"AD 449. This year Marcian and Valentinian assumed the empire, and reigned seven winters. In their days Hengest and Horsa, invited by Wurtgern, king of the Britons to his assistance, landed in Britain in a place that is called Ipwinesfleet; first of all to support the Britons, but they afterwards fought against them. The king directed them to fight against the Picts; and they did so; and obtained the victory wheresoever they came. They then sent to the Angles, and desired them to send more assistance. They described the worthlessness of the Britons, and the richness of the land. They then sent them greater support. Then came the men from three powers of Germany; the Old Saxons, the Angles, and the Jutes. From the Jutes are descended the men of Kent, the Wightwarians (that is, the tribe that now dwelleth in the Isle of Wight), and that kindred in Wessex that men yet call the kindred of the Jutes. From the Old Saxons came the people of Essex and Sussex and Wessex. From Anglia, which has ever since remained waste between the Jutes and the Saxons, came the East Angles, the Middle Angles, the Mercians, and all of those north of the Humber. Their leaders were two brothers, Hengest and Horsa; who were the sons of Wihtgils; Wihtgils was the son of Witta, Witta of Wecta, Wecta of Woden. From this Woden arose all our royal kindred, and that of the Southumbrians also."

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle[1]


Tribal moves: 750 BC-1AD


  Settlements before 750 BC
  New settlements by 500 BC
  New settlements by 250 BC
  New settlements by AD 1

German tribes migrated into Europe as a third wave from Central Asia. Moving westward into Europe the German tribes pushed the earlier Celts out of Germany and Scandinavia and occupied the area between the Alps, the Rhine, and the Baltic. Those boundaries are known, because the Germans met the record-keeping Romans and their armies.[2] Three identifiable German tribes invaded England as the Romans left to concentrate their own armies to protect the crumbling Roman empire.[3]

The German tribes in the low-lying lands around the Baltic and the North Sea were allied with their neighbours the Frisians and the Danes. The Jutes lived in the marshy forests and along the winding fjords of Jutland, the Danish peninsula. The Angles lived at the neck of the peninsula, now called Sleswick, and across the Baltic in southern Sweden. And the Saxons, a larger tribe, occupied the flat coastal shore, from the Oder to the Rhine. In the period c200-c400 the European climate was relatively mild and the German population increased colonists of Britain, we thus discover them as the inhabitants of the low-lying lands around the Baltic and the North Sea, and closely connected with other tribes on either side, such as the Frisians and the Danes, who still speak very cognate Low German and Scandinavian languages. The active invaders came from small collections of farmers and warriors who lived in the woods of Sleswick, beside the swampy margin of the North Sea.

The later German tribes seem to have migrated again c100 BC to 100 AD south out of the Scandinavian peninsula, Danish Jutland, and the southern Baltic area. The general division between the Germanic-speaking tribes and the Celts had been the Rhine up to the Roman era. Opinion seems agreed that population pressures caused the initial German tribal movement southward and westward, one tribe pushing the next until general turmoil existed. The invaders were primarily the Jutes, Angles, and Saxons. In the 370s the Huns arrived from the Iranian steppes, as horse-mounted nomads from the Central Asia, and they accelerated the tribal chain of pushing called the Völkerwanderung. As the first tribes pushed up against the wealthy Roman Empire, word spread and others moved south. The Daci, Saxones, Marcomanni, Longobardi, Suevi, Vandali, Germani were successful in gaining power; others were not.

(The Huns were even more ferocious than the Germans and the German tribes either moved out of the Huns' way (like the Angles and Saxons), joined the Romans for protection as foederati (becoming allies like the Franks and Visigoths), or joined the Huns. The Hunnic allies included: the Ostrogoths, Gepids, Herulians, Rugians, Scirians, Thuringians, Lombards, Alemanni, and Bergundians. The Franks, Vandals, and Visigoths did not join the Huns.)

Tacitus placed the Saxons at the neck of the Cimbric peninsula in modern Holstein in about 100 AD Ptolemy noted them still there in the mid second century. Between about 250 and 450, at least some of the Saxons moved westward along the coast and settled among the Frisians, establishing their signature mound villages. But the Saxons were only one (amalgamated) tribe. I have shown a fuller list of German tribes below. Below I discuss the major German tribes that invaded Britain as the Romans left.

Invasions of Britain

Teutonic invasions in Europe


In 486, the already-powerful Franks controlled northern Gaul and were able to keep other barbarian groups out. In the last two decades of the fifth century, Frankish strength probably forced the Germanic tribes that wished to migrate to invade Britain instead of Gaul. Using information from Frankish sources, Procopius described the inhabitants of Britain as Angles, Frisians and Britons. Procopius' Frisians were probably included with the Saxons in British sources. There is an Anglo-Frisian pottery that is commonly found in south eastern cemeteries in Britain, but no Frisian kingdoms or institutions developed which may be why Bede ignored them.

Bede stated that the invaders came from the continental Angles, Saxons and Jutes. It is likely that Bede was reducing a very complex situation to simple terms. Bede placed the Angles north of the Thames, the Saxons south of the Thames and in Wessex, and the Jutes in Kent and on the Isle of Wight. For Bede, the Angles came from Angulus, modern Schleswig which still has a district called Angeln. The Saxons came from the coast between the Elbe and the Weser valleys; and the Jutes were north of the Angles in Danish Juteland or in Holstein.

Other literary sources indicate the presence of Franks amongst the immigrants. Archaeology also indicates that Swaefe, Alemanni, Swedes and Danes were present. This is not surprising if we assume that the Volkwandering caused a high degree of cultural mixing between the Elbe and the Ems from where most of the invading settlers of Britain had originated.

Mound-villages have been excavated in Holland and Germany that indicate significant growth during the migration period. Feddersen Wierde north of Bremerhaven had a number of small mounds that were linked together in the first century AD to support about thirty houses. This was increased to about fifty houses in the second century. Later, bronze and copper working installations were added. Occupation ceased in the mid fifth century. Since pottery found at Feddersen Wierde is similar to that found at Mucking on the Thames, it is tempting to suggest that a migration occurred from this site to England. Other mound villages, which have been excavated, tell a similar story.

In England the village community formed the unit of the new English society. Each such township was surrounded by forest, water, or fen, which divided it from its nearest neighbours. Each village was developed for a single clan, supposed to be of kindred blood and bearing a common name. The new villagers and their serfs, being conquered Welshmen, cultivated the soil under cereals for bread, and also for an unnecessarily large supply of beer, as we learn at a later date from numerous charters. Cattle and horses grazed in the pastures, while large herds of pigs were kept in the forest which formed the mark.

Since Yorkshire and Kent are considerably richer than the Danish and German coastal areas, the newcomers apparently adapted quickly from sea-pirates to farmers and soon became wealthy new land-owners. Alan Grant notes that Teutonic villages with family names are limited to eastern Britain.[4]

"There are altogether 1,400 names of this type in England. Their value as a test of Teutonic colonisation is shown by the fact that while 48 occur in Northumberland, 127 in Yorkshire, 76 in Lincolnshire, 153 in Norfolk and Suffolk, 48 in Essex, 60 in Kent, and 86 in Sussex and Surrey, only 2 are found in Cornwall, 6 in Cumberland, 24 in Devon, 13 in Worcester, 2 in Westmoreland, and none in Monmouth. Speaking generally, these [German] clan names are thickest along the original English coast, from Forth to Portland; they decrease rapidly as we move inland; and they die away altogether as we approach the purely Celtic west."



Shifting power in Britain


The Roman withdrawal began before 300 AD and was completed by Maximus in 410 AD. Pax Romana was replaced by Germanic and Danish invasions starting in 367 AD. New Saxon and Angle kingdoms pushed in from the East. Opinion is divided as to whether the native Britons were all slaughtered by the invading Germans – the evidence being a lack of surviving Celtic occupied-place names; or were merely defeated and absorbed. Wales is not a Celtic name, but is derived from the Anglo-Saxon for foreigner. Bernicia and Deira survived as vassal, kingdoms.

Current opinion is that the new immigrants had to fight their way in. These same people intermarried and adapted, but did not leave a lot of Germaness behind them. The conclusion is of an evolutionary vice more revolutionary change in Britain, albeit power and wealth were firmly seized. The German tribal life remained much the same in Britain as it had been in Sleswick and North Holland. The Angles and Saxons apparently came over as a colonising body, with their women, children, flocks, herds, goods, and chattels. The invaders' cattle which they brought with them may still be distinguished in their skeletal remains from the Celtic short-horn remains found in Roman ruins and pre-historic barrows.

