Indo-European Chronology (V period)
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            1 AD        Germanic alliance in Europe

The last century BC marked the rapid change of the ethnic situation in Europe. The wide expansion of Celtic tribes which made scared all ancient European civilization, ended after Celts were stopped in Italy in the 4th century BC and on the Balkans in the 3rd century BC. Gradually Celtic regions, like Gaul and Spain, fell under the rule of Rome, and its population decreased much. Since then, the "Celtic horror" in Europe is being changed by the Germanic one.

Germanic tribes initially inhabited lands in northern Europe, in Scandinavia, Low Countries and Jutland. But on the edge of the new era, their poor lands made numerous overpopulated tribes migrate south. The first conflict between Romans and Germanic armies happen in the 2nd century BC in Dacia. A century later, Caesar managed to cross the Rhine from Gaul and defeat Germans who terrified Celts in Gaul.

In 1 AD, in Bohemia, a leader of the tribe of Marcomannes, Marobod, established a huge alliance of different Germanic tribes against all those who prevented the Germanic move south. His army, about 100 thousand people, slowly went south to the Alps, closer to the Roman province of Rhaetia. In 6 AD, both Roman consular armies rushed to stop the Germans, but could not do that because of the uprising in Pannonia. Three years later, Germans eliminate another Roman army in the Teutoburg Woods - Romans never again step into Inner Germany.

This first unity of Germanic tribes meant the beginning of a completely new epoch in the history of Europe: Germans conquer new and new lands, more and more nations disappear, and the Roman Empire will try to defend its borders for four centuries, but at last will fail.

            39 - 236        Roman try to conquer Germany

This year Rome equips a huge army against Germans. Sulpicius Halba, a Roman commander, crossed the Rhine and overwhelmed the tribe of Hatts. Setting a camp in the district of modern Mainz, Romans began constant expansion into Germany, in order to remove the power of Germans north to Roman borders.

Germans at that time were even more than just barbarians - they hardly knew any advances of the civilization, widely used human sacrifices (they usually sunk people in swamps), did not cultivate lands. Most men were involved only in war affairs. That is why Germans were the biggest threat to Roman towns - they destroyed all buildings, roads, wells, farms, just because they did not know how to use them. All historians agree that Germans were the most cruel tribe in that day Europe.

In 41 Emperor Claudius ordered to build a line of defense along the Danube, to protect the Empire from Germanic raids. Later, in 83, Emperor Titus finally gave up the idea to conquer all Germany till the Elbe, and the wall was build along the Rhine, with numerous forts and colonies of Romans (one of them, Colonia Agrippina, is now Cologne).

Constant wars lasted for several centuries, and Rome still could not conquer Germanic lands. Moreover, Germanic leaders could not be bribed or "civilized", they did not want to speak Latin and to take up Roman gods, as Celts sometimes did. The only way fro Romans to win was to eliminate all possible Germans - but they were too numerous. In 167 Germans felt that lands north from the Danube were becoming populated too densely, and began an invasion into the Roman province of Noric. Emperor Marc Aurelius attempted to destroy the tribe of Marcomannes, but died in Vindobona (modern Vienna) in 180. In 233, Alemannes destroyed the wall on the Rhine and invaded the Empire. Now no one could stop them.

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            43 - 142        Romans conquer Britain

Emperor Claudius was not the first to try Britain - already Caesar during his Gaulish wars decided to cross the Channel and to investigate the island. Caesar was met by Cassivelaun, a leader of Celts, and after several battles retreated back to the continent. Now that Rome grew firmer, emperors determined to conquer Britain. Gradually numerous Roman merchants settled in the country, which was rich with metal, grain, cattle; contacts between Romans and Brittish nobles finally made the latter depend on Roman luxuries, and in Caligula's time the queen of the tribe of Brigantes Cartimandua became Roman ally.

All that made the invasion of Claudius' troops easier. Interfering the dynasty hostilities in Britain, Roman army came to the country. The island Mona close to the shores of Britain was at that time a center of druidism, where all Celts of northern Europe worshipped their deities. That is why those Celts who ran from Roman rule in Gaul settled here and trained their troops here.

Claudius managed to conquer southern Britain rather fast. A king of the tribe of Regnii, Cogidubnus, was appointed Roman legatus in the country, some other nobles also took up Roman language, religion, and got the Roman citizenship. However, the population preserved their loyalty to local princes and to their native religion. The struggle of the Brittes for independence lasted for four centuries. Though in 77 a Roman commander named Agricola spread the Roman occupation till northern England, and in 136 Emperor Adrianus finally reached Scotland, still Romans could not manage to conquer all the island, nor Ireland. They were always afraid of Celtic and Pictish invasions from the north, from Scotland and Ireland, and though two walls were built to protect the Roman domain, in 136 and in 142, they could hardly prevent Picts and Celts from raiding south.

Neither Celts, nor Picts in Britain were assimilated by Roman colonists, the way it happened in Gaul and Spain. Natives here did not learn Latin, and even sometimes refused to communicate with Roman colonies which were constructed on the island. They lived in their own towns and villages and did not mix with the invaders.

More about Celtic languages
More about Pictish language

            55        Kuchans occupy Northern India

Kuchans, obviously a branch of Yue-ji, a tribe of mixed Mongolo-Turkish origin, migrated from Central Asia, captured by drought, south. Soon they occupy Afghanistan, Punjab, and in about 50 arrived in Northern India. In 78 King Kanishka, after defeating armies of Indian princes, established a kingdom in the Gang valley, built a capital near modern Peshawar and managed to unite lands of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Northern India and parts of Central Asia.

