They live, therefore, fenced around with chastity; 110 corrupted by no seductive spectacles, 111 no convivial incitements. Men and women are alike unacquainted with clandestine correspondence. Adultery is extremely rare among so numerous a people. Its punishment is instant, and at the pleasure of the husband. He cuts off the hair 112 of the offender, strips her, and in presence of her relations expels her from his house, and pursues her with stripes through the whole village. 113 Nor is any indulgence shown to a prostitute. Neither beauty, youth, nor riches can procure her a husband: for none there looks on vice with a smile, or calls mutual seduction the way of the world. Still more exemplary is the practice of those states 114 in which none but virgins marry, and the expectations and wishes of a wife are at once brought to a period. Thus, they take one husband as one body and one life; that no thought, no desire, may extend beyond him; and he may be loved not only as their husband, but as their marriage. 115 To limit the increase of children, 116 or put to death any of the later progeny 117 is accounted infamous: and good habits have there more influence than good laws elsewhere. 118
[ Ergo septae pudicitiâ agunt. Some editions have septâ pudicitiâ. This would imply, however, rather the result of the care and watchfulness of their husbands; whereas it seems the object of Tacitus to show that this their chastity was the effect of innate virtue, and this is rather expressed by septae pudicitiâ, which is the reading of the Arundelian MS.]
[ Seneca speaks with great force and warmth on this subject: "Nothing is so destructive to morals as loitering at public entertainments; for vice more easily insinuates itself into the heart when softened by pleasure. What shall I say! I return from them more covetous ambitious, and luxurious."—Epist. vii.]
[ The Germans had a great regard for the hair, and looked upon cutting it off as a heavy disgrace; so that this was made a punishment for certain crimes, and was resented as an injury if practiced upon an innocent person.]
[ From an epistle of St. Boniface, archbishop of Mentz, to Ethelbald, king of England, we learn that among the Saxons the women themselves inflicted the punishment for violated chastity; "In ancient Saxony (now Westphalia), if a virgin pollute her father's house, or a married woman prove false to her vows, sometimes she is forced to put an end to her own life by the halter, and over the ashes of her burned body her seducer is hanged: sometimes a troop of females assembling lead her through the circumjacent villages, lacerating her body, stripped to the girdle, with rods and knives; and thus, bloody and full of minute wounds, she is continually met by new tormenters, who in their zeal for chastity do not quit her till she is dead, or scarcely alive, in order to inspire a dread of such offences." See Michael Alford's Annales Ecclesiae Anglo-Saxon., and Eccard.]
[ A passage in Valerius Maximus renders it probable that the Cimbrian states were of this number: "The wives of the Teutones besought Marius, after his victory, that he would deliver them as a present to the Vestal virgins; affirming that they should henceforth, equally with themselves, abstain from the embraces of the other sex. This request not being granted, they all strangled themselves the ensuing night."—Lib. vi. 1.3.]
[ Among the Heruli, the wife was expected to hang herself at once at the grave of her husband, if she would not live in perpetual infamy.]
[ This expression may signify as well the murder of young children, as the procurement of abortion; both which crimes were severely punished by the German laws.]
In this regard the Romans get a point as they were not afraid of killing a baby that is faulty in order to keep the bloodline pure. Same as the Spartans, another group of giga-Chad Aryans. Though I have heard of such practices existing in some Germanic tribes, under the explanation of Tacitus having not covered enough and also a different time.
Seneca wrote that: "We put down mad dogs; we kill the wild, untamed ox; we use the knife on sick sheep to stop their infecting the flock; we destroy abnormal offspring at birth; children, too, if they are born weak or deformed, we drown. Yet this is not the work of anger, but of reason – to separate the sound from the worthless"
[ Quemquam ex agnatis. By agnati generally in Roman law were meant relations by the father's side; here it signifies children born after there was already an heir to the name and property of the father.]