number of marine mammals like grey seal or harbour porpoise – it would also have been very vulnerable to tsunamis and raising sea levels.
THE AMBRONES DURING THE “CIMBRIAN WARS”
(The below is mostly just copied from Wikipedia because the Wiki article was sufficiently informative)
The Ambrones appeared briefly in the Roman sources relating to the 2nd century BC. In the late 2nd century BC, along with the fellow Germanic Cimbri and Teutons, the Ambrones migrated from their original homes in southern Scandinavia and on the Jutland peninsula of Denmark and invaded the Roman Republic, winning a spectacular victory at the Battle of Arausio in 105 BC. The Ambrones and the Teutons, led by Teutobod, were eventually defeated at the Battle of Aquae Sextiae in 102 BC. Some of the surviving captives are reported to have been among the rebelling Gladiators in the Third Servile War.
The three neighbors (Cimbri, Teutones, Ambrones) began their career in Roman history as an alliance determined to emigrate to the lands of the south. A Roman source reports that “The Cimbri, Teutones and Tigurini, fugitives from the extreme parts of Gaul, since the Ocean had inundated their territories, began to seek new settlement throughout the world.” The Zuider Zee region was suffering from catastrophic salt-water floÓðinng; this section of seacoast had been barely above sea level during the BCE period of human history, but was now in the process of sinking below it.
The Ambrones were part of the fleeing multitude. Plutarch gives the numbers advancing on Italy as 300,000 armed fighting men, and much larger hordes of women and children. The Barbarians divided themselves into two bands, and it fell to the lot of the Cimbri to proceed through Noricum in the interior of the country against Catulus, and of a passage there, while the Teutones and Ambrones were to march through Liguria along the sea-coast against the consul Gaius Marius, who had set up camp on the Rhône. Plutarch tells us that Ambrones alone numbered more than 30,000 and were the most warlike division of the enemy, who had earlier defeated the Romans under Manlius and Caepio. It was the Battle of Arausio in 105 in which the Romans were defeated under Servilius Caepio and Gnaeus Mallius.
The Teutones and Ambrones assaulted the camp of Marius and were repulsed. They decided to go on and streamed around the camp, giving the Roman soldiers messages for the wives they should encounter as domestics when enslaved. Marius followed swiftly and again encamped next to them at Aquae Sextiae at the foot of the Alps. The year was 102 BC.
The battle began as a chance encounter but the Romans turned it into a victory. Roman camp followers attempting to draw water from a nearby river were attacked by the Ambrones, who were still using it. The Ligurians acting as Roman auxiliaries came to their rescue and were repulsed across the river. The opportunity was not lost on Marius. The Romans quickly formed ranks and caught the Ambrones trying to recross the river. The Ambrones lost the main part of their force. Two days later Marius repulsed an attack on the camp and caught the enemy force between his own main force in the front and an ambush of 3,000 men in the enemy rear. Marius took 100,000 prisoners, some of which are reported to have been among the rebeling Gladiators in the Third Servile War. Although Caesar mentions that the remnants of the Cimbri and Teutones formed a new tribe in Belgic Gaul, the Aduatuci, he does not mention any remnants of the Ambrones.