The Alemanni (also Alamanni;[1] Suebi "Swabians"[2]) were a confederation of Germanic tribes on the Upper Rhine River. First mentioned by Cassius Dio in the context of the campaign of Caracalla of 213, the Alemanni captured the Agri Decumates in 260, and later expanded into present-day Alsace, and northern Switzerland, leading to the establishment of the Old High German language in those regions, by the eighth century named Alamannia.[3]

In 496, the Alemanni were conquered by Frankish leader Clovis and incorporated into his dominions. Mentioned as still pagan allies of the Christian Franks, the Alemanni were gradually Christianized during the seventh century. The Lex Alamannorum is a record of their customary law during this period. Until the eighth century, Frankish suzerainty over Alemannia was mostly nominal. After an uprising by Theudebald, Duke of Alamannia, though, Carloman executed the Alamannic nobility and installed Frankish dukes. During the later and weaker years of the Carolingian Empire, the Alemannic counts became almost independent, and a struggle for supremacy took place between them and the Bishopric of Constance. The chief family in Alamannia was that of the counts of Raetia Curiensis, who were sometimes called margraves, and one of whom, Burchard II, established the Duchy of Swabia, which was recognized by Henry the Fowler in 919 and became a stem duchy of the Holy Roman Empire.

The area settled by the Alemanni corresponds roughly to the area where Alemannic German dialects remain spoken, including German Swabia and Baden, French Alsace, German-speaking Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Austrian Vorarlberg.

The French language name of Germany, Allemagne, is derived from their name, from Old French aleman(t),[4] from French loaned into a number of other languages. Likewise, the Spanish name for Germany is Alemania.

Alemanni expansion
Area settled by the Alemanni, and sites of Roman-Alemannic battles, 3rd to 6th centuries


According to Gaius Asinius Quadratus (quoted in the mid-sixth century by Byzantine historian Agathias), the name Alamanni (Ἀλαμανοι) means "all men". It indicates that they were a conglomeration drawn from various Germanic tribes.[5] The Romans and the Greeks called them as such mentioned. This derivation was accepted by Edward Gibbon, in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire[6] and by the anonymous contributor of notes assembled from the papers of Nicolas Fréret, published in 1753.[7] This etymology has remained the standard derivation of the name.[8] An alternative suggestion proposes derivation from *alah "sanctuary".[9]

Walafrid Strabo in the 9th century remarked, in discussing the people of Switzerland and the surrounding regions, that only foreigners called them the Alemanni, but that they gave themselves the name of Suebi.[10] The Suebi are given the alternative name of Ziuwari (as Cyuuari) in an Old High German gloss, interpreted by Jacob Grimm as Martem colentes ("worshippers of Mars").[11]


First appearance in historical record

Part of Tabula Peutingeriana centered around present day Black Forest
Alamannia is shown beyond Silva Marciana (the Black Forest) in the Tabula Peutingeriana. Suevia is indicated separately, further downstream of the Rhine, beyond Silva Vosagus.
Alamannischi Girtelbschleg
Alemannic belt mountings, from a seventh-century grave in the grave field at Weingarten

The Alemanni were first mentioned by Cassius Dio describing the campaign of Caracalla in 213. At that time, they apparently dwelt in the basin of the Main, to the south of the Chatti.[5]

Cassius Dio portrays the Alemanni as victims of this treacherous emperor.[12] They had asked for his help, according to Dio, but instead he colonized their country, changed their place names, and executed their warriors under a pretext of coming to their aid. When he became ill, the Alemanni claimed to have put a hex on him. Caracalla, it was claimed, tried to counter this influence by invoking his ancestral spirits.

In retribution, Caracalla then led the Legio II Traiana Fortis against the Alemanni, who lost and were pacified for a time. The legion was as a result honored with the name Germanica." The fourth-century fictional Historia Augusta, Life of Antoninus Caracalla, relates (10.5) that Caracalla then assumed the name Alemannicus,"at which Helvius Pertinax jested that he should really be called Geticus Maximus," because in the year before he had murdered his brother, Geta.[13]

Through much of his short reign, Caracalla was known for unpredictable and arbitrary operations launched by surprise after a pretext of peace negotiations. If he had any reasons of state for such actions, they remained unknown to his contemporaries. Whether or not the Alemanni had been previously neutral, they were certainly further influenced by Caracalla to become thereafter notoriously implacable enemies of Rome.

This mutually antagonistic relationship is perhaps the reason why the Roman writers persisted in calling the Alemanni barbari," meaning "savages." The archaeology, however, shows that they were largely Romanized, lived in Roman-style houses and used Roman artifacts, the Alemannic women having adopted the Roman fashion of the tunica even earlier than the men.

Most of the Alemanni were probably at the time, in fact, resident in or close to the borders of Germania Superior. Although Dio is the earliest writer to mention them, Ammianus Marcellinus used the name to refer to Germans on the Limes Germanicus in the time of Trajan's governorship of the province shortly after it was formed, around 98-99 AD. At that time, the entire frontier was being fortified for the first time. Trees from the earliest fortifications found in Germania Inferior are dated by dendrochronology to 99-100 AD.

