||The Alamanni, Allemanni, or
Alemanni are an alliance of war bands
that forms up between various smaller
Germanic tribes that have been migrating
southwards from the Baltic Sea. By the
start of the third century they are to be
found in what is now Central Germany,
having emerged there from around the
Elbe. They probably also absorb the Hermunduri in this period.
Alemanni are first mentioned by Cassius
Dio when they request help from Rome. Emperor Antoninus (Septimius
Bassianus Caracalla) tries to dominate
and colonise them and fighting breaks out
in 213. They apparently live in the basin
of the River Main, to the south of the
Chatti. According to Asinius Quadratus,
they have emerged from the Irminone
grouping of Germanic tribes that was to
be found in the Elbe region by the late
first century AD. The Alemanni lose the
encounter with Antoninus, and are
pacified and partially colonised, but
only temporarily. While they may
previously have been friendly towards the
empire, or at least neutral, this
encounter turns them into implacable
adversaries of Rome.
The River Main area of
Western Germany became the new homeland
of the Alemanni
following their migration from the Baltic
||Now largely Romanised through
their contact of a generation before,
living in Roman-style houses and using
Roman goods, the Alemanni make the first
of their invasions of the Roman empire. They participate
decisively in the plundering raids into
the Limes Germanicus, the
provinces beyond, and even into Italy.
c.253 / 260
/ Chrocus / Krokus
Central Germany. Possibly not the same as
Crocus of 306?
||The Alemanni break the Roman limes in strength,
causing widespread damage. The
archaeological evidence reveals a lack of
continuity in the provincial Roman
population. Roman encampments and
settlements, including the villae
rusticae (farms), are abandoned and
destroyed. One such settlement is
Brigantion, former fortified town of the
Brigantii tribe of Celts. With
extraordinary effectiveness the Alemanni
penetrate as far as Italy where they are at last halted.
Emperor Gallienus defeats them in battle
at Mediolanum (Milan) in 259, but the limes
region is not resettled until the fourth
century, and it is the Alemanni who
Alemanni incur into Italy after breaking through the
frontier at Brenner Pass. They are
confronted by Emperor Claudius II who may
initially attempt to negotiate a peace.
This fails and the resultant Battle of
Benacus (Lake Garda) in November is a
crushing victory for Rome. More than half the Alemanni
are killed or captured and the rest flee
northwards over the Alps and back into
||Another Alemanni incursion
results in three battles being fought
between them and Rome, those of Placentia in which
they defeat Emperor Aurelian in Italy; Fano, in which Aurelian
strikes back to inflict a defeat on the
Alemanni, forcing them to begin a
retreat; and Pavia, in which the
retreating Alemannic army is destroyed.
late third century, Heruli raid into Spain along with
Alemanni and Saxons, possibly as a result of the
Lower Rhine incursions of 287. Roman Emperor Maximianus is involved
in heavy fighting on the Lower Rhine and
also on the Upper Danube.
||King Crocus of the Alemanni is
the commander of a cohort serving in Britain at this time. It is Crocus who
encourages Constantine to accept the
army's proclamation of him as Augustus
upon the death of his father at Eboracum
of Chronodemar and Agenarich.
||The Alemanni conquer the regions
around the former limes which they
had devastated in their raids of 258-260.
It is this region that forms their
permanent home, while other Germanic
tribes are starting to found permanent
kingdoms elsewhere in Western Europe. It
is also this region, which has long been
settled by the neighbouring Suevi, that later emerges as the
duchy of Swabia.
The Alemanni still do not have
one single ruler, but the Bucinobantes
are one of the more dominant tribes, and
their rulers are shown below in green to highlight them. Other rulers
are known, but their tribal affiliation
is less certain, so there often appears
to be several kings ruling
c.350 - 357
Alemanni ruler in their new permanent
||Died after 371.
||Brother of Chronodemar.
take place at Rheims and Strasbourg
respectively in which the Alemanni are
defeated by Rome. Following the second defeat,
the Alemanni are expelled from the
Rhineland and their recognised leader,
Chronodemar, is exiled to Rome.