The new 'English' came as settlers, rather than pirates. The Germans remained together in their original tribes and families for protection after they had seized the coastal areas. It seems likely that a generation then passed while the newcomers consolidated their grip in Britain. The English families, however, probably tilled the soil by the aid of Welsh slaves; indeed, in Anglo-Saxon, the word serf and Welshman are used almost interchangeably as equivalent synonyms. But though many Welshmen were doubtless spared from the very first, nothing is more certain than the fact that they became thoroughly Anglicized. Celts have a proven record of adaptability. Celts adapted quickly to first the Romans and then the Franks in Gaul, to the Goths in Spain, and to the native Irish in Ireland. Apparently in the isolation of the English townships the native British Celts adapted to the new 'English'. Within a few generations Celtic slaves had forgotten both Celtic and Latin, Celtic origins, and Druidism, and had become pagan English serfs. Whatever else the Teutonic conquest did, it created Englishmen and a sense of English nationality.

Dr Martin Evison writes for British Archeology in his article 'Lo, the conquering hero comes (or not)':

"The early mediaeval period was a time in which settlement of new groups of people, and the construction of entirely new identities, were relatively commonplace. Certainly there was antagonism and even conflict, but accommodation was the rule. It has become increasingly clear that it is not valid to equate people, language and culture; and it is a popular misconception that we are what our genes make us. A sense of ethnic or national identity is not necessarily a question of language, and certainly not one of genetics; rather, it is a state of mind."[5]

How right he was and the perfect example of his point is the German tribal activity.

In Sleswick the Danes had lived within their little villages as free and independent communities. In Britain all the clans of each colony gradually came under the military command of a king. The ealdormen who led the various marauding bands, pushing west against the native Britons, assumed royal power in England. The English had both to win England and also to extend it. During four hundred years a constant smouldering warfare was carried on between the Germans (the 'English') and the native Britons on their western frontier. Thus the townships of each colony entered into a closer union with one another for military purposes, and so created the need for the separate chieftainships or petty kingdoms of early England. The king was merely the semi-hereditary general and representative of the people, elected by the freemen. Only as the kingdoms coalesced, and as the power of meeting became consequently less, did the king acquire his greater prerogatives. From the first, however, he seems to have possessed the right of granting public lands, with the consent of the freemen, to particular individuals; and such book-land, as the early English called it, after the introduction of Roman writing, became the origin of private property.

Every township had a 'moot' or assembly of freemen, which met around a 'sacred oak', or on some holy hill, or beside a great stone monument of some forgotten Celtic chieftain. And the colony as a whole also had a moot, at which all freemen might attend, and which settled the general affairs of the kingdom. At the larger moots the kings were elected; and though the selection was practically confined to men of royal kin, the king nevertheless represented the free choice of the tribes. Before their conversion to Christianity, the royal families all traced their origin to Woden. Thus the pedigree of Ida, King of Northumbria, runs as follows - "Ida was Eopping, Eoppa was Esing, Esa was Inguing, Ingui Angenwiting, Angenwit Alocing, Aloc Benocing, Benoc Branding, Brand Baldæging, Bældæg Wodening." But in later Christian times the chroniclers felt the necessity of reconciling these heathen genealogies with the Scriptural account in Genesis; so they affiliated Woden himself with the Hebrew patriarchs. Genealogical research became significantly more difficult in trying to separate myth from history.


With no Roman fleet to protect Britain, the Germans found Britain was easier to raid. The co-ordination so evident with Roman control collapsed and Saxon pirates raided the coasts. With ever-increasing confidence the Saxons sailed up estuaries and rivers, murdering and pillaging. Vortigern a Romanised Briton decided to employ the Jutes as mercenaries to protect his kingdom of Kent. Vortigern won four great battles against the Saxons after making an alliance with the Scots and drove them out of Britain, but he was then poisoned by Rowen. The Jutes were led by two chiefs named Horsa and Hengest. Employing these people turned out to be the big mistake. Horsa and Hengest soon approached Vortigen and asked for more rewards and Vortigen refused. Considering the Jutes' pirate background it is strange that Vortigen employed them, but he was desperate. One event led to another culminating in the Jutes joining the Saxon pirates.

The Jutes, as their name implies came from Southern Denmark, or Jutland. They were a German tribe who settled in the area of Kent. Founded in 450 AD, this was the earliest of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Made up of a mixture of Germanic Jutes and Celtic Britons, the Jutes were originally used as mercenaries by the controlling British. Like most of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, later Kentish folk descended from an equal mixture of both races, Briton and Jute, since the invaders were never numerous enough to entirely displace the general population of Britons. The name Kent is the bastardised Jutish version of the original Romano-British Cantiaci/Cantii (Post-Roman Ceint), and means Men of Kent.


Hengest returned in 461 with 3000 armed men and Vortigern objected to this large invasion and fought with him. The Saxons apparently raped, pillaged, wasted and overran Vortigern's kingdom. Saxons pulled down the churches and murdered the priests. Celtic men fled overseas leaving their wives and daughters to the Saxons.[6] Others fled to the forests and caves far to the north or south to Cornwall, Wales or Scotia. When Aurelius Ambrosius who reigned from 480 to 501, became king he captured and executed Hengest at Kaerconan (Conisborough). Britain was then divided up into eight kingdoms: Kent, Sussex, Wessex, Essex, Anglia, Mercia, Deira and Bernicia. The two latter kingdoms were the old kingdom of Northumbria, briefly divided but soon restored. The struggle between the Saxons, Scots, Britons and then the Angles continued.

Learning, culture and especially law and order were not important to the Saxons. Coming from northern Europe they were virtually untouched by Roman influence and were naturally jealous of wealth. They were quite happy to take the animals, crops and urban contents but had no interest in urban life. They burned and destroyed inhabited camps or villages they came across. The Saxons lived a rural lifestyle similar to their natural homeland. Having overrun Kent and built a bridgehead, they considered it safe enough to bring their families to England.

New Saxon invasions continued the work of Horsa and Hengest: fighting the Celtic and Romano-Celtic people for their land. They came in great swarms, according to Bede and they became a terror to the people. The domestic Celts were no match for the Saxons and were pushed further and further to the west of England, finally halting in the counties of Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. Some retreated to Wales and the rest to the Lake District and southern Scotland in the area now known as Strathclyde. By the end of the sixth century, the once proud British people had degenerated into nothing better than the invaders who were now pushing them into a corner. Any animal forced into a corner becomes dangerous. The disease and hunger the Saxons had inflicted on them by taking their land resulted in a fight for existence.

Most of what has been written concerning the Saxons relates more to their aggressive and conquering tendencies. There is another side of them that has made England the country it is today. When Hengest and Horsa took over Kent prior to expanding outwards, their families and children followed. It was necessary therefore to farm the land, as pillaging is only a short term measure if you intend to stay. The Saxons were excellent farmers. they used four and eight ox ploughs to farm the land. this allowed the heavy soils that were not used by the British or the Romans to grow crops into production. They worked together as a team to produce food, in fact, very similar to the way they fought. The Saxons lived in thatched tent like huts called tuns which were usually built in forest clearings or next to rivers. Many of the place names that are still in existence today, such as Hastings and Barking are areas colonized by the Saxons. When the settlements became overpopulated, more forest was felled and the name Bottom, East, West, North, South, Ley and Hurst appended to the name. English maps are littered with such places today. If you fly over England, you will see the whole country segmented into small fields. These are of Saxon origin. Saxon is a generic term for a number of northern European people. As such, they still tended to act tribally and populate different areas of England. In the earlier days of Saxon colonization, the Jutes favoured Kent and the Hampshire and the Isle of Wight area. The Angles settled East Anglia, and the South Saxons lived in Sussex. As the population increased, they expanded outwards. The Angles moved north through Lincolnshire and over the Humber into Yorkshire and as far as southern Scotland, intermarrying on the way.

The Celts were pushed ever further west and north, and many migrated to Brittany. The west Celts were cut off by the Severn Estuary from their Welsh kin. The northern Celts pushed up into Scotland. To all intents and purposes, most of Britain became England. The country was Saxon by the end of the sixth century.


The earliest Germanic settlements in East Anglia seem to have been organised on an orderly and cooperative federate basis. Caister-by-Norwich, Roman Venta Icenorum, was originally built to Romanise the Iceni after Boudicca's revolution in 61 AD About the beginning of the fourth century, an area southwest of the city began to be used for an Anglo-Saxon cremation cemetery. Pottery evidence from this time indicates a Saxon mercenary population living in cooperation with the British citizens in the city. York, Leicester, Cambridge and Great Chesterford have similar cremation cemeteries outside their walls. Cooperation appears to have broken down in the fifth century. Immigration increased significantly after Hengest's Saxon revolt. Large cremation cemeteries demonstrate non-Christian attitudes among the Saxon newcomers. Many fifth century settlements were not directly related to Roman centers, indicating an independence not evident in the earlier Saxon settlements. The division of the area of East Anglia into Norfolk and Suffolk indicates that it may have initially been settled by two separate groups who were later united by the Swedish Wuffing dynasty whose burial ground was at Sutton Hoo.

