Alamanni
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The Alemanni (also ''Alamanni''; ''Suebi'' "Swabians") were a confederation of
Germanic tribe This list of ancient Germanic peoples is a list of groups and alliances of ancient Germanic peoples in ancient times. These reports begin in the 2nd century BC and extend into late antiquity. Beginning with the states of the Early Middle Ages, the ...

Germanic tribe
s * * * on the
Upper Rhine The Upper Rhine (german: Oberrhein ; french: Rhin Supérieur) is the section of the Rhine in the Upper Rhine Plain between Basel in Switzerland and Bingen am Rhein, Bingen in Germany. The river is marked by Rhine-kilometres 170 to 529 (the ...
River. First mentioned by
Cassius Dio Lucius Cassius Dio (), also known as Dio Cassius ( ), was a Roman historian and senator of Greek origin. He published 80 volumes of the history on ancient Rome, beginning with the arrival of Aeneas in Italy. The volumes documented the subsequent ...
in the context of the campaign of
Caracalla Caracalla ( 4 April 188 – 8 April 217), formally known as Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variet ...

Caracalla
of 213, the Alemanni captured the in 260, and later expanded into present-day
Alsace Alsace (, also ; Low Alemannic German/ gsw-als, 's Elsàss ; german: Elsass ; la, Alsatia; ) is a cultural region and a territorial collectivity in Eastern France, on the west bank of the upper Rhine next to Germany and Switzerland. In 2017, i ...

Alsace
, and northern
Switzerland ,german: Schweizer(in),french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under a multi-party assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_t ...

Switzerland
, leading to the establishment of the
Old High German Old High German (OHG, german: Althochdeutsch, German abbr. ) is the earliest stage of the German language The German language (, ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or c ...
language in those regions, by the eighth century named ''
Alamannia Alamannia or Alemannia was the territory inhabited by the Germanic peoples, Germanic Alemanni peoples after they broke through the Roman ''Upper Germanic Limes, limes'' in 213. The Alemanni expanded from the Main (river), Main River basin during ...
''. In 496, the Alemanni were
conquered
conquered
by
Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman author ...

Frankish
leader
Clovis Clovis may refer to: People * Clovis (given name), the early medieval (Frankish) form of the name Louis ** Clovis I (c. 466 – 511), the first king of the Franks to unite all the Frankish tribes under one ruler ** Clovis II (c. 634 – c. 657), ...

Clovis
and incorporated into his
dominions The term dominion was used to refer to one of several self-governing nations of the British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other De ...

dominions
. Mentioned as still
pagan Paganism (from classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin, Latin language recognized as a Literary language, literary standard language, standard by writers of the late Roman Republic and early Roman Empire. It was used from 75 BC ...
allies of the
Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ''Christian'' derive from the Koi ...
Franks, the Alemanni were gradually Christianized during the seventh century. The is a record of their customary law during this period. Until the eighth century, Frankish
suzerainty Suzerainty () is a relationship in which one state or other polity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized socia ...
over Alemannia was mostly nominal. After an uprising by
Theudebald, Duke of Alamannia Theudebald or Theutbald was the Duke of Alamannia from 730 until his deposition. He was a son of Gotfrid and brother and co-ruler with Lantfrid from 709. In 727, Theudebald expelled Pirmin, the founder of Reichenau Abbey, out of a hatred for Charl ...
, though,
Carloman Carloman may refer to: * Carloman (fl. late 6th century), father of Pepin of Landen * Carloman (mayor of the palace) (ruled 741–47) * Carloman I, king of the Franks (768–71) * Carloman, birth name of Pepin of Italy (781–810) * Carloman, son of ...

Carloman
executed the Alamannic nobility and installed Frankish dukes. During the later and weaker years of the
Carolingian Empire The Carolingian Empire (800–888) was a large Franks, Frankish-dominated empire in western and central Europe during the early Middle Ages. It was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty, which had ruled as kings of the Franks since 751 and as kings of ...
, the Alemannic counts became almost independent, and a struggle for supremacy took place between them and the
Bishopric of Constance The Prince-Bishopric of Constance, (german: Hochstift Konstanz, Fürstbistum Konstanz, Bistum Konstanz) was a small Hochstift, ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire from the mid–12th century until its German Mediatisation, seculari ...
. The chief family in Alamannia was that of the counts of , who were sometimes called margraves, and one of whom, Burchard II, established the
Duchy of Swabia The Duchy of Swabia (German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German ...
, which was recognized by
Henry the Fowler Henry the Fowler (german: Heinrich der Vogler or '; la, Henricus Auceps) (c. 876 – 2 July 936) was the Duke of Saxony This article lists dukes, electors, and kings ruling over different territories named Saxony from the beginning of the Sa ...

