Germany was invented by Julius Caesar who also believed Moose had no knees. Herman the German was an officer in the legions, ritual car washing dates back to the 1 century BC and Constantine relied on Frankish soldiers to gain control of the Roman empire. These and other stories about the first 500 years of German(ic) history are part of the Prologue in which I attempt to run through the first 1000 years of German history before 919 AD when the main narrative of the History of the Germans Podcast really starts.
This is a rapid rundown of the first 1000 years of “German” history starting with Julius Caesar naming the people living east of the Rhine “Germans”. The battle in the Teutoburg forest may look like a major German victory that kept Rome out, but the reality is a lot more prosaic. Germanic tribesmen became the mainstay of the legions, fighting off their cousins from across the wall, but were never really admitted into Roman society – something about their sense of humour I suppose. After the Western Empire had fallen the Merovingians under Clovis ruled most of Europe when they were not engaged in fratricide/matricide or enforcing haircuts. The Carolingians finally forged a mighty empire out of the Merovingian pieces, bringing about a cultural renaissance.