The primary literary sources of this period leave the impression that the Romano-British urban and rural lifestyle was replaced by Anglo-Saxon invaders starting in the mid fifth century. Gildas, Procopius and the West Saxon annals all suggest a conquest in two parts separated by a significant length of time. All of the sources give a mid fifth century date for the beginning of the first phase when war bands immigrated to Britain either after being invited by the British authorities as in Kent, or on their own as in Sussex and Wessex. The West Saxon traditions indicate the later phase of conquest started about 552 after a twenty-five year period of consolidation in Hampshire. From the British perspective, Gildas indicates at least forty years of stability, but says that border skirmishes were taking place during that time and, therefore, does not significantly disagree with the chronicle. Thus, the literary sources paint a uniform picture.

Archaeological evidence indicates a much more complex situation. A significant population of Germanic people of mixed tribal background was built up in cooperation with the Roman and British authorities during the fourth and the first half of the fifth centuries. These settlements appear to have supported the Saxon Shore defense system that was constructed during the fourth century. A comparison of archaeological evidence of early Germanic settlement, with written sources shows the southern bias of the literary sources who say nothing of early settlement in Essex, East Anglia, Lindsey, Deira or the middle Thames region.

Their political collapse on the continent led to the withdrawal of Roman military and civil authority from Britain in the last half of the fifth century. It appears that an administrative and economic collapse quickly followed. This is the point where the primary literary sources pick up the story. With the Roman army gone, the British were vulnerable to attacks by the irregular forces that were left behind. When the British authorities were no longer able to supply the auxiliaries with the amenities they had come to expect, they took matters into their own hands, supported by war bands from the continent. The concentration on the south and east in the literature may be due to the accidents of survival of oral traditions, or it may be that the transition in these areas was more violent and thus was recorded in the heroic poetry of the day, therefore being passed on to later generations.

Archaeological evidence shows that there were attempts at continued occupation in some cities. Gates were blocked and in some, German mercenaries appear to have been brought into the cities for further protection. The cities of Silchester and Verulanium continued to be occupied by the British for many years, but in general the British population was significantly reduced. Many of the British aristocracy fled to the continent or to the west and north, taking some of the peasants with them. Other British peasants probably remained, either trying to maintain themselves on the land, or becoming slaves to the invaders. With the fall of the cities, the villas also fell into disuse. Wide areas of the lowlands reverted to scrub and a completely different land use pattern appeared once they were reoccupied.

In what had been the wealthiest and most densely populated areas of Roman Britain, the invaders completely replaced the language, institutions and culture of the Romans. In the west and north where native culture was less affected by the Romans, the Celtic language and culture was retained long after they became a part of the Germanic kingdoms. In Wales, much of the Celtic culture has been retained to this day.

In some areas there appears to have been cooperation between the Germanic invaders and the British population. Lincoln, in what became Lindsey, survived nearly intact. A high degree of cooperation seems to have been attained in Wessex where the ruling dynasty itself may have been part-British. The puzzle regarding Wessex and other areas where cooperation apparently occurred is why more of the British language and culture was not assimilated. When written sources became available in the seventh century, these areas were already Germanic in both culture and language. It appears that this area of study will remain a fertile field for historical controversy for a long time to come.[7]



King Raedwald's Sutton Hoo helmet


In 519, the kingdom of the West Saxons (Wessex) was founded; and in 584, an Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia. By 597, there were sufficient heathens in Britain to force Pope Gregory to send St Augustine to convert the pagan Saxons to Christianity. In 613, King Aethelfrith of Bernicia attacked King Edwin of Deira, but Edwin fled to seek aid from King Raedwald of East Anglia. Although Aethelfrith asked Raedwald for Edwin in return for rich rewards, Raedwald’s wife told him it would be dishonourable and he refused.

In 616, Raedwald and Edwin attacked and killed Aethelfrith, and Edwin was made king of Northumbria. The Venerable Bede named Raedwald as a Braetwalda (High King) of Britain, since Raedwald then controlled East Anglia, Mercia, Northumbria, and several minor kingdoms. In 625, Raedwald died and was buried at Sutton Hoo, in his longship, with his helmet.[8] In 869 Edmund, the last king of East Anglia, was killed by the Vikings. Although Alfred the Great is acclaimed as the first King of England, Raedwald is acknowledged to share that claim.

That most of these families intermarried is quite understandable: they were strangers in a strange land. Apart from political marriages, which would be within the same limited groups, with whom would they want to share power? High-born marriages were seldom about love and always about alliances, available child-bearing women were used as political pawns. As a genealogical point, there is no substantive question as to why most of these people were related: they would probably see no alternative. It is perhaps for that reason that the later William the Conqueror’s peasant mother stands out as such an exception: she was from outside the very small group of families. Notably William's great-aunt was married off by her Norman brother to King Aethelred of England to win favour in that court. It was Queen Emma herself who then married the conquering young Dane Cnut, who replaced her dead Saxon husband as king of England.

English Language Origins

Our English-language habit of deliberate ‘ambiguity, innuendo and word play’ derives directly from the Anglo-Saxons.[9] McCrum also notes the same complexity of Anglo-Saxon language and art, at Sutton Hoo. There are many quotes of the Anglo-Saxon riddles. Here are a couple of examples:

1. On the way a miracle: water became bone.[10]

2. I am told a certain object grows
In the corner, rises and expands, throws up
A crust. A proud wife carried off
That boneless wonder, the daughter of a King
Covered that swollen thing with a cloth.[11]



The Heptarchy


The Angles and Saxons were keen to establish their legitimacy and adopted the earlier Briton's idea of a central king. Although not always achieved, when such power was concentrated in one man he was called a bretwalda, or 'overking', or high king. He was acknowledged as having central authority by his peers - the under-kings. The list shown for English Monarchs includes those commonly accepted as identifying the British bretwaldas.

The Heptarch

The term heptarchy relates to the seven Germanic kingdoms, into which, roughly speaking, Anglo-Saxon Britain was divided for nearly three centuries, until at last the supremacy, about the year 829, fell definitely and finally into the hands of Wessex.

The kingdoms were Wessex, Sussex, Kent, Essex, East Anglia, Mercia, and Northumbria; although Northumbria was further divided into Deira and Bernicia and were regarded as separate kingdoms. Between these nominally independent states war, and as a consequence some measure of subjugation, was continually occurring. Moreover, the early chronicles and charters document sub-kings who must have ruled over smaller divisions. Edwin, King of Deira, a part of Northumbria, who was converted by St. Paulinus (c627), slew five "kings" when fighting against the Saxons. Again four kings were reigning at one and the same time in Sussex and three in Essex. There were also kings of the Hwiccas (Worcestershire and Warwickshire), as well as a separate Kingdom of the Middle Angles and of Lindsey. It was a confusing time!

German Tribes

Many German tribes came from Scandza, or present day Scandinavia, as related in Getica, or The Origin and Deeds of the Goths, by Jordanes (c550), translated by Charles C. Mierow. (Other evidence suggests that many other tribes had already migrated out of those northern lands prior to Jordanes' sources' awareness.)

