Suebi

Suebi

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The Suebi or Suevi were a group of Germanic peoples who were first mentioned by Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 in connection with Ariovistus
Ariovistus
Ariovistus was a leader of the Suebi and other allied Germanic peoples in the second quarter of the 1st century BC. He and his followers took part in a war in Gaul, assisting the Arverni and Sequani to defeat their rivals the Aedui, after which they settled in large numbers in conquered Gallic...

' campaign, c. 58 BC; Ariovistus was defeated by Caesar.

Some Suebi remained a periodic threat against the Romans on the Rhine, until, toward the end of the empire, the Alamanni
Alamanni
The Alamanni, Allemanni, or Alemanni were originally an alliance of Germanic tribes located around the upper Rhine river . One of the earliest references to them is the cognomen Alamannicus assumed by Roman Emperor Caracalla, who ruled the Roman Empire from 211 to 217 and claimed thereby to be...

, including elements of Suebi, brushed aside Roman defenses and occupied Alsace
Alsace
Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

, and from there Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 and Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

. A pocket remained in Swabia
Swabia
Swabia is a cultural, historic and linguistic region in southwestern Germany.-Geography:Like many cultural regions of Europe, Swabia's borders are not clearly defined...

 (an area in southwest Germany whose modern name derives from the ancient name), whereas migrants to Gallaecia
Gallaecia
Gallaecia or Callaecia, also known as Hispania Gallaecia, was the name of a Roman province and an early Mediaeval kingdom that comprised a territory in the north-west of Hispania...

 (modern Galicia, in Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, and Northern Portugal) established a kingdom there which lasted for 170 years before its defeat by the Visigoths.

Classification in classical sources


In the classical sources, the ethnonym Suebi is used with two different meanings: the specific tribe of Caesar's campaign, "dwelling on the Main
Main river
Main rivers are a statutory type of watercourse in England and Wales, usually larger streams and rivers, but also include some smaller watercourses. A main river is defined as a watercourse marked as such on a main river map, and can include any structure or appliance for controlling or regulating...

", and "broadly, to cover a large number of tribes in central Germany." The broad view is expressed in Tacitus
Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

's Germania
Germania (book)
The Germania , written by Gaius Cornelius Tacitus around 98, is an ethnographic work on the Germanic tribes outside the Roman Empire.-Contents:...

, a basic written source for the Suebic peoples that states:

We must come now to speak of the Suebi, who do not, like the Chatti
Chatti
The Chatti were an ancient Germanic tribe whose homeland was near the upper Weser. They settled in central and northern Hesse and southern Lower Saxony, along the upper reaches of the Weser River and in the valleys and mountains of the Eder, Fulda and Weser River regions, a district approximately...

 or Tencteri, constitute a single nation. They actually occupy more than half of Germany, and are divided into a number of distinct tribes under distinct names, though all generally are called Suebi.


For Tacitus, the Suebi comprise the Semnones, who are "the oldest and noblest of the Suebi"; the Langobardi; the seven tribes of Jutland
Jutland
Jutland , historically also called Cimbria, is the name of the peninsula that juts out in Northern Europe toward the rest of Scandinavia, forming the mainland part of Denmark. It has the North Sea to its west, Kattegat and Skagerrak to its north, the Baltic Sea to its east, and the Danish–German...

 and Holstein
Holstein
Holstein is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider. It is part of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany....

: Reudigni
Reudigni
The Reudigni were one of the Nerthus-worshipping Germanic tribes mentioned by Tacitus in Germania. Schütte suggests that the name should be read Rendingi or Randingi and then the name would be the same as the Rondings of Widsith. They have otherwise been lost to history, but they may have lived in...

, Aviones, Anglii, Varini, Eudoses, Suarini, Nuitones; the Hermunduri
Hermunduri
The Hermunduri, Hermanduri, Hermunduri, Hermunduli, Hermonduri, or Hermonduli were an ancient Germanic tribe, attested by the Roman historian Tacitus, who occupied the area around what is now Thuringia, Saxony, and Northern Bavaria, from the first to the third century...

 on the Elbe
Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...

; three tribes along the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

: Naristi, Marcomanni
Marcomanni
The Marcomanni were a Germanic tribe, probably related to the Buri, Suebi or Suevi.-Origin:Scholars believe their name derives possibly from Proto-Germanic forms of "march" and "men"....

, Quadi
Quadi
The Quadi were a smaller Germanic tribe, about which little is definitively known. We only know the Germanic tribe the Romans called the 'Quadi' through reports of the Romans themselves...

; the Marsigni and Buri
Buri (Germanic tribe)
The Buri were a Germanic tribe mentioned in the Germania of Tacitus, where they initially "close the back" of the Marcomanni and Quadi of Bohemia and Moravia. It is said that their speech and customs were like those of the Suebi...

. Then there is a mountain range, and beyond that, in the drainage system of the Vistula
Vistula
The Vistula is the longest and the most important river in Poland, at 1,047 km in length. The watershed area of the Vistula is , of which lies within Poland ....

, Tacitus places five tribes of the Lugii
Lugii
The Lugii, Lugi, Lygii, Ligii, Lugiones, Lygians, Ligians, Lugians, or Lougoi were an ancient Germanic tribe attested in the book Germania by the Roman historian Tacitus. They lived in ca...

 including the Harii
Harii
The Harii were a Germanic people attested by Tacitus as being a tribe in his 1st-century-AD book Germania. He describes them as painting themselves and their shields black, and attacking at night as a ghostly army, much to the terror of their opponents...

, Helveconae
Helveconae
The Helveconae, or Helvaeonae, or Helvecones, or Aelvaeones, or Ailouaiones, are names possibly referring to the same ancient population, and possibly further connected to the Germanic Hilleviones of Sweden. The Helveconae as such are one of the tribal states of the Lugii in Tacitus...

, Manimi, Helisii
Helisii
The Helisii were one of the tribal states of the Lugii, a Germanic tribe. They were attested by the Roman historian Tacitus ; this brief reference is the only mention of them as such in history....

 and Naharvali; the Gothones
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

, Rugii, Lemovii
Lemovii
The Lemovii were a Germanic tribe, only once named by Tacitus in the late 1st century. He noted that they lived near the Rugii and Goths and that they had short swords and round shields.The Oxhöft culture is associated with parts of the Rugii and Lemovii...

 along the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

; all the states of the Suiones
Suiones
The Swedes e, "one's own [tribesmen/kinsmen]"; Old English: Sweonas; , Suehans or Sueones) were an ancient North Germanic tribe in Scandinavia...

, located in peninsular Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

; and finally the non-Germanic Aestii, and the Sitones
Sitones
Sitones were a Germanic people living somewhere in Northern Europe in the 1st century CE. They are only mentioned by Cornelius Tacitus in 97 CE in Germania. Tacitus considered them a Germanic people similar to Suiones :...

, beyond the Aestii along the Baltic yet "continuous with the Suiones". Says Tacitus then: "Here Suebia ends."

But few clues to the identity of the Suebi are given by Tacitus. They can be identified by their fashion of the hair style called the "Suebian knot
Suebian knot
The Suebian knot is a historical male hairstyle ascribed to the tribe of the Germanic Suebi. The knot is attested by Tacitus in his 1st century CE work Germania, found on art by and depictions of the Germanic peoples, and worn by bog bodies....

", which "distinguishes the freeman from the slave"; in other words, was intended as a badge of social rank. The same passage points out that chiefs "use an even more elaborate style."

For Tacitus, a second criterion for being Suebian is residence in a territory recognized as Suebia, not identified by any linguistic coherence, apparently: Tacitus' modern editor Arthur J. Pomeroy concludes "it is clear that there is no monolithic 'Suebic' group, but a series of tribes who may share some customs (for instance, warrior burials) but also vary considerably." The Suebia of Tacitus comprises the entire periphery of the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

, including within it tribes not identified as Suebi by modern historians: the Sitones
Sitones
Sitones were a Germanic people living somewhere in Northern Europe in the 1st century CE. They are only mentioned by Cornelius Tacitus in 97 CE in Germania. Tacitus considered them a Germanic people similar to Suiones :...

