Amal dynasty

The Amali, also called Amals, Amalings or Amalungs, were a leading dynasty of the Goths, a Germanic people who confronted the Roman Empire in its declining years in the west. They eventually became the royal house of the Ostrogoths and founded the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy.


The Amal clan was claimed to have descended from the divine.[1] Jordanes accounts Gothic origins as follows: "Now the first of these heroes, as they themselves relate in their legends, was Gapt, who begat Hulmul. And Hulmul begat Augis; and Augis begat him who was called Amal, from whom the name of the Amali comes. Athal begat Achiulf and Oduulf. Now Achiulf begat Ansila and Ediulf, Vultuulf and Ermanaric."[2] Gapt or Gaut is the Scandinavian god of war. Hulmul or Humli-Hulmul, is considered the divine father of the Danish people.[1] Ermanaric (also referred to as Ermanaricus or Hermanaric), is identified as a Greuthungian king who ruled territories in modern Ukraine. Ermanaric signals the tenth generation, and the first generation to be backed by historical record.[1]


The Amali remained a prominent family as the Greuthungi evolved into the Ostrogoths, became vassals of the Huns and moved west. In 453, the Ostrogoths regained their independence under the Amali, Theodemir. According to Jordanes, "Vultuulf begat Valaravans and Valaravans begat Vinitharius. Vinitharius moreover begat Vandalarius; Vandalarius begat Theodemir and Valamir and Vidimer."[2] Theodemir's son, Theoderic the Great, founded the Ostrogothic Kingdom.

A separate branch of the family were members of the Visigoths. Sigeric, a brief usurper to the Visigothic throne in 415, may have been a member of the Amali. Another Visigoth, Eutharic, reunited the branches of the family by marrying Theoderic's daughter Amalasuntha. Jordanes states "Hermanaric, the son of Achiulf, begat Hunimund, and Hunimund begat Thorismud. Now Thorismud begat Beremud, Beremud begat Veteric, and Veteric likewise begat Eutharic."

The last attested member of the Amali house was Theodegisclus, son of Theodahad.

In Literature

In the Nibelungenlied and some other medieval German epic poems, the followers of Dietrich von Bern are referred to as 'Amelungen'. In other cases, Amelung is reinterpreted as the name of one of Dietrich's ancestors. The Kaiserchronik also refers to Dietrich/Theoderic's family as the 'Amelungen', and in a letter of bishop Meinhard von Bamberg, as well as the Annals of Quedlinburg, 'Amulungum'/'Amelung' ("the Amelung") is used to refer to Dietrich himself. This shows that the family's legacy was remembered in oral tradition far into the Middle Ages, long after any stories about Amal himself had ceased to circulate.

Cassiodorus' Origo Gothica describes the Goths moving to the Black Sea, where they split into two factions, the Amali, who would later become the Ostrogoths, and the Balthi, who become the Visigoths. Both the Amali and the Balthi are recalled as families of "kings and heroes."[1] However, even before Cassiodorus' time, the tradition of the Amal appeared to be still popular. This is shown in the naming of the royals, like Theodoric's daughters, Ostrogotho and Amalasuintha, and his sister, Amalafrida, who were all given Amal names.[1]


At least two families claimed descent from Amali. The first family was Billungs, Dukes of Saxony. They were also known as Amelungs or von Ömlingen. Another family was Solovjovs, Barons of Russian Empire from 1727 (in German speaking sources known as von Solowhoff or Solowhoff von Greutungen). Solovjovs claimed Ermanaric was their ancestor.

In popular culture

  • The Amali appear as the "Amaling" dynasty in the grand strategy game Crusader Kings 2.

Amali Rulers

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Wolfram, Herwig (1988). History of the Goths. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 32.
  2. ^ a b Christensen, Arne Søby (2002-01-01). Cassiodorus, Jordanes and the History of the Goths: Studies in a Migration Myth. Museum Tusculanum Press. ISBN 9788772897103.