"The tribes are as follows: Adogit, the northernmost tribe; the Screrefennae; the Suehans, who, like the Thuringians, have splendid horses; then come the Theustes, Vagoth, Bergio, Hallin, Liothida. All their habitations are in one level and fertile region and are therefore attacked by other tribes. Also have the Ahelmil, Finnaithae, Fervir and Gauthigoth, the Mixi, Evagre, and Otingis, the Ostrogoths, Raumarici, Aeragnaricii, "and the most gentle Finns, milder than all the inhabitants of Scandza. Like them are the Vinovilith also. The Suetidi are of this stock and excel the rest in stature. However, the Dani, who trace their origin to the same stock, drove from their homes the Heruli, who lay claim to preëminence among all the nations of Scandza for their tallness. Furthermore there are in the same neighborhood the Grannii, Augandzi, Eunixi, Taetel, Rugi, Arochi and Ranii, over whom Roduulf was king not many years ago. But he despised his own kingdom and fled to the embrace of Theodoric, king of the Goths, finding there what he desired. All these nations surpassed the Germans in size and spirit, and fought with the cruelty of wild beasts."[12]

Caesar wrote that they were descended from the Cimbri and Teutones. At the time of Caesar they lived as neighbors with the Eburones in Gallia Belgica, with the Nervii to their west and the Treveri to their south. (Source: The World of the Celts by Simon James (1993), map page 119.)
Part of the Suebian federation of Germanic tribes, along with the Marcomanni, Hermunduri and Quadi. A Germanic tribe springing "from their Elbian homelands". The Alaman horsemen were first sighted by the Romans in 213 AD. In 233 AD they overran the empty Roman limes forts, reached the Saar and Moselle Rivers in the west and Lake Constance in the south. Also settled in the Middle Elbe (time?). Alaman raids in 242, 253, 254 AD. Also 259, 260 AD in Raetia and Mediolanum (Milan). Franks defeated the Alamanni in 496 or 497 AD at Tolbiacum/Zuelpich. Coupled with Franks expansion in the sixth century AD, forced the Alamanni into territory between Alsace in the wet and the River Lech in the east; to the south they crossed the Rhine and Lake Constance, into Alpine river valleys. There is a huge Alaman cemetery at Schretzheim. Alamannic place names ending in ingen, heim, statt and weil were settled between the 5th-7th centuries AD, while endings in dorf, stetten, hifen, weiler, bach, beuren, hausen, wang and felden were founded after 700 AD (Source: "Tools, Weapons..." by Herbert Schutz (2001 Brill Publ.) at pages 54-61.).
Not a Germanic tribe, were a branch of Sarmatian origin. The Alans became "Germanised". The name Alan is thought to be derived from the same route as “Iran” and “Aryan” Some Alan tribes went west during the 300's CE and joined the Visigoths and Vandals in Spain and North Africa.
A German tribe.
men of the Ems. A Germanic tribe on the "upper Wupper" River, between the lower Weser and lower Ems Rivers, neighbors of the Germanic tribe Chasuarii. The Amsivarri became part of the Franks.
Originated in Southern Sweden and the Jutland Peninsula (Angeln?) and lived in the Schleswig-Holstein area (north Germany) around 100 AD. They were connected to the Thuringii tribe. The Angles/Anglii were represented in the 9th century Thuringian law called "Lex Angliorum et Werinorum, hoc est, Thuringorum" as were the Warnii/Warnians, which evidences a legal relationship with the Thuringians. Many Angles migrated to Britain during the 5th/6th centuries, with or after the Saxons, and settled in the north, east and center of Britain, areas known as East Anglia, Mercia, Deira and Bernicia (see Saxons, Jutes, Frisians). First mentioned by Tacitus in his Germania: "After them (the Langobards) come the Reudigni, Aviones, Anglii, Varini, Eudoses, Suarines, and Nuitones, all of them safe behind ramparts of rivers and woods. There is nothing noteworthy about these tribes individually, but they share a common worship of Nerthus, or Mother Earth." Ptolemy stated that some of the Anglii moved south during the 2nd century. See also isotope analysis at
A Germanic tribe in the Weser River area. Meaning (men of Enger).
Celtic Tribe
Mentioned by Tacitus in his Germania: "After them (the Langobards) come the Reudigni, Aviones, Anglii, Varini, Eudoses, Suarines, and Nuitones, all of them safe behind ramparts of rivers and woods. There is nothing noteworthy about these tribes individually, but they share a common worship of Nerthus, or Mother Earth."
"A German tribe which became known to the Romans early (in the war on Pyrrhus), who lived on the sources of the Vistula to the Carpates, and from the lower Danube to its mouth (Podolia, Galicia, Ukraine)." (Latin Dictionary Founded on Andrew's Edition of Freund's Latin Dictionary by Charlton T. Lewis, citing Livy, Pliny the Elder, and Tacitus.) "In the latter part of the third century BC a people named the Bastarnae arrived on the northwest coast of the Black Sea." (Source: Tacitus: Germania by Cornelius Tacitus, James Rives (Editor, 1999).). Tacitus states: "The Peucini, however, who are sometimes called Bastarnae, are like Germans in their language, manner of life, and mode of settlement and habitation." (Sources: "The Agricola and the Germania" by Cornelius Tacitus (1971).). The subtribes of the Bastarnae included the Peucini (Peukiner), Atmonen, Sidonen. (Sources: Strabo VII, 3, 13; Ptolemy (III, 5,7); RGA article, page 235 in the "P" volume.). It is widely accepted today that the Bastarnae were part of the Poienesti-Lukashevka culture (begun around the 2nd to 1st centuries BC). The Gubener Gruppe in the Lower Lausitz contributed most significantly to the P-L culture. The centre of origin of this culture was the Jastorf area, especially the area between the Elbe and Oder Rivers. (Source: RGA, page 235 in the "P" volume.). (Source: The Fall of the Roman Empire, by Peter Heather, citing Roman authors.)
The Batavi tribe, originally part of the Chatti, migrated between 100 BC and 50 BC from North Hessen to an "island" (now called "Betuwe") between the Waal and Rhine Rivers in the Roman province of Lower Germany. They were excellent horsemen. Today the area includes Rotterdam, Sleidrecht, Geldermalsen and Tiel in the Netherlands. The Batavii tribe was mentioned in The Notitia Dignitatum of the 5th Century AD. The Batavians revolted in 69 AD under the Batavian leader called Gaius (or Claudius) Julius Civilis ("Julius Civilis") near the border between Germany and the Netherlands, near Nijmegen (their capital back then was called Noviomagus Batavodurum).
Bavarii (Baioari in Latin, also Baiuvarii):
Elbian Germanic tribe out of the Czech Republic (Bohemia), traveled south to Austria and Bavaria; under Thuringian and Lombardic influence. "An ethnic conglomerate of Germanic tribal splinter groups, coalesced from about 476 AD onward between the Danube and the Alps from the Rivers Lech/Iller in the west, to the River Enns in the east." Schutz also states that the peoples that would become Bavarians were part of Theoderic's Ostrogothic and mainly defensive Prefecture of Italy. Core people were from Bohemia, plus Alemans, Juthungians, Elbians, Marcomans, Danubian Suebians, Skirians, Rugians, Thuringians, and after 555/556 AD, Lombards and others like Goths, other easterners, and Romans. (Source: "Tools, Weapons..." by Schutz (2001 Brill Publ.) at page 67,68, citing Boehme, "Stammesbildung" in Dannheimer and Dopsch pp 34, 37, "Die Bajuweren" for the composition of the Bavarii.). Many Gothic fibulae demonstrate the Ostrogothic force on the area culture. The rulers in Bavaria were more Frankish rather than from the tribe Bavarii. See Heruli below. First named in 557 AD in Jordanes "Getica" where he called them "Baioras". During the 6th century were assimilated into other groups. A famous, and largest Bavarian row gravefield is at Straubing--over 800 graves--ornaments from Frankish-Alemannic west, Thuringian and central German north, an an eastern Danubian, Ostrogothic and Italic south. At another site--Altenerding near Muenich--there were over 2000 burials, demonstrating a population synthesis for 200 years beginning in the late 5th century AD. Some Hunnish skull deformations (female) were present. Grave goods, first phase, at Altenerding consisted of Thuringian-Upper Elbian, Ostrogothic, early Langobardic inventories. (Source: "Tools, Weapons..." by Herbert Schultz (2001 Brill Publ.) at page 64-67.).
The Belgae were a cross between Celtic and Germanic tribes, tall with blond hair. Julius Caesar wrote that the Belgae differed from the Gauls and other tribes such as the Aquitani in language, customs and laws even though they lived in the northern part of what Caesar called Gaul. Caesar also states "the greater part of the Belgae were sprung, from the Germans". The Belgae fought the Romans in the Gallic Wars (58 BC-51 BC). One of the belgic tribes, the Aduatuci, was virtually wiped out. Also see J.A. MacCulloch's book, "The Religion of the Ancient Celts" (1st ed. 1911), who states that the Belgae were Germanic, based on the analysis of the skulls found in the Belgicae burials of Grenelle, Sclaigneaux and Borreby, France.
Gallia Belgica, a part of ancient Roman Gaul, had many different tribes: Caleti, Velocasses, Morini, Atrebates, Menapi, Morini, Nervi, Bellovaci, Remi, Eburoni, Veromandui, Aduatuci, Condrusi, the Eburones, the Caeraesi, the Paemani. The Belgae were probably a federation of these various tribes, as Caesar discussed. (Note from Kevin: Hawkes 1968 Cunliffe 1988 and 1991 seem to think that the Belgae/Belgii were a Celtic tribe from nothern Gaul who migrated to central southern England (Hampshire and West Sussex) between 100 and 80 BC.) The Belgae spoke another dialect of Celtic mixed with German. (Source: From: J. B. Greenough, Benjamin L. D'Ooge, M. Grant Daniell, Commentary on Caesar's Gallic War.). "The Belgae themselves believed that their ancestors had crossed the Rhine into Gaul from the east and this tradition may reflect a prehistoric migration, perhaps in the second century BCE." (Source: Ancestors: The Origins of the People and Countries of Europe by Martin Berg and Miles Litvinoff, Eurobook 1992.)
The ancestors of the Belgae are still unknown, although the Belgae considered themselves descended from the Germani. (Source: The Prehistory of Germanic Europe by Herbert Schutz (1983), p. 338.). The Greek writer Strabo noted the resemblance between the Belgae and the Germani. The tribal names of some of the Belgae have continued in their regional centers; thus the Remi are remembered in Reims, the Suessiones in Soissons, the Belovaci in Beauvais, the Ambioni in Amiens, and so forth. (Source: The Prehistory of Germanic Europe by Herbert Schutz (1983), p. 338.).
