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Editor’s Note32

Further Western Peoples

Next to the Chatti, where the channel of the Rhine is well defined and forms a boundary line, live the Usipi and Tencteri. The Tencteri, over and above the general military distinction, excel in the art of horsemanship. Indeed, the fame of the Chatti as infantrymen is no greater than that of the Tencteri as cavalry. This began with their ancestors and their descendants follow suit. The small children ride for sport, the young men compete with one another, even the old men keep at it. Horses are handed down along with the household, the homestead, and the rights of succession. A son inherits them, not necessarily the eldest, as with the rest of the property, but the one who shows himself the fiercest and the best in battle.

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Notes

Editor’s Note
32 the Usipi: also called 'Usipetes', e.g. by Caesar, this people and the Tencteri (below) first crop up in 55 bc. Driven from their original homes by Ariovistus, they tried to cross the Rhine, to be repulsed by Caesar near Coblenz, BG 4. 1ff. Drusus (cf. n. on ch. 37 below, Drusus and Nero [Tiberius] …) fought them in the lower Lippe valley, 12–11 bc, Dio 54. 32f.; they attacked Germanicus in ad 14, Ann. 1. 51. Some time after 58, when they were still in the north, Ann. 13. 55, they moved to the area opposite the Rhine gorge, on both sides of the Lahn valley. Tacitus does not mention here that they came under Roman rule at latest following Domitian's campaign in ad 83. The cohort of Usipi that mutinied in 82, cf. the first two notes on Agr. 28, had been 'conscripted in the Germanies' before their territory had been annexed. (The plural, 'Germanies', there used is particularly appropriate: the Usipian territory was opposite the point where Upper and Lower Germany met.)
Editor’s Note
Tencteri: neighbours and allies of the Usipi, cf. above, they evidently took over the land opposite Cologne when the Sugambri were transplanted to the left bank by Tiberius in 8 bc (Suetonius, Tiberius 9. 2). They tried to get the Ubii (cf. n. on ch. 28 above, Even the Ubii …) to join them against Rome in ad 70, Hist. 4. 64f.
Editor’s Note
over and above the general military distinction: 'general', i.e. of all the Germans.
Editor’s Note
the art of horsemanship: eight hundred Tencteran and Usipian cavalry scattered five thousand of Caesar's Gallic horse in 55 bc, BG 4. 12.
Editor’s Note
A son inherits them, not necessarily the eldest: the implication that in other respects primogeniture prevailed is certainly mistaken (it applied to inheritance of property neither in Rome nor in later Germanic law codes). Lund (200f.) suggests that 'the eldest' may be a later insertion and proposes further emendation.
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