Ammianus relates (xvii.1.11) that much later the Emperor Julian undertook a punitive expedition against the Alemanni, who by then were in Alsace, and crossed the Main (Latin Menus), entering the forest, where the trails were blocked by felled trees. As winter was upon them, they reoccupied a "fortification which was founded on the soil of the Alemanni that Trajan wished to be called with his own name".[14]

In this context, the use of Alemanni is possibly an anachronism, but it reveals that Ammianus believed they were the same people, which is consistent with the location of the Alemanni of Caracalla's campaigns.

Alemanni and Hermunduri

Germania by Tacitus (AD 90) in Chapter 42 states that the Hermunduri were a tribe certainly located in the region that later became Thuringia. Tacitus states that they traded with Rhaetia, which in Ptolemy is located across the Danube from Germania Superior, suggesting that the Alemanni originally in part derived from the Hermunduri.

However, no Hermunduri appear in Ptolemy, though after the time of Ptolemy, the Hermunduri joined with the Marcomanni in the wars of 166–180 against the empire. Tacitus says that the source of the Elbe is among the Hermunduri, somewhat to the east of the upper Main. He places them also between the Naristi (Varisti), whose location was at the very edge of the Black Forest, and the Marcomanni and Quadi. Moreover, the Hermunduri were broken in the Marcomannic Wars and made a separate peace with Rome. The Alemanni thus were probably not primarily the Hermunduri, although some elements of them may have been present.

Ptolemy's Geography

Before the mention of Alemanni in the time of Caracalla, one would search in vain for Alemanni in the moderately detailed geography of southern Germany in Claudius Ptolemy, written in Greek in the mid-second century; at that time, the people who later used that name likely were known by other designations.[15]

Nevertheless, some conclusions can be drawn from Ptolemy. Germania Superior is easily identified. Following up the Rhine one comes to a town, Mattiacum, which must be at the border of the Roman Germany (vicinity of Wiesbaden). Upstream from it and between the Rhine and Abnoba (in the Black Forest) are the Ingriones, Intuergi, Vangiones, Caritni and Vispi, some of whom were there since the days of the early empire or before. On the other side of the northern Black Forest were the Chatti about where Hesse is today, on the lower Main.

Historic Swabia was eventually replaced by today's Baden-Württemberg, but it had been the most significant territory of mediaeval Alamannia, comprising all Germania Superior and territory east to Bavaria. It did not include the upper Main, but that is where Caracalla campaigned. Moreover, the territory of Germania Superior was not originally included among the Alemanni's possessions.

However, if one looks for the peoples in the region from the upper Main in the north, south to the Danube and east to the Czech Republic where the Quadi and Marcomanni were located, Ptolemy does not give any tribes. The Tubanti are just south of the Chatti and at the other end of what was then the Black Forest, the Varisti, whose location is known. One possible reason for this distribution is that the population preferred not to live in the forest except in troubled times. The region between the forest and the Danube, though, included about a dozen settlements, or "cantons".

Ptolemy's view of Germans in the region indicates that the tribal structure had lost its grip in the Black Forest region and was replaced by a canton structure. The tribes stayed in the Roman province, perhaps because the Romans offered stability. Also, Caracalla perhaps felt more comfortable about campaigning in the upper Main because he was not declaring war on any specific historic tribe, such as the Chatti or Cherusci, against whom Rome had suffered grievous losses. By Caracalla's time, the name Alemanni was being used by cantons themselves banding together for purposes of supporting a citizen army (the "war bands").

Concentration of Germanic peoples under Ariovistus

The term Suebi has a double meaning in the sources. On the one hand Tacitus' Germania tells us (Chapters 38, 39) that they occupy more than half of Germany, use a distinctive hair style, and are spiritually centered on the Semnones. On the other hand, the Suebi of the upper Danube are described as though they were a tribe.

The solution to the puzzle as well as explaining the historical circumstances leading to the choice of the Agri Decumates as a defensive point and the concentration of Germans there are probably to be found in the German attack on the Gallic fortified town of Vesontio in 58 BC. The upper Rhine and Danube appear to form a funnel pointing straight at Vesontio.

Julius Caesar in Gallic Wars tells us (1.51) that Ariovistus had gathered an army from a wide region of Germany, but especially the Harudes, Marcomanni, Triboci, Vangiones, Nemetes and Sedusii. The Suebi were being invited to join. They lived in 100 cantons (4.1) from which 1000 young men per year were chosen for military service, a citizen-army by our standards and by comparison with the Roman professional army.

Ariovistus had become involved in an invasion of Gaul, which the German wished to settle. Intending to take the strategic town of Vesontio, he concentrated his forces on the Rhine near Lake Constance, and when the Suebi arrived, he crossed. The Gauls had called to Rome for military aid. Caesar occupied the town first and defeated the Germans before its walls, slaughtering most of the German army as it tried to flee across the river (1.36ff). He did not pursue the retreating remnants, leaving what was left of the German army and their dependents intact on the other side of the Rhine.

