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great ethnic complex of ancient Europe, a basic stock in the composition of the modern peoples of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, N Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, N and central France, Lowland Scotland, and England.
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Germanic tribes that originally populated the northern Jutland Peninsula. At the end of the second century B.C., the Cimbri, the Teutoni, and the Ambroni moved south. After gaining a victory over the Romans at Noreia in 113 B.C., the Cimbri moved north into Gaul, where they inflicted a series of defeats on the Romans in 109, 107, and 105 B.C. In 102 B.C. they advanced on Rome and occupied all of Northern Italy. However, in 101 B.C. the troops of the Roman military leader Gaius Marius annihilated the Cimbri at Vercellae (Vercelli).