The Gallic Wars by Julius Caesar: "All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which the Belgae inhabit, the Aquitani another, those who in their own language are called Celts, in our Gauls, the third. All these differ from each other in language, customs and laws. The river Garonne separates the Gauls from the Aquitani; the Marne and the Seine separate them from the Belgae. Of all these, the Belgae are the bravest, because they are furthest from the civilization and refinement of (our) Province, and merchants least frequently resort to them, and import those things which tend to effeminate the mind; and they are the nearest to the Germans, who dwell beyond the Rhine, with whom they are continually waging war; for which reason the Helvetii also surpass the rest of the Gauls in valor, as they contend with the Germans in almost daily battles, when they either repel them from their own territories, or themselves wage war on their frontiers. One part of these, which it has been said that the Gauls occupy, takes its beginning at the river Rhone; it is bounded by the river Garonne, the ocean, and the territories of the Belgae; it borders, too, on the side of the Sequani and the Helvetii, upon the river Rhine, and stretches toward the north. The Belgae rises from the extreme frontier of Gaul, extend to the lower part of the river Rhine; and look toward the north and the rising sun. Aquitania extends from the river Garonne to the Pyrenaean mountains and to that part of the ocean which is near Spain: it looks between the setting of the sun, and the north star." (Source: The Gallic Wars by Julius Caesar, Book 1, Chapter 1 ("De Bello Gallico). The Belgae are mentioned in Books I, II and VIII.)
Listed as a Germanic tribe by Caesar; see Belgae. Caesar said that the Bellovaci exceeded all the Gauls (meaning the Celts) and Belgae in military prowess. {Source: The Gallic Wars by Julius Caesar, Book 8, Chapter 6.)
Germanic tribe that lived south of the Teutoberg Forest in Germany; merged with the Franks.
East Germanic tribe who settled around the Vistula Basin before moving west to the Rhine River valley. First mentioned in 278 AD when invading Raetia with the Vandals. Alemans were neighbors, but fought over the salt springs in 369 AD. In 413 AD Roman emperor Honorius recognizes them as Roman Foederati, gives them land, their capital becomes Worms. In 435 AD defeated by Roman Aetius and Hunnish mercenaries. Two years later the tribe fought with the Huns alone, the Burgundian royal family and 20,000 men were killed, nearly wiping out the tribe (See Michael Babcock, Solving the Murder of Attila the Hun, pp. 108-109). Resettlement in 443 AD as foederati and laeti in western Switzerland/eastern France. King Gundobad establishes a capital at Geneva, Switzerland. So they ended up as a dual kingdom, with capitals at Geneva and at Lyons. (Source: "Tools, Weapons..." by Herbert Schutz (2001 Brill Publ.) at pages 36,37; also citing "Die Burgunder" in Krueger's 'Die Germanen', volume II, which in turn cites Sidonius Appollinaris "Carmina" 7, 322; also citing "Gesellschaft und Kunst der Germanen--Die Thueringer und ihre Welt" by Guenter Behm-Blanke (Verlag der Kunst, Dresden 1973) at page 6.). Eventually they were subjugated by the Merovingian Franks in 532 AD, with their kingdoms being divided up among the three Frankish kings. King Gundaharius was one of the Burgundian kings. Another was King Gundobad, who issued some Germanic law codes, the "Lex Gundobada" or "Lex Burgundionum".
Burgundian origin: while some sources mention the origin as possibly Bornholm, this view is disputed and may not be supported by archaelogy. The evidence (at this time) appears to more favor that the Burgundians were archaeologically of the Lebus/Lausitz group (100 AD), a group of the Przeworsk culture emigrating from south east of the Burgundian settlements at the middle of the Oder River. (Source: Achim Leube, "Semnonen, Burgunden, Alamannen" (Berlin 1995); see also the article 'Bornholm' in the Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde regarding linguistics of "Burdundian" and "Bornholm"..) Also supporting the Przeworsk culture origin: A. Leube 'Die Burgunden bis zum Untergang ihres Reiches an der oberen Rhone im Jahr 534, In Kruger, Die Germanen 2, (Berlin 1986); D. Neubauer Ostgermanen beiderseits des Rheins? Ein Beitrag zu voelkerwanderungszeitlichen Schnallen in Mittle Westeuropa. In Meinfrankische Studien 63, (Buechenbach 1999); and J. Haberstroh, Germanische Stammesverbaende an oberem Main und Regnitz. In Archiv Gesch. Oberfranken 75, (1995).
Listed as a Germanic tribe by Caesar; see Belgae.
Listed as a Germanic tribe by Caesar; see Belgae. Inhabited northwestern Gaul. (Source: "De Bello Gallico" by Caesar.)
No details.
The Chamavi, a Germanic tribe, are first mentioned in the year 289 AD as a "Frankish" people. Around 300 AD they are found east of the Salians who are south east of the Isselmeer area. Earlier, on the Peutinger (Roman) Map, there is an inscription just north of the Rhine, stating 'Hamavi qui et Franci' which would be translated as 'the Chamavi also called Franks'. Although a "Frankish" tribe, they appear to retain their own identity as late as the 9th century AD when they were given their own law code, named "Lex Francorum Chamavorum". Their name lives on in the area known as Hamaland. Other place names may include places like (Ch)Amavorum and (Ch)Attuariorum in Burgundy, where Chamavi laeti units may have settled in large numbers. The Notitia Dignitatum also lists cohorts and alae ("wings") of Franks with several detachments, including Chamavi. (Source: The Franks by Edward James (1988 hardcover, Blackwell Publishers; 1991 softcover, Blackwell Publishers.)
A Germanic tribe in the Danish Jutland penninsula. (Source: The Fall of the Roman Empire, by Peter Heather, citing Roman authors.)
A Germanic tribe on the upper Wupper River, between the lower Weser and lower Ems Rivers, neighbors of the Germanic tribe Amsivarii.
A Germanic tribe between the Rhine and upper Weser rivers. Absorbed by the Franks in 508 AD. See also Batavii. (Source: The Fall of the Roman Empire, by Peter Heather, citing Roman authors.)
Lived on the northwestern shore of Germany during Roman times. They then were either merged with or subjugated by the Saxons in the 4th century. (Musset, 1975). More specifically, the Chauci lived on the lower Ems River and the Hase River. They were neighbors of the Amsivarii and Chasuarii.
A Germanic tribe settled around the Rhine and the forests of western Germany. Were principals in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD. Arminius, a Cherusci leader, wiped out three Roman legions under Varus.
In c100 AD, a Germanic tribe near the upper reaches of the rivers Weser, Eder, Fulda and Werra; folded into the Franks (Source: Wikipedia.)
A Germanic and/or Celtic tribe--the evidence is thin either way. The World of the Celts by Simon James skips discussion of them other than to infer that they were Germanic (1993 page 46.). Prof. Barry Cunliffe devotes more space to them, and says that while their origins are obscure, the evidence suggests that the Cimbri and Teutones came from northwest Europe by the North Sea (Source: "The Ancient Celts" (1997 pp. 221,222).). Some sources cite that they were originally from Jutland, the western peninsula of Denmark, their homeland being Himmerland or Kimmerland. Because of some language comparisons (cym=kim), some believe that the Cimbri were Celtic, although other evidence points to their Germanic origin. The tribe was destroyed by the Roman, Marius, at Vercellae 101 BC. The Cimbri had joined the Teutonii and Tiguronii in attacking Italy via different routes. The Teutonii were destroyed in 102 BC. (See Teutonii tribe below.)
The Condrusi were listed as a Germanic tribe by Caesar.
A Germanic tribe at the headwaters of the Elbe and neighbours of the Marcomani and Quadi. (Source: The Fall of the Roman Empire, by Peter Heather, citing Roman authors.)
A Germanic tribe settled east of the Weser River. (Source: The Fall of the Roman Empire, by Peter Heather, citing Roman authors.)
Ambiorix, the chief of the Eburoni, is memorialized in statue form in Tongres, Belgium. See Tungri/Tongri below. Listed as a Germanic tribe by Caesar; see Belgae. At the time of Caesar they lived as neighbors with the Aduatuci in Gallia Belgica, with the Nervii to their west and the Treveri to their south. (Source: The World of the Celts by Simon James (1993), map page 119.). Were tribes like the Eburones neither Germanic nor Celtic, but of a third classification, as would be some Belgae tribes?
A Germanic tribe settled north of the Rhine/Danube and south of the Weser/Elbe. (Source: The Fall of the Roman Empire, by Peter Heather, citing Roman authors.)
Mentioned by Tacitus in his Germania: "After them (the Langobards) come the Reudigni, Aviones, Anglii, Varini, Eudoses, Suarines, and Nuitones, all of them safe behind ramparts of rivers and woods. There is nothing noteworthy about these tribes individually, but they share a common worship of Nerthus, or Mother Earth."
No details.
The Frankish people were confederation of local Teutonic peoples dwelling in the Netherlands and northwestern Germany. In the 5th century they began migrating westward across the Low Countries and into northern France. In Normandy they displaced the last remaining Roman legion and settled the land. The following lists delineate the early Frankish leaders before the divisions of the early 6th century. The Merovingian dynasty takes its name from the first Frankish ruler to penetrate what would become French territory, circa 450. Merovignian tradition gave the Francs as deriving from the Sicambri. The tribe changed its name to honour a Sicambrian king, Francus (d 11 BC). Consequently they are known as both Francs and the translated Franks. The name of the "Francs" pops up in 256 AD when they were seen crossing the Lower Rhine. In 231 AD the Roman legion at Bonna fought a Lower Rhine tribe, may have been the Francs. (Source: "Tools, Weapons..." by Schutz at page 43.). Gregory of Tours writes that the Franks believed themselves descended from the Sicambri (a Scythian tribe). The founding tribes of the Franks: Schutz states that these were the Batavi, Bructeri, Tungri, Sugambri and others that lived along both sides of the Middle and Lower Rhine. (Source: Tools, Weapons... by Schutz, p. 43.). One author on the Germanic-L List believes that the "founding tribes" of the Franks probably included the Chamavi, Sugambri, Batavi, Chattuari, Amsivari, Bructeri, Usipi etc. Frankish sub-groups are later identified as Ripuari and Sali (the Ripuarian and Salian Franks). (See Duerinck, on History of the Franks. (See also Royal Genealogies. The genealogical tales of emperors, kings and princes from Adam to these times. by James Anderson, 1736.) For a Frankish king list and genealogy see
