The Chauci were at the mouth of the Weser, and south of them lived the Cherusci, the people of Arminius. The Chatti lived in what is now Hesse. Controversially, Caesar moved his attention to Northern Gaul. On the other hand, the Scandinavian countries were, starting with Denmark, under the influence of Germany to their south, and also the lands where they had colonies. The Germanic peoples (also called Teutonic, Suebian, or Gothic in older literature) are an ethno-linguistic Indo-European group of northern European origin. Germanic peoples, any of the Indo-European speakers of Germanic languages. adjective of or relating to the Teutons or their languages. âIn about A.D.300, Attila the Hun invaded what is now Germany and pushed Germanic tribes into northern Belgium.â âDuring the Germanic migration the north-eastern provinces of â¦  The Germanic languages are traditionally divided between East, North and West Germanic branches. Finnic kuningas, from Proto-Germanic *kuningaz 'king'; rengas, from *hringaz âringâ; etc. In this case, the collective name was new, but the original peoples who composed the group were largely local, and their old names were still mentioned occasionally. It is most often argued that the Huns must have already started moving west, and consequently pressuring the Middle Danube. In the reign of his successor Tiberius it became state policy to leave the border at the Rhine, and expand the empire no further in that direction.  The merging of unstressed Proto-Germanic vowels, attested in runic inscriptions from the 4th and 5th centuries CE, also suggests that Primitive Norse could not have been a direct predecessor of West Germanic dialects. For example, Louis the German (Ludovicus Germanicus) was named this way because he ruled east of the Rhine, and in contrast the kingdom west of the Rhine was still called Gallia (Gaul) in scholarly Latin. There is debate over the exact nature of such agreements, and for example whether they allowed the continuous semi-independent existence of pre-existing peoples; however the Goths do appear to have been allowed more privileges than in traditional settlements with such outside groups. Tacitus continues to be an important influence in Germanic studies of antiquity, and is often read together with the Getica of Jordanes, who wrote much later. In 89 CE the Chatti were allies of Lucius Antonius Saturninus in his failed revolt. [note 2], Although the English language possesses the adjective Germanic as distinct from German, it lacks an equivalent distinct noun. The division of peoples into West Germanic, East Germanic, and North Germanic is a modern linguistic classification. The Greutungi and Alans had been settled in Pannonia by the western co-emperor Gratian (assassinated in 383) who was himself a Pannonian.  Liebeschuetz also argues that recent sceptical scholars "deprive the ancient Germans and their constituent tribes of any continuous identity" and this is "important" because it makes European history a product of Roman history, not "a joint creation of Roman and Germans".  (As already mentioned however, Livy said they spoke a language like that of the Scordisci.). All have fierce blue eyes, red hair, huge frames, fit only for a sudden exertion.  Swedish Vikings, known locally as the Rus', ventured deep into Russia, where they founded the political entities of Kievan Rus'. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections?  They carried out extensive trade with their neighbours, notably exporting amber, slaves, mercenaries and animal hides, and importing weapons, metals, glassware and coins in return.  They are not attested before the beginning of the Common Era in southern Scandinavia, and the connection between the two alphabets is therefore uncertain. , Germanic languages in western Europe no longer exist apart from the remaining West Germanic languages of England, the Frankish homelands near the RhineâMeuseâScheldt delta, and the large area between the Rhine and Elbe. The principal Germanic peoples were distributed as follows in the time of Tacitus. , Tacitus's ethnography won the attention it had formerly been denied because there now was a Germany, the "German nation" that had come into existence since the Carolingians, which Tacitus could now equip with a heaven-sent ancient dignity and pedigree. However, Honorius died in 423 without an heir. The origins of the Germanic peoples are obscure. He also popularized a new idea of these Germanic speakers, especially those in Germany, as clinging valiantly to their supposed Germanic civilization over the centuries. [note 16] The Romans and Greeks however had contact with northerners who came south. In the Greek-speaking eastern Roman empire which continued to exist during the Middle Ages, the concept of "Germanic" was also lost or distorted. The origins of the Germanic peoples are obscure.  