, for instance, who must have resided where Lapland
Lappmarken
Lappmarken was an earlier Swedish name for the northern part of the old Kingdom of Sweden specifically inhabited by the Sami people. In addition to the present-day Swedish Lapland, it also covered Västerbotten, Jämtland and Härjedalen, as well as the Finnish Lapland. As a name, it is related to...

 and Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 are now, where Uralic
Uralic languages
The Uralic languages constitute a language family of some three dozen languages spoken by approximately 25 million people. The healthiest Uralic languages in terms of the number of native speakers are Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Mari and Udmurt...

 has been spoken since Antiquity. In addition, on the south shore of the Baltic are the Aestii, in the territory of modern-day Baltic language speakers, or where they have been (Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

), again equally as ancient as the Germanic-speakers.

A third criterion for Suebi simply involves sharing in the name Suebi, which is "indeed genuine and ancient" Tacitus reports.

Maurer's Kulturkreise


Friedrich Maurer, based on the archaeological and literary analysis of Germanic tribes done earlier by Gustaf Kossinna
Gustaf Kossinna
Gustaf Kossinna was a linguist and professor of German archaeology at the University of Berlin...

 and his own linguistic work with isogloss
Isogloss
An isogloss—also called a heterogloss —is the geographical boundary of a certain linguistic feature, such as the pronunciation of a vowel, the meaning of a word, or use of some syntactic feature...

es, divided the Germanic folk of the first century BC through the fourth century AD into five Kulturkreise or "culture-groups": the North
North Germanic languages
The North Germanic languages or Scandinavian languages, the languages of Scandinavians, make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages, a sub-family of the Indo-European languages, along with the West Germanic languages and the extinct East Germanic languages...

, Oder-Vistula
East Germanic languages
The East Germanic languages are a group of extinct Indo-European languages in the Germanic family. The only East Germanic language of which texts are known is Gothic; other languages that are assumed to be East Germanic include Vandalic, Burgundian, and Crimean Gothic...

, Elbe
Irminones
The Irminones, also referred to as Herminones or Hermiones, were a group of early Germanic tribes settling in the Elbe watershed and by the 1st century AD expanding into Bavaria, Swabia and Bohemia...

, Weser-Rhine
Istvaeones
The Istvaeones, also called Istaevones, Istriaones, Istriones, Sthraones, Thracones, Rhine Germans and Weser-Rhine Germans , were a West Germanic cultural group or proto-tribe...

 and North-Sea Germanics. The Herminones
Irminones
The Irminones, also referred to as Herminones or Hermiones, were a group of early Germanic tribes settling in the Elbe watershed and by the 1st century AD expanding into Bavaria, Swabia and Bohemia...

 comprising the Suebi (in the narrow sense), Hermunduri
Hermunduri
The Hermunduri, Hermanduri, Hermunduri, Hermunduli, Hermonduri, or Hermonduli were an ancient Germanic tribe, attested by the Roman historian Tacitus, who occupied the area around what is now Thuringia, Saxony, and Northern Bavaria, from the first to the third century...

 and others, were the Elbe group. Their linguistic descendants speak modern Upper German
Upper German
Upper German is a family of High German dialects spoken primarily in southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Northern Italy.-Family tree:Upper German can be generally classified as Alemannic or Austro-Bavarian...

. These five groups formed in the Pre-Roman Iron Age
Pre-Roman Iron Age
The Pre-Roman Iron Age of Northern Europe designates the earliest part of the Iron Age in Scandinavia, northern Germany, and the Netherlands north of the Rhine River. These regions feature many extensive archaeological excavation sites, which have yielded a wealth of artifacts...

 after about 800 BC.

Maurer attributes Proto Germanic to the Nordic Bronze Age
Nordic Bronze Age
The Nordic Bronze Age is the name given by Oscar Montelius to a period and a Bronze Age culture in Scandinavian pre-history, c. 1700-500 BC, with sites that reached as far east as Estonia. Succeeding the Late Neolithic culture, its ethnic and linguistic affinities are unknown in the absence of...

, which he dates 1200-800 BC according to the information available to him then. The dates have changed a little and a Pre-Roman Iron Age
Pre-Roman Iron Age
The Pre-Roman Iron Age of Northern Europe designates the earliest part of the Iron Age in Scandinavia, northern Germany, and the Netherlands north of the Rhine River. These regions feature many extensive archaeological excavation sites, which have yielded a wealth of artifacts...

 has been broken out since then to which some assign the Proto Germanic language. It ranged over a region forming a rough triangle, with vertices in south Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

, the mouth of the Rhine river and the mouth of the Vistula
Vistula
The Vistula is the longest and the most important river in Poland, at 1,047 km in length. The watershed area of the Vistula is , of which lies within Poland ....

. In fact the Baltic Sea was known to the Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 as the Mare Suebicum, a name which it no doubt inherited from times when the Suebi inhabited the shores of the Baltic and were probably one with the Suiones
Suiones
The Swedes e, "one's own [tribesmen/kinsmen]"; Old English: Sweonas; , Suehans or Sueones) were an ancient North Germanic tribe in Scandinavia...

.

The Suebi eventually migrated south and west to reside for a while in the Rhineland
Rhineland
Historically, the Rhinelands refers to a loosely-defined region embracing the land on either bank of the River Rhine in central Europe....

 area of modern Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, where their name survives in the historic region known as Swabia
Swabia
Swabia is a cultural, historic and linguistic region in southwestern Germany.-Geography:Like many cultural regions of Europe, Swabia's borders are not clearly defined...

. The Suebi under Ariovistus
Ariovistus
Ariovistus was a leader of the Suebi and other allied Germanic peoples in the second quarter of the 1st century BC. He and his followers took part in a war in Gaul, assisting the Arverni and Sequani to defeat their rivals the Aedui, after which they settled in large numbers in conquered Gallic...

 were invited into Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

 by the Sequani
Sequani
Sequani, in ancient geography, were a Gallic people who occupied the upper river basin of the Arar , the valley of the Doubs and the Jura Mountains, their territory corresponding to Franche-Comté and part of Burgundy.-Etymology:...

 but soon came to dominate them and were finally defeated by Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 in 58 BC
58 BC
Year 58 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Piso and Gabinius...

.

Caesar's Suebi



The Suebi of Julius Caesar's De Bello Gallico live in 100 cantons of arable land, of which each canton retains ownership, parceling farm lots to individuals to use for up to one year. They wear animal skins, bathe in rivers, and prohibit wine. They allow trade only to dispose of their booty and otherwise have no goods to export.

They are of a military disposition, drafting yearly 1000 men per canton for service of one year. With these troops they raid Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

 on the other side of the Rhine river frequently, thus involving Gaul's protector, the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

, whose agent in the field is one of its greatest generals, Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

. Lacking a central government and disrespecting all authority, they rely on the services of war chiefs, who in the age of migrations
Migration Period
The Migration Period, also called the Barbarian Invasions , was a period of intensified human migration in Europe that occurred from c. 400 to 800 CE. This period marked the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages...

 will become Suebian kings.

As to their location, they live next to the Cherusci
Cherusci
The Cherusci were a Germanic tribe that inhabited parts of the northern Rhine valley and the plains and forests of northwestern Germany, in the area between present-day Osnabrück and Hanover, during the 1st century BC and 1st century AD...

, which places them between the Rhine river and the middle Elbe
Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...

 river. Their innermost refuge is Silva Bacenis, "Beech Wood", which various authors take to be some section of the Hercynian Forest
Hercynian Forest
The Hercynian Forest was an ancient and dense forest that stretched eastward from the Rhine River across southern Germany and formed the northern boundary of that part of Europe known to writers of antiquity. The ancient sources are equivocal about how far east it extended...