Tacitus mentioned them as part of the Ingvaeones. This tribe inhabited the Noordbrabant district of the Southern Netherlands south of the River Maas, extending into the Antwerpen district of Northern Belgium. In his manuscript "Belgica", Pliny says that the Roman general Drusus conquered the Frisians in 12 BC Ptolemy, in his "Geographica", states that the Frisians occupied the North Sea coastal area (OK, not his exact words). It is believed that as the Angle/Saxon horde came through on their way to Britain, that some Frisians joined them, others staying behind in what is now the Netherlands. The Frisian tribe was mentioned in The Notitia Dignitatum, an early 5th century AD document, in which was transcribed every military and governmental post in the late Roman empire.
Germanic tribe first mentioned around AD 260, when they participated in an invasion in Dacia together with the Goths. They settled on the eastern bank of the Tisza River. They were subjugated by the Ostrogoths in the 4th century and also to the Huns, fighting with the Huns in 451 AD. One of their kings was King Arderic. They were kicked out of settling in the area of present day Belgrade and were conquered by the Avars in 567. (Source: Wikipedia.) See The Goths by Peter Heather (1996) who read Hachmann's earlier work. Disputing Jordanes, the Goth/Gepid culture originated from northern Continental Europe rather than from southern Sweden (Heather 1996, page 14). Archaeological evidence demonstrates that the Goths did migrate from northeastern Europe to Scythia. (Source: The Goths by Peter Heather (1996).)
See Duerinck's Goths Tribe . See The Goths by Peter Heather (1996) who read Hachmann's earlier work. Disputing Jordanes, the Goth/Gepid culture originated from northern Continental Europe rather than from southern Sweden (Heather 1996, page 14). Archaeological evidence demonstrates that the Goths did migrate from northeastern Europe to Scythia (Source: Heather.) --the "Gotones" tribe of the Vistula were related to the Goths. Archaeologically, the Wielbark culture moved from the Vistula area to the Black Sea, supporting a close connection between Gotones and Goths. In the beginning of the 3rd century the Goths migrated from the Vistula area in Poland to north of the Black Sea. The most famous ruler of this group was Ermanaric. This kingdom was destroyed by the Huns between 370 and 380 AD Some Goths migrated west to form kingdoms in Italy and Spain. Others remained in the East, forming another kingdom after the fall of the Huns. The Varangians and the Kolbjazi were the foremost representatives of this kingdom. The Slavic peoples called the Goths "Rus" (meaning the Red-Blond-People). (Source: O.Pritsak, The Origin of Rus - Vol.1 - Old Scandinavian Sources other than the Sagas (1981).)
A German tribe on the middle Vistula River. (Source: The Fall of the Roman Empire, by Peter Heather, citing Roman authors.)
A German tribe between the upper Warte and Vistula rivers. (Source: The Fall of the Roman Empire, by Peter Heather, citing Roman authors.)
In c100 AD, this Germanic tribe lived near Schleswig-Holstein of northern Germany, along with the Anglii and Warnians. Centuries later they all moved south and lived in the North Harz area near the Turingii tribe. The 'year books of Fulda' mention that 'the Harudians live in the Harudorum pagus' in about 850AD.
A German tribe between the upper Oder and Warte rivers.
The precursor ancient Germanic tribe that is believed to have helped form the Thuringii confederation (tribe) around the 4th and 5th century AD, along with influx of other tribes. The Marcomanii and Semnones, along with the Hermunduri, helped form the Suebian federation. (Source: The Germanic Realms in Pre-Carolingian Central Europe, 400-750" by Herbert Schutz (2000) at page 401.). Also add the Quadi. Hermunduren princely grave found at Gommern, east of Magdeburg--culture dated to 450 AD, but grave is mid third century. Tumulus raised over grave. (Source: "Tools, Weapons and Ornaments: Germanic Material Culture in Pre-Carolingian Central Europe" by Herbert Schutz (2001 Brill Publ.) at page 29, citing Behm-Blancke p.28ff; Peschel p.139f., S. Froehlich (ed.), "Das germanische Fuerstengrab von Gommern, Gold fuer die Ewigkeit (Halle 2000).). There has been the discovery of a Hermunduren "princely" ladie's grave at Hassleben, late third century--had Roman objects and food in the grave. (Source: Schutz in "Tools, Weapons...".)
In 508 AD the Lombards crushed the eastern Herulians who had settled along the Middle Danube River. (Source: "Tools, Weapons..." by Herbert Schutz at page 33.). Herulian king Rodulf supported the migration of this tribe from Bohemia into Bavaria. The Heruli were a part of the Bavarii.
The Heruli joined with the Goths and crossed the limes in 267 AD (Trebellius Pollio, Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Gallieni, 13, 6) (Magie, 1921, Scorpan, 1980). In 276 AD they both raided the Black Sea area and forced their way to Bosporus and Cilicia (Musset, 1975).
Jutes were people originally from what is now Jutland in modern Denmark. Some Jutes, along with some Angles, some Saxons and other Germanic peoples went to England. The Jutes are less well known than the Angles and Saxons. Jutes settled in particular in Kent and on the Isle of Wight.
At the end of the third century AD, the Hermunduri were allied to the Alemans under a new name, the Juthungi. The northern group later merged with the Thuringians. (Source: "Tools, Weapons and Ornaments: Germanic Material Culture in Pre-Carolingian Central Europe" by Herbert Schutz (2001 Brill Publ.), citing Junghans, page 125f., also Geuenich, in Fuchs, Die Alamannen, page 75.)
The long beards. Legend had it that the Langobards came from Scandinavia, but the evidence is a bit thin at this point on a Scandinavian origin. Paul the Deacon, writing in the 8th century, relied on Pliny the Second for his information. The precursor tribe or confederation of tribes of the Langobards was the Winnili. We do find the Langobards on the lower course of the Elbe River in Lower Saxony south of Schleswig-Holstein, then migrating to Bohemia, and then to Pannonia. In 569 AD the Langobards migrated to Italy. (See "The Lombards: The Ancient Longobards" by Neil Christie, also "History of the Langobards" ("Historia Langobardorum") by Paul the Deacon, which can be read online at: Northvegr Site -- Paul the Deacon's "History of the Langobards, 1907.)
A Germanic tribe on the southern Baltic coast. (Source: The Fall of the Roman Empire, by Peter Heather, citing Roman authors.)
No details.
A German tribe on the middle Vistula River. (Source: The Fall of the Roman Empire, by Peter Heather, citing Roman authors.)
Movement of the Goths force the Marcomanni to move in 167-175 and 178-180 AD (Hodgkin, 1880). The Marcomanni in 167 AD were from Bohemia (Source: "Tools, Weapons..." by Schutz at page 54.). The Marcomannic Wars begin in 168 AD while Marcus Aurelius was Roman Emperor (161 to 180 AD)--the Goths had displaced the Marcomanni in the Roman Empire and the Marcomanni were not smiling (167-175 AD)(Hodgkin, 1880). Some of the tribes sympathizing with the Marcomanni and joining them in the fights were the Quadi, Vandals, Sarmatians, Suevi and other tribes in that region (Source of this statement: Eutropius (4th Cent AD): "The Reign of Marcus Aurelius, 161-180 CE".). Defeated, along with the Quadi, in 172 AD by Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. The Second Marcomannic War started in 178 AD, continuing until 180 AD. The Marcomanni were forced back to Germania.
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Listed as a Germanic tribe by Caesar; see Belgae. The Menapians lived on both sides of the Rhine during Caesar's reign. In 55 BC, the Tencteri and Usipetes, feeling pressures from the powerful Suebians, left their land and took that of the Menapians. (Source: Caesar's Commentaries, 4-15 of book 4.)
Morini: listed as a Germanic tribe by Caesar; see Belgae.
A Germanic tribe on the upper Oder River. (Source: The Fall of the Roman Empire, by Peter Heather, citing Roman authors.)
No details.
First mentioned by Tacitus in his Germania: "After them (the Langobards) come the Reudigni, Aviones, Anglii, Varini, Eudoses, Suarines, and Nuitones, all of them safe behind ramparts of rivers and woods. There is nothing noteworthy about these tribes individually, but they share a common worship of Nerthus, or Mother Earth."
Listed as a Germanic tribe by Caesar; see Belgae.
A Germanic tribe that was part of the Hermunduren confederation, they originated from Slovakia around 167 AD. Defeated in the First Marcomannic War, along with the Marcomanni, in 172 AD by Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. (Source: "Tools, Weapons..." by Herbert Schutz (2001 Brill Publ.) at page 54.)
Listed as a Germanic tribe by Caesar; see Belgae.
First mentioned by Tacitus in his Germania: "After them (the Langobards) come the Reudigni, Aviones, Anglii, Varini, Eudoses, Suarines, and Nuitones, all of them safe behind ramparts of rivers and woods. There is nothing noteworthy about these tribes individually, but they share a common worship of Nerthus, or Mother Earth."
Germanic tribe from northern Poland on the Baltic coast. (Source: The Fall of the Roman Empire, by Peter Heather, citing Roman authors.)
(See also Chauci.) The Saxon name is first mentioned by Ptolemy in about 150 AD. Ptolemy says that the Saxons were from lower Jutland and what is now Schleswig-Holstein in Germany. The "founding tribes" of the Sachsen may have included the Reudigni and Aviones, mentioned by Tacitus. The theory that the Saxons were groupings of tribes states that the subgroups of the later Saxons were very numerous, including: Agradingun, Angeron, Aringon, Astfalon, Bardongavenses, Derlingun, Firihsetan/Virsedi, Guddingen/Gotingi, Holtsaeten, Nordalbingi, Nordliudi, Nordsuavi, Norththuringun, Sahslingun, Scopingun, Scotelingun, Steoringun, Sturmarii/Sturmera, Thiadmariska, Waldseton, Waledungun, Wigmodia/Wihmodi, Uuestfali. A number of Saxons and Angles went to Britain in the 5th century AD, although Ammianus Marcellinus records Saxon attacks on Britain in about 365 AD and the mid-fifth-century Gallic Chronicle mentions another attack in 410 AD, with the fall of Britain to the Saxons in 441 AD. For isotope analysis of Anglo-Saxons, We do know that the Saxons joined the Franks to help destroy the Turingii tribe at the River Unstrut in 531 AD ("Die Germanen: Geschichte und Kultur der germanischen Staemme in Mitteleuropa" een handbuch in zwei Baenden by Bruno Krueger(1976, 1986, 1988)). Any archaeological excavations of this massacre site?. The tomb of an East Saxon king, believed to date from the early 7th century, has been discovered at Priory Crescent, Prittlewell, Southend-on-Sea, Essex. One story states that the burial chamber is almost certainly that of either King Saeberht or Sigeberht. Saeberht was England's second Christian king. He died circa 617 AD. This find rivals the Sutton Hoo ship burial in Suffolk, discovered in 1939.