The Gauls were ambivalent in their policies toward the Romans. In 53 BC the Treveri broke their alliance and attempted to break free of Rome. Caesar foresaw that they would now attempt to ally themselves with the Germans. He crossed the Rhine to forestall that event, a successful strategy. Remembering their expensive defeat at the Battle of Vesontio, the Germans withdrew to the Black Forest, concentrating there a mixed population dominated by Suebi. As they had left their tribal homes behind, they probably took over all the former Celtic cantons along the Danube.

Conflicts with the Roman Empire

Karte limes
The Limes Germanicus 83 to 260 CE.

The Alemanni were continually engaged in conflicts with the Roman Empire in the 3rd and 4th centuries. They launched a major invasion of Gaul and northern Italy in 268, when the Romans were forced to denude much of their German frontier of troops in response to a massive invasion of the Goths from the east. Their raids throughout the three parts of Gaul were traumatic: Gregory of Tours (died ca 594) mentions their destructive force at the time of Valerian and Gallienus (253–260), when the Alemanni assembled under their "king", whom he calls Chrocus, who "by the advice, it is said, of his wicked mother, and overran the whole of the Gauls, and destroyed from their foundations all the temples which had been built in ancient times. And coming to Clermont he set on fire, overthrew and destroyed that shrine which they call Vasso Galatae in the Gallic tongue," martyring many Christians (Historia Francorum Book I.32–34). Thus 6th-century Gallo-Romans of Gregory's class, surrounded by the ruins of Roman temples and public buildings, attributed the destruction they saw to the plundering raids of the Alemanni.

In the early summer of 268, the Emperor Gallienus halted their advance into Italy, but then had to deal with the Goths. When the Gothic campaign ended in Roman victory at the Battle of Naissus in September, Gallienus' successor Claudius Gothicus turned north to deal with the Alemanni, who were swarming over all Italy north of the Po River.

After efforts to secure a peaceful withdrawal failed, Claudius forced the Alemanni to battle at the Battle of Lake Benacus in November. The Alemanni were routed, forced back into Germany, and did not threaten Roman territory for many years afterwards.

Their most famous battle against Rome took place in Argentoratum (Strasbourg), in 357, where they were defeated by Julian, later Emperor of Rome, and their king Chnodomarius was taken prisoner to Rome.[5]

On January 2, 366, the Alemanni yet again crossed the frozen Rhine in large numbers, to invade the Gallic provinces, this time being defeated by Valentinian (see Battle of Solicinium). In the great mixed invasion of 406, the Alemanni appear to have crossed the Rhine river a final time, conquering and then settling what is today Alsace and a large part of the Swiss Plateau.[5] The crossing is described in Wallace Breem's historical novel Eagle in the Snow. The Chronicle of Fredegar gives the account. At Alba Augusta (Alba-la-Romaine) the devastation was so complete, that the Christian bishop retired to Viviers, but in Gregory's account at Mende in Lozère, also deep in the heart of Gaul, bishop Privatus was forced to sacrifice to idols in the very cave where he was later venerated. It is thought this detail may be a generic literary ploy to epitomize the horrors of barbarian violence.

List of battles between Romans and Alemanni

Europe and the Near East at 476 AD
Europe at the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD.

Subjugation by the Franks

Alamannien Hochburgund ca 1000
Alemannia (yellow) and Upper Burgundy (green) around 1000.

The kingdom of Alamannia between Strasbourg and Augsburg lasted until 496, when the Alemanni were conquered by Clovis I at the Battle of Tolbiac. The war of Clovis with the Alemanni forms the setting for the conversion of Clovis, briefly treated by Gregory of Tours. (Book II.31) Subsequently, the Alemanni formed part of the Frankish dominions and were governed by a Frankish duke.

In 746, Carloman ended an uprising by summarily executing all Alemannic nobility at the blood court at Cannstatt, and for the following century, Alemannia was ruled by Frankish dukes. Following the treaty of Verdun of 843, Alemannia became a province of the eastern kingdom of Louis the German, the precursor of the Holy Roman Empire. The duchy persisted until 1268.



The traditional distribution area of Western Upper German (Alemannic) dialect features in the 19th and 20th centuries

The German spoken today over the range of the former Alemanni is termed Alemannic German, and is recognised among the subgroups of the High German languages. Alemannic runic inscriptions such as those on the Pforzen buckle are among the earliest testimonies of Old High German. The High German consonant shift is thought to have originated around the 5th century either in Alemannia or among the Lombards; before that the dialect spoken by Alemannic tribes was little different from that of other West Germanic peoples.

Alemannia lost its distinct jurisdictional identity when Charles Martel absorbed it into the Frankish empire, early in the 8th century. Today, Alemannic is a linguistic term, referring to Alemannic German, encompassing the dialects of the southern two thirds of Baden-Württemberg (German State), in western Bavaria (German State), in Vorarlberg (Austrian State), Swiss German in Switzerland and the Alsatian language of the Alsace (France).

Political organization

The Alemanni established a series of territorially defined pagi (cantons) on the east bank of the Rhine. The exact number and extent of these pagi is unclear and probably changed over time.