, such as the Thuringian Forest
Thuringian Forest
The Thuringian Forest running northwest to southeast, forms a continuous stretch of ancient rounded mountains posing ample difficulties in transit routing save through a few navigable passes in the southern reaches of the German state of Thuringia. It is about long and wide...

, the Harz
Harz
The Harz is the highest mountain range in northern Germany and its rugged terrain extends across parts of Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. The name Harz derives from the Middle High German word Hardt or Hart , latinized as Hercynia. The legendary Brocken is the highest summit in the Harz...

 Mountains or the Black Forest
Black Forest
The Black Forest is a wooded mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany. It is bordered by the Rhine valley to the west and south. The highest peak is the Feldberg with an elevation of 1,493 metres ....

. In ancient times Germany was heavily forested and these three forests were more or less continuous. They could not have farmed the forests, however, leaving the Main River
Main river
Main rivers are a statutory type of watercourse in England and Wales, usually larger streams and rivers, but also include some smaller watercourses. A main river is defined as a watercourse marked as such on a main river map, and can include any structure or appliance for controlling or regulating...

 bottom and the upper Elbe
Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...

 as the only possibilities.

In addition to their first known incursion under Ariovistus
Ariovistus
Ariovistus was a leader of the Suebi and other allied Germanic peoples in the second quarter of the 1st century BC. He and his followers took part in a war in Gaul, assisting the Arverni and Sequani to defeat their rivals the Aedui, after which they settled in large numbers in conquered Gallic...

 in 58 BC, the Suebi posed another threat in 55 BC. The Germanic Ubii
Ubii
thumb|right|350px|The Ubii around AD 30The Ubii were a Germanic tribe first encountered dwelling on the right bank of the Rhine in the time of Julius Caesar, who formed an alliance with them in 55 BC in order to launch attacks across the river...

, who had worked out an alliance with Caesar, were complaining of being harassed by the Suebi. Caesar bridged the Rhine, the first known to do so, with a pile bridge, which though considered a marvel, was dismantled after only eighteen days. The Suebi abandoned their towns closest to the Romans, retreated to the forest and assembled an army. Caesar moved back across the bridge and broke it down, stating that he had achieved his objective of warning the Suebi. They in turn stopped harassing the Ubii.

Cassius Dio's Suebi


Cassius Dio—who wrote the history of Rome for a Greek audience—starts his account of the Suebi with Caesar's short stay over the Rhine in 55 BC. In Dio it is the Sugambri who retire to strongholds, but Caesar retreats on hearing that the Suebi were collecting an army to help the Sugambri.

A generation later, shortly before 29 BC the Suebi crossed the Rhine, only to be defeated by Gaius Carrinas
Gaius Carrinas (consul 43 BC)
Gaius Carrinas, was a Roman politician, general and consul.In 45 BC, Carrinas was sent on the orders of Julius Caesar to Spain to fight Sextus and Gnaeus Pompeius. As he was unsuccessful in putting down the two Pompeii and the last remnants of the Republicans, he was superseded by Gaius Asinius...

 who along with the young Octavian Caesar celebrated a triumph in 29 BC. Shortly after they turn up fighting a group of Dacia
Dacia
In ancient geography, especially in Roman sources, Dacia was the land inhabited by the Dacians or Getae as they were known by the Greeks—the branch of the Thracians north of the Haemus range...

ns in a gladiatorial display at Rome celebrating the consecration of the Julian hero-shrine. Dio says that they "dwell across the Rhine (though many cities elsewhere claim their name)" and that they were anciently called Celts: Earlier he had explained "...very anciently both peoples dwelling on ether side of the river were called Celts."

A generation later, in 9 BC, consul Nero Claudius Drusus
Nero Claudius Drusus
Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus , born Decimus Claudius Drusus also called Drusus, Drusus I, Nero Drusus, or Drusus the Elder was a Roman politician and military commander. He was a fully patrician Claudian on his father's side but his maternal grandmother was from a plebeian family...

 crossed the Rhine and proceeded against the Germans, starting with the Chatti
Chatti
The Chatti were an ancient Germanic tribe whose homeland was near the upper Weser. They settled in central and northern Hesse and southern Lower Saxony, along the upper reaches of the Weser River and in the valleys and mountains of the Eder, Fulda and Weser River regions, a district approximately...

. He traversed country "as far as that of the Suebi" and then attacked the Cherusci
Cherusci
The Cherusci were a Germanic tribe that inhabited parts of the northern Rhine valley and the plains and forests of northwestern Germany, in the area between present-day Osnabrück and Hanover, during the 1st century BC and 1st century AD...

 to the north of the Suebi. He reached the Elbe. There is no evidence in Dio that he subdued the Suebi. Like Julius Caesar he withdrew to the Rhine shortly but "died on the way of some disease" with the wolves running howling through the camp.

Florus' Suebi



Florus
Florus
Florus, Roman historian, lived in the time of Trajan and Hadrian.He compiled, chiefly from Livy, a brief sketch of the history of Rome from the foundation of the city to the closing of the temple of Janus by Augustus . The work, which is called Epitome de T...

 gives a more detailed view of the operations of 9 BC. He reports that the Cherusci
Cherusci
The Cherusci were a Germanic tribe that inhabited parts of the northern Rhine valley and the plains and forests of northwestern Germany, in the area between present-day Osnabrück and Hanover, during the 1st century BC and 1st century AD...

, Suebi and Sicambri
Sicambri
The Sicambri were a Germanic people living on the right bank of the Rhine river, near where it passes out of Germany and enters what is now called the Netherlands at the turn of the first millennium....

 formed an alliance by crucifying twenty Roman centurions, but that Nero Claudius Drusus
Nero Claudius Drusus
Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus , born Decimus Claudius Drusus also called Drusus, Drusus I, Nero Drusus, or Drusus the Elder was a Roman politician and military commander. He was a fully patrician Claudian on his father's side but his maternal grandmother was from a plebeian family...

 defeated them, confiscated their plunder and sold them into slavery. Presumably only the war party was sold, as the Suebi continue to appear in the ancient sources.

Florus's report of the peace brought to Germany by Drusus is glowing but premature. He built "more than five hundred forts" and two bridges guarded by fleets. "He opened a way through the Hercynian Forest
Hercynian Forest
The Hercynian Forest was an ancient and dense forest that stretched eastward from the Rhine River across southern Germany and formed the northern boundary of that part of Europe known to writers of antiquity. The ancient sources are equivocal about how far east it extended...

", which implies but still does not overtly state that he had subdued the Suebi. "In a word, there was such peace in Germany that the inhabitants seemed changed ... and the very climate milder and softer than it used to be."

The peace did not outlast the year. After the death of Drusus the Cherusci
Cherusci
The Cherusci were a Germanic tribe that inhabited parts of the northern Rhine valley and the plains and forests of northwestern Germany, in the area between present-day Osnabrück and Hanover, during the 1st century BC and 1st century AD...

 annihilated three legions at the Battle of Teutoburg Forest and thereafter "... the empire ... was checked on the banks of the Rhine."

Suetonius's Suebi


Suetonius gives the Suebi brief mention in connection with their defeat in 9 BC. He says that the Suebi and Sugambri "submitted to him and were taken into Gaul and settled in lands near the Rhine" while the other Germani were pushed "to the farther side of the river Albis
Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...

." He must have meant the temporary military success of Drusus, as it is unlikely the Rhine was cleared of Germans. Elsewhere he identifies the settlers as 40,000 prisoners of war, only a fraction of the yearly draft of militia.

Strabo's Suebi


Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 in Book IV of his Geography—a text in Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

—says of the Soēboi that they live "beyond this whole river-country" (the Rhineland
Rhineland
Historically, the Rhinelands refers to a loosely-defined region embracing the land on either bank of the River Rhine in central Europe....

) and "excel all the others in power and numbers." He also places them near the Hercynian Forest
Hercynian Forest
The Hercynian Forest was an ancient and dense forest that stretched eastward from the Rhine River across southern Germany and formed the northern boundary of that part of Europe known to writers of antiquity. The ancient sources are equivocal about how far east it extended...

