European Martial Arts/Styles

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European Martial Arts/Styles
Original Poster: Hengest
Forum: Others
Posted On: 20-10-2006, 20:01

Orginal Post: Hengest: Well, we’ve had the Chinese martial arts thread, the Japanese martial arts thread and the Korean martial arts thread. I think it’s about time we made this a bit more challenging. Let’s see how many European martial arts everybody here can list. I’ve got a fair few in mind, but I’ll let everybody else have a go first.

Cheers,

Post: setsu nin to:

Wow, that would be interesting. There are real many diferent styles, all that fencing schools in Italy, French, England… these will be interesting…

I will come later with few schools/styles.>

Post: bamboo:

Fiore dei Liberi an Italian, formed his own school of fencing and combat.

He had a manual in 1410 entitled Flos Duellatorum or ?The Flower of Battle? . It was illustrated and included fighting both on foot and while mounted. Weapons taught were : sword, lance, dagger, and poleaxe.
He also taught wrestling as an integral part of his system especially when disarming a dagger wielding opponent.

Here is an illustration of one of the disarming techniques

-bamboo>

Post: setsu nin to:

I am not shure where to start and how to start…

First to say that there are milion os Asian wariation McDojos like Thaikido founded in Germany and things like that, but I decide to skip things like that.

England
-Defendo
-English Boxing
-Cornish (wrestling)

France
-La Boxe Francaise (French Boxing/Savate)
-La Canne

Greece
-Greek Boxing
-Pankration

Iceland
-Glimae (wrestling)

Russia
-Sambo
-Systema
-Sanda

Well here are just few of them, there are thousands more…>

Post: setsu nin to:

In European history there was many fameous swordmen and they had their schools, but styles didnt have name. It would be nice when we would finde some of them too.

For example Capo Ferro from 16th century who collect in books great knowledge of fencing from that time.
Also we have in England George Silver who published his fameous book “Paradoxes of Defense” in 1599, exelent book.

We could make list of old weapons production places in Europe, like for example Verona in Italy which product weapons for Venice in 16th century, Verona have fameous sword schools too. Its not so hard to finde them, becouse moust powerful countryes had best production or weapons, so you always know where to search for places like these.>

Post: BLACK PANTA:

There is a Celtic Martial Art aswell. It is a form of Wrestling/grappling. There is also a form of Irish Stick fighting.

And then there’s the old Scottish Kilt lifting art. Show them your nads and they go running. :lol:>

Post: JRW:

Norway
Stav

I Do not know if this one count because of its questionable background>

Post: setsu nin to:

There is realy interesting stick art from Portugal called O Jogo do Pau. Its autentic and traditional Protugal martial art.>

Post: Hengest:

Some great stuff so far. Well done all.

JRW, I’d include Stav. Its origins might be dodgy, but, even if it has used Japanese arts as a base, it was formulated in Norway and it does have some distinctly European elements to it, e.g. runic stances, traditional medicine, etc.

Anyways, back to the task at hand. I think the first thing you notice when researching European styles is the huge number of wrestling systems. There must be hundreds, but some of the more well known ones are:

Cornish Wrestling – jacket wrestling from southwest England
Devonshire Wrestling – very similar to Cornish except Devonshire wrestlers have an unpleasant habit of using nasty low-line kicks while in the clinch
Cumberland & Westmoreland Wrestling – backhold wrestling from northern England
Lancashire Wrestling – all-in style wrestling; known as catch in the US
Scottish Backhold – closely related to Cumberland & Westmoreland with only a few minor variations
Schwingen – Swiss wrestling style
Ranggeln – Austrian wrestling
Yagli Gures – Turkish oil wrestling
Gouren – Breton style of wrestling; close relative of Cornish
S’istrumpa – wrestling art from Sardinia
Lucha Canaria – wrestling from the Canaries
Glima – Icelandic belt wrestling
Lutte Parisienne – French wrestling style, sometimes taught alongside savate
Collar & Elbow – Irish wrestling style

