The term "Germanic" originated in classical times, when groups of tribes were referred to using this term by Roman authors. For them, the term was not necessarily based upon language, but rather referred to tribal groups and alliances who were considered less civilized, and more physically hardened, than the Celtic Gauls living in the region of modern France. Tribes referred to as Germanic in that period lived generally to the north and east of the Gauls. Germanic tribes played a major role throughout the history of Europe's development.
Modern Germanic peoples include the Norwegians, Swedes, Danes, Icelanders, Germans, Austrians, English, Dutch, Afrikaners, Flemish, Frisians, Lowland Scots and others (including diaspora populations, such as most European Americans).