Henry the Fowler
in 919 and became a
stem duchy A stem duchy (german: Stammesherzogtum, from '':wikt:Stamm, Stamm'', meaning "tribe", in reference to the Franks, Saxons, Bavarii, Bavarians and Alemanni, Swabians) was a constituent duchy of the Kingdom of Germany, German Empire at the time of th ...
of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Europe, Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its D ...
. The area settled by the Alemanni corresponds roughly to the area where
Alemannic German Alemannic, or rarely Alemannish (''Alemannisch'', ), is a group of High German dialects. The name derives from the ancient Germanic tribal confederation known as the Alemanni. Distribution Alemannic dialects are spoken by approximately ten mi ...
dialects remain spoken, including German
Swabia upThe coat of arms of Baden-Württemberg: ''Or, three lions passant sable'', the arms of the Duchy of Swabia, in origin the coat of arms of the House of Hohenstaufen. Also used for Swabia (and for Württemberg-Baden during 1945–1952) are ...

Swabia
and
Baden__notoc__ Baden (; ) is a historical territory in South Germany and North Switzerland ,german: Schweizer(in),french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democrac ...

Baden
, French
Alsace Alsace (, also ; Low Alemannic German/ gsw-als, 's Elsàss ; german: Elsass ; la, Alsatia; ) is a cultural region and a territorial collectivity in Eastern France, on the west bank of the upper Rhine next to Germany and Switzerland. In 2017, i ...

Alsace
,
German-speaking Switzerland is shown in orange on this map of Languages of Switzerland The four national languages of Switzerland are German language, German, French language, French, Italian language, Italian and Romansh language, Romansh. German, French and Italian mai ...
,
Liechtenstein Liechtenstein ( ; ), officially the Principality of Liechtenstein (german: link=no, Fürstentum Liechtenstein), is a German language, German-speaking microstate located in the Alps between Austria and Switzerland. Liechtenstein is a constituti ...

Liechtenstein
and Austrian
Vorarlberg Vorarlberg ( , ; gsw, label=Vorarlbergisch, Vorarlbearg, , or ) is the westernmost States of Austria, state () of Austria. It has the second-smallest geographical area after Vienna and, although it has the second-smallest population, it also has ...

Vorarlberg
. The
French language French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (S ...

French language
name of Germany Because of Germany's long history as a non-united region of distinct tribes and states before 1871, there are many widely varying names of Germany in different languages, more so than for any other European nation. For example, in the German la ...
, , is derived from their name, from
Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the Latin spok ...
''aleman(t)'', from French loaned into a number of other languages, including
Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language spoken after the Norman conquest of England, Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th century. The English language underwent distinct variations and developments following ...
which commonly used the term ''Almains'' for Germans. Likewise, the
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
name for Germany is (Almania), the
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
is Alemania, the
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

Portuguese
is Alemanha,
Welsh Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wales ** Patagonian Welsh, a dialect of Wels ...
is Yr Almaen and
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
is (Alman).


Name

According to
Gaius Asinius Quadratus Gaius Asinius Quadratus ( grc, Κοδράτος) ( fl. AD 248) was a Greek historian of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rom ...
(quoted in the mid-sixth century by Byzantine historian
Agathias Agathias or Agathias Scholasticus ( grc-gre, Ἀγαθίας σχολαστικός; Martindale, Jones & Morris (1992), pp. 23–25582/594), of Myrina (Mysia) Myrina ( grc, Μυρίνα) was one of the Aeolis, Aeolian cities on the western coast of ...
), the name ''Alamanni'' (Ἀλαμανοι) means "all men". It indicates that they were a conglomeration drawn from various Germanic tribes. The Romans and the Greeks called them as such mentioned. This derivation was accepted by
Edward Gibbon Edward Gibbon (; 8 May 173716 January 1794) was an English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval Eng ...