Amelung may refer to;

Ed Amelung (b. 1959), American baseball outfielder

Friedrich Amelung (1842–1909), German chess player

Günter Amelung (1914–1944), German World War II officer

Heinz-Günter Amelung (1917–1964), German World War II Luftwaffe officer

John Frederick Amelung (1741–1798), German-American glass artist

Walther Amelung (1865–1927), German archaeologistOne of the Amal dynasty

Balt dynasty

The Balt dynasty or Balth dynasty (Latin: Balti or Balthi, Balts) was the first ruling family of the Visigoths from 395 until 531. They led the Visigoths into the Western Roman Empire in its declining years.

According to the historian Ablabius, as reported by the historian Jordanes, the Visigoths had been ruled by the Balti since ancient times. Jordanes, however, says that all the Goths were formerly ruled by the Amal dynasty. Relying on Cassiodorus, Jordanes says that the Balts were "second" after the Ostrogothic Amals. He claims that the family was named from long ago for its daring: "Baltha, which [in Gothic] means bold" (Baltha, qui est audax). Historian Herwig Wolfram theorizes that the name may derive from Pliny the Elder's island of Baltia (i.e., isle of the Balts), which he also calls Basilia (i.e., royal land).The Visigoths as a nation were formed under the rule of Alaric I, the first named Balt, only in 395. He famously sacked Rome in 410. His descendants continued to rule down to 531, when on the death of Amalaric the line went extinct. In 507, the Visigoths were defeated by the Franks at the Battle of Vouillé and lost most of their kingdom. In 511, the Ostrogothic king Theoderic the Great intervened to depose the Balt king Gesalec. He ruled himself until his death in 526, when Amalaric succeded him. Theoderic's intervention is often credited with saving the Visigothic kingdom, but it ended the Balt dynasty.The private wealth (res privata) of the Balt kings, which had been a foundation of their legitimacy, was transformed into the royal treasury (thesaurus regalis) and became state property after 531. The dynastic principle was abandoned and kings were chosen by election until the fall of the Visigothic kingdom in711.


A dynasty (UK: , US: ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family, usually in the context of a feudal or monarchical system, but sometimes also appearing in elective republics. Alternative terms for "dynasty" may include "house", "family" and "clan", among others. The longest-surviving dynasty in the world is the Imperial House of Japan, otherwise known as the Yamato dynasty, whose reign is traditionally dated to 660 BC.

The dynastic family or lineage may be known as a "noble house", which may be styled as "royal", "princely", "ducal", "comital" etc., depending upon the chief or present title borne by its members.

Historians periodize the histories of numerous nations and civilizations, such as Ancient Egypt (3100–30 BC) and Imperial China (221 BC–AD 1912), using a framework of successive dynasties. As such, the term "dynasty" may be used to delimit the era during which a family reigned, and also to describe events, trends and artifacts of that period (for example, "a Ming-dynasty vase"). The word "dynasty" itself is often dropped from such adjectival references (id est, "a Ming vase").

Until the 19th century, it was taken for granted that a legitimate function of a monarch was to aggrandize his dynasty: that is, to expand the wealth and power of his family members.Prior to the 20th century, dynasties throughout the world have traditionally been reckoned patrilineally, such as under the Frankish Salic law. In nations where it was permitted, succession through a daughter usually established a new dynasty in her husband's ruling house. This has changed in some places in Europe, where succession law and convention have maintained dynasties de jure through a female. For instance, the House of Windsor will be maintained through the children of Queen Elizabeth II, as it did with the monarchy of the Netherlands, whose dynasty remained the House of Orange-Nassau through three successive queens regnant. The earliest such example among major European monarchies was in the Russian Empire in the 18th century, where the name of the House of Romanov was maintained through Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna. In Limpopo Province of South Africa, Balobedu determined descent matrilineally, while rulers have at other times adopted the name of their mother's dynasty when coming into her inheritance. Less frequently, a monarchy has alternated or been rotated, in a multi-dynastic (or polydynastic) system – that is, the most senior living members of parallel dynasties, at any point in time, constitute the line of succession.

Not all feudal states or monarchies were/are ruled by dynasties; modern examples are the Vatican City State, the Principality of Andorra, and the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta. Throughout history, there were monarchs that did not belong to any dynasty; non-dynastic rulers include King Arioald of the Lombards and Emperor Phocas of the Byzantine Empire. Dynasties ruling subnational monarchies do not possess sovereign rights; two modern examples are the monarchies of Malaysia and the royal families of the United Arab Emirates.