359 - 380
||Alemannic leader of the
||Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus
records that Emperor Julian the Apostate
crosses the Rhine near Mainz to conduct
negotiations with Macrian, the chief of
the Bucinobantes, along with other
||At the start of 360, Roman Caesar Julian (the Apostate) is
wintering in Lutetia Parisiorum (the
early Paris) when reports reach him that
the Scotti and Picts have broken a previous
agreement (perhaps made in 343) and are
plundering lands close to the frontier in
Britain, presumably those of the Novantae and Selgovae. Given the situation on the
Rhine, especially with the Alemanni, he
is unable to leave, so he sends his magister
militum, Lupicinus, along with some
of his best units, the Heruli, the Batavi, and two numeri Moesiacorum.
Lupicinus marshals his forces at London,
but is recalled following Julian being
proclaimed Augustus by his troops.
Whether the campaign goes ahead under a
less senior commander is unknown.
||Sacked Roman Moguntiacum.
||The forces of the Alemanni
chief, Rando, sack the Roman city of Moguntiacum (Metz, or
Mainz). The city is a frequent target for
Alemannic attacks until it later falls to
of Rome. Sent to Britain.
||Following several rebellions by
Macrian, king of the Bucinobantes, Roman Emperor Valentinian I appoints
Fraomar as his replacement. The
appointment is not accepted by the
Alemanni themselves and Valentinian is
forced to agree an alliance with Macrian
in 371. In an act of imperial favour,
Fraomar is sent to Britain as a military tribune to
command a unit of Alemannic cavalry which
is already stationed on the island, as
recorded by Ammianus (and backed up by
||The Quadi are badly disrupted by the
invasion of the Huns into central Europe as the
latter take control of the territory to
the north of the Danube. Their arrival
triggers sudden shifts in all the tribes
in the region, and the wave of population
movement and change effectively destroys
the Quadi. It is presumed that remnants
of the tribe attach themselves to other,
bigger tribes, including the Alemanni, Rugii, Suevi, and Vandali.
is defeated at Argentorate (Argentovaria,
modern Strasbourg) by the Frankish leader, Mallobaudes, and the Roman army of Gaul under western
||The Frankish chief, Mallobaudes, is still
serving with the Roman army, and it is he who kills
Macrian, king of the Bucinobantes, in the
region of Mainz on the River Main.
of the Suevi cross the Rhine at Moguntiacum
(Mainz) in 406 in association with the Vandali & Alans, but their close associates,
the Alemanni, remain behind. They do not
take part in any decisive events
regarding the decline of the Roman empire.
The Roman town of Moguntiacum (Mainz),
whose gates are shown here, was a
of Alemanni attacks, although it was the
Mosan Franks who eventually conquered it.
||Gibuld / Gebavult /
||Apparently a single king for the
unified Alemannic people.
||The Franks conquer the Alemanni at the
Battle of Tolbiac in 496, although the
victory is a narrow one. An Alemannic
uprising in 505 is defeated and the
kingdom is drawn directly within the
Frankish kingdom. Any independence the
Alemanni may have enjoyed after 496 is
now lost. The region comes to be known by
the less tribal and more formal name of
These events probably cause some
Alemanni to drift south-eastwards where
they form part of the Bavarii confederation. Back at home,
the hilltop settlements of the Alemannic
nobility are abandoned and their
cemeteries fall into disuse. At the same
time, strategically situated settlements
of Frankish warriors and their entourages
emerge in the sixth and seventh
centuries. These Frankish officials also
include warrior groups of Thuringian origin that became Frankish
subjects after the defeat of Thuringia in
||After 511 the Alemanni territory
falls under the command of Austrasia. Local rulers are appointed,
probably of Alemannic stock, although not
necessarily related to any of the former
chiefs, and Christianity is slowly
introduced during the course of the next
century or so. Details about the local
rulers are very sketchy, sometimes not
even providing names.
||Minor ruler. Governed in the
ruler. Governed in the Avenches diocese.
570 - 587
ruler. Governed in the Avenches diocese.
a minor ruler. Governed in Ortenau.
I / Lantfrid I
||The Carolingian mayor of the palace, Carloman,
ends an Alemannic uprising. He invites
the nobility to a council at Cannstatt
and then arrests them. Several thousand
of them are executed for high treason,
wiping out the Alemannic nobility at what
becomes known as the blood court at
Cannstatt. For the next century,
Alemannia is ruled by Frankish dukes.