, which, in the words of Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon was an English historian and Member of Parliament...

, "overshadowed a greater part of Germany and Poland." In Book VII Strabo connects all the tribes between the upper Rhine, Danube and Elbe to the Soēboi: the tribes of the Coldui, including those in Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

, where the Marcomanni
Marcomanni
The Marcomanni were a Germanic tribe, probably related to the Buri, Suebi or Suevi.-Origin:Scholars believe their name derives possibly from Proto-Germanic forms of "march" and "men"....

 were located; the Lugii
Lugii
The Lugii, Lugi, Lygii, Ligii, Lugiones, Lygians, Ligians, Lugians, or Lougoi were an ancient Germanic tribe attested in the book Germania by the Roman historian Tacitus. They lived in ca...

, Zumi, Butones, Mugilones, Sibini and Semnones, who were "a large tribe of the Suevi themselves." Some of these tribes were "inside the forest" and some "outside of it."

This passage is the first distinction between narrowly and broadly-conceived Suebi, but even Strabo's broad conception is not as broad as Tacitus, for whom "the tribe of the Suevi ... extends from the Rhenus (Rhine) to the Albis (Elbe); and a part of them even dwell on the far side of the Albis, as, for instance, the Hermondori and the Langobardi." These latter are portrayed as migrants living in small temporary huts and porting their belongings in wagons, living "off their flocks."

Pliny's Suebi


Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 wrote a now lost History of the German Wars and consequently has little to say of the Germans in Naturalis Historia
Naturalis Historia
The Natural History is an encyclopedia published circa AD 77–79 by Pliny the Elder. It is one of the largest single works to have survived from the Roman Empire to the modern day and purports to cover the entire field of ancient knowledge, based on the best authorities available to Pliny...

, but as much of his military service was on the German frontier he is probably authoritative and is believed to have been a source for Tacitus, although the latter does not follow what Pliny does say exactly. Pliny divides the Germans into five genera or "kinds", including the Hermiones, containing the gentes or "tribes" of the Suebi, Hermunduri
Hermunduri
The Hermunduri, Hermanduri, Hermunduri, Hermunduli, Hermonduri, or Hermonduli were an ancient Germanic tribe, attested by the Roman historian Tacitus, who occupied the area around what is now Thuringia, Saxony, and Northern Bavaria, from the first to the third century...

, Chatti
Chatti
The Chatti were an ancient Germanic tribe whose homeland was near the upper Weser. They settled in central and northern Hesse and southern Lower Saxony, along the upper reaches of the Weser River and in the valleys and mountains of the Eder, Fulda and Weser River regions, a district approximately...

 and Cherusci
Cherusci
The Cherusci were a Germanic tribe that inhabited parts of the northern Rhine valley and the plains and forests of northwestern Germany, in the area between present-day Osnabrück and Hanover, during the 1st century BC and 1st century AD...

. Elsewhere in Pliny is only brief scattered mention.

Ptolemy's Suebi


The geographer, Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

, in a fairly extensive account of Greater Germany, makes use of the two meanings of Suebi as well.

The Suevi Langobardi are located north of the Sugambri, who are on the Rhine, a location to the west of Strabo's, perhaps the source of Strabo's migrant wagoneers. To the east of the Longobardi, possibly the same as or continuous with the Suevi Langobardi, are the Suevi Angili, but these are in the interior to the south, extending as far north as the middle Elbe, upstream from the Chauci
Chauci
The Chauci were an ancient Germanic tribe living in the low-lying region between the Rivers Ems and Elbe, on both sides of the Weser and ranging as far inland as the upper Weser. Along the coast they lived on artificial hills called terpen, built high enough to remain dry during the highest tide...

, later a constituent of the Saxons
Saxons
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

. To the east are the Suevi Semnones between the Elbe and a mysterious river apparently named after them, the Suevus, which empties into the Baltic between the Oder
Oder
The Oder is a river in Central Europe. It rises in the Czech Republic and flows through western Poland, later forming of the border between Poland and Germany, part of the Oder-Neisse line...

 and the Elbe. And finally there is a tribe called just the Suevi, which appears to be on the Rhine east of the Ems, about where Swabia
Swabia
Swabia is a cultural, historic and linguistic region in southwestern Germany.-Geography:Like many cultural regions of Europe, Swabia's borders are not clearly defined...

 was later located.

Though offering coordinates for rivers, towns and mountains, Ptolemy is imprecise in the location of peoples; certainly, some are repeated with different spellings. He leaves us to guess which towns are associated with which peoples. His list of some 94 towns makes it clear that Tacitus' view of Germanics as rustics is not quite accurate in fact, although it may have been in values.

Lucan's Suebi


Marcus Annaeus Lucanus
Marcus Annaeus Lucanus
Marcus Annaeus Lucanus , better known in English as Lucan, was a Roman poet, born in Corduba , in the Hispania Baetica. Despite his short life, he is regarded as one of the outstanding figures of the Imperial Latin period...

 gives the location and appearance of the Suebi: "... let the Elbe and Rhine's unconquered head let loose from furthest north the blond (flavi) Suebi; ... only ward off civil war." This locates the Suebi in a narrow sense and gives a variation on a theme of Tacitus, who asserted the Germans were entirely red-headed.

Tacitus's Suebi


Tacitus
Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

' Germania
Germania
Germania was the Greek and Roman geographical term for the geographical regions inhabited by mainly by peoples considered to be Germani. It was most often used to refer especially to the east of the Rhine and north of the Danube...

is the main source for the earliest known Suebi (see above under Classification in classical sources). Tacitus mentions the sacrifice of humans practiced by the Semnones in a sacred grove and the murder of slaves used in the rites of Nerthus
Nerthus
In Germanic paganism, Nerthus is a goddess associated with fertility. Nerthus is attested by Tacitus, the first century AD Roman historian, in his Germania. Various theories exist regarding the goddess and her potential later traces amongst the Germanic tribes...

 practiced by the tribes of Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost of the sixteen states of Germany, comprising most of the historical duchy of Holstein and the southern part of the former Duchy of Schleswig...

. The chief priest of the Naharvali dresses as a woman and that tribe also worships in groves. The Harii
Harii
The Harii were a Germanic people attested by Tacitus as being a tribe in his 1st-century-AD book Germania. He describes them as painting themselves and their shields black, and attacking at night as a ghostly army, much to the terror of their opponents...

 fight at night dyed black. The Suiones
Suiones
The Swedes e, "one's own [tribesmen/kinsmen]"; Old English: Sweonas; , Suehans or Sueones) were an ancient North Germanic tribe in Scandinavia...

 own fleets of rowing vessels with prows at both ends.

The Suebi also are mentioned in the Annales
Annals (Tacitus)
The Annals by Tacitus is a history of the reigns of the four Roman Emperors succeeding Caesar Augustus. The surviving parts of the Annals extensively cover most of the reigns of Tiberius and Nero. The title Annals was probably not given by Tacitus, but derives from the fact that he treated this...

. After the defeat of 9 BC Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 divided the Germans by making a separate peace with the Sugambri and Suebi under their king Maroboduus
Marbod
Maroboduus , was king of the Marcomanni. The name "Maroboduus" can be broken down into two Celtic elements, māro- meaning "great" , and bodwos meaning "raven"...

. This is the first mention of any permanent king of the Suebi. Subsequently Augustus placed Germanicus
Germanicus
Germanicus Julius Caesar , commonly known as Germanicus, was a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and a prominent general of the early Roman Empire. He was born in Rome, Italia, and was named either Nero Claudius Drusus after his father or Tiberius Claudius Nero after his uncle...