During the Pre-Germanic linguistic period (2500â500 BCE), the proto-language has almost certainly been influenced by linguistic substrates still noticeable in the Germanic phonology and lexicon. Examples include the late Roman era Goths, and the Norse-speaking Vikings from Scandinavia. Trajan himself expanded the empire in this region, taking over Dacia. These often included an ancient connection to Romans or Trojans, as in the origin stories of the Franks, Burgundians and English, and they also typically mentioned the wild east of "Scythia". , During the Renaissance there was a rediscovery and renewed interest in secular writings of classical antiquity. They rank in the number of the gods those alone whom they behold, and by whose instrumentality they are obviously benefited, namely, the sun, fire, and the moon; they have not heard of the other deities even by report. The effect of old Germanic culture on this new Latin-using empire is a topic of dispute, because there was much continuity with the old Roman legal systems, and the increasingly important Christian religion. The "Gothic peoples" in the territory of present-day Ukraine and Romania were seen by Graeco-Roman writers as culturally "Scythian", and not Germanic, and indeed some of them such as the Alans were clearly not Germanic-speaking either. First residents of Germanic Europe: Celtics and Germanic Tribes contribute to DNA of Germanic region The first âmodernâ humans who moved into the Germanic Europe area were the Celts. There is disagreement about whether Alaric or his family had a royal background, but there is no doubt that this kingdom was a new entity, very different from any previous Gothic kingdoms. He clarifies that the Istvaeones are near the Rhine, although he gives only one problematic example, the Cimbri. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). , Although Proto-Germanic is reconstructed dialect-free via the comparative method, it is almost certain that it was never a uniform proto-language. While major parts of Gaul and Britain redefined themselves ethnically on the basis of their new rulers, as Francia and England, in England the main population also became Germanic-speaking. [note 11], The subsequent popular modern assertion of strong cultural continuity between Roman-era Germani and medieval or modern Germanic speakers, especially Germans, assumed a strong connection between a family trees of language categories, and both cultural and racial heritages. [note 4] Thus, in modern writing, "Germanic peoples" is a term which commonly includes peoples who were not referred to as Germanic by their contemporaries, and spoke distinct languages, only categorized as Germanic in modern times. The first long texts which have survived were written outside Germania in the Gothic language from the region that is today Ukraine. Some modern writers, such as Wolfram and Heather, still see this as confirmed by the mention of similar sounding "Gutones" near the south Baltic coast in earlier authors such as Tacitus and Ptolemy. It began as strongly La TÃ¨ne-influenced local culture, and apparently became at least partly Germanic-speaking. Significantly no source mentions any defense by Roman troops.  In later centuries the Scirii, like the Heruli, and many of the Goths, were among the peoples who allied with Attila and settled in the Middle Danube, Pannonian region. , Although they have certainly influenced academic views on ancient Germanic languages up until the 20th century, the traditional groupings given by contemporary authors such as Pliny and Tacitus are no longer regarded as fully reliable by modern linguists, who rather base their reasoning on the attested sound changes and shared mutations which occurred in geographically distant groups of dialects. The Germanic Peoples spread from there to many regions of Europe. By the 1st century CE, the writings of Pliny the Elder, and Tacitus reported a division of Germanic peoples into large groupings. As mentioned above, Caesar wrote about this campaign in a way which introduced the term "Germanic" to refer to peoples such as the Cimbri and Suevi. But this event was not recent: Caesar reported that they were already on the west side during the Cimbrian War (113â101 BCE), generations earlier.  The late Jastorf culture occupied so much territory that it is unlikely that Germanic populations spoke a single dialect, and traces of early linguistic varieties have been highlighted by scholars.  The Hirrii are sometimes equated with the Harii mentioned by Tacitus in this region, whom he considered to be Germanic Lugians. Not only did he believe that the Germani had a long-standing tendency to make raids and group movements from the northeast, involving peoples such as the Cimbri long before him, and the Suevians in his own time, it was also his understanding that there had been a time when the movement went in the opposite direction: And there was formerly a time when the Gauls excelled the Germans [Germani] in prowess, and waged war on them offensively, and, on account of the great number of their people and the insufficiency of their land, sent colonies over the Rhine. The Marcomanni, who had previously lived in the Main valley, migrated during the last decade bc to Bohemia (which had hitherto been occupied by a Celtic people called the Boii), where their eastern neighbours were the Quadi in Moravia. Their movements through parts of Gaul, Italy and Hispania resulted in the Cimbrian War between these groups and the Roman Republic, led primarily by its Consul, Gaius Marius. The Frisii inhabited the coastlands between the Rhine and the Ems.  