Sugambri, Sicambri, Sicamber, and Gambara
The matriarch, or Eve of the Germanic people
and Zion's Camp
I'm gonna be frank (forthright). In this account about Sugambri who were first mentioned by someone in ancient France, and whose name, as you will see towards the end, was preserved like amber in the French language, a word describing a fun and once-much-more-significant family tradition whose practice and name eventually spread to the four corners of the world.
The Sugambri (or Sicambri), a name for a people of northern Europe, was first mentioned in ancient accounts by Julius Caesar in the 50's BC, described as behind-the-scenes (or accurately, beyond-the-Rhine) allies of the newly-arrived Germans (Tencteri/Tungri) and their kindred companions occupying their north flank, the Euborones.
The point mentioned elsewhere bears repeating that these Tencteria/Tungri, were attested by Tacitus to be the very first tribe in the region to be called Germans. He also said that the use of the word German then began to spread and adopted among other peoples in northern Europe. To help you benefit from *why* that name spread is a core mission of this and related websites.
As mentioned elsewhere, the Su-gambri name is an apparent reference the Lombard migration leader Gambara. She was the mother of Ybor, the apparent leader of the Eubor-ones.
In the Lombard migration account, her two sons requestd and deferred to Gambara's wisdom when making crucial decisions for the benefit of their people. It was, to at least some degree, a symbiotic matriarchal society, advance by the formidable sons of such mothers. A practice which rippled down through the centuries in assemblies among some of the Germanic peoples (the ones who had not traded in their traditions for those of the meddling Roman Empire). And the women of such a society, who once had say as to whether their husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers marched off to war, would at teams armor up alongside the men, and march shoulder to shoulder to defend their people. The earliest Amazons of northern Europe.
They reportedly received the name Lombard when, before a pivotal battle, Gambara prayed to heaven to spare her people. In preparation for an answer to that prayer, their army took up position in the East, in the direction of the rising sun, and the women among their ranks veiled their faces, draping their long hair across their faces, so as to appear as bearded men. It was the sight of their faces among that united throng, disguised women (like Mu Lan) standing shoulder to shoulder with men, that Gambara's people were said to be granted a new name from Heaven: Langobards (Lombards). Simply meaning long hair/beards.
And among them the tradition galvanized among the rising men, to let their hair and beards grow unclipped, until they had distinguished themselves in the defense of their people. Something which Samson himself had started over a thousand years earlier.
Over five centuries later, Gambara's heroic memory was something still honored among her descendants, a memory which waves of Christian priests were apparently attempting to blot out, in a tug of war between the Germanic people remembering and honoring their origin accounts, and Catholic missionaries seeing that honoring of their parents/heritage somehow as competition for what they were trying to teach.
For example, when Clovis of the Merovingian royal line was baptized, a descendant of Salian (seafaring) Franks (and likely also of Rupriarian Franks), Bishop Remigius called Clovis "proud Sicamber," and told him to bow his head, and burn what he had honored. An apparent reference to discarding his ancient Sicamber or Su-gambri heritage, the memory of Gambara, the type of honorable past which Catholic clerics tried to pry from northern peoples in many nations for centuries. (Gregory of Tours, History of the Franks, II, 31). It was a foreshadowing of what Europeans in America would later attempt among Native Americans, a tragic attempt to deprive them of their own culture.
French-Merovingian King Clovis
baptized Christmas Day, 508 AD
As confirmation that the Frankish Su-gambri/Si-cambri name aligns with the Lombard leader Gambara, we also have the medieval Frankish kings continuing the long-haired tradition of the ancient Lombard (and Chatti) peoples. And centuries later, when the forefathers of Charlemagne opted to usurp the Merovingians from power, the public means of doing so included cutting the king's long hair, akin to how in ancient times, Samson temporarily lost his physicial power.
Of Samson, he was said in Judges "with a donkey's jawbone I have made donkeys of them. With a donkey's jawbone, I have killed a thousand men."
On July 12, 2017, I attended the Natural Museum of History museum in Salt Lake City, Utah. I first visited the First Peoples exhibit on my on, and noted a number of things there, including a petroglyph rock from Tooele County that, among its depictions, had what appears to be two Ogham etchings, similar to the Ogham writings discovered in Idaho, Wyoming, and West Virginia. You may read more about Ogham, and how it bridges the Atlantic, on a sister site.
Crossing the sky bridge from there to the Vikings exhibit, I met up with my brother, and we thoroughly enjoyed the displays there, and finished up our time with a game of Hnefatafl on the bench on the far north end of the exhibit.
There also, on display among the Viking artifacts was the jawbone of an ass. And even Balaam had an account of a talking ass.
And this talking ass, the term ass being what someone who has known me for years often calls me, I am actually quiet dumb/inept in the things that matter most. Like Forest Gump, I may not be a very smart man, but I know what love is. I might know a thing or two about family history, but I know very little about *how to* show love to my family they way they deserve to be loved. I simply haven't yet shown it properly to those who deserve it most. How to provide for them, the comforts, needs, and wants that they deserve and were once promised. This work has occupied me at length for years, and has understandably cost me their respect and company. May they one day benefit from this...and hopefully, one day forgive me for compiling a family history for all of us. One day soon, I hope to learn how to stop being a dumb ass. To research, ponder, and write less, and to love and cherish those closest to me more.