Pagi, usually pairs of pagi combined, formed kingdoms (regna) which, it is generally believed, were permanent and hereditary. Ammianus describes Alemanni rulers with various terms: reges excelsiores ante alios ("paramount kings"), reges proximi ("neighbouring kings"), reguli ("petty kings") and regales ("princes"). This may be a formal hierarchy, or they may be vague, overlapping terms, or a combination of both.[16] In 357, there appear to have been two paramount kings (Chnodomar and Westralp) who probably acted as presidents of the confederation and seven other kings (reges). Their territories were small and mostly strung along the Rhine (although a few were in the hinterland).[17] It is possible that the reguli were the rulers of the two pagi in each kingdom. Underneath the royal class were the nobles (called optimates by the Romans) and warriors (called armati by the Romans). The warriors consisted of professional warbands and levies of free men.[18] Each nobleman could raise an average of c. 50 warriors.[19]


Reiterscheibe von Pliezhausen v2
The gold bracteate of Pliezhausen (6th or 7th century) shows typical iconography of the pagan period. The bracteate depicts the "horse-stabber underhoof" scene, a supine warrior stabbing a horse while it runs over him. The scene is adapted from Roman era gravestones of the region.[20]
Gutenstein warrior
The 7th-century Gutenstein scabbard, found near Sigmaringen, Baden-Württemberg, is a late testimony of pagan ritual in Alemannia, showing a warrior in ritual wolf costume, holding a ring-spatha.

The Christianization of the Alemanni took place during Merovingian times (6th to 8th centuries). We know that in the 6th century, the Alemanni were predominantly pagan, and in the 8th century, they were predominantly Christian. The intervening 7th century was a period of genuine syncretism during which Christian symbolism and doctrine gradually grew in influence.

Some scholars have speculated that members of the Alemannic elite such as king Gibuld due to Visigothic influence may have been converted to Arianism even in the later 5th century.[21]

In the mid-6th century, the Byzantine historian Agathias records, in the context of the wars of the Goths and Franks against Byzantium, that the Alemanni fighting among the troops of Frankish king Theudebald were like the Franks in all respects except religion, since

they worship certain trees, the waters of rivers, hills and mountain valleys, in whose honour they sacrifice horses, cattle and countless other animals by beheading them, and imagine that they are performing an act of piety thereby.[22]

He also spoke of the particular ruthlessness of the Alemanni in destroying Christian sanctuaries and plundering churches while the genuine Franks were respectful towards those sanctuaries. Agathias expresses his hope that the Alemanni would assume better manners through prolonged contact with the Franks, which is by all appearances, in a manner of speaking, what eventually happened.[23]

Apostles of the Alemanni were Columbanus and his disciple Saint Gall. Jonas of Bobbio records that Columbanus was active in Bregenz, where he disrupted a beer sacrifice to Wodan. Despite these activities, for some time, the Alemanni seem to have continued their pagan cult activities, with only superficial or syncretistic Christian elements. In particular, there is no change in burial practice, and tumulus warrior graves continued to be erected throughout Merovingian times. Syncretism of traditional Germanic animal-style with Christian symbolism is also present in artwork, but Christian symbolism becomes more and more prevalent during the 7th century. Unlike the later Christianization of the Saxons and of the Slavs, the Alemanni seem to have adopted Christianity gradually, and voluntarily, spread in emulation of the Merovingian elite.

From c. the 520s to the 620s, there was a surge of Alemannic Elder Futhark inscriptions. About 70 specimens have survived, roughly half of them on fibulae, others on belt buckles (see Pforzen buckle, Bülach fibula) and other jewelry and weapon parts. Use of runes subsides with the advance of Christianity. The Nordendorf fibula (early 7th century) clearly records pagan theonyms, logaþorewodanwigiþonar read as "Wodan and Donar are magicians/sorcerers", but this may be interpreted as either a pagan invocation of the powers of these deities, or a Christian protective charm against them.[24] A runic inscription on a fibula found at Bad Ems reflects Christian pious sentiment (and is also explicitly marked with a Christian cross), reading god fura dih deofile ᛭ ("God for/before you, Theophilus!", or alternatively "God before you, Devil!"). Dated to between AD 660 and 690, it marks the end of the native Alemannic tradition of runic literacy. Bad Ems is in Rhineland-Palatinate, on the northwestern boundary of Alemannic settlement, where Frankish influence would have been strongest.[25]

The establishment of the bishopric of Konstanz cannot be dated exactly and was possibly undertaken by Columbanus himself (before 612). In any case, it existed by 635, when Gunzo appointed John of Grab bishop. Constance was a missionary bishopric in newly converted lands, and did not look back on late Roman church history unlike the Raetian bishopric of Chur (established 451) and Basel (an episcopal seat from 740, and which continued the line of Bishops of Augusta Raurica, see Bishop of Basel). The establishment of the church as an institution recognized by worldly rulers is also visible in legal history. In the early 7th century Pactus Alamannorum hardly ever mentions the special privileges of the church, while Lantfrid's Lex Alamannorum of 720 has an entire chapter reserved for ecclesial matters alone.

