free ebooks

A History of Germany by Bayard Taylor

Between the Thuringians and the Alemanni


THE ALEMANNI.--The name of this division (_Allemannen_,[A] signifying "all men") shows that it was composed of fragments of many tribes. The Alemanni first made their appearance along the Main, and gradually pushed southward over the Tithe-Lands, where the military veterans of Rome had settled, until they occupied the greater part of South-western Germany, and Eastern Switzerland, to the Alps. Their descendants inhabit the same territory, to this day.

[A] _Allemagne_ remains the French name for Germany.

2. THE FRANKS.--It is not known whence this name was derived, nor what is its meaning. The Franks are believed to have been formed out of the Sicambrians in Westphalia, together with a portion of the Chatti and the Batavi in Holland, and other tribes. We first hear of them on the lower Rhine, but they soon extended their territory over a great part of Belgium and Westphalia. Their chiefs were already called kings, and their authority was hereditary.

3. THE SAXONS.--This was one of the small original tribes, settled in Holstein: the name is derived from their peculiar weapon, a short sword, called _sahs_. We find them now occupying nearly all the territory between the Hartz Mountains and the North Sea, from the Elbe westward to the Rhine. The Cherusci, the Chauci, and other tribes named by Tacitus, were evidently incorporated with the Saxons, who exhibit the same characteristics.

There appears to have been a natural enmity--no doubt bequeathed from the earlier tribes out of which both grew--between them and the Franks.

[Sidenote: 250--300.]

4. THE GOTHS.--The traditions of the Goths state that they were settled in Sweden before they were found by the Greek navigators on the southern shore of the Baltic, in 330 B. C. It is probable that only a portion of the tribe migrated, and that the present Scandinavian race is descended from the remainder. As the Baltic Goths increased in numbers, they gradually ascended the Vistula, pressed eastward along the base of the Carpathians and reached the Black Sea, in the course of the second century after Christ. They thus possessed a broad belt of territory, separating the rest of Europe from the wilder Slavonic races who occupied Central Russia. The Vandals and Alans, with the Heruli, Rugii and other smaller tribes, all Germanic, as well as a portion of the Slavonic Sarmatians, were incorporated with them; and it was probably the great extent of territory they controlled which occasioned their separation into Ostrogoths (East-Goths) and Visigoths (West-Goths). They first came in contact with the Romans, beyond the mouth of the Danube, about the beginning of the third century.

5. THE THURINGIANS.--This branch had only a short national existence. It was composed of the Hermunduri, with fragments of other tribes, united under one king, and occupied all of Central Germany, from the Hartz southward to the Danube.

6. THE BURGUNDIANS.--Leaving their original home in Prussia, between the Oder and the Vistula, the Burgundians crossed the greater part of Germany in a south-western direction, and first settled in a portion of what is now Franconia, between the Thuringians and the Alemanni. Not long afterwards, however, they passed through the latter, and took possession of the country on the west bank of the Rhine, between Strasburg and Mayence.

eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us