The Info List - Marcomanni

The Marcomanni
were a Germanic tribal confederation who eventually came to live in a powerful kingdom north of the Danube, somewhere in the region near modern Bohemia, during the peak of power of the nearby Roman Empire. According to Tacitus
and Strabo
they were Suebian.


1 History

1.1 Origin 1.2 Marcomannic Wars 1.3 Later history

2 Kings of the Marcomanni 3 See also 4 Classical Sources 5 References 6 External links

History[edit] Origin[edit] It is believed their name derives possibly from the Proto-Germanic forms of "march" ("frontier, border") and "men", *Markōmanniz,[1][2][3] which would have been rendered in Latin form as Marcomanni. The Marcomanni
first appear in historical records as confederates of the Suebi
of Ariovistus fighting against Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
in Gaul (modern France), having crossed the Rhine from present-day southern Germany. The exact position of their lands at this time is not known. The fact that their name existed before the Romans had territory near the Danube
or Rhine raises the question of which border they lived near in order to explain their name. Their name may echo an earlier demarcation between the northern Germanic tribes of the Jastorf cultural circle, and those of the Celtic maximum expansion during the earlier and later Iron Age of La Tene dominance throughout Europe, that from findings in the archaeological record pressed North through with some influence as far as into Jutland, but mostly remained separated South and settled on Oppidas over today Thuringia and Saxony along the Hercynian forest, intrinsically connected to the major trade roads that went into the more evolved centers of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia all still Celtic regions then. It has as been suggested that they may have lived near the conjunction of Rhine and Main river, at the areas formerly inhabited but left deserted by the Helvetii
and Taurisci. However the historian Florus
reports that Drusus erected a mound of their spoils during his campaign of 12-9 BC, after defeating the Tencteri
and Chatti, and before next turning to Cherusci, Suevi, and Sicambri, suggesting that they were not close to any obvious border at the time.[4] According to the accounts of Tacitus
(Germ. 42), Paterculus
(2.108), Pliny the elder, and Strabo
(vii. p. 290) they eventually moved into the large area previously occupied by the Boii, specifically in a region already called Baiohaemum, where their allies and fellow Suevi the Quadi
lived. This was described as being within the Hercynian forest and was possibly in the region of modern Bohemia, although this is not certain.[5] By 6 BC, their king, Maroboduus, had established a powerful kingdom there that Augustus
perceived as a threat to Rome. Before he could act, however, the revolt in Illyria
intervened. Eventually Maroboduus was deposed and exiled by Catualda (AD 19). Catualda was in turn deposed by Vibilius of the Hermunduri
the same year, and succeeded by the Quadian Vannius. Around 50 AD, Vannius was himself also deposed by Vibilius, in coordination with his nephews Vangio and Sido. Tacitus, in the late 1st century mentions ( Germania
I.42) the Marcomanni
as being under kings appointed by Rome. [1] Marcomannic Wars[edit] Main article: Marcomannic Wars In the 2nd century AD, the Marcomanni
entered into a confederation with other peoples including the Quadi, Vandals, and Sarmatians, against the Roman Empire. This was probably driven by movements of larger tribes, like the Goths. According to the historian Eutropius, the forces of the emperor, Marcus Aurelius, battled against the Marcomannic confederation for three years at the fortress of Carnuntum in Pannonia. Eutropius compared the war, and Aurelius's success against the Marcomanni
and their allies, to the Punic Wars. The comparison was apt in that this war marked a turning point and had significant Roman defeats; it caused the death of two Praetorian Guard commanders. The war began in 166, when the Marcomanni
overwhelmed the defences between Vindobona
and Carnuntum, penetrated along the border between the provinces of Pannonia
and Noricum, laid waste to Flavia Solva, and could be stopped only shortly before reaching Aquileia
on the Adriatic
Sea. The war lasted until Aurelius's death in 180. It would prove to be only a limited success for Rome; the Danube
river remained as the frontier of the empire until the final fall of the West. Later history[edit] The Christianisation
of the Marcomanni, at least into a Roman orthodox form of Christianity, seems to have occurred under their queen, Fritigil (wife of an unnamed king) in the mid fourth century. She corresponded with Ambrose of Milan
Ambrose of Milan
to bring about the conversion. This was the last clear evidence of the Marcomanni
having a polity. It was possibly on the Roman side of the Danube
by this time. Soon after, the Pannonian and Danubian area went into a long period of turmoil. After crossing the Rhine in 406 and the Pyrenees
in 409, a group of Suevi, who had migrated together with Vandals
and Alans, established themselves in the Roman province of Gallaecia
(modern Galicia and northern Portugal), where they were considered foederati and founded the Suebi
Kingdom of Gallaecia. These Suevi
were probably a mix of Suevian groups from the area north of Danube
and Pannonian basin
Pannonian basin
such as the Marcomanni, Quadi
and Buri. There, Hermeric
swore fealty to the emperor in 410. Bracara Augusta, the modern city of Braga
in Portugal, previously the capital of Roman Gallaecia, now became the capital of the Suebic Kingdom. The Danubian area meanwhile became the core of Attila
the Hun's empire, and within it there seem to have been many Suebians. One group of them managed to reform into an independent group after the Battle of Nedao in 454, like many other groups who emerged from Attila's confederation. These Suevi
eventually came into conflict with the Ostrogoths, who had been on the losing side at Nadao. Jordanes, the historian of the Goths, reported (Getica 280) that after the Battle of Bolia, the Ostrogoths
attacked the Suevi
(ruled by a man named Hunimund, who also seems to have led an attack on Passau[6]) by crossing the Danube
when frozen, and going into a high Alpine area held by the confederates of the Suevi
at this time, the Alamanni. (He said that several streams start in this area which enter the Danube with a loudly.) The region held by these Suevi
was described as having Bavarians to the west, Franks
to the east, Burgundians
to the south, and Thuringians to the north. The text seems to indicate that these Suevi
had moved into the Alamannic area but that these specific Suevi were seen as distinct from both Alamanni
and Bavarians. This was also the first mention of Bavarians and they are also often proposed to have had Marcomanni
in their ancestry. According to historians such as Herwig Wolfram:

The Marcomanni
and the Quadi
gave up their special names after crossing the Danube, in fact both the emigrants and the groups remaining in Pannonia
became Suebi
again. The Pannonian Suebi
became subjects of the Huns. After the battle at the Nadao they set up their kingdom, and when it fell, they came, successively under Herulian and Longobard rule, south of the Danube
under Gothic rule, and eventually again under Longobard rule.[7]

There is a runic alphabet called the Marcomannic runes, but they are not believed to be related to the Marcomannic people.

Kings of the Marcomanni[edit]

Maroboduus, c. 9 BC - 18 AD[8] Catualda, 18 - 20[9] Vannius, 20 - c. 50[10] Vangio and Sido, c. 50 - ?[11] Ballomar, c. 166 ? - 172 or 178 ? Attalus, c. 160/8[12]

See also[edit]

Ancient Germanic culture portal

List of ancient Germanic peoples Migrations period Timeline of Germanic kingdoms History of Portugal History of Spain Irminones

Classical Sources[edit]

Caesar De Bello Gallico, at The Latin Library Tacitus
Germania, at The Latin Library Tacitus
Annales, at The Latin Library


^ http://etymonline.com/index.php?term=mark&allowed_in_frame=0 ^ http://etymonline.com/index.php?term=man&allowed_in_frame=0 ^ http://www.etymonline.com/imutate.php ^ Smith, William (1854), Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography  ^ Green, Dennis (2014), "The Boii, Bavaria and Bohemia", The Baiuvarii and Thuringi: An Ethnographic Perspective, p. 20, ISBN 9781843839156  ^ Herwig Wolfram, "History of the Goths", p.266 ^ The Roman Empire
Roman Empire
and Its Germanic Peoples pp.160-1. ^ Tac. Ann. 2.62-3 ^ Tac. Ann. 2.62-3 ^ Tac. Ann. 2.63; 12.29-30 ^ Tac. Ann. 12.29-30 ^ Aur. Vict. Caes. 33,6; Epit. 33,1; SHA Gall. 21,3; PIR2 A 1328; PLRE I Attalus

External links[edit]

 "Marcomanni". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911. 

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