There is seldom a story more potent – more empowering and vitalizing in the search for an understanding of our present-day Social Life Predicament – than that which is veiled within the century long – and in some ways perhaps even ongoing conflict and spiritual battle – between Roman Conquest and the Ancient Germanic Tribes. This struggle, which – enshrouded as it were in sublime mystery – surmounts any Marxist envisioned “class struggle” by a power of thousands, cannot be related in a few words or sentences – so please be persistent and enduring – read further to be able to carry gems and precious stones for Social Renewal forth from this narrative.
Can we again come to imagine a world where it is universally accepted that each man has inherent and inalienable Rights? What must it have been like to have the understanding of these Rights be so deeply imbued in each individual, that there was no need for written codes and books of law – to live in a society where everyone knew the laws, because righteousness and lawfulness were part of man’s innermost being? The right to stand in an Assembly or “Thing” was granted each man at the coming of age and his voice was equal to all other voices of the Thing where decisions were unanimous – no voice being excluded.
This understanding of inner righteousness by the Germanic Tribes was so deeply integrated within the consciousness of these peoples that they were able to successfully hold Roman invasion out of the Europe North of the Rhein – for 800 years.
Who were these peoples? With a collapse of climatic conditions in the North of Europe, Tribes originally having wandered from Ireland and Hibernia into Scandinavia, descended South into what is now the heart of Europe: Celts, Druids, Drotten Cultures and what the Romans later came to name the “Germanic Tribes” – bringing with them a highly developed cultural understanding and at the same time leaving hardly an outwardly tangible footprint behind when these peoples were finally decimated by one of their own – a traitor.
It is invaluable to the understanding of these Tribes to learn how it was the Romans planned to eliminate them.
The year was 52 B.C. when the Roman Legion destroyed the major Druid center of learning and the Celtic Sanctuary in the town in France named Carnutes – now known as Chartres.
Caesar himself declared that the goal of destroying the Druid Center was the death of the Druid Priests themselves and not of the general populace of farmers and the royalty knights. When the Roman’s wished to conquer a region, their strategy was always the same: Destroy the religious center and with it the cult – the religion of the peoples. Then bring any statues or holy artifacts to Rome where evocations were performed to convince the Gods of the conquered peoples to desert their own sanctuaries in exchange for Temples built in Rome. In this way the Romans crushed the identity of the folk and were able to take thousands of pacified “slaves” – who had entirely lost their identity through the loss of the connection to the Holy Sanctuary and sacred cult – back to Rome. The remainder could be allowed to dissipate throughout the countryside without fear of repercussions for the integration of the Roman Power Structure in the region. (Arminius und die Externsteine by Theodor Fuchs)
Having established the “Franken Kingdom” under Roman Rule with a center in Lyon, the Romans then cast their eyes upon the next geographical landmass of Europe which they deemed destined for conquest: this being what they themselves named the “Germanic” lands.
The monumental religious sanctuary which united these agriculturally based tribes and clans and was to be destroyed should the Roman quest for expansion be satiated, was the titanic stony crags of the Externsteine in what is now Northern Germany. The Sanctuary of the Externsteine represented the “cult”-ural or religious unity of these peoples in a manner which the Romans could hardly fathom.
The Externsteine lies on the same Earthly latitudinal line as Stonehenge in England. As the massive stones of Stonehenge were raised and then topped by unknow hands of profound strength, the Externstein was raised from depths within the Earth by forces equally unfathomable – the row of seven crags rise high for climbing, ascending, worshiping – appearing solemnly out of a quiet meadow and groved area.
Wotan-Odin is hewn as if by a force of nature on one of the cliffs where he hangs – on the windy tree:
Hung I was on the windswept tree;
Nine full nights I hung,
Pierced by a spear, vowed to the god,
To Odin, myself to I -myself,
On that tree which none can know the source
From whence its root has run.
(from Odin’s Rune Song)
Roman rationality – unable to fathom the inner fortitude of these semi-wandering peoples – declared the battle victory to be sealed. Their subjugation strategy had been successful throughout the more “civilized” world, why should it not succeed again with respect to
these barely definable “Tribes” – who did not build cities, no temples or ornate buildings of holy worship where High Priests in elegant costumes ruled, no coliseums, no megalithic state government halls with regents, senators and ministers? And – as the story will tell us – had not a culture which the Romans could comprehend.