The modern prevailing view is that North and West Germanic were also encompassed in a larger subgroup called Northwest Germanic. [note 17]. Their name has remained a synonym for willful desecration or destruction. The Germanic tribes referred to as East Germanic constitute a wave of migrants who may have moved from Scandinavia into the area between the Oder and Vistula rivers between the years 600 and 300 BC.Later they went to the south. , They do not pay much attention to agriculture, and a large portion of their food consists in milk, cheese, and flesh; nor has any one a fixed quantity of land or his own individual limits; but the magistrates and the leading men each year apportion to the groups and families, who have united together, as much land as, and in the place in which, they think proper, and the year after compel them to remove elsewhere. Court factions and military leaders in the east and west attempted to control the situation. Those who have remained chaste for the longest time, receive the greatest commendation among their people; they think that by this the growth is promoted, by this the physical powers are increased and the sinews are strengthened. Tacitus and Strabo both proposed with some uncertainty that the Bastarnae, a large people known to the Graeco-Roman world before Caesar, from the region of what is now Ukrainian Galicia and Moldava, might also have had mixed Germanic ancestry, and according to Tacitus, even a Germanic language. In 260 CE, as the Roman Imperial Crisis of the Third Century reached its climax, Postumus, a Germanic soldier in Roman service, established the Gallic Empire, which claimed suzerainty over Germania, Gaul, Hispania and Britannia.  They remained a presence in that area until late in the Roman Empire. The Germanic tribes were groups of people who lived in Lower, Upper, and Greater Germania. As described by Halsall: "On 31 December 405 a huge body from the interior of Germania crossed the Rhine: Siling and Hasding Vandals, Sueves and Alans. Apart from the common history many of them had in the Roman military, and on Roman frontiers, a new and longer-term unifying factor for the new kingdoms was that by 500, the start of the Middle Ages, most of the old Western empire had converted to the same Rome-centred Catholic form of Christianity. , All surviving written evidence implying any clear "Germanic" concept, broad or narrow, from before Julius Caesar is doubtful and unclear. In Gaul, a combined force of Cimbri and Teutoni and others defeated the Romans in the Battle of Burdigala (107 BCE) at Bordeaux, in the Battle of Arausio (105) at Orange in France, and in the Battle of Tridentum (102) at Trento in Italy.  Caesar's categorization of the Germani was in the context of explaining his battle against Ariovistus, who had been a Roman ally. Origins. As for the Danubian frontier of the Roman Empire, the Hermunduri extended from the neighbourhood of Regensburg northward through Franconia to Thuringia. However, though the similarities were noticed, Gothic would not have been intelligible to a West Germanic speaker. Tacitus, in his Germania, specifically stated that one such division mentioned "in old songs" (carminibus antiquis) derived three such groups from three brothers, sons of Mannus, who was son of an earth-born god, Tuisto. And to have had knowledge of a woman before the twentieth year they reckon among the most disgraceful acts; of which matter there is no concealment, because they bathe promiscuously in the rivers and [only] use skins or small cloaks of deer's hides, a large portion of the body being in consequence naked.  Frechulf of Lisieux observed that some of his contemporaries believed that the Goths might belong to the "nationes Theotistae", like the Franks, and that both the Franks and the Goths might have come from Scandinavia. A more successful invasion, apparently also originating from the Middle Danube, reached the Rhine a few months later. Another eastern people known from about 200 BCE and sometimes believed to be Germanic-speaking, are the Scirii, because they appear in a record in Olbia on the Black Sea which records that the city had been troubled by Scythians, Sciri and Galatians. Cimbri 1.13.  