Alamannia or Alemannia was the territory inhabited by the Germanic
Alemanni after they broke through the Roman limes in 213. The Alemanni
expanded from the Main basin during the 3rd century, raiding the Roman
provinces and settling on the left bank of the
Rhine from the 4th
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, and with the beginning formation of the
Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire under Conrad I in 911 became the Duchy of Swabia.
The term Suebia was often used interchangeably with
Alamannia in the
10th to 12th centuries.
The territory of
Alamannia as it existed from the 7th to 9th centuries
was 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 basin as far as the confluence with the Lech, with an unclear
Burgundy to the south-west in the
Aare basin (the
Raetia Curiensis, although not part of Alemannia, was ruled
by Alemannic counts, and became part of the
Duchy of Swabia
Duchy of Swabia as it was
established by Burchard I.
The territory corresponds to what was still the areal of Alemannic
German in the modern period, i.e. French Alsace, German
German-speaking Switzerland and Austrian Vorarlberg.
2.1 Tribal kingdoms
4 See also
Further information: List of Alamannic pagi
Alamanni were pushed south from their original area of settlement
in the Main basin and in the 5th and 6th century settled new territory
on either side of the Rhine. Alemannia under Frankish rule later the
Duchy of Swabia
Duchy of Swabia within the
Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire covered a territory that
was more or less undisputed during the 7th to 13th centuries,
organised into counties or pagi.
In Swabia: Hegowe (Hegau), between Lake Constance, the upper Danube
and the Swabian Jura. Perahtoltaspara (Berchtoldsbaar) in the upper
Neckar basin, left of the upper
Danube as far as Ulm, including the
source of the Danube. Nekargowe (named for the Neckar, capital
Canstatt). Swiggerstal (the modern Ermstal), Filiwigawe (Filsgau,
named for the Fils), Trachgowe (Drachgau, near Schwäbisch Gmünd) and
Alba (Albuch) between the
Neckar and the Danube. Duria (Duriagau)
Ulm and Augsburg.
Albegowe (Allgäu), Keltinstein (between Geltnach and Wertach) and
Augestigowe (capital Augsburg) along the Lech forming the border to
Bavaria. Rezia (Ries, ultimately from the name of the Roman province
of Raetia) in the Northeastern corner, left of the
Nördlingen). Linzgowe (Linzgau) and Argungowe (named for Argen River)
north of Lake Constance. Eritgau, Folcholtespara (Folcholtsbaar),
Rammegowe (Rammachgau) and Illargowe (named for the Iller, capital
Memmingen) on the right side of the Danube.
In Baden: Brisigowe (Breisgau) along the Upper
Rhine opposite Sundgau,
and Mortunova, the later Ortenau, along the Upper
Nordgau. Alpegowe (Albgau), centered on St. Blaise Abbey, Black Forest
In modern France (the Alsace): Suntgowe (Sundgau) and Nordgowe
In modern Switzerland: Augestigowe (the territory surrounding Augst)
and Turgowe (modern Thurgau, named for the Thur;
Thurgau in the 8th century)
The territory between
Alamannia and Upper
Burgundy was known as Argowe
(modern Aargau, named for the Aare). The pertinence of this territory
Alamannia or Upper
Burgundy was disputed.
The county of
Raetia Curiensis was absorbed into
Alamannia in the
early 10th century. It comprised the Ringowe (Rheingau, named for the
Rhine) and Retia proper.
Main article: Alamanni
Further information: Crisis of the Third Century
Originally a loose confederation of unrelated tribes, the Alemanni
underwent coalescence or ethnogenesis during the 3rd century, and were
ruled by kings throughout the 4th and 5th centuries until 496, when
they were defeated by
Clovis I of the
Franks at the Battle of Tolbiac.
Alemanni during the Roman Empire period were divided into a number
of cantons or goviae, each presided by a tribal king. But there
appears to have been the custom of the individual kings uniting under
the leadership of a single king in military expeditions.