There’s also a fair few stick-fighting styles:

La Canne – French cane fighting
La Baton – French single stick
Jogo Do Pau – Portuguese staff art
Il Bastone – Italian single stick
English Quarterstaff – nuff said
Jagerstock – German stick-fighting
Juego Del Palo – stick fighting from the Canaries
Bata – Irish stick fighting, double sticks is called Troid Da Bata

And then there’s all sorts of others:

Zipota – Basque foot fighting; very similar to savate but with more emphasis on jumping kicks
Baratero – knife fighting style of Spanish gypsies
Purring – English and Welsh low-line foot fighting
Chausson – French foot fighting, predecessor of savate although still practiced in its original form in Marseille (Chausson Marseilles)
Le Couteau – French knife fighting
La Panache – French eclectic style of Roger Lafond, founded in the 50s, combining savate and various Japanese techniques
Adresse Francaise – non-contact French kicking style

As setsu said, it’s also important to look at the old masters of European fence. In the late mediaeval era, probably the most important master was, as Bamboo has mentioned, Fiore dei Liberi. His Flos Duellatorum covered abrazare (grappling), daga (dagger), spada (sword), spada longa (longsword), azza (poleaxe) and lanza (spear). There was also Hans Talhoffer’s Alte Armatur und Ringkunst and Fechtbuch aus dem Jahre 1467 , which between them detailed ringen (grappling), degen (dagger), streitaxt (poleaxe), langes schwert (longsword), and the bizarre hackenschilde, a sort of offensive shield, among many other weapons.

Going into the Rennaisance, there was Achille Marozzo’s Opera Nova, which mainly taught sword and related weapons, and Ridolfo Capo Ferro’s and Camillo Agrippa’s fascinating rapier manuals. From Germany, was Hans Lebkommer’s fechtbuch, teaching langes schwert, messer (backsword), ringen, degen and stockfechten (staff), and Joachim Meyer’s Gründtliche Beschreibung teaching langes schwert, dusack (wooden cutlass), streitaxt, rapier and ringen, amongst others.

If you want to view any of these books, there are online copies at http://www.aemma.org/library_top.htm

One of my favourite manuals though is Dutch wrestling master Nicolaes Petter’s self-defence text Klare Onderrichtinge der Voortreffelijcke Worstel-Konst. Although it was published in 1674, most of its techniques are still valid today. There’s a copy at http://www.geocities.com/ulfberth/Petter.htm . Take a look and you’ll see techniques resembling aikido, koryu jujutsu, judo and BJJ.

In closing, a word of warning about some “Celtic” arts doing the rounds. Sli Beatha and Comhrac Bas are both systems open to the public in the US that claim Celtic ties, but this isn’t the case with either. Sli Beatha at least is honest enough to admit that it is a modern eclectic system, but it claims it bases its principles on Celtic philosophy, whatever that is. Seeing as no Celtic tribe had a system of writing, it’s a bit difficult to find out what their philosophy invlolved.

Comhrac Bas is pure fakery though. It claims to be a rediscovered gladitorial form of Celtic origin, but quite why gladiators would be using a Celtic system or just how exactly this system was “rediscovered” remains a mystery.

Also, while researching Celtic martial arts in the past, I’ve come across mentions of two arts in serious discussion on several occassions, Welsh Llap Goch and Scottish Greenoch, but the record really should be set straight on these. Both are hoaxes.

Llap Goch was an invention of Monty Python, no less, for one of their books. It appeared in a fake ad, a copy of which can be found at http://www.ppsa.com/magazine/llap.html .