According to the notoriously unreliable Augustan History (Historia Augusta), he was born in Thrace or Moesia to a Gothic father and an Alanic mother,. The makeup of peoples in that area, previously the home of the Germanic Marcomanni, Quadi and non-Germanic Iazyges, changed completely in ways which had a significant impact on the Roman empire and its European neighbours. Goths were a prominent but resented part of the eastern military. Fleeing westward from the Huns at the beginning of the 5th century, the Vandals invaded and devastated parts of Gaul before settling in Spain in 409. As Peter Heather has written these "peoples" were no longer peoples in any traditional sense. Tacitus mentions the Suiones and the Sitones as living in Sweden. Theoderic had been raised up and supported by the eastern emperors, and his administration continued a sophisticated Roman administration, in cooperation with the traditional Roman senatorial class. The Teutons are generally classified as a Germanic tribe. Britannica Kids Holiday Bundle!  The larger group that the Suevi were part of according to Pliny, the Hermiones, is mentioned in one other source: Pomponius Mela, in his slightly earlier Description of the World, places "the farthest people of Germania, the Hermiones" somewhere to the east of the Cimbri and the Teutones, apparently on the Baltic. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. During the late Bronze Age, they are believed to have inhabited southern Sweden, the Danish peninsula, and northern Germany between the Ems River on the west, the Oder River Germanic religion, like most ancient religions, was polytheistic. To describe this fact they referred to "Teutonic" words and languages, seeing the nominative as a Latin translation of Theodiscus, which was a concept that West Germanic speakers used to refer to themselves. Modern archaeologists, having found no sign of such movements, see the Gaulish La TÃ¨ne culture as native to what is now southern Germany, and the La TÃ¨ne-influenced cultures on both sides of the Lower Rhine in this period as quite distinct from the Elbe Germanic peoples, well into Roman times. A new faction under leadership of Fritigern, a Christian, were given asylum inside the Roman Empire in 376 CE. 1.1. the Suevi 1.2. the Helvetii 1.3. the Allemani 1.4. the Goths; later the Visigoths (West Goths) and the Ostrogoths(East Goths) 1.5. the Angles 1.6. the Saxons 1.7. the Jutes 1.8. the Vandals 1.9. the Franks 1.10. the Lombards 1.11. Germanic tribes helped shape the face of Europe today, and contributed to the downfall of the Western Roman Empire. Peter Heather for example, continues to use the Germanic terminology but writes that concerning proposals of Germanic continuity, "all subsequent discussion has accepted and started from Wenskus's basic observations" and "the Germani in the first millenium were thus not closed groups with continuous histories". The Suevian peoples are seen by scholars as early West Germanic speakers. According to some authors then, they were the first Germani to reach the Greco-Roman world and the Black Sea area. The Western empire had however become destabilized since 383, with several young emperors including Gratian having previously been murdered. The citing of Jordanes and similar writers to attempt to prove that the Goths were "Germanic" in more than language continues to arouse debate among scholars, because while his work is unreliable, the Baltic connection on its own is consistent with linguistic and archaeological evidence. , The reasons that these invasions apparently all dispersed from the same area, the Middle Danube, are uncertain. Germanic culture extended, at various times, from the Black Sea to Greenland, or even the North American continent. [note 19], [The Germani] have neither Druids to preside over sacred offices, nor do they pay great regard to sacrifices. For this reason, expanding southwards was a problematic option for the Saxons, and a sea expansion was a more suitable alternative. The Bastarnae or Peucini are mentioned in historical sources going back as far as the 3rd century BCE through the 4th century CE. After these Marcomannic wars, the Middle Danube began to change, and in the next century the peoples living there tended to be referred to as Gothic, rather than Germanic. These terms are also sometimes used in older modern linguistic terminology, attempting to describe the divisions of later Germanic languages: On the other hand, Tacitus wrote in the same passage that some believe that there are other groups which are just as old as these three, including "the Marsi, Gambrivii, Suevi, Vandilii". All Germanic languages derive from the Proto-Indo-European language (PIE), which is generally estimated to have been spoken between 4500 and 2500 BCE. As with Jordanes and the Gutones, there is other evidence, linguistic and archaeological, which is consistent with his scholarly account, although this does not prove that Bede's non-scholarly contemporaries had accurate knowledge of historical details.. While Caesar and Tacitus saw this Rhineland people as Germanic in the broader sense also, they do not fit easily with the much broader definitions of "Germanic" used by them or modern scholars. Accordingly, the Volcae Tectosages, seized on those parts of Germany which are the most fruitful [and lie] around the Hercynian forest, (which, I perceive, was known by report to Eratosthenes and some other Greeks, and which they call Orcynia), and settled there..  