Area settled by the
Alamanni during the 3rd to 6th centuries; notable
raids or battles of the 3rd to 4th centuries are also indicated.
Some kings of the
Alemanni of the 4th and 5th centuries are known by
name, the first being
Chrocus (died 306), a military leader who
organized raids across the limes during the 3rd century. Chnodomarius
(fl. 350) supported
Constantius II in the rebellion of Magnentius.
Chnodomarius was the leader of the Alemannic army in the battle of
Strasbourg in 357.
Macrian, Hariobaud, Urius, Ursicinus, Vadomar, and Vestralp were
Alemannic kings who in 359 made treaties with Julian the Apostate.
Macrian was deposed in an expedition ordered by
Valentinian I in 370.
Macrian appears to have been involved in building a large alliance of
Alemannic tribes against Rome, which earned him the title of turbarum
rex artifex ("king and crafter of unrest").
The Romans installed Fraomar as a successor of Marcian, but the
Bucinobantes would not accept him and he was expelled and Macrian
restored and Valentinian made the
Bucinobantes his foederati in the
war against the Franks.
Macrian was killed on campaign against the
Franks, in an ambush laid by the Frankish king Mallobaudes.
Gibuld (fl. 470) is the last known king of the Alemanni. His raid on
Passau is mentioned in the vita of Saint Lupus. The name of Gibuld's
successor who was defeated at Tolbiac is not known.
After their defeat in 496, the
Alemanni bucked the Frankish yoke and
put themselves under the protection of
Theodoric the Great
Theodoric the Great of the
Ostrogoths, but after his death they were again
subjugated by the
Franks (539), under
Theuderic I and
Theudebert I. Thereafter,
Alamannia was a nominal dukedom within
Though ruled by their own dukes, it is not likely that they were very
often united under one duke in the 6th and 7th centuries. The Alemanni
most frequently appear as auxiliaries in expeditions to Italy. The
Alsace was Alemannic, but it was ruled by a line of Frankish
dukes and the region around the upper
Neckar rivers was
ruled by the
Ahalolfing family and not by the ducal house which ruled
Alamannia around Lake Constance.
Rhaetia too, though
Alamannic, was ruled by the
Victorids coterminously with the Diocese
Alamannia was Christianised during the 7th century, although not as
thoroughly[dubious – discuss] as either
Francia to its west or
Bavaria to its east. The first Alamannic law code, Pactus Alamannorum,
dates to this period. The Roman dioceses of Strasbourg and Basel
Alsace and that of Chur, as mentioned, Rhaetia. Alamannia
itself only had a diocese in the east, at
Augsburg (early 7th
century). There were two Roman bishoprics, Windisch and Octodurum,
which were moved early to other sites (
Avenches and Sitten
Alamannia did eventually (7th century) receive a diocese
(Constance) through the cooperation of the bishops of Chur and the
Merovingian monarchs. The foundation of Constance is obscure, though
it was the largest diocese in
Germany throughout the
Carolingian era. The dioceses of Alamannia, including Chur,
which had been a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Milan, were placed
under the jurisdiction of the
Archdiocese of Mainz
Archdiocese of Mainz by the
After the death of
Dagobert I in 638, Alamannia, like Bavaria,
Aquitaine, and Brittany, broke its ties with its Frankish sovereigns
and struggled for independence. This was largely successful until the
early 8th century, when a series of campaigns waged by the Arnulfing
mayors of the palace reduced
Alamannia to a province of
again. It was, however, during this period of de facto independence
Alamanni began to be ruled by one duke, though
Rhaetia remained outside of the scope of Alamannia.
Between 709 and 712,
Pepin of Heristal
Pepin of Heristal fought against Lantfrid, who
appears as dux of the Alamanni, and who committed to writing the
second Alamannic law code, the Lex Alamannorum. In 743, Pepin the
Short and Carloman waged a campaign to reduce
Alamannia and in 746
Carloman began a final thrust to subdue the Alamannic nobility.
Alamanni noblemen were summarily arrested, tried, and
executed for treason at a Council at Cannstatt.