Greenoch was a creation of some of the members of rec.martial-arts newsgroup many years ago. When the inevitable “my style beats all” flames would start up, the members would bring up their study of the ancient Celtic art of Greenoch and how it would kick anybody’s arse. Greenoch is, therefore, nothing more than an inside joke…>

Post: setsu nin to:

Wow Mr. Hangest, that was much more than just interesting, it was fantastic!!! Now dont be shy, we all know that you have something more to write about these subject… :mrgreen:

I like moust Llap Goch :lol: I realy like Monty Python!>

Post: setsu nin to:

I vould just like to say that some people have wrong view on European martial arts as weak and not efficant. Also many people judge European martial arts from what they saw on old muvies…
Just to say that for example, Libera Boxing (Italy) used fists, elbows, legs, knees, head and even back and thighs were used in some techniques to attack anemy. Also they wear light boots pointed on the top, so kicks could couse death.>

Post: Hengest:

Quote:
I vould just like to say that some people have wrong view on European martial arts as weak and not efficant. Also many people judge European martial arts from what they saw on old muvies…

I couldn’t agree more setsu. Euro martial arts don’t get the respect they deserve from the mainstream martial arts community. There are European styles just as detailed, and just as complete, as many asian styles but, for some reason, start talking about them with many martial artists and you’ll get laughed at.

And you’re right in that old movies have done Euro martial arts a disservice. I think Hollywood is gradually setting the record straight though. In a few recent movies I’ve seen some well-handled Euro system fight scenes. The most recent version of the Count of Monte Cristo had some excellent fencing scenes in it and Gangs of New York, while set in the US, made good use in one or two scenes of bata and English/Irish pugilism.

BTW, what’s Libera boxing? I’ve not heard of that. Got any more info? :D>

Post: setsu nin to:

“Gangs of New York” I like that muvie, there are some realy exelent scenes of fighting and weapons.

Actualy I become realy interested in European martial arts (not just sword arts) after discousion “Japanese sword art vs European sword art” that you and me had, I have to admit that I founded realy interesting things, I am totaly fascinated with some s simple and efficant techniques that I found.

Well about Libera boxing, sorry but I dont know much. What I know is that it was found in Italy in 18 century, it was developed from Boxing schools from Venezia, Verona, Siena… guard is much diferent than english Boxing. Left hand is infront of you ready to block, something like when you whatch on your clock, its paralel with your neck or forhead. Right hand, well just think that you have hearth on your right side, well right fist would be than on your hearth.
Here is something powerfull, Libera boxing have specific techniques called “Al pettp pel viso”, its blocking and attacking in same time with take down with your legs. I like it!
So acording to that we can conclude that bilance war realy important to them, and that you could defided with these techniques much bigger opponents.>

Post: UK Scrapper:

Boxing in its bare knuckle era was a pretty complete martial art as it incorporated throws into its arsenal of techniques. Its only when gloves were introduced that throws were removed. I would have to say that boxing in its purest form is the original English art of self defense.>

Post: Hengest:

setsu: Libera boxing sounds intriguing. I’ll see if I can find out more.

UK Scrapper: That’s a good point mate. When James Figg fought Ned Sutton in 1727 (a three-round sword/boxing/staff bout), he beat Sutton in the boxing round not by KO but by choking him into submission!

Even when the Broughton Rules were introduced, they only restricted hitting a downed opponent and grabbing below the waist in some circumstances. Everything else was perfectly legal! :shock:>

Post: Wilhelm von Wänkensteïn:

Speaking of European hoplology, have there been any definite finds on the combat systems used by the Roman legionnaires, particularly scutum et gladius? Someone once told me a friend of his had scanned and burned a whole collection of unearthed Roman field manuals and such onto CD for him, but I was a little doubtful.>

Post: zefff:

that would be interesting stuff. IIRC wasnt the gladius the most effective killing instrument ever in all history, in terms of actual number of kills?>

Post: UK Scrapper:

The gladius was a highly efficient killing tool because it was very fast. Although it lacked the length of other swords of the era it was easily weilded in one hand and was able to deliver more strikes faster to supress combatants armed with much larger and fearsome weapons.
I am very sceptical of any military field manuals unearthed from Roman times. Sounds abit dodgy to me.>

