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The Thuringii
Thuringii
or Toringi, were a Germanic tribe
Germanic tribe
that appeared late during the Völkerwanderung
Völkerwanderung
in the Harz Mountains
Harz Mountains
of central Germania still called Thuringia. It became a kingdom, which came into conflict with the Merovingian
Merovingian
Franks, and it later came under their influence and Frankish control. The name is still used for one of modern Germany's federal states (Bundesländer).

Contents

1 First appearances 2 Political history 3 Ecclesiastic history 4 Social history 5 Historiography 6 Sources 7 See also 8 Notes

First appearances[edit] The Thuringians do not appear in classical Roman texts under that name, but some have suggested that they were the remnants of the Suebic Hermanduri, the last part of whose name (-duri) could represent corrupted (-thuri) and the Germanic suffix -ing, suggests a meaning of "descendants of (the [Herman]duri)".[1] This people were living near the Marcomanni. Tacitus
Tacitus
in his "Germania", describes their homeland as being where the Elbe
Elbe
starts, but also having colonies at the Danube and even within the Roman province of Rhaetia. Claudius Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy
mentions neither the Hermunduri
Hermunduri
nor the Thuringians in his geography but instead the Teuriochaemae, living in just north of the Sudetes
Sudetes
mountains, thought to be the Erzgebirge. These may also be connected to later Thuringians. ("Chaemae" may represent a version of the Germanic word for "home". Ptolemy also mentions a people called the Bainochaimai to the west of the Elbe. He also apparently spells the name of the Chamavi
Chamavi
in a similar way.) The formation of this people may have had also been influenced by two longer-known tribes more associated with the eastern bank of the lower Elbe
Elbe
river, northeast of Thuringia, because the Carolingian
Carolingian
law code written for them was called the "law of the Angles
Angles
and Varini
Varini
that is the Thuringians". Much earlier, Tacitus
Tacitus
in his "Germania", for example, had grouped these two tribes among the more distant Suebic tribes, living beyond the Elbe, and near a sea where they worshiped Herthus. ( Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
had listed the Varini
Varini
as a Vandalic, or East Germanic tribe, rather than Suebian.) These two tribes are among Germanic groups known to have been found north of the Danube in this period. Procopius
Procopius
in his "Gothic Wars" describes the land of the Varini
Varini
as being south of the Danes, but north of the Slavs, who were in turn north of unfarmed lands which lay north of the Danube. Procopius describes a marriage alliance between the Angles
Angles
of Britain and the Varni in the 6th century.[2] The name of the Thuringians appears to be first mentioned in the veterinary treatise of Vegetius, written early in the 5th century.[3] Walter Pohl has also proposed that they may be the same as the Turcilingi
Turcilingi
(or Torcolingi) who were one of the tribes near the middle Danube after the collapse of the empire of Attila, under whom they had apparently all been. They are specifically associated with Odoacer, who later became King of Italy, and are sometimes thought to be a part of the Scirii. Other tribes in this region at the time included the Rugii
Rugii
and the Heruls. Sidonius, in his 7th poem, explicitly lists them among the allies who fought under Attila
Attila
when he entered Gaul in 451. During the reign of Childeric I, Gregory of Tours
Gregory of Tours
and Fredegar
Fredegar
record that the Frankish King married the runaway wife of the King of the Thuringians, but the story may be distorted. (For example, the area of Tongeren, now in Belgium, may have been intended.[4]) More clearly, correspondence is recorded with a kingdom of Thuringians by Procopius
Procopius
and Cassiodorus
Cassiodorus
during the reigns of Theoderic the Great (454-526) and Clovis I
Clovis I
(approx. 466-511), after the downfall of Attila and Odoacer. Political history[edit] See also: Rulers of Thuringia

Europe at the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD.