II / Lantfrid II
death of the Frankish king, Pepin III sees his
domains divided between his two sons,
with Charlemagne gaining parts of Aquitaine, plus Neustria, Austrasia, and the Germanic dependencies
which include the Alemanni, and Carloman
gaining the remainder: Soissons, the
Massif Central, the Languedoc, the rest
of Aquitaine, Provence, Burgundy, southern Austrasia, Alsace and
||By the Act of Thionville in 806,
Charlemagne announces the division of his
vast empire between his three sons. By
814, Pepin in Italy has already predeceased his
father (810), as has Charles (813), so
Louis the Pious is crowned Frankish emperor at Aix-la-Chapelle. It
is also at this point that the list of
vassal rulers or governors of the
Alemanni stops. It appears that control
of the region is given to Carolingian
nobles from at least 829, with the title
'Duke of the Alemanni' being used as a
regional basis of authority over
south-western Germany rather than the
head of an established duchy in the later
(II) the Bald
||Louis (I) the Pious
||Father. Carolingian Frankish
(II) the German
||Before his death the Frankish emperor, Louis, who is also
duke of the Alemanni, promulgates the Ordinatio
Imperii, proclaiming that his eldest
son, Lothar, will inherit the entire
empire. Lothar initially claims
overlordship over all three Frankish
regions until he loses a civil war. The
Treaty of Verdun in 843 confirms the
official division of the empire between
Charlemagne's surviving three grandsons.
Louis the German receives Eastern
(Germany), which includes Alemannia.
Defeat by Clovis of the Franks at
Tolbiac in 496 signalled the beginning of
the end of Alemannic
independence (The Battle of Tolbiac by
Ary Scheffer, 1836).
(III) the Fat
||The death of Louis the German
results in his territory being divided
between his three sons. This is something
that he had already foreseen, and
portions of territory had been appointed
to each of them in 865. Now in a peaceful
succession, Carloman inherits Bavaria and the Ostmark, Louis the
Younger gains Franconia, Saxony, and Thuringia, while Charles the Fat succeeds
to Rhaetia and Swabia (which he has held
in name since 863). As the oldest son,
Carloman also retains de facto
dominance over the Eastern
Franks as a
||The rule of East Francia falls to non-Frankish emperors
when the weak Charles the Fat is deposed
by the Germans at the Diet of Tribur
(November 887). the Frankish empire is
officially divided between East and West.
The western section becomes France, the eastern section Germany). Charles the Fat takes refuge
in the monastery of Reichenau in Swabia where he dies the following
(IV) the Child
||Already very powerful in Swabia
thanks to his role as administrator of
the Abbey of Lorsch in Swabia, Burkhard's
power increases in 909 when he accedes to
the margraviate of Rhaetia. While Louis
the Child is the titular duke of Swabia,
it is Burkhard who wields power there,
although not in the sense of the later,
formally titled dukes.
I / Burchard I
of Rhaetia. Count in the Thurgau &
||Burkhard is arrested and charged
with high treason thanks to his conflict
against the Count Palatine Erchanger and
Bishop Soloman III of Constance, both of
whom are loyal to the newly-elected king
of Germany, Conrad I. The titular use of
the title 'Duke of the Alemanni' is
dropped as the Frankish empire disintegrates. A
large-scale political reorganisation of
south-western Germany creates the duchy
AD 911 - 1268
Swabia emerged as a stem duchy from the
fragmentation of the Frankish empire when the Eastern
kingdom of Germany was formally secured
by German rulers. The Swabian territory
was extremely disorganised at this time,
even in comparison to its neighbours. The
German states were drastically
reorganised, in this case disposing of
the former Germanic Alemanni tribal affiliation. However,
although the Alemanni name had been
disposed of in political usage, it
persisted in appellations for the German
people as a whole, such as Allemagne.
new duchy, one of five and therefore
extremely powerful in medieval Germany,
included the Alsace region, just as the
Alemanni kingdom had before, and was
situated in the south-west of modern Germany, mostly within what is now Baden-Württemberg. Franconia lay to its north and Bavaria to the east, while Vorarlberg
(now the westernmost state of Austria) and Liechtenstein were included within its
territory. Its name was taken from that
of the original tribal host, the Suebi, of which the Alemanni had been
||Following his part in the
downfall of the powerful Burkhard I,
Count Palatine Erchanger continues to
strive for greater power of his own in
Swabia. As the grandson of Louis (II) the
German, king of East Francia, Erchanger is already powerful
in his role of missus dominicus
(envoy in Swabia for the king of
Germany), but in September 915, he gains
the duchy when he is proclaimed duke of
Swabia by the nobility. After being
defeated at the Battle of Wahlwies in the
Hegau, the proclamation is not supported
by King Conrad I of Germany, despite him
being Erchanger's brother-in-law.