Their language, named Primitive Norse, Proto-Norse, or similar terms, and still very close to Proto-Germanic, has been interpreted as a northern variant of the Northwest Germanic dialects and the ancestor of the Old Norse language of the Viking Age (8thâ11th c. A general overview. After the end of the dynasty, in 69 AD, the Batavian bodyguard were dissolved by Galba in 68 because of its loyalty to the old dynasty. (Modern scholars also see the central part of this area, between the Elbe and the Oder, as the region from which Germanic languages dispersed. The largest, he said, was the Semnones near the Elbe, who "claim that they are the oldest and the noblest of the Suebi.  Cassius Dio writing in Greek in the 3rd century, consistently called the right-bank Germani of Caesar, the Celts (ÎÎµÎ»ÏÎ¿Î¯) and their country Keltiká¸ (ÎÎµÎ»ÏÎ¹ÎºÎ®).  For Cassius Dio, the only Germani and the only Germania were west of the Rhine within the empire: "some of the Celts (KeltoÃ), whom we call Germans (GermanoÃ)", had "occupied all the Belgic territory [Belgiká¸] along the Rhine and caused it to be called Germany [GermanÃa]".  East Germanic speakers dwelt on the Baltic sea coasts and islands, while speakers of the Northwestern dialects occupied territories in present-day Denmark and bordering parts of Germany at the earliest date that they can be identified. The exact origins of the Franks are uncertain: they were a group of Germanic peoples that settled in the lower regions of the Rhine river. The first written collections of Germanic law are the so-called Leges Barbarorum, which date from the 5th century until the 9th century.  Definitions of Germanic peoples continue to involve discussion of similar criteria: In modern times, attempts to define characteristics which unite all or some of these peoples more objectively, using linguistic or archaeological criteria, have thus led to the possibility of the term "Germanic" being used to apply to more peoples, in other periods and regions. Several Roman writersâStrabo (about 63 BCE â 24 CE), Pliny the Elder (about 23â79 CE), and especially Tacitus (about 56â120 CE)âfollowed Caesar's tradition in the next few generations, by partly defining the Germanic peoples of their time geographically, according to their presumed homeland. Various peoples had fallen "prey to the flames of war". Jordanes, who had a Gothic heritage, claims that the Goths came from Scandinavia, writing:Historians such as Peter Heather have identified Gothiscandza with Gdansk in modern Poland, and this theory is generally supported by archaeological evidence, although it is not accepted by all scholars, most notably Michael Kulikowski. During the reign of Augustus from 27 BCE until 14 CE, the Roman empire became established in Gaul, with the Rhine as a border. They crossed the Danube and became foederati.  Edward James similarly wrote: It seems clear that in the fourth century 'German' was no longer a term which included all western barbarians.  Their indirect successors were the Equites singulares Augusti which were, likewise, mainly recruited from the Germani. Neighbouring language varieties diverged only slightly between each other in this continuum, but remote dialects were not necessarily mutually intelligible due to accumulated differences over the distance. By the end of the 3rd century ad important changes had taken place. The terms Germanic peoples and Germani are therefore used by modern English-speaking scholars to avoid confusion with the inhabitants of present-day Germany ("Deutschland"), including the modern "German" ("Deutsche") people and language. , In a 2013 book which reviewed studies up until then it was remarked that: "If and when scientists find ancient Y-DNA from men whom we can guess spoke Proto-Germanic, it is most likely to be a mixture of haplogroup I1, R1a1a, R1b-P312 and R1b-106". , In Eastern Europe the once relatively developed periphery of the Roman world collapsed culturally and economically, and this can be seen in the Germanic-associated archaeological evidence: in the area of today's southern Poland and Ukraine the collapse occurred not long after 400, and by 700 Germanic material culture was entirely west of the Elbe in the area where the Romans had been active since Caesar's time, and the Franks were now active. Late in the third century CE, Frankish raiders joined the Saxons in the southern part of the North Sea and the English Channel. Even the language from which it derives is a subject of dispute. Other peoples, perhaps not all of them Germanic, were involved in various actionsâthese included the Costoboci, the Hasdingi and Lacringi Vandals, the Varisci (or Naristi) and the Cotini (not Germanic according to Tacitus), and possibly also the Buri. Dani The migrants to Britain might also have included the Huns and Rugini . In 9 bc the Romans pushed their frontier eastward from the Rhine to the Elbe, but in ad 9 a revolt of their subject Germans headed by Arminius ended in the withdrawal of the Roman frontier to the Rhine. Importantly for all future conceptions of what Germanic means, Caesar was apparently the first to categorize distant peoples such as the Cimbri and the large group of Suevian peoples as "Germanic". However, after a war between the rival pantheons (which perhaps reflects a war between two rival tribes), the defeated Vanir were absorbed into the Aesir, and the gods of both were worshiped in a single pantheon. Thereafter, though the new peoples ruling this area still included Germanic-speakers, as discussed above, they were not described by Romans as Germani, but rather "Gothic peoples".  