See also: Duchy of Swabia
During the reign of Louis the Pious, there were tendencies to renewed
independence in Alamannia, and the 830s were marked by bloody feuds
between the Alamannic and Rhaetian nobility vying for dominion over
the area. Following the
Treaty of Verdun
Treaty of Verdun of 843,
Alamannia became a
province of East Francia, the kingdom of Louis the German, the
precursor of the Kingdom of Germany. It was called a regnum in
contemporary sources, though this does not necessarily mean that it
was a kingdom or subkingdom. At times, however, it was.
It was granted to
Charles the Bald
Charles the Bald in 829, though it is not certain
whether he was recognised as duke or king. It was certainly a kingdom,
Alsace and Rhaetia, when it was granted to Charles the Fat
in the division of
East Francia in 876. Under Charles, Alammania
became the centre of the Empire, but after his deposition, it found
itself out of favour. Though ethnically singular, it was still plagued
by Rhaetian-Alamannic feuds and fighting over the control of the
Alamannia in the late 9th century, like Bavaria, Saxony, and
Franconia, sought to unite itself under one duke, but it had
considerably less success than either Saxony or Bavaria. Alammannia
was one of the jüngeres Stammesherzogtum, one of the "younger" stem
duchies, or tibal duchies, which formed the basis of the political
East Francia after the collapse of the Carolingian
dynasty in the late 9th and early 10th centuries.
In the 10th century, no noble house of
Alamannia succeeded in founding
a ducal dynasty, as the
Ottonians did in Saxony or the
Bavaria, though the
Hunfridings came closest.
The duchy encompassed the area surrounding Lake Constance, the Black
Forest, and the left and right banks of the Rhine, including Alsace
and parts of the Swiss plateau, bordering on Upper Burgundy. The
boundary with Burgundy, fixed in 843, ran along the lower Aare,
turning towards the south at the Rhine, passing west of
Alps along the upper
Rhône to the Saint Gotthard Pass. In
the north, the boundary ran from the Murg (some 30 km south of
Heilbronn and the Nördlinger Ries. The eastern boundary
was at the Lech.
Argovia was disputed territory between the dukes of
Alamannia and Burgundy.
Burchard II, son of the late Burchard I and count in
took the title of duke of Swabia, Duke acknowledged by the newly
Henry the Fowler
Henry the Fowler in 919. The duchy of
Swabia was ruled by
Hohenstaufen during 1079–1268 and was disestablished with the
Conradin and its territory was politically fragmented
during the succeeding interregnum period.
Alemannic German persists as a separate family of dialects within High
German. The distribution of the
Low Alemannic and High Alemannic
subgroups largely correspond to the extent of historical Alemannia,
Highest Alemannic dialects spread beyond its limits during
the High Middle Ages. The
Brünig-Napf-Reuss line is a cultural
High Alemannic which marks the division of Alemannia
proper and the
Argovia marches between Alemannia and Burgundy.
The names for
Germany in modern Arabic (ألمانيا), Catalan
(Alemanya), Welsh (Yr Almaen), Cornish (Almayn), French (Allemagne),
Persian (Alman), Portuguese (Alemanha), Spanish (Alemania), and
Turkish (Almanya) all derive from Alamannia. A similar correspondence
exists for "German", both as the language and the adjectival form of
List of rulers of Alamannia
List of Alamannic pagi
Early history of Switzerland
^ The name
Alamannia itself was in use from at least the 8th century;
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.
^ in what is now Switzerland, the Alemannic areal has expanded during
the high medieval period, with the Valser migration into the Alps,
Zähringer and later the influence of
Bern towards Upper
Burgundy, and into
Grisons as lower
Raetia came under the rule of the
^ Bernd Schneidmüller, Die Welfen. Herrschaft und Erinnerung
(819–1252). Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2000, 82–83.
Germany in the Early Middle Ages 800–1056. New
York: Longman, 1991.
Barbarian kingdoms established around the Migration Period
Petty kingdoms of Norway
Petty kingdoms of Wales