Nemo apud eos arat nec stivam aliquando contingit. omnes enim sine sedibus fixis, absque lare vel lege aut victu stabili dispalantur, semper fugientium similes, cum carpentis in quibus habitant: ubi coniuges taetra illis vestimenta contexunt, et coeunt cum maritis, et pariunt, et ad usque pubertatem nutriunt pueros. nullusque apud eos interrogatus respondere unde oritur potest, alibi conceptus natusque procul, et longius educatus.
(Ammianus Marcellinus, Res Gestae 31.2.10)

No one in their country* ever plows a field or touches a plow-handle. They are all without fixed abode, without hearth, or law, or settled mode of life, and keep roaming from place to place, like fugitives, accompanied by the wagons in which they live; in wagons their wives weave for them their hideous garments, in wagons they cohabit with their p387husbands, bear children, and rear them to the age of puberty. None of their offspring, when asked, can tell you where he comes from, since he was conceived in one place, born far from there, and brought up still farther away.

* that of the Huns.

(tr. John C. Rolfe)

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