See also


  1. ^ The spelling with "e" is used in Encyc. Brit. 9th. ed., (c. 1880), Everyman's Encyc. 1967, Everyman's Smaller Classical Dictionary, 1910. The current edition of Britannica spells with "e", as does Columbia and Edward Gibbon, Vol. 3, Chapter XXXVIII. The Latinized spelling with a is current in older literature (so in the 1911 Britannica), but remains in use e.g. in Wood (2003), Drinkwater (2007).
  2. ^ The Alemanni were alternatively known as Suebi from about the fifth century, and that name became prevalent in the high medieval period, eponymous of the Duchy of Swabia. The name is taken from that of the Suebi mentioned by Julius Caesar, and although these older Suebi did likely contribute to the ethnogenesis of the Alemanni, there is no direct connection to the contemporary Kingdom of the Suebi in Galicia.
  3. ^ in pago Almanniae 762, in pago Alemannorum 797, urbs Constantia in ducatu Alemanniae 797; in ducatu Alemannico, in pago Linzgowe 873. From the 9th century, Alamannia is increasingly used of the Alsace specifically, while the Alamannic territory in generally is increasingly called Suebia; by the 12th century, the name Suebia had mostly replaced Alamannia. S. Hirzel, Forschungen zur Deutschen Landeskunde 6 (1888), p. 299.
  4. ^ recorded as aleman in c. 1100, and with final dental, alemant or alemand, from c. 1160. Trésor de la Langue Française informatisé s.v. allemand.
  5. ^ a b c d  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Alamanni" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 468. Endnote: See
    • Dio Cassius lxvii. ff.
    • Ammianus Marcellinus, passim
    • Gregory of Tours, Historia Francorum, book ii.
    • C. Zeuss, Die Deutschen und die Nachbarstämme (Munich, 1837), pp. 303 ff.
    • O. Bremer in H. Paul, Grundriss der germanischen Philologie (2nd ed., Strassburg, 1900), vol. iii. pp. 930 ff.
  6. ^ Edward Gibbon. "Chapter 10". Retrieved 2012-01-02.
  7. ^ Histoire de l'Académie Royale des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, avec les Mémoires de Littérature tirés des Registres de cette Académie, depuis l'année MDCCXLIV jusques et compris l'année MDCCXLVI, vol. XVIII, (Paris 1753) pp. 49–71. Excerpts are on-line at ELIOHS.
  8. ^ It is cited in most etymological dictionaries, such as the American Heritage Dictionary (large edition) under the root, *man- Archived 2006-05-19 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ "the name is possibly Alahmannen, 'men of the sanctuary'" Inglis Palgrave (ed.), The Collected Historical Works of Sir Francis Palgrave, K.H. (1919), p. 443 (citing: "Bury's ed. of Gibbon (Methuen), vol. I [1902], p. 278 note; H. M. Chadwick, Origin of the English Nation [1907]").
  10. ^ Igitur quia mixti Alamannis Suevi, partem Germaniae ultra Danubium, partem Raetiae inter Alpes et Histrum, partemque Galliae circa Ararim obsederunt; antiquorum vocabulorum veritate servata, ab incolis nomen patriae derivemus, et Alamanniam vel Sueviam nominemus. Nam cum duo sint vocabula unam gentem significantia, priori nomine nos appellant circumpositae gentes, quae Latinum habent sermonem; sequenti, usus nos nuncupat barbarorum. Walafrid Strabo, Proleg. ad Vit. S. Galli (833/4) ed. Migne (1852); Thomas Greenwood, The First Book of the History of the Germans: Barbaric Period (1836), p. 498.
  11. ^ Rudolf Much, Der germanische Himmelsgott (1898), p. 192.
  12. ^ "Cassius Dio: Roman History". University of Chicago.
  13. ^ "Historia Augusta: The Life of Antoninus Caracalla". University of Chicago.
  14. ^ munimentum quod in Alamannorum solo conditum Traianus suo nomine voluit appellari.
  15. ^ Ptolemy's description has some limitations. Upper Germany and Lower Germany are mentioned by name, but only as specific districts of Gallia Belgica (2.8), the border between them was an unidentified river, the Obruncus. The region is repeated again under Germany, but this time he does not list Roman boundaries. Germania Superior, the Agri Decumates and the limes are not to be found there, though they certainly existed at the time. "Germania Magna" is found within the Rhine, Danube, Vistula and shores of the "Oceanus Germanicus". Most of the tribes are missing or listed without name. The Main is not there, nor is Lake Constance. The Danube runs from the Alps. The Rhine does not bend to the south next to Swabia. Ptolemy's Germania is like a surreal image of itself, accurate only if certain known lines are followed, but the overall shape is greatly distorted.
  16. ^ Drinkwater (2007) 118, 120
  17. ^ Drinkwater (2007) 223 (map)
  18. ^ Speidel (2004)
  19. ^ Drinkwater (2007) 120
  20. ^ Michael Speidel, Ancient Germanic warriors: warrior styles from Trajan's column to Icelandic sagas, Routledge, 2004, ISBN 978-0415311991, p. 162. Harald Kleinschmidt, People on the move: attitudes toward and perceptions of migration in medieval and modern Europe, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003, ISBN, 9780275974176, p. 66.
  21. ^ Schubert, Hans (1909). Das älteste germanische Christentum oder der Sogenannte "Arianismus" der Germanen. Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr. pg.32. Cf. also Bossert, G. "Alemanni" in: Jackson, S.M. (Ed.). New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. 1, pg. 114: "[the Alamannic] prince, Gibuld, was an Arian, probably converted by Goths".
  22. ^ trans. Joseph D. Frendo (1975). 1975. ISBN 9783110033571. Retrieved 2012-01-02.
  23. ^ R. Keydell, Agathiae Myrinaei historiarum libri quinque Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae. Series Berolinensis 2. Berlin: De Gruyter, 1967, p. 18f. 7. Νόμιμα δὲ αὐτοῖς [τῶν Ἀλαμανῶν ἔθνος] εἰσι μέν που καὶ πάτρια, τὸ δέ γε ἐν κοινῷ ἐπικρατοῦν τε καὶ ἄρχον τῇ Φραγγικῇ ἕπονται πολιτείᾳ, μόνα δέ γε τὰ ἐς (5) θεὸν αὐτοῖς οὐ ταὐτὰ ξυνδοκεῖ. δένδρα τε γάρ τινα ἱλάσκονται καὶ ῥεῖθρα ποταμῶν καὶ λόφους καὶ φάραγγας, καὶ τούτοις, ὥσπερ ὅσια δρῶντες, ἵππους τε καὶ βόας καὶ ἄλλα ἄττα μυρία καρατομοῦντες ἐπιθειάζουσιν. 2 ἀλλὰ γὰρ ἡ τῶν Φράγγων αὐτοὺς ἐπιμιξία, εnὖ ποιοῦσα, καὶ ἐς τόδε μετακοσμεῖ καὶ ἤδη ἐφέλκεται τοὺς εὐφρονεστέρους, οὐ πολλοῦ δὲ οἶμαι (10) χρόνου καὶ ἅπασιν ἐκνικήσει. 3 τὸ γὰρ τῆς δόξης παράλογόν τε καὶ ἔμπληκτον καὶ αὐτοῖς οἶμαι τοῖς χρωμένοις, εἰ μὴ πάμπαν εἶεν ἠλίθιοι, γνώριμόν τέ ἐστι καὶ εὐφώρατον καὶ οἶον ἀποσβῆναι ῥᾳδίως. ἐλεεῖσθαι μὲν οὖν μᾶλλον ἢ χαλεπαίνεσθαι δίκαιοι ἂν εἶεν καὶ πλείστης μεταλαγχάνειν συγγνώμης ἅπαντες, ὅσοι δὴ τοῦ ἀληθοῦς ἁμαρτάνουσιν. οὐ γὰρ (15) δήπου ἑκόντες εἶναι ἀλῶνται καὶ ὀλισθαίνουσιν, ἀλλὰ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ ἐφιέμενοι, ἔπειτα σφαλέντες τῇ κρίσει τὸ λοιπὸν ἔχονται τῶν δοκηθέντων ἀπρίξ, ὁποῖα ἄττα καὶ τύχοιεν ὄντα. 4 τήν γε μὴν τῶν θυσιῶν ὠμότητα καὶ κακοδαιμονίαν οὐκ οἶδα εἰ οἷόν τε λόγῳ ἀκέσασθαι, εἴτε ἄλσεσιν ἐπιτελοῖντο ὥσπερ ἀμέλει παρὰ βαρβάροις, εἴτε τοῖς πάλαι νενομισμέ-(20)νοις θεοῖς, ὁποῖα αἱ τῶν Ἑλλήνων ἐθέλουσιν ἁγιστεῖαι.
  24. ^ Düwel, Klaus (1982). "Runen und Interpretatio Christiana: Zur Religioneschichtlichen Stellung der Bügelfidel von Nordendorf I". In Kamp, Norbert; Wollasch, Joachim. Tradition als Historische Kraft. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 78–86. ISBN 311-008237-3.
  25. ^ Wolfgang Jungandreas, 'God fura dih, deofile †' in: Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum und deutsche Literatur, 101, 1972, pp. 84–85.


