Cimbri, a warlike people of antiquity, who first appear in the history of the Romans in the year 113 B. C. Together with the Teutons they left their abodes in N. W. Germany with their families, wagons, and cattle, in great numbers, attacked their western neighbors, were repulsed, and, turning their arms southward, crossed the eastern Alps and entered II-lyricum, then recently made a Roman province. Their original abode is not known. Some of the later historians suppose them to be Germans, like the Teutons, and inhabitants of the shores of the North sea; so Caesar, Tacitus, and Pliny, who gave the name of Chersonesus Cimbrica to modern Jutland. Others, like Sallust, suppose them to be Gauls; Greek writers connect their name and history with those of the Scythian Cimmerii of the Crimean peninsula; some modern critics regard them as Celts and relatives of the Cymry of Britain. The consul Papirius Carbo first met them in the field near Noreia, in Styria, when the valor of the huge barbarians and their numbers overwhelmed the Romans, and their devastations spread terror all around.
They could have easily penetrated into Italy, but choosing to take their course westward, they passed over the Rhine and pillaged Gaul. Another consular army sent thither was also routed in 109; but their offer of alliance and request for lands were rejected by the Romans. Their new allies, the Helvetians, defeated the consul Longinus, who fell in the battle, while his legate was routed by the chief body of the invaders. They next moved in the direction of Italy, crowds of Gauls joining them, and near the Rhone two other consular armies were defeated and their camps taken. The way to Italy was open; terror reigned in Rome. It then happened, for the first time in that city, that no candidate for the consulship appeared. But the Cimbri happily chose another way, passed the Pyrenees, and plundered Spain for a couple of years; and before they returned the victor of Jugur-tha, Marius, who was regarded as the last hope of Koine, and had been three times successively elected consul, formed an army, with which he advanced into Gaul to meet the approaching Teutons, while the other consul, Catulus, opposed the Cimbri, who separately passed the Alps and awaited their allies in the valleys of Italy. In 102, in a battle.which lasted several days at Aquae Sextiae (Aixin Provence), Marius routed the Teutons, and their allies the Am-brones, with immense slaughter, and hastened to the aid of his less successful colleague in Italy. The terrible Cimbri had passed the Rhaetian Alps, gliding down, it was said, on their shields, had turned the course of the Adige to pass its valley more easily, and compelled the legions of Catulus to retreat.
In 101 Marius fought a battle on the Raudian fields, near Verona. The battle array of the barbarians formed an immense square, covered with their shields, linked together with chains; they were armed with helmets, cuirasses, and spears, and had 15,000 horse; their attack was formidable. But the heat of Italy, the sun and the dust, and the tactics of the Romans, led by Marius, Catulus, and Sulla, overcame them; 1 hey were not only defeated, but exterminated: 140.000 men were killed. Still their women fiercely defended their wagons and carts, which formed a kind of fortification. When further resistance became impossible, they killed their children, and then themselves. Some slight remnants of the Cimbric nation reappear afterward, mentioned by Caesar as inhabiting Belgium, and by Tacitus, who speaks of a Cimbric embassy to Augustus from what is now called Jutland, who in their address to the emperor referred to the wars their ancestors had made on the Romans.