, the son of Drusus, in charge of the forces of the Rhine and he after dealing with a mutiny of the troops proceeded against the Cherusci
Cherusci
The Cherusci were a Germanic tribe that inhabited parts of the northern Rhine valley and the plains and forests of northwestern Germany, in the area between present-day Osnabrück and Hanover, during the 1st century BC and 1st century AD...

 and their allies, breaking their power finally at the battle of Idistavisus, a plain on the Weser. All eight legions and supporting units of Gauls were required to do that. Germanicus' zeal led finally to his being replaced (17 AD) by his cousin Drusus, Tiberius' son, as Tiberius
Tiberius
Tiberius , was Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD. Tiberius was by birth a Claudian, son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. His mother divorced Nero and married Augustus in 39 BC, making him a step-son of Octavian...

 thought it best to follow his predecessor's policy of limiting the empire. Germanicus certainly would have involved the Suebi, with unpredictable results.

Arminius
Arminius
Arminius , also known as Armin or Hermann was a chieftain of the Germanic Cherusci who defeated a Roman army in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest...

, leader of the Cherusci
Cherusci
The Cherusci were a Germanic tribe that inhabited parts of the northern Rhine valley and the plains and forests of northwestern Germany, in the area between present-day Osnabrück and Hanover, during the 1st century BC and 1st century AD...

 and allies, now had a free hand. He accused Maroboduus of hiding in the Hercynian Forest
Hercynian Forest
The Hercynian Forest was an ancient and dense forest that stretched eastward from the Rhine River across southern Germany and formed the northern boundary of that part of Europe known to writers of antiquity. The ancient sources are equivocal about how far east it extended...

 while the other Germans fought for freedom, and accused Maroboduus of being the only king among the Germans. The two groups "turned their arms against each other." The Semnones and Langobardi rebelled against their king and went over to the Cherusci. Left with only the Marcomanni
Marcomanni
The Marcomanni were a Germanic tribe, probably related to the Buri, Suebi or Suevi.-Origin:Scholars believe their name derives possibly from Proto-Germanic forms of "march" and "men"....

 and Herminius' uncle, who had defected, Maroboduus appealed to Drusus
Julius Caesar Drusus
Nero Claudius Drusus, later Drusus Julius Caesar was the only child of Roman Emperor Tiberius and his first wife, Vipsania Agrippina...

, now governor of Illyricum
Praetorian prefecture of Illyricum
The praetorian prefecture of Illyricum was one of four praetorian prefectures into which the Late Roman Empire was divided.The administrative centre of the prefecture was Sirmium , and, after 379, Thessalonica...

, and was given only a pretext of aid.

The resulting battle was indecisive but Maroboduus withdrew to Bohemia and sent for assistance to Tiberius. He was refused on the grounds that he had not moved to help Varus
Publius Quinctilius Varus
Publius Quinctilius Varus was a Roman politician and general under Emperor Augustus, mainly remembered for having lost three Roman legions and his own life when attacked by Germanic leader Arminius in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.-Life:His paternal grandfather was senator Sextus Quinctilius...

. Drusus encouraged the Germans to finish him off. A force of Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

 under Catualda, a Marcomannian exile, bought off the nobles and seized the palace. Maroboduus escaped to Noricum
Noricum
Noricum, in ancient geography, was a Celtic kingdom stretching over the area of today's Austria and a part of Slovenia. It became a province of the Roman Empire...

 and the Romans offered him refuge in Ravenna
Ravenna
Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and the second largest comune in Italy by land area, although, at , it is little more than half the size of the largest comune, Rome...

 where he remained the rest of his life.

Migration period


Closely related to the Alamanni
Alamanni
The Alamanni, Allemanni, or Alemanni were originally an alliance of Germanic tribes located around the upper Rhine river . One of the earliest references to them is the cognomen Alamannicus assumed by Roman Emperor Caracalla, who ruled the Roman Empire from 211 to 217 and claimed thereby to be...

 and often working in concert with them, the Suebi for the most part stayed on the right bank of the Rhine until December 31 406, when much of the tribe joined the Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

 and Alans
Alans
The Alans, or the Alani, occasionally termed Alauni or Halani, were a group of Sarmatian tribes, nomadic pastoralists of the 1st millennium AD who spoke an Eastern Iranian language which derived from Scytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into modern Ossetian.-Name:The various forms of Alan —...

 in breaching the Roman frontier by crossing the Rhine
Crossing of the Rhine
31 December 406, is the often-repeated date of the crossing of the Rhine by a mixed group of barbarians that included Vandals, Alans and Suebi...

, perhaps at Mainz
Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

, thus launching an invasion of northern Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

.

The "northern Suebi" were mentioned in 569
569
Year 569 was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar. The denomination 569 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.- Byzantine Empire :* The King of the Garamantes signs...

 under Frankish
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 king Sigebert I
Sigebert I
Sigebert I was the king of Austrasia from the death of his father in 561 to his own death. He was the third surviving son out of four of Clotaire I and Ingund...

 in areas of today's Saxony-Anhalt
Saxony-Anhalt
Saxony-Anhalt is a landlocked state of Germany. Its capital is Magdeburg and it is surrounded by the German states of Lower Saxony, Brandenburg, Saxony, and Thuringia.Saxony-Anhalt covers an area of...

 which were known as Schwabengau or Suebengau at least until the 12th century. In connection to the Suebi, Saxons
Saxons
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

 and Lombards
Lombards
The Lombards , also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy...

, returning from the Italian Peninsula
Italian Peninsula
The Italian Peninsula or Apennine Peninsula is one of the three large peninsulas of Southern Europe , spanning from the Po Valley in the north to the central Mediterranean Sea in the south. The peninsula's shape gives it the nickname Lo Stivale...

 in 573
573
Year 573 was a common year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar. The denomination 573 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.- Europe :* The Battle of Arfderydd is fought between...

, are also mentioned.

While the Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

 and Alans
Alans
The Alans, or the Alani, occasionally termed Alauni or Halani, were a group of Sarmatian tribes, nomadic pastoralists of the 1st millennium AD who spoke an Eastern Iranian language which derived from Scytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into modern Ossetian.-Name:The various forms of Alan —...

 clashed with the Roman-allied Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 for supremacy in Gaul, the Suebi under their king Hermeric
Hermeric
Hermeric was the Suevic King of Galicia from perhaps as early as 406 and certainly no later than 419 until his retirement in 438. He was a pagan and an enemy of the Roman Empire throughout his life...

 worked their way to the south, eventually crossing the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

 and entering the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 which was out of Imperial rule since the rebellion of Gerontius
Gerontius (general)
Gerontius was a general of the Western Roman Empire, who first supported the usurper Constantine III and later opposed him in favour of another usurper, Maximus of Hispania.- Usurpation of Constantine III :Gerontius probably was of Breton origin...

 and Maximus
Maximus of Hispania
Maximus, also called Maximus Tiranus, was Roman usurper in Hispania . He had been elected by general Gerontius, who might have been his father....

 in 409
409
Year 409 was a common year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Honorius and Theodosius...

.

Political history




Passing through the Basque country
Basque Country (historical territory)
The Basque Country is the name given to the home of the Basque people in the western Pyrenees that spans the border between France and Spain on the Atlantic coast....

, they settled in the Roman province of Gallaecia
Gallaecia
Gallaecia or Callaecia, also known as Hispania Gallaecia, was the name of a Roman province and an early Mediaeval kingdom that comprised a territory in the north-west of Hispania...

, in north-western Hispania
Hispania
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....

 (modern Galicia and northern Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

), swore fealty to the Emperor Honorius
Honorius (emperor)
Honorius , was Western Roman Emperor from 395 to 423. He was the younger son of emperor Theodosius I and his first wife Aelia Flaccilla, and brother of the eastern emperor Arcadius....

 and were accepted as foederati
Foederati
Foederatus is a Latin term whose definition and usage drifted in the time between the early Roman Republic and the end of the Western Roman Empire...

and permitted to settle, under their own autonomous governance. Contemporaneously with the self-governing province of Britannia
Sub-Roman Britain
Sub-Roman Britain is a term derived from an archaeological label for the material culture of Britain in Late Antiquity: the term "Sub-Roman" was invented to describe the potsherds in sites of the 5th century and the 6th century, initially with an implication of decay of locally-made wares from a...