  • Drinkwater, J. F. (2007) The Alamanni and Rome (213–496)
  • Ian Wood (ed.), Franks and Alamanni in the Merovingian Period: An Ethnographic Perspective (Studies in Historical Archaeoethnology), Boydell & Brewer Ltd, 2003, ISBN 1-84383-035-3.
  • Melchior Goldast, Rerum Alamannicarum scriptores (1606, 2nd ed. Senckenburg 1730)

External links


Alamannia or Alemannia was the territory inhabited by the Germanic Alemanni peoples after they broke through the Roman limes in 213.

The Alemanni expanded from the Main River basin during the 3rd century, raiding Roman provinces and settling on the left bank of the Rhine River beginning in the 4th century.

Ruled by independent tribal kings during the 4th to 5th centuries, Alamannia lost its independence and became a duchy of the Frankish Empire in the 6th century. As the Holy Roman Empire started to form under King Conrad I of East Francia (reigning 911 to 918), the territory of Alamannia became the Duchy of Swabia in 915. Scribes often used the term Suebia interchangeably with Alamannia in the 10th to 12th centuries.The territory of Alamannia as it existed from the 7th to 9th centuries centered on Lake Constance and included the High Rhine, the Black Forest and the Alsace on either side of the Upper Rhine, the upper Danube River basin as far as the confluence with the Lech River, with an unclear boundary towards Burgundy to the south-west in the Aare River basin (the Aargau). Raetia Curiensis, although not part of Alemannia, was ruled by Alemannic counts, and became part of the Duchy of Swabia since it was established by Burchard I (Duke of Alemannia from 909 to 911).

