Cornelis Visscher (II): Six Germanic tribes (1650)

(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Six engravings made by the Dutch artist Cornelis Visscher (II) (1629-1658). These six pictures are from a set of ten which depict Germanic tribes from Ancient Rome. The set claims that the pictures are reproductions of depictions from ancient artifacts and from the collection of Marcus Zuerius van Boxhorn (1612-1653), a Dutch scholar who studied Indo-European languages (such as Germanic, Celtic, Greek, Italic etc). The names of the tribes are historically correct but their clothing and weapons are completely fictional. Shown here are:

- Quadi: a Germanic tribe who lived in approximately in the area of modern Czech Republic

- Gepids: a Germanic tribe which were closely related to the Goths. They established a kingdom the the Danube region. They were overrun in the 6th century and disappear from history.

- Goths: an important Germanic tribe. Originally they came from South Scandinavia. During their travels they broke up into two branches: the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths. The Visigoths settled in Spain while the Ostrogoths established a kingdom in Italy. The Goths played an important part in the fall of the Western Roman empire.

- Marcomanni: a Germanic tribal confederation who lived in the region near modern Czech Republic.

- Vandals: a Germanic tribe originally from Poland/ Scandinavia. They traveled through the Roman empire and established a powerful kingdom in North Africa which was destroyed in the 6th century by the Eastern Roman empire.

- Herules: a Germanic tribe originally from the Danish islands. They also ended up in the Danube region. Their kingdom was destroyed at the end of the 5th century after which they disappear from history.

Engravings from 1650