Post: Hengest:

Yeah, I’d agree with Scrapper on the manuals. Such a find would be the hoplological story of the century, but I haven’t heard anything about it.>

Post: setsu nin to:

I think that I know what it is. I know for some CD that that you could (maybe still can) buy. But it was to expensive for material that it offerd. All informations were take from latin books, but not combat manuals. So things were wrong translated, some things were added from who knows where…
I dont know maybe its not same CD. I know for these one.>

Post: Wilhelm von Wänkensteïn:

Speaking of the gladius being a short, easy-to-manoeuvre sword, I once handled a scale replica of the sword of Maximus from Gladiator, supposedly a realistic replica of actual Roman gladii. The thing that struck me at once was how BIG the bloody thing was! Not quite my idea of a short stabbing sword for use in close ranks! :shock: Was that how it was meant to be after all, or were the ancient Italians just huge lads? What are the correct proportions for a gladius to the biometrics of its wielder?>

Post: setsu nin to:

Wilhelm von Wänkensteïn

Well gladius is sword, its not tipe of sword its just sword. Wow that sentence sound so idiotic. What I what to say is that when you translate word gladius, -i, m. to English you get word sword. So they had diferent tipes of sword, some were longer some were shorter.
For example Gladius Hispaniensis (Spanish sword) was “plagiat” of Celtic sword that they used against Romans in Spain.
Sica was short curved sword that was used by Illyrians.
Pompei sword which was mede moust for stabing in close combat, similar to these sword were Mainz swords.
Also they used diferent colors on swords (clothes, horses… too) for example purple color was weared by nobel people, so they purple toga, purple mark on sword…

Gladiuss were for close distance combat and piluss (two ended spear) they used for long distance combat and for throwing.>

Post: setsu nin to:

Well when we talk about Eu. martial arts and Romans just to mention that Pancratium was Roman wariation of Greek martial art called Pankration. Pancratium basic art for traning to Gladiators.>

Post: Wilhelm von Wänkensteïn:

setsu: Okay, okay, okay – be technical about it! :P By ‘gladius’, I mean by default ‘gladius legio roma’, or whatever they called the standard issue sword used by legionnaires :P Thanks for all the technical info, by the way :mrgreen:>

Post: bamboo:

http://ejmas.com/jmanly/

Can’t remember if I’ve posted this before :roll: .

Good stuff on euro arts.>

Post: 8LimbsScientist:

From what I understand the great effectiveness of the roman gladius was the ability to use it within close ranks. Longer swords made for swinging required more room and you couldn’t form into tight formations.

Also, what about this Russian martial art, Draka. Its basically a Russian version of Sanda isn’t it? Is it a martial art, or just a Sanda event in Russia called Draka?>

Post: Hengest:

[quote=8LimbsScientist Also, what about this Russian martial art, Draka. Its basically a Russian version of Sanda isn’t it? Is it a martial art, or just a Sanda event in Russia called Draka?[/quote 

It’s very similar to Sanda, but it’s not exactly the same. Ironically, when I was living in the UK, I heard of Draka long before Sanda as UK MA magazines started covering Draka quite early on in its formation.

One of the biggest differences between the two is that in Draka they divide techniques up into four categories. Before the bout, the fighters stipulate in their contracts what level of technique will be allowed. So you could have one bout that’s straight kickboxing and a following bout that’s virtually NHB.>

Post: 8LimbsScientist:

Hengest

Do you have any links to Draka websites?>

Post: Tease T Tickle:

[quote=Wilhelm von Wänkensteïn Speaking of the gladius being a short, easy-to-manoeuvre sword, I once handled a scale replica of the sword of Maximus from Gladiator, supposedly a realistic replica of actual Roman gladii. The thing that struck me at once was how BIG the bloody thing was! Not quite my idea of a short stabbing sword for use in close ranks! :shock: Was that how it was meant to be after all, or were the ancient Italians just huge lads? What are the correct proportions for a gladius to the biometrics of its wielder?[/quote 