One of my most fond recent memories was with my son and my daughter on a brief trip to southern Utah and northern Arizona. We visited Moab with Arches National Monument, Zion National Park, Antelope Canyon, and Bryce Canyon. If we didn't mind being rushed, we would have visted the ancient cliff dwellings in southwest Colorado, where we cancelled our reservation, and Four Corners X-marks-the-spot place where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona meet. (I'm getting to the point.)
One of the highlights of that trip was a horseback tour with them through Bryce Canyon National Park, where I had been assigned to ride an ass, like ancient Balaam when the migrating people of Israel passed through his land. Unlike Balaam, I will not curse or thwart a living prophet, or his people, who are descendants of Israel, but am instead one among them. That tribe of Israel, guided also by twelve living apostles, are the ones among whom I was raised, and who taught me in my youth of the ancient record kept by Nefi, a contemporary of Daniel and Jeremiah and Ezekiel. And they taught me to sing about Nefi and of his courage, and of how that courage was passed down for centuries among his descendants.
They taught me of Nefi's distant descendant Mormon, contemporary with the fall of Rome, and Mormon's son Moroni, tragic contempories with young people across the Atlantic who would later be mentioned in the Germanic Nibelunglied, and in its later Norse equivalent. And the Norse of Iceland dutifully preserved their ancestor's name: Nefi.
God bless the Mormons, for preserving, translating, and freely sharing Nefi's ancient record with all who wish to read. May God especially bless all who gratefully take that message to heart. I am grateful for the ministry of Mormons in my life. As should you be. Without their role in my life, you would not know the truth of your own European ancestors, descendants of migrant heroes like Gambara and Nefi.
When you eventually read Nefi's ancient record, and Mormon and Moroni's closing words, note the example of Hagoth halfway through the account, who built ships for his people. Far away in new land for them (Europe) Hagoth then became ringleader among the freedom fighters seeking to drive newly-arrived Roman legions out. He laid down his life to serve and defend the people of Europe from Roman cruelty.
For Hagoth's role as a freedom fighter, Rome scourged and crucified him, and ordered that any who supported him should be denied fire and water. Being denied fire (hearth/lodging/shelter) and refreshment (food and water). Those who understand the laws/traditions of hospitality among the peoples of northern Europe would know that denying someone such things was no small thing. They would not have done so had the threat of Rome been pushed back to Italy. Hagoth's followers were all deemed outcasts. And many of them retreated eastward across the Rhine. Others across the Channel to the British Isles. In both cases, out of Rome's harsh and inhospitable grasp.
And in response to Hagoths execution under false charges of treason, the peoples of Gaul then rose up, and the following year marched on Alesia in formations of tens of thousands. They came very close to making an end of Rome's legions.
Centuries later, in the 400's AD, contemporary with the youth among the Nibelunglied, Gambara's descendants and allies would march on Rome for its centuries of offenses and cruelty, and topple that decadent Empire, it's former domains becoming theirs.
That message is to would-be tyrants in government, business, and family settings. Please rethink your ways. Today. And start treating the poor and the single mothers, those in need among you with greater charity. The sons of Nefi and of his father Lehi, stand on guard, and watch. As do the daughters of Lehi's wife Sariah, modern Amazons. And we now number in the hundreds of millions.
Those of us of the European branch are descendants of noble elves and of the Si descendants of the honorable Tuatha de Danaan. And we stroke our beards, and the women among us stroke their pretend beards, and we watch from the north, and from the south, and from the east, and from the west, and from your very center. Be wise. Be kind to those around you. Be true and benevolent to the faith and stewardship entrusted to you.
If you are unkind to those around you, you may at a day of our choosing be quietly added to a naughty list. And we will either disappear into the trees en masse, taking those of like mind with us, and let your civilization collapse under its own weight, as our forefathers could have chosen to do with Rome.
Or we and those of like mind may one day knock at your door (or at your gates) as our fathers did sixteen centuries ago, at the gates of Rome itself. This latter option is possible, but unlikely. The elf in us prefers to simply withdraw into the forest, and blend into the trees, and let a corrupt society collapse under its own weight.
Gambara's son Hagoth died on the cross, echoing the slave-freeing Spartacus who died 20 years earlier. And Hagoth's death doing his best to free others from their plight foreshadowed his hero, Jesus of Nazareth, who about eighty years later would be charged with treason. He was pronounced guilty, scourged, and crucified to make us free. He promised that the truth would make us free. And that truth can be found in pages of Nefi's records, and more so among the apostles who will guide you in compassion.
Jesus gave his life on the cross, but then rose from the tomb days later. And to this day, Christians sing of him. And our Abrahamic Jewish and Muslim brothers honor him.