A fourth century AD east Elbian tribe, joined the Alemans in southwest Germany. Were the Semnones the core of the Alemans? Question proposed in "Tools, Weapons and Ornaments: Germanic Material Culture in Pre-Carolingian Central Europe" by Herbert Schutz (2001 Brill Publ.), citing: see "Sueben-Alamannen und Rom, Die Anfaenge der schwaebisch-alemannischen Geschichte" by S. Junghans (Stuttgart, 1986), page 125. Cf. Wolfram and Schwarcz at page 139.
The Sicambri (var. Sicambres, Sigambrer, Sugumbrer, Sugambri) were originally a Scythian or Cimmerian tribe who once inhabited the mouth of the river Danube. The Merovingian kings claimed their descent from the Sicambri, asserting that this tribe had changed their name to "Franks" in 11 BC under the leadership of a certain chieftain called "Franko" (Francus). The Merovingians traced their Sicambrian origins from Marcomir I, king of the Cimmerians (died 412 BC), and ultimately to the kings of Troy, but this list of rulers is not accepted as historical. The West Germanic tribe of the Sigambrer (Sicambri) appear around 55 BC, during the time of the Roman Empire, on the right bank of the Rhine between the rivers Ruhr and Sieg, in an area that is today part of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The river Sieg, as well as the city of Siegen, were said to be named for this tribe. In 16 BC they defeated a Roman army under the command of Marcus Lollius, which sparked a reaction from the Roman Empire and helped start the series of Germanic Wars lasting from 16 BC to AD 16. In 11 BC, they were forced by Nero Claudius Drusus to move to the left side of the Rhine, where they evidently formed a central component of the confederacy of Franks. Their new homeland was located in what is now the region of Gelderland in the Netherlands, on the lower Rhine river. Gregory of Tours states that the Frankish leader Clovis, on the occasion of his baptism into the Catholic faith in 496, was referred to as Sicamber by the officiating bishop of Rheims -- recalling again the link between the Sugambri and Clovis' ancestors, the Merovingian royal house of the Franks. ( For a Sicambrian king list and genealogy see
In c100 AD, lived in the area of the Ruhr and Lippe Rivers. When Drusus died, his brother Tiberius attacked the Sugambri in 9 and 8 BC and deported them to the west bank of the Rhine, now calling them the Cugerni. A Roman military base was discovered in Sugambri territory by archaeologists near Oberaden, Germany, dated autumn 11 BCE. The Sicambri traced their history to the Cimmerians. The first historical record of the Cimmerians appears in Assyrian annals in the year 714 BC. These describe how a people termed the Gimirri helped the forces of Sargon II to defeat the kingdom of Urartu. Their original homeland, called Gamir or Uishdish, seems to have been located within the buffer state of Mannae. The later geographer Ptolemy placed the Cimmerian city of Gomara in this region. ( (See Royal Genealogies. The genealogical tales of emperors, kings and princes from Adam to these times. by James Anderson, 1736.) ( See
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First mentioned by Tacitus in his Germania: "After them (the Langobards) come the Reudigni, Aviones, Anglii, Varini, Eudoses, Suarines, and Nuitones, all of them safe behind ramparts of rivers and woods. There is nothing noteworthy about these tribes individually, but they share a common worship of Nerthus, or Mother Earth."
The Suebian federation was a federation of Germanic tribes which consisted, among others, of the Marcomanni, Semnones, and the Hermunduri (precursor to the Thuringii). (Source: The Germanic Realms in Pre-Carolingian Central Europe, 400-750" by Herbert Schutz (2000) at page 401.)
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The Sunici or Sinuci were a Germanic tribe who lived on the shores of the Rhine in Lower Germany. They were mentioned in The Notitia Dignitatum.
Celtic Tribe
Teutones, Teutonii:
Germanic/Celtic tribe whose origins are uncertain, whether Jutland or somewhere near the North Sea. They joined the Cimbri and Tiguroni to attack Italy. Annhilated by Rome circa 102 BC at Aquae Sextiae, located in southern Gaul (present day Aix-en-Provence, see Cimbri, above, for sources.) Some sources state that the Teutones were Celts from the area of modern Switzerland, equating them to a tribe called Toutones; however, most accept that they were from the northern Jutland penninsula. (Neil Christie, The Lombards, p. 2.)
The Tiguronii had joined the Cimbri and Teutonii in attacking Italy circa 101 BC. by an ill-advised 3 prong attack. As the Romans destroyed both the Teutonii first in 102 BC, then the Cimbri in 101 BC, the Tiguronii fled.
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The Tungri tribe of eastern Belgica inhabited the western fringes of the Arduinna Silva, in Brabant and Hainaut districts of Belgium. The capital was Atuatuca Tungrorum, now called Tongres or Tongeren in Belgium. The Tungri tribe was mentioned in The Notitia Dignitatum, an early 5th century AD document, in which was transcribed every military and governmental post in the late Roman empire. The document mentions the Tribune of the First Cohort of Tungri at Vercovicium (also known as Housesteads in Northumberland). There was also a Second Cohort of Tungri as well, both cohorts 1000 men strong. See also Eburoni above.
The name of the Thuringians (Doringe) is first recorded c400 AD by a Roman veterinarian. (Source: Gesellschaft und Kunst der Germanen--Die Thueringer und ihre Welt, by Guenter Behm-Blanke (Verlag der Kunst, Dresden 1973)at 79ff; "Die Thueringer" by Berthold Schmidt, in "Die Germanen", volume II, editor Bruno Krueger (1978); citing Krueger and Behm-Blancke is "The Germanic Realms in Pre-Carolingian Central Europe, 400-750" by Herbert Schutz (2000, page 400) and "Tools, Weapons..." by Herbert Schutz, 2001, Brill Publishing.) The Turingii tribe, a Germanic tribe, was from the Elbe and Saale River areas in middle Germany. The Turingii/Thuringii were excellent horsemen, either evidencing relations to the steppe people of the East or that the Turingii confederation included people that migrated to their area from the steppes. Their practice of inhumation (inhumation burials rather than cremation) and horse burials indicates a relationship with the East or that the confederation included those from the East--probably both. The Turingii included members of other tribes that were part of the Chernyakhovsk culture.
Some writers state that the Turingii emigrated from Scandza (Scandinavia), specifically from the Oslo Gulf of Norway to Jutland (Denmark), but the current majority view is that they were not. Michel Rouche states that some of the Turingii also crossed to the West side of the Rhine, migrating all the way to the Coal Forest (present day Kempen ("Kampines"), Belgium.). This "western" Turingii kingdom was just east/northeast of the Franks Gaul in the 400’s to 500’s AD in what is now Belgium and Netherlands and part of northern Germany. (Source: Michel Rouche in "Clovis".)
The Turingii formed out of the Hermundurii at the latest in the 4th century, and also comprised of different Germanic tribes, whereby probably the Anglii and Warnii formed the principal part (Note: the archaeological evidence points to some Lombards (female grave jewelry), Ostrogoths (female grave jewelry), Alemans as well, and Hunnish influence where some Germanic and Mongol female skulls had deformations, suggesting Hunnish wives, hostages or slaves following the defeat of the Huns--"Tools, Herbert Schutz (2001 Brill Publ.) at pages 34, 35 citing Behm-Blancke page 46f.). Prinz also mentions the Hermunduren, an earlier Germanic tribe around the Elbe River before the advent of the Turingii, as a probability as well (Note: although the Turingii sprung from the Hermunduri). Source: "Grundlagen und Anfange: Deutschland bis 1056" by Friedrich Prinz (1985), pages 79-8. Lucien Mussett talks about the groupings of tribes, the Alamans, then the Turingii taking over from the Hermunduri, then the next grouping became the Bavarians. Source: “The Germanic Invasions” by Lucien Musset (1975), page 12. The Turingii were subjugated by the Franks in the 6th century, 531-534 AD, with the help of the Saxons. (Source: "Tools, Weapons..." by Herbert Schutz (2001 Brill Publ.).). For much more on the Turingii tribe on this site, see Duerinck's Turingii Portal
A Germanic tribe who in 55 BC allied themselves with Rome and were transferred from the east side of the Rhine River to the west side.
A Germanic tribe who lived on the lower Rhine, above the Mosel. (Source: The Fall of the Roman Empire, by Peter Heather, citing Roman authors.)
The Vandals were part of the Przeworsk culture, emanating from the Silesia area of Poland (and not from Vendsyssel in Jutland). Vandals left their homeland and ravaged Gaul in 406 AD with their King Gunderic. They then attacked Spain in 409 AD The Suebi, also known as the Alamanni, followed the Vandals and seized Galicia. King Gunderic died, succeeded by Gaiseric, then Huneric who died in 484 AD, then Trasamund in 496 AD The Vandals left Spain for Africa and Mauretonia. The Alamanni followed them as far as Tangiers. After Trasamund came King Childeric in 523 AD Geilamir deposed Childeric in 530 AD The Vandals fought the Romans in battle and lost (fought battles in 533 and 534, ending the Kingdom of the Vandals.) (Source: Gregory of Tours.)
The Vangiones were a Belgic tribe from the upper Rhine. They are mentioned in The Notitia Dignatatum, a 5th century document listing army and governmental units of the Romans.
First mentioned by Tacitus in his Germania: "After them (the Langobards) come the Reudigni, Aviones, Anglii, Varini, Eudoses, Suarines, and Nuitones, all of them safe behind ramparts of rivers and woods. There is nothing noteworthy about these tribes individually, but they share a common worship of Nerthus, or Mother Earth."
Listed as a Germanic tribe by Caesar; see Belgae.
Listed as a Germanic tribe by Caesar; see Belgae.
Germanic tribe that lived in Schleswig-Holstein area of northern Germany. The Warnians had connections with the Anglii and Turingii and were represented in the 9th century Thuringian law called "Lex Angliorum et Werinorum, hoc est, Thuringorum" (i.e. they had a legal status among the Thuringians). One of the kings of the Warnii was King Hermegisel.