The blade is large, but it isn’t as long as other swords. At least, it shouldn’t be. Maybe they made Maximus’ sword longer to look more menacing. Regardless, one of the prime tactics was to stab underneath the armpit, no one had armor here and it gives you access to major arteries, the lungs and the heart itself. So, yes, the typical Roman Legion gladius would’ve been good for stabbing things in close quarters combat. It would, however, have to remain a certain length to engage in armed combat with people who had spears, axes, long swords, etc. so it wouldn’t be as ideal for stabbing as, say, a dagger.>

Post: Hengest:

[quote=8LimbsScientist Do you have any links to Draka websites?[/quote 

I think this is the official governing body, or at least one of them: http://www.dfbi.iwt.ru/eng/

The English is, well, bizarre in places but you get what they mean and it has a pretty good introduction to the rules, etc.>

Post: Dirty_Irishman:

The only thing I have to add to this already very good conversation is about Celtic MAs and the gladiators. The Roman Empire was still holding gladitorial contests at the time of their occupance of Britain I believe. So some credence could be given to that. But as for how they were rediscovered. They probably weren’t. A few passed down skills got to someone and he went looking around Britain for more of same would be my guess. But the Celts were know to scrap better than most.>

Post: Hengest:

[quote=Dirty_Irishman The only thing I have to add to this already very good conversation is about Celtic MAs and the gladiators. The Roman Empire was still holding gladitorial contests at the time of their occupance of Britain I believe. So some credence could be given to that. But as for how they were rediscovered. They probably weren’t. A few passed down skills got to someone and he went looking around Britain for more of same would be my guess. But the Celts were know to scrap better than most.[/quote 

If you’re talking about Comhrac Bas mate, I wouldn’t waste time thinking it over. It’s just marketing BS. I just cannot see how a Celtic system of gladitorial combat could have survived in modern Europe for 2000 years completely undiscovered. And the Celts had no system of writing, so they couldn’t keep records of it.

On the comment that you made about the Celts knowing how to scrap better than most, that’s not exactly true. Don’t get me wrong, the Celts could ruck, but other nations posed just as many problems for Rome, if not more. The Gauls did sack Rome, but that was in 387 BCE, quite early in its history, and the Boudiccan revolt in Britain, while they did a decent job of fucking shit up (dig down far enough in my home town and the earth is still black from where they levelled the place!), was pretty short lived. The Picts caused huge problems for the Romans in Britain, but whether they were actually Celts or not is still up for discussion. To my knowledge, only a single word of the Pictish language survives, and that’s the fairly common surname Urquhart, which seems to have meant “forest”. Their art does possess certain Celtic qualities, but they have also been linked with the Basques and the Scythians.

Rome found other nations to be just as troubling. The Germanic tribes were notoriously difficult to suppress and the Visigoths sacked Rome pretty conclusively in 410 CE, followed by the Vandals in 455. The Celtic peoples of Spain put up fierce resistance, but so did the Iberians and Celto-Iberians of the region. The Carthaginians went to war with Rome on more than one occassion, the Huns caused immense problems, as did the Dacians, and the Sassanians of Iran can only be described as a ginormous pain in the arse for the Empire. So the Celts don’t stand out as being better warriors than other peoples of the period.

Sorry to pick holes in what you said; I just wanted to try and shed some light on an oft heard myth. :D>

Post: Dirty_Irishman:

Thanks for the history lesson. Really, I’m not being a prick. I didn’t know a bit of that, some of it, but not all. I wasn’t so much stating that the Celts were bad asses as far as war goes just that, in a regular run of the mill daily brawl, they were mean and tough, and pretty good at it.