Our fathers honored their migration leader Gambara. And they preserved the memory of their ancestor Nefi in song. And they looked forward to the ancient promise, likely embedded in song, of when Jesus would soon come. And he visited them in northern Europe, after his resurrection, and before ascending to his father in Heaven. Decades later, before marching into the fray of battle to defend their lands, their faith, their families, and their freedoms, they sang a battle hymn of Jesus, who the Romans chose to mask as Hercules, who visited them in northern Europe shortly after rising from the grave. A reality which even Tacitus attested to...as much as his filtering prejudices would allow. You may read more of such things, and of your ancestors' promises to you. To do so, ask around for the record of Nefi, and for songs about Nefi, and about the Book of Mormon.
As you learn such things by heart, please be our guest at our companion site, Candlestick Studio.
May we honor the faith of our fathers, and give respect and deference to the insight of our faithful mothers, as the ancient Winnili/Venelli/Lombard leaders gave deference to the wisdom of their mother Gambara, during their earliest trek across Europe.
Hagoth was crucified in 53 BC, likely when his newly-arrived mother Gambara was still alive. She may well have been a disguised mourning witness to such events. Just as about 80 years later, Jesus' mother Mary was a witness to her son's crucifixion at the cross outside Jerusalem. To read of that, one has the choice of reading Nefi's record, or the New Testament, or the Saxon Heliand. Where to start? You choose. All such paths lead eventually to temple.
From my mother's Levite heritage: "Shalom" (peace). And from my father's Scandinavian heritage: "Vi Ses" (see you). And from an amazing people I onced served among, along the southern borders of Scandinavia, whose language my Danish companion said he couldn't initially understand a single word of what they said, a shiboleth: "Moin." In the OT, a shiboleth was a means of allowing someone to quickly reveal whether they were friend or foe.
Moin is a word used and known in southern Denmark, and northern Germany, and among those speaking Low German, and among Frisians in the far north of the Netherlands, in northwest Germany, and southwest Denmark. Just like Aloha in the Pacific, Moin among the North Sea peoples means both hello *and* goodbye. And like Ben Franklin trying to decide whether a pattern on a chair in the earliest assembly of America's Founding Fathers symbolized a sunrise (the beginning of freedom) or a sunset (ensuing darkness)...you are likewise free to decide whether Moin means hello or goodbye. Franklin decided the chair showed a sunrise, the dawning of a new day. You are likewise free to choose. After reviewing what the word German acdtually means, please choose it to mean "hello", and to become our friend and family. The family of man-kind. May the human "race" be the kind of race where we help and cheer one another across the finish line.
While we do so, may we be happy campers. (cue: the refrain Happy are we...") And a glance at the etymology of camper. The word that traces to Gambara and her people as their camp marched across northern Europe. In French, se-camper (Sicamber/Sicambri) literally means to put oneself in a bold, provocative pose. Which is Gambar's son Hagoth did, as the ringleader of freedomfighters against Roman legions. And such a pose is what Gambara's tribeswomen did when taking up ranks alongside men, and veiling themselves in a way that was both fierce and comical - a sight that no mortal would actually confuse at close range for a man.
What distraction such a sight would cause, when as the enemy approached, the women unveiled their faces, and in Monty-Python prose, taunted their enemy yet again. How do you fight, when you don't whether to fear (which one should) or drop one's weaopn and grin (which one also should)?
If this generation chooses to unite and repent (change/improve) in sackcloth, may we after a brief, yet earnest prayer of thanksgiving and blessing on the food, promptly lift our heads and celebrate the dawning of a new day, in sackcloth and joy:
Sugambri essentially seems to mean something akin in meaning to "Mi Casa es Su Casa", but in specific reference to Gambara and her camp, and her people's invitation to others to rally to their banner, and join their stand for freedom, kindness and truth. An invitation which gathered in many peoples, Gauls and Roman troops alike.
A microcosm of the word Sugambri (Your Gambara) was in essence echoing what Ruth said to Boaz, when she promised to join his people, *and* his faith.
Prior to being called that, they were called Si-cambri, the "si" likely having the same meaning among Gallic/Celtic observers as "sci" in Cheru-sci, and Si/Sidh/Shee in Irish, meaning mounds/ earthworks. Suggesting that this new people were initially associated with an earthwork defense style brought over to ancient Europe by Nephite/Ammonite veterans who before embarking, had just ended a lengthy war in Vinland, using precisely those tactics.
A shift from sicambri to sugambri may simply be a matter of language or dialect. It could also indicate a semantic shift, a shift in posture, meaning Gambara's people as Si- people (earthwork peole) initially defended themselves well and stood their ground, and then becoming better known, as Su people, in keeping with their German/Hermano/Heramano reputation, invited other beleagured peoples of good heart to join the cause, and rally to their flag.
So next time you go camping, or sit around a campfire, remember Gambara, and Hagoth, and Amazons, and Longbeards, taking a stand against legions, not just for themselves and their posterity, but on behalf of their neighbors, the rest of Europe. May their legaacy ripple out to the four corners of the world.
Copyright 2017, John D. Nelson