Had they understood the Tribes sufficiently, they would not have marched forth to three separate battles in year 9 A.D. and again in 14-16 A.D – desperately losing armies, face and courage with each of the excursions. Still, at the first battle they brought along 35,000 men, mounted and foot soldiers, armory, artilliary, tross, horses, wagons, food for the entire journey – and more. They built bridges on the way, fortresses were erected, and they were met in close vicinity to the Externsteine by the Germanic tribes led by Arminius or Sig – his father being known as Sigimer.
These Germanic tribes did not possess any organized army – no – they did not even know a word for “war”. War for the Germanic peoples was something so unthinkable, that only the God’s could determine whether some type of battle activity was necessary to bring justice as the outcome of the conflict. As any outcome was in the “hands of the Gods” it only made sense for the Cheruskers and the other Germanic tribes who joined them that any battle to defend their culture – which could not be unentangled from the blood in their veins and their livelihoods – should be in the closest vicinity to the Holy Sanctuary with its Earthly-Heavenly divined strength -, their cultural heart and their own spiritual connection to the divine Gods who guided their folk. It was there – close by the Externsteine – that the Germanic folk could be sure of guidance and assistance from the Spiritual Beings – from Wotan/Odin – to whom they were pledged.
Runes will you find, and fateful staves,
Very potent staves, very powerful staves,
Staves the great gods made, stained by the mighty sage,
And graven by the speaker of gods.
(Odins Rune Song)
In this way the location of the battles was deemed by both the Roman’s and the Germanic Tribes spiritual leaders. It was to be in the vicinity of the Externsteine.
The Germanic tribes gathered from near and far for each ensuing battle. Not only did they not have a trained army, but they had no weapons of war which could be compared to the
World Conquering Roman Army. They came with short swords with tips hardened in the coals and small rounded shields. They fought with bare chests painted red, or even fully naked, and mostly on foot. In times of war the tribes gathered together and even gave up their holy “Germanic Right of Self Determination of the Thing” to unite under a leader like Arminius – prepared to defend their most Holy of the Holy – where the Sun shone through slight precipices in the colossal cliffs each year on Saint John’s day – signifying the Externstein as a monument uniting the Germanic tribes to the great God of the Sun.
Three times the assembled Tribes were able to defeat the Roman Legions. In the first battle in year 9 A.D. – when the historical Jesus was walking on the Earth as a small child – the Romans lost three entire legions, six cohorts, three auxiliary armies and Varus the Roman General took his own life in shame over the horrendous defeat.
The Germanic tribes overcame the Romans by surprising them, by attacking them from behind, enticing them into the woods, the marshes, the small streams and meadows around their sanctuary and the Gods stood on their side. They were assisted by rain and bad weather. All methods of war were allowed by the Gods when the moral demarcation by which the Germanic Tribes lived was trodden over.
After the third Roman defeat under the General Germanicus, the Romans shelved the project – for close to 800 years.
Had it not been for their victory, the English language, the German language, the Scandinavian languages – and each of these cultures would not have been preserved for the future development of mankind. The Tribes broke the uninterrupted stream of Roman subjugation and spread of the Roman language and culture into the middle and northern parts of Europe.
Until the year 760 A.D. in any case – when Karl the Great managed to destroy the unity of the Germanic peoples at the Externsteine and slaughtered up into 100,000 “pagan” Scandinavian-Germanic peoples. He felled the Irminsul atop the Externsteine, brought the Holy Relics to Rome and installed Roman Rule and Order under the guise of Christianity up into the North of Europe.
What was it the Northern Tribes were prepared to fight against with an inconceivable strength and fortitude? Was it Roman religion they defied? Arminius was accused by the Romans of calling the Roman Priests: “Priests created by Man”. With this he meant that Roman Priests had no connection to any Spiritual World, no spiritual jurisdiction and were but a deception. Was he not correct in his judgement, when Cesar had declared himself a God? But it was not only the Roman Priests which Arminius and the Tribes defied – every drop of their blood instinctively resisted the entire social structure which the Romans represented. The social forms which these Families, Clans and Tribes had developed over several thousands of years had a foundation and fundament which can first be fathomed when studying what is known as “Germanic Law”.
(All the Pictures are from Externsteine in Germany)