The Thuringii
Thuringii
established an empire in the late 5th century. It reached its territorial peak in the first half of the 6th before it was conquered by the Franks
Franks
in 531–532. Examination of Thuringian grave sites reveal cranial features which suggest the strong presence of Hunnic women or slaves, perhaps indicating that many Thuringians took Hunnic wives or Hunnic slaves following the collapse of the Hunnic Empire.[5] There is also evidence from jewellery found in graves that the Thuringians sought marriages with Ostrogothic
Ostrogothic
and Lombard women.[citation needed] Under the leadership of Alboin, a large group of Thuringii
Thuringii
joined the Lombards
Lombards
in their migration into Italy.[6] The Lombard king Agilulf
Agilulf
(590–616) was of Thuringian descent. After their conquest, the Thuringii
Thuringii
were placed under Frankish duces (dukes), but they rebelled and established themselves independently again by the late 7th century under Radulf. Towards the end of this century, parts of Thuringia
Thuringia
came under Saxon rule. By the time of Charles Martel
Charles Martel
and Saint Boniface, they were again subject to the Franks
Franks
and ruled by Frankish dukes with their seat at Würzburg
Würzburg
in the south. Under Martel, the Thuringian dukes' authority was extended over a part of Austrasia
Austrasia
and the Bavarian plateau. The valleys of the Lahn, Main, and Neckar
Neckar
rivers were included. The Naab formed the south-eastern border of Thuringia
Thuringia
at the time. The Werra and Fulda
Fulda
valleys were within it also and it reached as far as the Saxon plain in the north. Its central location in Germania
Germania
beyond the Rhine
Rhine
was the reason it became the point d'appui of Boniface's mission work. The Thuringii
Thuringii
had a separate identity as late as 785–786, when one of their leading men, Hardrad, led an abortive insurrection against Charlemagne. The Carolingians
Carolingians
codified the Thuringian legal customs (but perhaps did not use them extensively) as the Lex Thuringorum and continued to exact a tribute of pigs, presumably a Merovingian imposition, from the province. In the 10th century, under the Ottonians, the centre of Thuringian power lay in the north-east, near Erfurt. As late as the end of the 10th century, the porcine tribute was still being accepted by the King of Germany. Ecclesiastic history[edit] The Thuringii
Thuringii
had been converted to Christianity in the 5th century, but their exposure to it was limited. Their real Christianisation
Christianisation
took place, alongside the ecclesiastical organisation of their territory, during the early and mid 8th century under Boniface, who felled their "sacred oak" at Geismar
Geismar
in 724, abolishing the vestiges of their paganism. In the 1020s, Aribo, Archbishop of Mainz, began the minting of money at Erfurt, the oldest market town in Thuringia
Thuringia
with a history going back to the Merovingian
Merovingian
period. The economy, especially trade (such as with the Slavs), greatly increased after that. Social history[edit] The Thuringian nobility, which had an admixture of Frankish, Thuringian, and Saxon blood, was not as landed as that of Francia. There was also a larger population of free peasant farmers than in Francia, though there was still a large number of serfs. The obligations of serfs there were also generally less oppressive. There were also fewer clergymen before Boniface came. There was a small number of artisans and merchants, mostly trading with the Slavs to the east. The town of Erfurt
Erfurt
was the easternmost trading post in Frankish territory at the time. Historiography[edit] The history of the Thuringii
Thuringii
is best known from the writings concerning their conquerors, the Franks. Gregory of Tours, a Gallo-Roman, includes the nearest account in time of the fall of the Thuringian Empire. Widukind of Corvey, writing in 10th-century Saxony, inundates his similar account with various legends. The Thuringii
Thuringii
make brief appearances in contemporary Italian sources when their activities affect the land south of the Alps. Procopius, the Eastern Roman
Eastern Roman
author, mentions them and speaks of their fall. The 7th-century Origo Gentis Langobardorum
Origo Gentis Langobardorum
mentions a king of the Thuringii, Fisud, as a contemporary of Theudebert I. Sources[edit]

Reuter, Timothy. Germany
Germany
in the Early Middle Ages 800–1056. New York: Longman, 1991. Thompson, James Westfall. Feudal Germany. 2 vol. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1928. Schutz, Herbert. The Germanic Realms in Pre- Carolingian
Carolingian
Central Europe, 400–750. American University Studies, Series IX: History, Vol. 196. New York: Peter Lang, 2000.

See also[edit]

Ancient Germanic culture portal

List of Germanic peoples Barbarian invasions Turcilingi

Notes[edit]

^ Schutz, 402. ^ H. B., Dewing (1962). Procopius. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 255.  ^ Guy Halsall, Barbarian Migrations and the Roman West 376-568, p.39, citing B. Schmidt. ^ Halsall p.392 ^ Schutz, 411. ^ Peters, Edward (2003). History of the Lombards: Translated by William Dudley Foulke. University of Pennsylvania Press. 

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