The territory corresponds to what was still the areal of Alemannic German in the modern period, i.e. French Alsace, German Baden and Swabia, German-speaking Switzerland and the Austrian Vorarlberg.


Alemannic (Alamannic) or Alamanni may refer to:

Alemannic German, a dialect family in the Upper German branch of the German languages and its speakers

Alemanni, a confederation of Suebian Germanic tribes in the Roman period

Alamanni (surname)

Alemannic German

Alemannic, or rarely Alemmanish (German: Alemannisch ), is a group of dialects of the Upper German branch of the Germanic language family. The name derives from the ancient Germanic alliance of tribes known as the Alemanni ("all men").

Alexa Alemanni

Alexa Alemanni (born Alexa Torgerson) is an American actress. She appeared as Allison, secretary to Don Draper on the AMC original series Mad Men (2007–2010).

Battle of Argentovaria

The Battle of Argentovaria or Battle of Argentaria was fought in May 378 between the Western Roman Empire and the invading army of the Lentienses, a branch of the Alamanni, at Argentovaria (near Colmar, France). The Alemanni were overwhelmed by the Roman legionaries, though they stood their ground bravely. Only 9,000 escaped from the field and Priarius was slain. With this defeat, the Lentienses disappear from history.

The king of the Lentienses, Priarius, died during the battle. Emperor Gratian, who had given the command of the army for the battle to Nannienus and Mallobaudes, gained the title of Alemannicus Maximus.

Battle of Campi Cannini

The Battle of Camp Canini was fought between the Alemanni and the Western Roman Empire in 457. Taking advantage of the confusion after the defeat of Emperor Avitus at Placentia on 16 October 456, a Alemannic army crossed the Rhaetian Alps through Switzerland into Italy, reaching Lake Maggiore. At nearby Campi Cannini, the Alemanni were defeated by the Roman general Majorian. With the help of his Suebian ally Ricimer, Majorian was later proclaimed Roman emperor.

Battle of Durocortorum

The Battle of Reims or Battle of Durocortorum was fought in 356 between the Western Roman army led by Western Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate and the Alemanni. The Alemanni were victorious.

Battle of Lake Benacus

The Battle of Lake Benacus was fought along the banks of Lake Garda in northern Italy, which was known to the Romans as Benacus, in 268 or early 269 AD, between the army under the command of the Roman Emperor Claudius II and the Germanic tribes of the Alamanni and Juthungi.

Battle of Lingones

The Battle of Lingones was fought in 298 between the Western Roman Empire and the Alamanni. The Roman force was led by Constantius Chlorus, and was victorious.

Battle of Mediolanum

The Battle of Mediolanum took place in 259, between the Alamannic Germans and the Roman legions under the command of Emperor Gallienus.

Battle of Pavia (271)

The Battle of Ticinum or Battle of Pavia was fought in 271 near Pavia (Italy), and resulted in the Roman Emperor Aurelian destroying the retreating Juthungi army.

Battle of Tolbiac

The Battle of Tolbiac was fought between the Franks, who were fighting under Clovis I, and the Alamanni, whose leader is not known. The date of the battle has traditionally been given as 496, though other accounts suggest it may either have been fought earlier, in the 480s or early 490s, or later, in 506. The site of "Tolbiac", or "Tolbiacum", is usually given as Zülpich, North Rhine-Westphalia, about 60 km east of what is now the German-Belgian frontier. The Franks were successful at Tolbiac and established their dominance over the Alamanni.

Battle of Vindonissa

The Battle of Vindonissa was fought in 298 between the Roman Empire army, led by Emperor Constantius Chlorus, and the Alemanni. The Romans won the battle, fought in Vindonissa, strengthening Rome's defenses along the Rhine.

Duchy of Alsace

The Duchy of Alsace (Latin: Ducatus Alsacensi, Ducatum Elisatium; German: Herzogtum Elsaß) was a large political subdivision of the Frankish Empire during the last century and a half of Merovingian rule. It corresponded to the territory of Alsace and was carved out of southern Austrasia in the last decade of the reign of Dagobert I, probably to stabilise the southern reaches of Austrasia against Alemannia and Burgundy. By the late Middle Ages, the region was considered part of Swabia.


Gallienus (; Latin: Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus Augustus; c. 218 – September 268), also known as Gallien, was Roman Emperor with his father Valerian from 22 October 253 to spring 260 and alone from spring 260 to September 268. He ruled during the Crisis of the Third Century that nearly caused the collapse of the empire. While he won a number of military victories, he was unable to prevent the secession of important provinces. His 15-year reign was the longest since the 19-year rule of Caracalla.