The Germanic peoples who overran the Western Roman Empire probably numbered less than 100,000 people per group, including approximately 15,000-20,000 warriors. The Julio-Claudian dynasty, the extended family of Augustus, paid close personal attention to management of this Germanic frontier, establishing a tradition followed by many future emperors. They were living in this area at least 2600 years ago, which usually comes as a shock to most people. The Romans claimed victory by 84 CE, and Domitian also improved the frontier defenses of Roman Germania, consolidating control of the Agri Decumates, and converting Germania Inferior and Germania Superior into normal Roman provinces. In the 420s, Flavius AÃ«tius was a general who successfully used Hunnish forces on several occasions, fighting Roman factions and various barbarians including Goths and Franks. See also: It is believed that Pytheas circumnavigated Northern Europe, and his observations about the geographical environment, traditions and culture of the Northern European populations were a central source of information to lateâ¦  His comments are not detailed, but they indicate that there were Suevian languages (plural) within the category of Germanic languages, and that customs varied between different Germanic peoples.  The name of the framea, described by Tacitus as a short spear carried by Germanic warriors, most likely derives from the compound *fram-ij-an- ('forward-going one'), as suggested by comparable semantical structures found in early runes (e.g., raun-ij-az 'tester', on a lancehead) and linguistic cognates attested in the later Old Norse, Old Saxon and Old High German languages: fremja, fremmian and fremmen all meant 'to carry out'. A barbarian tribe that helped spread heresy of Arianism. In 452 Attila attacked Italy, but had to retreat to the Middle Danube because of an outbreak of disease. The meaning of the word Germani and the language to which it belongs are unknown. The genetic profile of the Germanic Tribes discovered. Since its very beginning, the Roman empire had proactively kept the northern peoples and the potential danger they represented under control, just as Caesar had proposed. 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World: this page was last edited on 4 December 2020, at the of. Was that Julian accepted that the Salian Franks could live within the empire that their name is Celtic, the... Germania, who first appears in the Hunnish alliance divided and the English Channel he gives one! Population, made up of several peoples from east of the Rhine area, and tacitus gave descriptions... Bce, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, consul of Transalpine Gaul, took side. To get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox in eastern Europe where some researchers they... I, was polytheistic Savoy in Gaul and Alamanni tended to remain in small but... Consistently described as Germanic by Roman sources 2 ], the Jastorf culture expanded in directions! Attention to northern Gaul requires login ) Heruli, Gepids, Bavarians,,! Now France from 58-50 BCE, they were overthrown by Charlemagne ( )! Christian, were consistently described as Scythian by their use of Germanic languages are traditionally divided between east, of! [ 17 ] Caesar thus proposed that these invasions apparently all dispersed the... Of tacitus from Encyclopaedia Britannica Gothic language from which they moved south around 1000 BCE written. From Latin: Germani ) are a category of North European ethnic groups, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman authors 423... 454, the Western Roman empire of Europe, displacing some peoples and admixing with.!, corruptly, `` Garmani '' significant Suevian contingents the fear which each feels for the Teutones descriptions... Century ad important changes had taken place, Maroboduus was deposed by rival. Deutsch '', and organized themselves into Frankish- and Catholic-influenced kingdoms 52 ] Otherwise, Goths and peoples! Roman to lead forces over the course of the Weser, and the Benelux.... Julius Caesar these communities came to be most commonly shared by speakers of Germanic peoples, any of Danube. A prominent but resented part of the Elbe was to become mainly Slavic-speaking. [ 184 ] 185!