, the kingdom of the Suebi in Gallaecia became the first of the sub-Roman kingdoms to be formed in the disintegrating territory of the Western Roman Empire. Suebic Gallaecia was the first kingdom separated from the Roman Empire to mint coins.

The Suebic kingdom in Gallaecia
Gallaecia
Gallaecia or Callaecia, also known as Hispania Gallaecia, was the name of a Roman province and an early Mediaeval kingdom that comprised a territory in the north-west of Hispania...

 and northern Lusitania
Lusitania
Lusitania or Hispania Lusitania was an ancient Roman province including approximately all of modern Portugal south of the Douro river and part of modern Spain . It was named after the Lusitani or Lusitanian people...

 was established at 410
410
Year 410 was a common year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year after the Consulship of Honorius and Theodosius...

 and lasted until 584
584
Year 584 was a leap year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar. The denomination 584 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.- Asia :* Fourth Turkic khagan Taspar dies. Interregnum...

. Smaller than the Ostrogothic kingdom of Italy or the Visigothic kingdom in Hispania
Hispania
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....

, it reached a relative stability and prosperity—and even expanded military southwards—despite the occasional quarrels with the neighbouring Visigothic kingdom.

Settlement and integration in Gallaecia


The Germanic invaders settled mainly in the areas of Braga
Braga
Braga , a city in the Braga Municipality in northwestern Portugal, is the capital of the Braga District, the oldest archdiocese and the third major city of the country. Braga is the oldest Portuguese city and one of the oldest Christian cities in the World...

 (Bracara Augusta), Porto
Porto
Porto , also known as Oporto in English, is the second largest city in Portugal and one of the major urban areas in the Iberian Peninsula. Its administrative limits include a population of 237,559 inhabitants distributed within 15 civil parishes...

 (Portus Cale
Portus Cale
Portus Cale was the old name of an ancient town and port in current day Portugal. It was located in the north of Portugal, in the area of today's Grande Porto.-Early History:...

), Lugo
Lugo
Lugo is a city in northwestern Spain, in the autonomous community of Galicia. It is the capital of the province of Lugo. The municipality had a population of 97,635 in 2010, which makes is the fourth most populated city in Galicia.-Population:...

 (Lucus Augusti) and Astorga (Asturica Augusta). Bracara Augusta, the modern city of Braga
Braga
Braga , a city in the Braga Municipality in northwestern Portugal, is the capital of the Braga District, the oldest archdiocese and the third major city of the country. Braga is the oldest Portuguese city and one of the oldest Christian cities in the World...

 and former capital of Roman Gallaecia, became the capital of the Suebi. Orosius, at that time resident in Hispania, shows a rather pacific initial settlement, the newcomers working their lands or serving as bodyguards of the locals. Another Germanic group that accompanied the Suebi and settled in Gallaecia were the Buri
Buri (Germanic tribe)
The Buri were a Germanic tribe mentioned in the Germania of Tacitus, where they initially "close the back" of the Marcomanni and Quadi of Bohemia and Moravia. It is said that their speech and customs were like those of the Suebi...

. They settled in the region between the rivers Cávado
Cávado River
The Cávado River is a river located in north Portugal.It has its source in Serra do Larouco at 1520 meters. It runs 135 km from Gouveia to its mouth into the Atlantic Ocean next to the city of Esposende...

 and Homem, in the area known as Terras de Bouro
Terras de Bouro
Terras de Bouro is a municipality in Portugal with a total area of 277.5 km² and a total population of 7,955 inhabitants.The municipality is composed of 17 parishes, and is located in the district of Braga. The present Mayor is António Ferreira Afonso, elected by the Social Democratic Party...

 (Lands of the Buri).

As the Suebi quickly adopted the local language
Iberian Romance languages
The Iberian Romance languages or Ibero-Romance languages are the Romance languages that developed on the Iberian Peninsula, an area consisting primarily of Spain, Portugal, and Andorra....

, few traces were left of their Germanic tongue, but for their personal and land names, adopted by most of the Galicians.

Formation of a kingdom



The Visigoths were sent in 416
416
Year 416 was a leap year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Theodosius and Palladius...

 by the Emperor to fight the Germanic invaders in Hispania, but they were soon reestablished as foederati in Aquitania after completely defeating the Alans
Alans
The Alans, or the Alani, occasionally termed Alauni or Halani, were a group of Sarmatian tribes, nomadic pastoralists of the 1st millennium AD who spoke an Eastern Iranian language which derived from Scytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into modern Ossetian.-Name:The various forms of Alan —...

 and the Silingi
Silingi
The Silings or Silingi supposedly were an East Germanic tribe, probably part of the larger Vandal group. According to most scholars, examples Jerzy Strzelczyk, Norman Davies, Jerzy Krasuski, Andrzej Kokowski, Henryk Łowmiański, the Silingi may have lived in Silesia...

 Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

. The absence of competition permitted, first the Asdingi Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

 and later the Suebi
Suebi
The Suebi or Suevi were a group of Germanic peoples who were first mentioned by Julius Caesar in connection with Ariovistus' campaign, c...

, to expand South and East. At its heyday Suebic Gallaecia extended as far south as Mérida
Mérida, Spain
Mérida is the capital of the autonomous community of Extremadura, western central Spain. It has a population of 57,127 . The Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993.- Climate :...

 and Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

, capitals of the Roman provinces of Lusitania
Lusitania
Lusitania or Hispania Lusitania was an ancient Roman province including approximately all of modern Portugal south of the Douro river and part of modern Spain . It was named after the Lusitani or Lusitanian people...

 and Betica, while their expeditions reached Zaragoza
Zaragoza
Zaragoza , also called Saragossa in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza Province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain...

 and Lleida
Lleida
Lleida is a city in the west of Catalonia, Spain. It is the capital city of the province of Lleida, as well as the largest city in the province and it had 137,387 inhabitants , including the contiguous municipalities of Raimat and Sucs. The metro area has about 250,000 inhabitants...

.

In 438
438
Year 438 was a common year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Theodosius and Glabrio...

 Hermeric
Hermeric
Hermeric was the Suevic King of Galicia from perhaps as early as 406 and certainly no later than 419 until his retirement in 438. He was a pagan and an enemy of the Roman Empire throughout his life...

 ratified the peace with the Gallaeci, the local and just partially romanized rural population, and sick and weary of fighting abdicated in favour of his son Rechila, who proved to be a notable general, defeating first Andevotus, Romanae militiae dux, and later Vitus magister utriusque militiae. In 448
448
Year 448 was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Praetextatus and Zeno...

, Rechila
Rechila
Rechila was the Suevic King of Galicia from 438 until his death. There are few primary sources for his life, but Hydatius was a contemporary Christian chronicler in Galicia....

 died, leaving the crown to his son Rechiar
Rechiar
Rechiar or Rechiarius was the Suevic King of Galicia from 448 until his death. He was the first Catholic Germanic king in Europe and one of the most innovative and belligerent of the Suevi monarchs...

 who had converted to Roman Catholicism circa 447
447
Year 447 was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Calepius and Ardabur...

. Soon, he married a daughter of the Gothic king Theodoric I
Theodoric I
Theodoric I sometimes called Theodorid and in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian Teodorico, was the King of the Visigoths from 418 to 451. An illegitimate son of Alaric, Theodoric is famous for defeating Attila at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains in 451, where he was mortally wounded.-Early...

, and began a wave of attacks on the Tarraconense
Hispania Tarraconensis
Hispania Tarraconensis was one of three Roman provinces in Hispania. It encompassed much of the Mediterranean coast of Spain along with the central plateau. Southern Spain, the region now called Andalusia, was the province of Hispania Baetica...