1          See The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, The Chronicle B.C.E. 60 - A.D 410 at,

2          Adapted from a variety of sources including: Peter Heather, The Fall of the Roman Empire; The Germanic Invasions of Western Europe,; Duncan B Campbell, Roman Legionary Fortresses 27 BC-AD 378; William Bakken, "THE END OF ROMAN BRITAIN: ASSESSING THE ANGLO-SAXON INVASIONS OF THE FIFTH CENTURY"; David McCullough, Chronicles of the Barbarians, pp. 67-100; Minnesota State University Mankato at,; and Kevin F. Duerinck, DUERINCK’S GERMANIC TRIBES PORTAL,; Regnal Chronologies, Nomads, The Sarmations at,; Goths at,; and Humanities Web at,; and s See also Regnal Chronologies at,

3          The Indo-European migration map is from This shows the general migration routes used by Aryan tribes from 4000 BC. The Germans were late invaders of Europe, but by then the basis for related Proto-Indo-European languages had been established in the areas shown. The Germanic tribal map is from Germanic peoples at,

4          See Allen Grant, "Early Britain - Anglo-Saxon Vritain, The English In Their New Homes", at Humanities Web,

5          Martin Evison, Council for British Archaeology, "Lo, the conquering hero comes (or not)",, cited in British Archaeology, no 23, April 1997: Features.



8          See BBC Report "Suffolk site throws up new treasures",, dated 23 June, 2000. See also BBC Report "Huge Anglo-Saxon gold hoard found",, dated 24 September 2009.

9          Robert McCrum, et al, The Story of English, pp. 62-64.

10        Ibid. p. 64. This, of course, is ice. Quoted at Sutton Hoo, amongst other places.

11        Ibid. This is dough. Also quoted from The Exeter Book of Riddles.

12        Cited in Kevin F. Duerinck, DUERINCK’S GERMANIC TRIBES PORTAL,

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