The word "dynasty" is sometimes used informally for people who are not rulers but are, for example, members of a family with influence and power in other areas, such as a series of successive owners of a major company. It is also extended to unrelated people, such as major poets of the same school or various rosters of a single sports team.

Gunther of Bamberg

Gunther (1025/1030 – 23 July 1065) was a German nobleman and prelate of the Holy Roman Empire. He served as Chancellor of Italy from 1054 until 1057 and as Bishop of Bamberg from 1057 until his death. He was the leader of the Great German Pilgrimage of 1064–65, on which he died.

Gunther was a regular at the imperial court, a man of luxurious living and a patron of letters. He revived High German literature with his commissioning of the Ezzolied on the eve of his pilgrimage. He was buried in a rich silk, the so-called Gunthertuch, that he had acquired on the pilgrimage.


Hadugato or Hathagat was an early Saxon leader, considered a founding father by the tenth century. In 531, he led the Saxons to victory over the Thuringians at the battle of Burgscheidungen, "a legendary victory, and one so great that [Hadugato] appeared to Saxons as an epiphany of divinity itself." The Chronica ducum de Brunswick records that in the Duchy of Brunswick in the sixteenth century a memorial week was still observed following Michaelmas (September 29) to celebrate the Saxon victory over the Thuringians.


The Ostrogoths (Latin: Ostrogothi, Austrogothi) were the eastern branch of the older Goths (the other major branch being the Visigoths). The Ostrogoths traced their origins to the Greutungi – a branch of the Goths who had migrated southward from the Baltic Sea and established a kingdom north of the Black Sea, during the 3rd and 4th centuries. They built an empire stretching from the Black Sea to the Baltic. The Ostrogoths were probably literate in the 3rd century, and their trade with the Romans was highly developed. Their Danubian kingdom reached its zenith under King Ermanaric, who is said to have committed suicide at an old age when the Huns attacked his people and subjugated them in about 370.

After their annexation by the Huns, little is heard of the Ostrogoths for about 80 years, after which they reappear in Pannonia on the middle Danube River as federates of the Romans. After the collapse of the Hun empire after the Battle of Nedao (453), Ostrogoths migrated westwards towards Illyria and the borders of Italy, while some remained in the Crimea (where the Crimean Ostrogoths existed as a distinct people until at least the 16th century). During the late 5th and 6th centuries, under Theodoric the Great most of the Ostrogoths moved first to Moesia (c. 475–488) and later conquered the Kingdom of Italy of the Germanic warrior Odoacer. In 493, Theodoric the Great established a kingdom in Italy.

A period of instability then ensued, tempting the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian to declare war on the Ostrogoths in 535 in an effort to restore the former western provinces of the Roman Empire. Initially, the Byzantines were successful, but under the leadership of Totila, the Goths reconquered most of the lost territory until Totila's death at the Battle of Taginae. The war lasted for almost 21 years and caused enormous damage and depopulation of Italy. The remaining Ostrogoths were absorbed into the Lombards who established a kingdom in Italy in 568.

Theodemir (Ostrogothic king)

Theodemir was king of the Ostrogoths of the Amal Dynasty, and father of Theoderic the Great. He had two "brothers" (actually brothers-in-law) named Valamir and Videmir. Theodemir was Arian, while his wife Erelieva was Catholic and took the Roman Christian name Eusebia upon her baptism. He took over the three Pannonian Goth reigns after the death of Widimir, ruled jointly with his brothers-in-law as a vassal of Attila the Hun. The reason is probably that this relatively long reign of the Ostrogoths in Pannonia, while his elder brother Thiudimir only for four years on the throne, followed by Theoderic, and firstly inherited, the heirless, Walamir's part of the kingdom. He was married to Erelieva, with whom he had two children: Theoderic (454–526) and Amalafrida. When Theodemir died in 475, Theoderic succeeded him as king.

History of the Germanic peoples
Pagan society
(until about
Early Middle Ages)

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