Edward Gibbon
, in his ''Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'' and by the anonymous contributor of notes assembled from the papers of Nicolas Fréret, published in 1753.''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 a
ELIOHS
This etymology has remained the standard derivation of the name. An alternative suggestion proposes derivation from '':wikt:Reconstruction:Proto-Germanic/alhs, *alah'' "sanctuary". 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''. 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 Thingsus, Mars").


History


First appearance in historical record

The Alemanni were first mentioned by
Cassius Dio Lucius Cassius Dio (), also known as Dio Cassius ( ), was a Roman historian and senator of Greek origin. He published 80 volumes of the history on ancient Rome, beginning with the arrival of Aeneas in Italy. The volumes documented the subsequent ...
describing the campaign of
Caracalla Caracalla ( 4 April 188 – 8 April 217), formally known as Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variet ...

Caracalla
in 213. At that time, they apparently dwelt in the basin of the Main River, Main, to the south of the Chatti. Cassius Dio portrays the Alemanni as victims of this treacherous emperor. 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, 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, Publius Septimius Geta, Geta. 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 the Apostate, 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". 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 (book), Germania'' by Tacitus (AD 90) i
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 (river), 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. 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 Alamannia or Alemannia was the territory inhabited by the Germanic peoples, Germanic Alemanni peoples after they broke through the Roman ''Upper Germanic Limes, limes'' in 213. The Alemanni expanded from the Main (river), Main River basin during ...
, 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

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 (emperor), 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-Ferrand, 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 Roman Emperors, 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 (emperor), Julian, later Emperor of Rome, and their king Chnodomarius was taken prisoner to Rome. 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, Rhine river a final time, conquering and then settling what is today
Alsace Alsace (, also ; Low Alemannic German/ gsw-als, 's Elsàss ; german: Elsass ; la, Alsatia; ) is a cultural region and a territorial collectivity in Eastern France, on the west bank of the upper Rhine next to Germany and Switzerland. In 2017, i ...

Alsace
and a large part of the Swiss Plateau. 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, Ardèche, 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

* 259, Battle of Mediolanum—Emperor Gallienus defeats the Alemanni to rescue Rome * 268, Battle of Lake Benacus—Romans under Emperor Claudius II defeat the Alemanni. * 271 ** Battle of Placentia (271), Battle of Placentia—Emperor Aurelian is defeated by the Alemanni forces invading Italy ** Battle of Fano—Aurelian defeats the Alemanni, who begin to retreat from Italy ** Battle of Pavia (271), Battle of Pavia—Aurelian destroys the retreating Alemanni army. * 298 ** Battle of Lingones—Caesar (title), Caesar Constantius Chlorus defeats the Alemanni ** Battle of Vindonissa—Constantius defeats the Alemanni. * 356, Battle of Reims (356), Battle of Reims—Caesar (title), Caesar Julian the Apostate, Julian is defeated by the Alemanni * 357, Battle of Strasbourg—Julian expels the Alemanni from the Rhineland * 368, Battle of Solicinium—Romans under Emperor Valentinian I defeat an Alemanni incursion. * 378, Battle of Argentovaria—Western Emperor Gratianus is victorious over the Alemanni. * 451, Battle of the Catalaunian Fields—Roman General Flavius Aetius, Aetius and his army of Romans and barbarian allies defeat Attila's army of Huns and other Germanic allies, including the Alemanni. * 457, Battle of Campi Cannini—Alemanni invade Italy and are defeated near Lake Maggiore by Majorian * 554, Battle of the Volturnus (554), Battle of the Volturnus—Armenian-Roman General Narses defeats a combined force of Franks and Alemanni in southern Italy.


Subjugation by the Franks

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 Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman author ...

Frankish
dominions and were governed by a Frankish duke. In 746, Carloman (mayor of the palace), 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 Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Europe, Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its D ...
. The duchy persisted until 1268.