Born into a wealthy and traditional senatorial family, Gallienus was the son of Valerian and Mariniana. Valerian became Emperor on 22 October 253 and had the Roman senate elevate Gallienus to the ranks of Caesar and Augustus. Valerian divided the empire between him and his son, with Valerian ruling the east and his son the west. Gallienus defeated the usurper Ingenuus in 258 and destroyed an Alemanni army at Mediolanum in 259.

The defeat and capture of Valerian at Edessa in 260 by the Sasanian Empire threw the Roman Empire into the chaos of civil war. Control of the whole empire passed to Gallienus. He defeated the eastern usurpers Macrianus Major Mussius Aemilianus in 261–262 but failed to stop the formation of the breakaway Gallic Empire under general Postumus. Aureolus, another usurper, proclaimed himself emperor in Mediolanum in 268 but was defeated outside the city by Gallienus and besieged inside. While the siege was ongoing, Gallienus was stabbed to death by the officer Cecropius as part of a conspiracy.


The Juthungi (Greek: Iouthungoi, Latin: Iuthungi) were a Germanic tribe in the region north of the rivers Danube and Altmühl in the modern German state of Bavaria.

The tribe was mentioned by the Roman historians Publius Herennius Dexippus and Ammianus Marcellinus. The meaning of their name is “descendants”, and refers to the ancient Suebian tribe of the Semnoni.

The Juthungi invaded Italy in 259–260, but on their way back they were defeated near Augsburg on 24–25 April 260 by Marcus Simplicinius Genialis (this is recorded on a Roman victory altar found in 1992). At this time the Roman Empire lost control of this part of the limes. Between 356 and 358 the Juthungi and the Alamanni invaded the province of Raetia, and destroyed Castra Regina (the Roman capital of the province, and one of the biggest Roman military camps in south Germany, with massive stone walls and a village). A second invasion of Raetia in 383 was repelled by an army of Alans and Huns. Between 429 and 431 the Roman general Aëtius also fought against the Juthungi in Raetia.

Lordship of Eglofs

The Lordship of Eglofs was an estate of the Holy Roman Empire, in the Württemberg Allgäu, located around the village of Eglofs, now in Argenbühl in the rural district of Ravensburg in southern Baden-Württemberg, Germany. From 1668 it was an Imperial Estate in the Holy Roman Empire with a seat on the Bench of Counts of Swabia. It was owned by Abensperg und Traun until 1804, when they sold it to Windisch-Grätz. Two years later, Eglofs was mediatised to the Kingdom of Württemberg.

Eglofs originates from the early 9th century. After the defeat and conquest of the Alemanni in 496 by the Franks, Christian Frankish settlers colonised former Alemanni lands in the Allgäu. Over time, the pagan Alemanni returned to the Allgau and established themselves as farmers. One Alemanni lord, Egilolf, built a castle in modern Eglofs, which over time took his name. The first mention of Eglofs was in 817 in an account of Saint Martin, although the people of Eglofs were still at the time pagan. Owing to its isolation and its proximity to important mountain passes through Switzerland, Eglofs received many rights denied to other settlements; Eglofs had its own courts, it paid fewer taxes, all inhabitants were free citizens (a right denied even to the Swiss cantons) from 1282, and it had the right to elect local leaders. In 1300, King Albert I mentioned Eglofs as a free village.

In 1243, the Emperor promised that the immediate rights of Eglofs would never be sold, but in later centuries the Emperors had need of money and they broke their promise, pawning the village to several different lords. The rights of the citizenry were slowly diminished, which invoked the farmers to ask for aid from the Free Cities of Wangen and Leutkirch. During the German Peasants' War (1524―25) the farmers and soldiers of Wangen burnt down the castle of the local lord and conquered the surrounding land, but with the ultimate victory of the gentry the farmers were brutally punished and the lordship restored. In 1668, the Counts of Abensperg und Traun were granted Eglofs with a seat on the Bench of Counts of Swabia in the Imperial Diet. They held the seat until 1804 when they sold it to the line of Windisch-Grätz-Eglofs. Two years later, it was mediatised to Württemberg.

Luigi Alamanni

Luigi Alamanni (sometimes spelt Alemanni) (6 March 1495 – 18 April 1556) was an Italian poet and statesman. He was regarded as a prolific and versatile poet. He was credited with introducing the epigram into Italian poetry.


Swabia (; German: Schwaben, colloquially Schwabenland or Ländle; in English also archaic Suabia or Svebia) is a cultural, historic and linguistic region in southwestern Germany.

The name is ultimately derived from the medieval Duchy of Swabia, one of the German stem duchies, representing the territory of Alemannia, whose inhabitants interchangeably were called Alemanni or Suebi.

This territory would include all of the Alemannic German area, but the modern concept of Swabia is more restricted, due to the collapse of the duchy of Swabia in the thirteenth century. Swabia as understood in modern ethnography roughly coincides with the Swabian Circle of the Holy Roman Empire as it stood during the Early Modern period, now divided between the states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.

Swabians (Schwaben, singular Schwabe) are the natives of Swabia and speakers of Swabian German. Their number was estimated at close to 0.8 million by SIL Ethnologue as of 2006, compared to a total population of 7.5 million in the regions of Tübingen, Stuttgart and Bavarian Swabia.

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