Suevi II/72c: 250AD- 584AD

DBA list:
1x 3Kn (General): King Hunimund of the Suebi (c.395 - c.469)
8x 4Wb
2x 3Bw
1x 2Ps

The Suebi or Suevi were a group of Germanic peoples who were first mentioned by Julius Caesar in connection with Ariovistus' campaign, c. 58 BC. Spelled Suevi or Suebi by various authors, the core tribe migrated southwards from the southern Baltic coast in concert with many other Germanic tribes. In fact, the Romans knew the sea as Mare Suebicum, so familiar were they with the Suebi presence there. In the first century BC the tribe arrived in southwest Germany on the east bank of the Rhine, with the River Main on their southern flank. Settling here, they were neighboured to the north by the Cherusci, and their presence survives in the historic name of the region, Swabia. People in this region of Germany are still called Schwaben, a name derived from the suebi.

Some Suebi remained a periodic threat against the Romans on the Rhine, until, toward the end of the empire, the Alamanni, including elements of Suebi, brushed aside Roman defenses and occupied Alsace, and from there Bavaria and Switzerland. A pocket remained in Swabia, whereas migrants to Gallaecia (modern Galicia, in Spain, and Northern Portugal) established a kingdom there which lasted for 170 years until its integration into the Visigothic Kingdom.

Closely related to the Alamanni and often working in concert with them, the Suebi for the most part stayed on the right bank of the Rhine until December 31 406, when much of the tribe joined the Vandals and Alans in breaching the Roman frontier by crossing the Rhine, perhaps at Mainz, thus launching an invasion of northern Gaul. Parts of the Suebi, which did not emigrate to the Iberian peninsula, settled in parts of Pannonia, after the Huns were defeated in 454 in the Battle of Nedao. Later in Pannonia, King Hunimund of the Suebi (c.395 - c.469) fought against the Ostrogoths led by Thiudimer in the battle of Bolia in 469. The Suebian coalition lost the battle, and parts of the Suebi therefore migrated to southern Germany, were they have been integrated in the closely related tribe of the Alamanni.

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

According to Tacitus, the Suebian warriors combed their hair back or sideways and tied it into a knot, allegedly with the purpose of appearing taller and more awe-inspiring on the battlefield. Tacitus also reports that the fashion had spread to neighboring Germanic tribes among the younger warriors, while among the Suebians, the knot was sported even by old men as a status symbol, which "distinguishes the freeman from the slave", with the most artful knots worn by the most wealthy nobles.

Suebian knots were found to be worn by a number of bog bodies:

* Oserby Man, 70-220 CE of Osterby, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
* Dätgen Man, 135–385 CE, of Dätgen, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

The Osterby Man was discovered in a bog near Osterby, Germany, when two peat cutters were working. They unearthed the head two feet below the surface, which was wrapped in a roedeer skin cape. Scientists from the Archäologisches Landesmuseum Schleswig-Holstein estimated the man to have been around 50–60 years of age when he was killed. The man was decapitated; no other part of his body was ever found. His hair was in the Suebian knot (also known as the Swabian knot) hairstyle. The man's hair had probably been a light blond color, but after being in the bog for a few thousand years, it turned a bright red. The knot dates back to around 2,000 years ago, where the Suebian knot was a common hair style.The head is mainly a skull, but there is still a small amount of skin on it. The cause of the man's death was a blow to the left temple. A 2007 re-examination showed that the jawbone of the head did not belong on the skull.

The German tribes, wrote Tacitus, "love freedom, their women are chaste, and there is no public extravagance..."


Osterby Man

The Osterby Man (Archäologisches Landesmuseum en:Gottorf Castle , Schleswig Germany. ) This shows the "Suebian Knot" hair style.

Click here to see the army pictures.