Culture


Language

The German spoken today over the range of the former Alemanni is termed
Alemannic German Alemannic, or rarely Alemannish (''Alemannisch'', ), is a group of High German dialects. The name derives from the ancient Germanic tribal confederation known as the Alemanni. Distribution Alemannic dialects are spoken by approximately ten mi ...
, 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 Old High German (OHG, german: Althochdeutsch, German abbr. ) is the earliest stage of the German language The German language (, ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or c ...
. 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 Alemannic, or rarely Alemannish (''Alemannisch'', ), is a group of High German dialects. The name derives from the ancient Germanic tribal confederation known as the Alemanni. Distribution Alemannic dialects are spoken by approximately ten mi ...
, encompassing the dialects of the southern two thirds of Baden-Württemberg (German State), in western Bavaria (German State), in
Vorarlberg Vorarlberg ( , ; gsw, label=Vorarlbergisch, Vorarlbearg, , or ) is the westernmost States of Austria, state () of Austria. It has the second-smallest geographical area after Vienna and, although it has the second-smallest population, it also has ...

Vorarlberg
(Austrian State), Swiss German in Switzerland and the Alsatian language of the
Alsace Alsace (, also ; Low Alemannic German/ gsw-als, 's Elsàss ; german: Elsass ; la, Alsatia; ) is a cultural region and a territorial collectivity in Eastern France, on the west bank of the upper Rhine next to Germany and Switzerland. In 2017, i ...

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. 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). 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. Each nobleman could raise an average of c. 50 warriors.


Religion

File:Gutenstein warrior.jpg, The 7th-century :de:Schwertscheide von Gutenstein, 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 Kingdom, Visigothic influence may have been converted to Arianism even in the later 5th century. In the mid-6th century, the Byzantine historian
Agathias Agathias or Agathias Scholasticus ( grc-gre, Ἀγαθίας σχολαστικός; Martindale, Jones & Morris (1992), pp. 23–25582/594), of Myrina (Mysia) Myrina ( grc, Μυρίνα) was one of the Aeolis, Aeolian cities on the western coast of ...
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 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. 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 Syncretism, 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 fibula (brooch), 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. 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.Wolfgang Jungandreas, 'God fura dih, deofile †' in: Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum und deutsche Literatur, 101, 1972, pp. 84–85. 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.


Genetics

A genetic study published in ''Science Advances'' in September 2018 examined the remains of eight individuals buried at a 7th century Alemannic graveyard in Niederstotzingen, Germany. This is the richest and most complete Alemannic graveyard ever found. The highest ranking individual at the graveyard was a male with Frankish grave goods. Four males were found to be closely related to him. They were all carriers of types of the paternal haplogroup Haplogroup R-M269#R1b1a1a2a1a1 (R-U106), R1b1a2a1a1c2b2b. A sixth male was a carrier of the paternal haplogroup R1b1a2a1a1c2b2b1a1 and the maternal haplogroup Haplogroup U (mtDNA)#Haplogroup U5, U5a1a1. Along with the five closely related individuals, he displayed close genetic links to Northern Europe, northern and eastern Europe, particularly Lithuania and Iceland. Two individuals buried at the cemetery were found to be genetically different from both the others and each other, displaying genetic links to Southern Europe, particularly northern Spain. Along with the sixth male, they might have been adoptees.


See also

*Annales Alamannici *List of rulers of Alamannia *List of confederations of Germanic tribes *Armalausi *Varisci *Helvetii *Charietto


References


Sources

* Ammianus Marcellinus, ''passim'' * O. Bremer in H. Paul, ''Grundriss der germanischen Philologie'' (2nd ed., Strassburg, 1900), vol. iii. pp. 930 ff. * Cassius Dio, Dio Cassius lxvii. ff. * 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, . * Melchior Goldast, ''Rerum Alamannicarum scriptores'' (1606, 2nd ed. Senckenburg 1730) * Gregory of Tours, ''Historia Francorum'', book ii. * * Johann Kaspar Zeuss, C. Zeuss, ''Die Deutschen und die Nachbarstämme'' (Munich, 1837), pp. 303 ff.


External links


The Agri Decumates
*[http://www.badische-seiten.de/bilder/schwaebisch-alemannische-fasnet/ Brauchtum und Masken Alemannic Fastnacht] {{Authority control Alemanni, Early Germanic peoples German tribes