The epoch of Kanishka marked the beginning of foreign rule in Northern India. Since then, lands between the Gang and the Indus were constantly under the rule of newcomers from Asia. However, Kuchans and other tribes of their alliance, like Iranian Sacians, quickly dissolved among Indians, and soon their language, their poor culture and religion were forgotten under the influence of Indian Sanskrit language, Brahmi script and Indic beliefs.

In about 150, Kanishka's successors handed their power in India to their governors (kshatraps). Indian regions became actually independent. And in 250, the last king of Kuchans, Vasudeva, was crushed by the Persian empire of Sasanides.

More about Indic languages
Map of Central Asia

           112        Dacia conquered by Rome

Dacia, a vast region in modern Romania and Moldavia, was inhabited by tribes related to Thracians, and their languages were quite similar. But not the social structure - Thracians who lived closer to the Greeks on the Aegean shores developed their first kingdom under Greek influence already in the 5th century BC, they lived in towns and cities, their language contained a lot of Greek words.

Dacians were still a wild nation, occupied in agriculture and cattle breeding, and at least they could not pose a serious threat to the Roman Empire. However, Emperor Traianus after several unsuccessful Dacian wars of his predecessors decided to conquer the country. In 106 Dacian king Decebalus was finally defeated, his capital Sarmisegetusa was destroyed, and Dacia in 112 becomes another province of the Empire.

The problem of ethnic assimilation is a tricky issue: certain nations are easily assimilated, some preserve their nationality after centuries of colonial history. For example, Celts in Gaul were quite easy to convert into the Roman way of life, the Latin language and the religion of Romans; but Celts in Britain did not in general mix with Roman colonists and hardly knew Latin. While the whole nations disappeared under Roman influence, like Iberians and Etruscans, without even a single sign of their language left, Germans, though long under Romans, did not pick up anything from Latin and were not "Romanized" at all. Which qualities of the nation account for the resistance from assimilation? This is a matter for ethnologists.

As for Dacians, they were especially fast to be assimilated by Romans, and several centuries later the Dacian language was unknown in the country, replaced by a form of Latin. Nowadays, the only source for its studies is onomastics and hydronymics of the region.

More about Dacian language
More about Thracian language

            150        Slavic expansion south

The first reliable historical mentioning of the Slavs was found in Tacitus's "Germany", where he described the life of Venedi, a tribe which used to live on the shores of the Baltic in the 1st century AD: "Venedi borrowed much from the life of Sarmatians, because they raid all forests and mountains for plunder wherever between Peucini and Fenni. But I would rather call them Germans, as they build houses, carry shields and move on foot, while Sarmatians live horseback and in wagons".

In the 1st century the number of settlements within Slavic archaeological cultures in north-east Europe grow very fast: the region became overpopulated, which always led to migrations. Their west neighbours were Germans, very aggressive and numerous, and east was just a vast swampy wood region inhabited by Finnish hunters. That is why Slavs began moving south, and this was the beginning of the Slavic expansion in Europe.

Slavic tribes for centuries lived on the territory of modern Poland and Belorussia, between the Vistula and the Dniepr rivers. Several types of archaeological cultures follow one another after the Balto-Slavic community (which probably existed) broke up to two branches - Baltic and Slavic, though their languages remained quite close and similar. Slavs did not have the state, they lived in tribes which were rather peaceful, according to ancient authors, and contacted Baltic, Finnish, Germanic, Celtic and Thracian nations which all left traces in Slavic languages. Later due to close ties with the Scythians who founded a kingdom in the Lower Dniepr region, Slavic languages acquired many Iranian features which can be noticed even now in Russian, Belorussian and especially Ukrainian.

In the 5th century Slavic tribes which went south from the Vistula reached the borders of the Roman empire. They occupied lands which were free after Dacians suffered terrible losses in wars with Rome. Soon Slavic migrations will crush the boundary of the Empire.

More about Slavic languages
Common Slavic language grammar

            180        Gothic migration to Eastern Europe

Already in the 3rd century BC an alliance of East Germanic tribes from Scandinavia arrived in continental Europe. According to the legend, Germans led by the tribe of Goths (from the island of Gotalnd) and their king Berig, landed on the Baltic shore in the land of the Slavs. After serious hostilities with Slavic tribes who did not want to cede their homeland to the invaders, Goths decided to move farther south.

The pressure on Roman borders along the Danube extended after Romans defeated Marcomannes. Lands in Pannonia became free and hardly populated by relics of Marcomannes, and another Germanic nation, Goths, came here from the north. Obviously, the Gothic movement south went in two directions: towards the Roman border, and to the northern coast of the Black Sea. Later these two waves became know as Wisigoths (West Goths) and Ostrogoths (East Goths).

Gothic tribes were as ignorant and uncivilized as their other Germanic brothers. Two centuries later after long contacts with Roman and Greek cultures they invented a script, acquired monarchy and many other advances of civilization. They spoke an Eastern Germanic dialect, relative to Burgundan and Langobardan. Gothic language, known much better than other languages of ancient Germany, preserved a number of archaic features forgotten in West Germanic tongues.

More about Gothic language
Gothic Alphabet

            224        Sasanide Kingdom founded in Iran

(To be continued.)