, still a Roman province. By 456
456
Year 456 was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Avitus without colleague...

 the campaigns of Rechiar
Rechiar
Rechiar or Rechiarius was the Suevic King of Galicia from 448 until his death. He was the first Catholic Germanic king in Europe and one of the most innovative and belligerent of the Suevi monarchs...

 clashed with the interests of the Visigoths, and a large army of Roman federates (Visigoths under the command of Theodoric II
Theodoric II
Theodoric II was King of Visigoths from 453 to 466.Theoderic II, son of Theodoric I, obtained the throne by killing his elder brother Thorismund...

, Burgundians
Burgundians
The Burgundians were an East Germanic tribe which may have emigrated from mainland Scandinavia to the island of Bornholm, whose old form in Old Norse still was Burgundarholmr , and from there to mainland Europe...

 directed by kings Gundioc and Chilperic
Chilperic I of Burgundy
Chilperic I was the King of Burgundy from 473 until his death. He succeeded his brother Gundioch and co-ruled with his nephews Godomar, Gundobad, Chilperic II, and Godegisel.-Sources:*Gregory of Tours. translated Earnest Brehaut, 1916....

) crossed the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

 into Hispania, and defeated the Suebi near modern day Astorga. Rechiar was executed after being captured by his brother-in-law, the Visigothic king Theodoric II. In 459, Roman Emperor Majorian
Majorian
Majorian , was the Western Roman Emperor from 457 to 461.A prominent general of the Late Roman army, Majorian deposed Emperor Avitus in 457 and succeeded him. Majorian was one of the last emperors to make a concerted effort to restore the Western Roman Empire...

 defeated the Suebi, briefly restoring Roman rule in northern Hispania
Hispania
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....

. Nevertheless, the Suebi became free of Roman control forever after Majorian was assassinated two years later. The Suebic kingdom then became cornered in the northwest, in Gallaecia and northern Lusitania, where political division and civil war arose among several pretenders to the royal throne. After years of turmoil, Remismund
Remismund
Remismund was the Suevic King of Galicia from c. 464 until his death.According to Isidore of Seville, Remismund was a son of Maldras. Remismund's early career was spent as an ambassador between Galicia and Gaul, which trip he made several times...

 was recognized as the sole king of the Suebi, bringing forth a politic of friendship with the Visigoths, and favoring the conversion of his people to Arianism
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

.

Twilight of the kingdom



In 561 king Ariamir called the catholic First Council of Braga
First Council of Braga
In the First Council of Braga of 561 eight bishops took part, and twenty-two decrees were promulgated, among others the following: that in the services of the church the same rite should be followed by all, and that on vigils and in solemn Masses the same lessons should be said by all; that bishops...

, which dealt with the old problem of the Priscillianism
Priscillianism
Priscillianism is a Christian doctrine developed in the Iberian Peninsula in the 4th century by Priscillian, derived from the Gnostic-Manichaean doctrines taught by Marcus, an Egyptian from Memphis, and later considered a heresy by the Orthodox Church.-History:Priscillian was described as "a man...

 heresy. Eight years after, in 569, king Theodemir called the First Council of Lugo
First Council of Lugo
The Council of Lugo was a Catholic synod called by the Suevic King Theodemir in 569 in order to increase the number of dioceses within his kingdom...

, in order to increase the number of dioceses within his kingdom. Its acts have been preserved through a medieval resume known as Parrochiale Suevorum or Divisio Theodemiri.

In 570 the Arian king of the Visigoths, Leovigild, made his first attack on the Suebi. Between 572 and 574, Leovigild invaded the valley of the Douro
Douro
The Douro or Duero is one of the major rivers of the Iberian Peninsula, flowing from its source near Duruelo de la Sierra in Soria Province across northern-central Spain and Portugal to its outlet at Porto...

, pushing the Suebi west and northwards. In 575 the Suebic king, Miro
Miro of Gallaecia
Miro was the Suevic King of Galicia from 570 until his death in 583. His reign was marked by attempts to forge alliances with other Catholic nations with the goal of checking the power of the Arian Visigoths under Leovigild...

, made a peace treaty with Leovigild in what seemed to be the beginning of a new period of stability. Yet, in 583 Miro supported the rebellion of the Catholic Gothic prince Hermenegild
Hermenegild
Saint Hermenegild or Ermengild , was the son of king Leovigild of Visigothic Spain. He fell out with his father in 579, then revolted the following year. During his rebellion, he converted from Arian Christianity to Roman Catholicism. Hermenegild was defeated in 584, and exiled...

, engaging in military action against king Leovigild, although Miro was defeated in Seville when trying to break on through the blockade on the Catholic prince. As a result he was forced to recognize Leovigild as friend and protector, for him and for his successors, dying back home just some months later. His son, king Eboric
Eboric
Eboric or Euric was the last legitimate Suevic King of Galicia. He was the adolescent son of Miro and Sisegutia and he succeeded his father in 583, ruling for a year before being deposed by his mother's second husband, Audeca, who threw him in a monastery...

, confirmed the friendship with Leovigild, but he was deposed just a year later by his brother-in-law Audeca
Andeca
Andeca or Audeca was the last de facto Suevic King of Galicia from 584 until his deposition the next year . He deposed Eboric and usurped the throne by marrying the young king's mother, Siseguntia , the widow of Eboric's father and predecessor, Miro...

, giving Leovigild a excuse to attack the kingdom. In 585 AD, first Audeca and later Malaric
Malaric
Malaric or Amalaric was the last man to claim the kingship of the Suevi of Galicia. In 585, after the last king, Audeca, was defeated and captured by the Visigoths, Malaric rose in rebellion, but was, according to John of Biclar, "defeated by King Leovigild's generals and was captured and presented...

, were defeated and the Suebic kingdom was incorporated into the Visigothic one as its sixth province. The Suebi were respected in their properties and freedom, and they continue to dwell in Gallaecia, finally merging with the rest of the local population during the early Middle Ages.

Conversion to Arianism


The Suebi remained mostly pagan and their subjects Priscillianist
Priscillianism
Priscillianism is a Christian doctrine developed in the Iberian Peninsula in the 4th century by Priscillian, derived from the Gnostic-Manichaean doctrines taught by Marcus, an Egyptian from Memphis, and later considered a heresy by the Orthodox Church.-History:Priscillian was described as "a man...

 until an Arian
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 missionary named Ajax
Ajax (missionary)
Ajax was an Arian missionary to the pagan Suevi of Galicia who converted them to Christianity in 464 or 466.Due in part to his unusual Homeric name his origins have been debated. The contemporary chronicler Hydatius, the Catholic bishop of Aquae Flaviae, refers to him as Aiax natione Galata....

, sent by the Visigothic king Theodoric II at the request of the Suebic unifier Remismund
Remismund
Remismund was the Suevic King of Galicia from c. 464 until his death.According to Isidore of Seville, Remismund was a son of Maldras. Remismund's early career was spent as an ambassador between Galicia and Gaul, which trip he made several times...

, in 466 converted them and established a lasting Arian church which dominated the people until the conversion to Catholicism in the 560s.

Conversion to Catholicism


Mutually incompatible accounts of the conversion of the Suebi to Catholicism are presented in the primary records:
  • The minutes of the First Council of Braga
    First Council of Braga
    In the First Council of Braga of 561 eight bishops took part, and twenty-two decrees were promulgated, among others the following: that in the services of the church the same rite should be followed by all, and that on vigils and in solemn Masses the same lessons should be said by all; that bishops...

     — which met on 1 May 561 — state explicitly that the synod was held at the orders of a king named Ariamir
    Ariamir
    Ariamir was the Suevic King of Galicia, with his capital at Bracara, from around 561, when he is mentioned by the bishops of the First Council of Braga as the king who summoned them and under whose auspices they deliberated...