As for Comhrac Bas being a gladiatorial thing, no. I just meant that the Celts may have brought something to Roman gladitorial games that they hadn’t seen before, not that its still in use.

But a very nice post.>

Post: Hengest:

[quote=Dirty_Irishman Thanks for the history lesson. Really, I’m not being a prick. I didn’t know a bit of that, some of it, but not all. I wasn’t so much stating that the Celts were bad asses as far as war goes just that, in a regular run of the mill daily brawl, they were mean and tough, and pretty good at it. [/quote 

Well I can’t argue with that. :D

[quote=Dirty_Irishman As for Comhrac Bas being a gladiatorial thing, no. I just meant that the Celts may have brought something to Roman gladitorial games that they hadn’t seen before, not that its still in use.[/quote 

Sorry I misunderstood you mate. Yeah, you’re quite right, it’s entirely possible. You are right when you say that gladitorial combat was a feature of everyday life in Roman Britain. An amphitheatre was found in London a few years back ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/2041174.stm ) and gladiator graves, including a possible female gladiator ( http://www.netlondon.com/news/2000-37/47751A71256C0116802.html ). And, of course, we mustn’t forget that the Celtic culture was not restricted to Britain and Ireland. Celtic tribes have been found at least as far east as the modern Czech Republic, so the odds are good that there were many Celtic gladiators around.

[quote=Dirty_Irishman But a very nice post.[/quote 

Thanks man. :D>

Post: Dirty_Irishman:

I forgot all about them finding that ampitheatre out there! DOH! Thanks again.>

Post: setsu nin to:

Did anyone said Comhrac Bas? :lol:

Oh, I like Chris Clugston, he is expert in every known martial art and few more.

“And the Celts had no system of writing, so they couldn’t keep records of it.”
So what, maybe they just pretend that they dont know how to write, or maybe they didnt know how to conect keyboard to computer. BTW how do you know that some spirit of an ancent Celt warrior didnt wisited mr. Chris Clugston whily he was on toillete and teached him Comhrac Bas?

:lol: :lol: :lol:>

Post: darkside05:

Just mainly out of curiosity, I was just curious about the old Viking Berserkers. I’ve heard a few crazy things about them in the past and was just curious to know more about them and their possible fighting style. If anyone would like I’ve also been quite curious about the German Teutonic Knights. I won’t go into explaining why I’m interested in these different fighting units, its just a new interest in European martial arts and Medieval military. Consider me a nerd.>

Post: Hengest:

Hi everybody, my name’s Hengest and… er… and I’m a… I’m a nerd!

Don’t worry mate, you’re not alone.

We discussed berserkers on another thread a while back, but I can’t seem to find it, so I’ll go over what I remember. We know very little about the berserker and even less about his fighting style, unfortunately. The name is thought to mean “bear shirt” and probably refers to such warriors clothing themselves in bear skins. Other than that, their equipment doesn’t seem to have been any different to the standard viking warrior: spear and shield would’ve been most common, with some carrying a sword, axe and/or sax, a heavy bladed chopping weapon that, depending on the length, could resemble anything from a bowie knife to a machete.

Their pre-battle warm-up is mentioned in Ynglinga saga, as well as a few other medieval Icelandic texts. They were known to work themselves up into a frenzy by biting their shields, howling and bashing their weapons against their helmets. It’s thought that they were devout worshippers of the god Odinn and so religious fervor may also have played a part. Some say that it was probably drug or alcohol induced but, since this probably would’ve inhibited combat skills, it seems the most likely explanation is that the berserker rage was a sort of self-induced trance-like state.

We have no knowledge of their actual technique in combat but it seems unlikely to me that they really had one. I think this was why they were so terrifying: they were sheer animal ferocity.

The fighting style of the Teutonic Knights and other European knightly orders of the time is also a bit of a mystery. Most of the German and Italian fighting manuals were written in the mate medieval period and so how much they reflect combat in the Crusades is anybody’s guess.