Palatine who helped in the downfall of
||Erchanger is condemned to remain
within a monastery by the high court at
Hohenaltheim in September 916, following
his offences against the king and Bishop
Soloman III of Constance, whom he had
imprisoned briefly in 914. Erchanger is
killed on the order of the king on 21
January 917. His recent ally, Burkhard
II, seizes all of his lands and is
universally recognised as duke.
II / Burchard II
Burkhard I. Count of Rhaetia. Killed in
||Son of Gebhard of Lotharingia. Married the widow of Burkhard
Otto I of Saxony. m Herman's dau, Ida, in 947/8.
||Feeling that his position is
threatened by his father's marriage to
Adelaide, heiress of Italy, Ludolph joins forces with his
brother-in-law, Conrad the Red, duke of Lorraine, in revolt. Ludolph is
supported by the Swabians, but Conrad
fails to gain the same support from his
own subjects. Otto I of Saxony and Henry I of Bavaria defeat the rebellion. The
following year, Ludolph is deprived of
Duke Otto I, grandson of Otto I the
Great of Saxony, is seen here on the
right with his sister, Abbess Mathilda .
III / Burchard III
Burkhard II. Count of Thurgau &
||Son of Ludolph. Duke of Bavaria (976) & Carinthia (978).
of Conrad I of Franconia.
loses Alsace, which is separated from it
by the German emperor, Henry II the Saint
following Herman's opposition to his
accession as king and emperor. Herman had
seen himself as a suitable candidate for
young Herman III dies childless, ending
the Conradine succession to the duchy.
Ernest of Babenburg, the younger son of
the first Babenburg margrave of Austria, is appointed duke of Swabia by
the German emperor, Henry II. He further
legitimises his hold on the title by
marrying Gisela, heiress of Swabia (and
||Ernest I of Babenburg
||Son of Leopold I of Austria. Died after a hunting accident.
the untimely death of Duke Ernest I, his
son succeeds him as a minor. At first,
the boy's mother is regent, but she is
eventually replaced by Poppo, archbishop
of Trier and another son of Leopold I of Austria, probably following her second
marriage in 1016, to German Emperor Conrad II the Salian.
||Ernest II of Babenburg
||Son. Acceded as a minor.
||Son of Leopold I of Austria. Regent, and archbishop of
II takes part in an unsuccessful
rebellion against the German Emperor Conrad II the Salian.
As a result, he is captured, but his
mother intercedes to prevent his
execution and he is imprisoned instead.
It is possible that Gisela governs the
duchy during this period. When he is
released he refuses to fight Conrad's
enemies and is stripped of his title in
favour of his younger brother.
||Herman IV of Babenburg
||Brother. Killed by an epidemic.
I the Black
||Duke of Franconia & HRE Henry III (1039-1056).
||Son-in-law of HRE Otto II. Count of Deutz &
III the White
||An East Franconian prince. Margrave of the Nordgau
||Rudolph / Rudolf of
||Rival for HRE (1077-1080).
margraviate of Baden is formed in eastern central
Swabia during the general political
collapse in Germany which dominates this century.
||With the removal of Swabia from
Rudolph's control, the Swabian
Hohenstaufen family of nobles gains the
duchy through Frederick's marriage to
Agnes of Germany, granddaughter of Henry
I the Black. It swiftly becomes one of
the most powerful families, holding onto
the duchy for most of the remainder of
its existence and supplying several Holy Roman
Frederick is opposed by Rudolph's son,
Berthold, while the latter is in exile in
||Duke of Franconia (1076-1105).
||Berthold I of
||Son of Rudolph. Opposed
Berthold II of Carinthia. First duke of Zähringen.
||Frederick II One-Eyed
||Son of Frederick I.
death of Holy Roman
V, Frederick II puts himself forward as a
candidate for the imperial title but he
is beaten to it by the successful
election of Lothar. Conflict erupts
between the two, and the rivalry has a
destabilising effect on Germany as a
whole. In 1137 the county of Württemberg is formed in western central
Swabia as another step towards the total
disintegration of the duchy during the
general political crisis in the country.
||Frederick III Barbarossa
||Son. HRE Frederick I (1152-1190).