    . Of the eight assistant bishops, just one bears a Suebic name: Hildemir. While the Catholicism of Ariamir is not in doubt, that he was the first Catholic monarch of the Suebes since Rechiar has been contested on the grounds that his Catholicism is not explicitly stated. He was, however, the first Suebic monarch to hold a Catholic synod, and when the Second Council of Braga
    Second Council of Braga
    The Second Council of Braga, held in 572, presided over by Martin of Braga, was held to increase the number of bishops in Galaecia. Twelve bishops assisted at this council, and ten decrees were promulgated: that the bishops should in their visitations see in what manner the priests celebrated the...

     was held at the request of king Miro, a Catholic himself, in 572, of the twelve assistant bishops five bears Suebic names: Remisol of Viseu
    Viseu
    Viseu is both a city and a municipality in the Dão-Lafões Subregion of Centro Region, Portugal. The municipality, with an area of 507.1 km², has a population of 99,593 , and the city proper has 47,250...

    , Adoric of Idanha
    Idanha-a-Velha
    Idanha-a-Velha is a parish in the east of Portugal, in the municipality of Idanha-a-Nova, and in the district Castelo Branco. It covers an area of 20.98 km² and had a population of 79 as of 2001.-History:...

    , Wittimer of Ourense
    Ourense
    Ourense is a city in northwestern Spain, the capital of the province of the same name in Galicia. Its population of 108,674 accounts for 30% of the population of the province and makes it the third largest city of Galicia.-Population:...

    , Nitigis of Lugo
    Lugo
    Lugo is a city in northwestern Spain, in the autonomous community of Galicia. It is the capital of the province of Lugo. The municipality had a population of 97,635 in 2010, which makes is the fourth most populated city in Galicia.-Population:...

     and Anila of Tui
    Tui, Galicia
    Tui , in Spanish Tuy, is a town in Galicia , in the province of Pontevedra. It is located on the left bank of the Minho River, facing the Portuguese town of Valença....

    .
  • The Historia Suevorum of Isidore of Seville
    Isidore of Seville
    Saint Isidore of Seville served as Archbishop of Seville for more than three decades and is considered, as the historian Montalembert put it in an oft-quoted phrase, "le dernier savant du monde ancien"...

     states that a king named Theodemar
    Theodemar
    Theodemir or Theodemar was one of the last Suevic kings of Galicia and one of the first Catholics. He succeeded Ariamir sometime between the end of May 561 and the year 566 and ruled until his death....

     brought about the conversion of his people from Arianism
    Arianism
    Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

     with the help of the missionary Martin of Dumio.
  • According to the Frankish
    Franks
    The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

     historian Gregory of Tours
    Gregory of Tours
    Saint Gregory of Tours was a Gallo-Roman historian and Bishop of Tours, which made him a leading prelate of Gaul. He was born Georgius Florentius, later adding the name Gregorius in honour of his maternal great-grandfather...

     on the other hand, an otherwise unknown sovereign named Chararic, having heard of Martin of Tours
    Martin of Tours
    Martin of Tours was a Bishop of Tours whose shrine became a famous stopping-point for pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela. Around his name much legendary material accrued, and he has become one of the most familiar and recognizable Christian saints...

    , promised to accept the beliefs of the saint if only his son would be cured of leprosy
    Leprosy
    Leprosy or Hansen's disease is a chronic disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Named after physician Gerhard Armauer Hansen, leprosy is primarily a granulomatous disease of the peripheral nerves and mucosa of the upper respiratory tract; skin lesions...

    . Through the relics and intercession of Saint Martin the son was healed; Chararic and the entire royal household converted to the Nicene faith
    Nicene Creed
    The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

    .
  • By 589, when the Third Council of Toledo
    Third Council of Toledo
    The Third Council of Toledo marks the entry of Catholic Christianity into the rule of Visigothic Spain, and the introduction into Western Christianity of the filioque clause...

     was held, and the Visigoth Kingdom of Toledo converses officially from Arianism to Catholicism, king Reccared I stated in its minutes that also "an infinite number of Suebi have converted", together with the Goths, which implies that the earlier conversion were either superficial or partial. In the same council 4 bishops from Gallaecia abjured of their Arianism. And so, the Suebic conversion is ascribed, not to a Suebe, but to a Visigoth by John of Biclarum, who puts their conversion alongside that of the Goths, occurring under Reccared I in 587–589.


Most scholars have attempted to meld these stories. It has been alleged that Chararic and Theodemir must have been successors of Ariamir, since Ariamir was the first Suebic monarch to lift the ban on Catholic synods; Isidore therefore gets the chronology wrong. Reinhart suggested that Chararic was converted first through the relics of Saint Martin and that Theodemir was converted later through the preaching of Martin of Dumio. Dahn equated Chararic with Theodemir, even saying that the latter was the name he took upon baptism. It has also been suggested that Theodemir and Ariamir were the same person and the son of Chararic. In the opinion of some historians, Chararic is nothing more than an error on the part of Gregory of Tours and never existed. If, as Gregory relates, Martin of Dumio died about the year 580 and had been bishop for about thirty years, then the conversion of Chararic must have occurred around 550 at the latest. Finally, Ferreiro believes the conversion of the Suebi was progressive and stepwise and that Chararic's public conversion was only followed by the lifting of a ban on Catholic synods in the reign of his successor, which would have been Ariamir; Thoedemir was responsible for beginning a persecution of the Arians in his kingdom to root out their heresy.

Norse mythology


The name of the Suebi also appears in Norse mythology
Norse mythology
Norse mythology, a subset of Germanic mythology, is the overall term for the myths, legends and beliefs about supernatural beings of Norse pagans. It flourished prior to the Christianization of Scandinavia, during the Early Middle Ages, and passed into Nordic folklore, with some aspects surviving...

 and in early Scandinavian sources. The earliest attestation is the Proto-Norse name Swabaharjaz ("Suebian warrior") on the Rö runestone
Rö runestone
The Rö runestone, designated under Rundata as Bo KJ73 U, is one of Sweden's oldest and most notable runestones.-Description:The Rö runestone was discovered 1919 at the farm Rö on the island of Otterö north of the fishing village of Grebbestad in Bohuslän...

 and in the place name Svogerslev. Sváfa
Sváfa
In Norse mythology, Sváfa or Sváva is a valkyrie and the daughter of king Eylimi. Consequently she was probably the maternal aunt of Sigurd, the dragon slayer, although this is not explicitly mentioned in Helgakviða Hjörvarðssonar where Sváfa's story appears.-Etymology:The etymology of the...

, whose name means "Suebian", was a Valkyrie
Valkyrie
In Norse mythology, a valkyrie is one of a host of female figures who decides who dies in battle. Selecting among half of those who die in battle , the valkyries bring their chosen to the afterlife hall of the slain, Valhalla, ruled over by the god Odin...

 who appears in the eddic poem Helgakviða Hjörvarðssonar
Helgakviða Hjörvarðssonar
Helgakviða Hjörvarðssonar is a poem collected in the Poetic Edda, found in the Codex Regius manuscript where it follows Helgakviða Hundingsbana I and precedes Helgakviða Hundingsbana II...

. The kingdom Sváfaland also appears in this poem and in the Þiðrekssaga.

See also


  • Swabia
    Swabia
    Swabia is a cultural, historic and linguistic region in southwestern Germany.-Geography:Like many cultural regions of Europe, Swabia's borders are not clearly defined...

  • Dukes of Swabia family tree
    Dukes of Swabia family tree
    This is a Family tree of the Dukes of Swabia, from 1012 to the end of the Hohenstaufen dominion over the duchy in 1268. Dukes previous to 1012 are not represented.-See also:*Holy Roman Emperor*Swabia*Other family trees...

  • Germanic personal names in Galicia
    Germanic personal names in Galicia
    Germanic names, inherited from the Suevi which settled Galicia and Northern Portugal in 409 CE, and also from Visigoths, Vandals, Franks and other Germanic peoples, were the most common names among Galician people during the Early and High Middle Ages...

  • Laeti
    Laeti
    Laeti, the plural form of laetus, was a term used in the late Roman Empire to denote communities of barbari permitted to, and granted land to, settle on imperial territory on condition that they provide recruits for the Roman military...


External links