That said, there is the manual known as I.33, or the Walpurgis Fechtbuch. This is a German manual written around 1290 that shows techniques of sword and buckler that may well have some relation to that used by the Teutonic Knights and others. You can read an online copy at http://freywild.ch/i33/i33en.html . It should be noted that the techniques illustrated seem to be for use against a lightly or unarmoured opponent, but it may help in giving us some idea of how the Teutonic Knights fought.>

Post: darkside05:

Hey thanks for everything. Sorry it took me awhile to respond, just been getting starting back in to classes at my college. Basically you’ve answered all my questions and more. And also thanks for the links, they’ve provided a lot of the info I was looking for.>

Post: Hengest:

No worries mate, I know how things get. Just glad to be of service. :)>

Post: darkside05:

Also out of curiosity… exactly where did the Visigoths originate? I’ve always thought of them being as one of the most underrated people of the ancient times due to their overrunning Rome (and I heard they pushed the Mongols back as well). I need to seriously consider taking some medieval history classes haha!>

Post: WushuPadawan001:

I’m having a bit of trouble with the credit people give to the many northern tribal societies which invaded Rome throughout its history. Now please correct me if I’m wrong, but the Gauls, Visigoths, etc. were able to successfully invade and sack Rome because Rome had spread so far out (among other things). Roman resources (including the military) were hardly consolidated. Hence barbarian groups (as well as other invading civilizations) only had to face a fragment of Roman might. This is not to discredit the barbarians – they were indeed fierce warriors. But I from what I have studied I am under the impression that the barbarians never defeated Rome, Rome defeated itself.>

Post: Hengest:

darkside05: The Visigoths were Northern Europeans, a Germanic people, that is to say from Germania (not just modern Germany), what the Romans called the huge expanse of land between the Rhine and the Danube. They were part of a larger people known as the Goths, and the name means “western Goths”. The other half were known as the Ostrogoths, which means, you’ve guessed it, “eastern Goths”. That said, by the time they defeated Rome, they probably didn’t consist solely of Germanic tribes. There was probably a large contingent of Alans and others among them.

They were indeed quite a force to be reckoned with; not only did they sack Rome but they also made inroads into Spain and North Africa. They did suffer at the hands of the Huns, but then most did, so that’s no great shame.

WushuPadawan001: I think it’s important to keep the sacking of Rome by the Gauls seperate from that by the Visigoths and the Vandals. The Gauls sacked Rome in 390BC and, at that time, Rome wasn’t anywhere near the military power it would become. It was strong but it still hadn’t conquered all the Italic tribes; in fact, it wouldn’t achieve that for another hundered years, until its third war against the Samnites in 290BC.

The Germanic attacks on Rome, however, occurred much later: the Visigoths in 410AD and the Vandals in 455AD. It’s true what you say that Rome was probably on its last legs anyway, and I tend to agree with your statement that it was Rome that defeated Rome, but I think the Visigoths, at least, still deserve some credit, for sheer balls if nothing else. This was Rome, rulers of the known world for the last 500 years. Even the mighty Attila decided not to go through with a planned attack on the city.

You also have to remember that some Germanic tribes achieved victories against Rome when it was at the height of its power. The crushing defeat of the Romans by the allied Germanic tribes led by Arminius (“Hermann the German”) at Teutoburg Forest in 9AD was a massive, massive blow to Roman pride, from which it never really recovered. It was probably the sole reason that the Romans never really sought to conquer Germania after that.>

Post: graham1:

After giving up on the attempts to conquer the Germanic tribes, the Romans found it more to their advantage to trade with them instead. A number of those tribes absorbed a good bit of Roman culture & some of their language found its way into their own, but were never subjugated by Rome. A Roman historian, Gaius Cornelius Tacitus, noted that ‘the Germans loved their freedom more than life itself’.>

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