The Alamanni and Rome 213-496

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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 and became a stem duchy of the Holy Roman Empire. 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 , though other accounts suggest it may either have been fought earlier, in the s or early s, or later, in The Franks were successful at Tolbiac and established their dominance over the Alamanni.

The Franks were a group of Germanic peoples, whose name was first mentioned in 3rd century Roman sources, associated with tribes on the Lower and Middle Rhine, on the edge of the Roman Empire. Later the term was associated with Romanized Germanic dynasties within the collapsing Western Roman Empire, who eventually commanded the whole region between the rivers Loire and Rhine.

They then imposed power over many other post-Roman kingdoms and Germanic peoples, and still later Frankish rulers were given recognition by the Catholic Church as successors to the old rulers of the Western Roman Empire. Clovis was the first king of the Franks to unite all of the Frankish tribes under one ruler, changing the form of leadership from a group of royal chieftains to rule by a single king and ensuring that the kingship was passed down to his heirs. He is considered to have been the founder of the Merovingian dynasty, which ruled the Frankish kingdom for the next two centuries.

Alemannic , or rarely Alemannish 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. Swabia 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.

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. French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family.

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Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French. Because of Germany's long history as a non-united region of distinct tribes and states before January , there are many widely varying names of Germany in different languages, perhaps more so than for any other European nation. For example, in the German language, the country is known as Deutschland from the Old High German diutisc , in Spanish as Alemania and in French as Allemagne from the name of the Alamanni tribe, in Italian as Germania from the Latin Germania , in Polish as Niemcy from the Protoslavic nemets , and in Finnish as Saksa from the name of the Saxon tribe.

Old French was the language spoken in Northern France from the 8th century to the 14th century. It indicates that they were a conglomeration drawn from various Germanic tribes.


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He was a senator who wrote a book history of Rome, Chilieteris , which, according to the Suda, covered the period from the founding of Rome until the rule of Alexander Severus. He also wrote a Parthika in nine books, presumably a narrative of the Parthian campaigns of the preceding century. Some scholars attribute to him a Germanika , as well, although this is debated.

All of his works were in Greek. Agathias or Agathias Scholasticus , of Myrina Mysia , an Aeolian city in western Asia Minor, was a Greek poet and the principal historian of part of the reign of the Roman emperor Justinian I between and His most important work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire , was published in six volumes between and and is known for the quality and irony of its prose, its use of primary sources, and its polemical criticism of organised religion. 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.

Walafrid , alternatively spelt Walahfrid , surnamed Strabo , was an Alemannic Benedictine monk and theological writer who lived on Reichenau Island in southern Germany. The Suebi were a large group of related Germanic tribes, which included the Marcomanni, Quadi, Hermunduri, Semnones, Lombards and others, sometimes including sub-groups simply referred to as Suebi. He was the elder of the Brothers Grimm. The Alemanni were first mentioned by Cassius Dio describing the campaign of Caracalla in At that time, they apparently dwelt in the basin of the Main , to the south of the Chatti.

Cassius Dio portrays the Alemanni as victims of this treacherous emperor.

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. The legion was as a result honored with the name Germanica. 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. 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 AD.


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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 AD. Ammianus relates xvii.

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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". 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. 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 — 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. 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.

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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. 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 [ citation needed ] 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". 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. The latest known military inscription of Upper Germany is from , well before any likely date for withdrawal from the limes, as is that from Raetia north of the Danube, from There is no sign in the archaeological record of, say, a phased evacuation of forts. On the contrary, what we see in the reduction of bath buildings, the partial walling of gates and the reduction in size of buildings and of complete forts in the s and s are indications of eVorts to maintain the system as a whole.

His usurpation followed a burst of Germanic raiding over the Rhine.