Son of Conrad I Hohenstaufen of Franconia.
||Frederick IV, gifted the duchy
by his cousin, Frederick Barbarossa (now Holy Roman
on campaign in Rome. Frederick Barbarossa passes
the duchy onto his own three year-old
son. Barbarossa effectively controls the
duchy directly through his tight control
of the succession, not only through these
two Fredericks, but also through
Frederick VI, who only survives him by a
son of Frederick III.
Duke of Rothenburg (1188-1191). Died
||Brother. Rival for HRE (1198-1208). Murdered.
murder of Philip Hohenstaufen on the eve
of his total securing of the imperial
title leaves the duchy's seat vacant.
Otto IV inherits the title through his
marriage to Beatrice, Philip's daughter.
His retention of the title is brief, and
it soon passes back to the Hohenstaufens.
||Otto IV Welf of
||HRE (1198-1212). Died 1218.
of Frederick III. HRE Frederick II (1212-1250).
||The confirmation of Frederick's
election as Holy Roman
Emperor in 1215
allows him to devolve power in Swabia to
his son in 1216, while he concentrates on
the trappings of higher office. Henry
also serves as co-ruler in the kingdom of
1212-1217, and co-ruler of Germany itself
between 1220-1235, as Henry (VII).
King of Naples &
(1212-1217). HRE (1220-1235).
||Half-brother. HRE Conrad IV (1250-1254).
death of Conrad by malaria, his young
son, Conradin, is recognised as the new
duke of Swabia and also as the new Holy Roman
Emperor by his
supporters. He fails to actually succeed
his father to the latter title, however,
and no single emperor is recognised.
There is an interregnum and Germany
begins a period of collapse.
||Conrad IV / Conradin
||Son. King of Jerusalem & Sicily. Last Hohenstaufen. Executed.
the territory of Swabia, an obscure and
unimportant part in the mountainous west,
is given over to the newly formed county
||Conradin assembles a
multinational army in Italy, determined to secure his own
claim to Sicily in opposition to Charles I of
Anjou. He is ably assisted by Frederick I
of Baden, but the pair are defeated at
Tagliacozzo, and both are soon arrested.
The execution of Conradin, last of the
Hohenstaufen dynasty, on 29 October 1268
triggers the gradual break-up of the
duchy into a plethora of smaller states
including margraviates, landgraviates,
counties, bishoprics, abbacies, and the
duchy of Teck. The kingdom of Naples &
to the Angevins.
This oil on canvas depicts Conradin
awaiting sentence along with his ally,
Frederick of Baden,
as depicted by Johann Heinrich Tischbein,
heiress of Swabia is Margaret, Conradin's
father's half-sister. She has been
married to Albert, landgrave of Thuringia, since 1255, and their son,
Frederick, claims Swabia on his mother's
behalf. The claim receives little support
as Swabia is already disintegrating.
||In December 1282, as Holy Roman
Rudolph gives the duchies of Austria and Styria to his sons, Albert and Rudolf
II. On 1 June 1283, the Treaty of
Rheinfelden stipulates that Rudolph II
has to relinquish his title in favour of
Albert. In compensation he is appointed
duke of Swabia, little more than an
honorific title as the duchy no longer
exists as a coherent entity. Various
minor territories previously held by the
counts of Habsburg are later classed as
Further Austria, but these are never
possessed by Rudolph.
Rudolph II of Austria (1278-1282). HRE (1273-1291).
||The Swiss confederation is formed on
Swabia's southern border.
||Thanks to the failure of Holy Roman
of Austria to address the problem of
adequate compensation for the loss of Styria in 1283 by Rudolph II, the duke
is assassinated by Rudolph's son, John.
John is named 'Parricide', and continues
to hold his inherited claim on Swabia.
dies, probably at Pisa, and any claim to
the former Swabian duchy dies with him.
Former East Francia, or Germany as it is now, is at a point of
collapse by this time, and the break-up
of Swabia is complete. Large areas of its
territory have already gone to the
established county of Württemberg and the margraviate of Baden. Territory formerly belonging
to the Alemanni people later forms parts of Austria (Vorarlberg), Bavaria (Bavarian Swabia), France (Alsace) and Switzerland.