The Irminones, also referred to as Herminones or Hermiones (Ancient Greek Ερμίονες), were a group of early Germanic tribes settling in the Elbe watershed and by the 1st century AD expanding into Bavaria, Swabia and Bohemia. Irminonic or Elbe Germanic is a conventional term grouping early West Germanic dialects ancestral to High German.
The name Irminones or Hermiones comes from Tacitus’s Germania (98 AD) who categorized them as one of the tribes of descended from Mannus, and noted that they lived in the interior of Germany. Other Germanic groups of tribes were the Ingvaeones, living on the coast, and Istvaeones, who account for the rest. Tacitus also mentions the Suebi, as a large grouping which include the Semnones, the Quadi and the Marcomanni, but he does not say precisely which (if any) of the three nations they belong to.
Pomponius Mela writes in his Description of the World (III.3.31) in reference to the Kattegat and the waters surrounding the Danish isles (see the Codanus sinus): "On the bay are the Cimbri and the Teutoni; farther on, the farthest people of Germania, the Hermiones." Mela then begins to speak of the Scythians.
In Nennius the name Mannus (see Mannaz) and his three sons appear in corrupted form, the ancestor of the Irminones appearing as Armenon. His sons here are Gothus, Valagothus/Balagothus, Cibidus, Burgundus, and Longobardus, whence come the Goths (and Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Crimean Goths), Valagoths/Balagoths, Cibidi, Burgundians and Lombards (Langobards).
They may have differentiated into the tribes Alamanni, Hermunduri, Marcomanni, Quadi, Suebi by the 1st century AD. At this time the Suebi, Marcomanni and Quadi had moved southwest into the area of modern day Bavaria and Swabia. In 8 BC, the Marcomanni and Quadi drove the Boii out of Bohemia.
Jǫrmun, the Viking Age Norse form of the name Irmin, can be found in a number of places in the Poetic Edda as a by name for Odin. This pans with both the historical circumstances of the Irminones in relationship to Rome, Widukind's confusion over whether Irmin was comparable to Mars or Hermes, and with Snorri Sturluson's allusions at the beginning of his Prose Edda; that Odin's cult appeared first in Germany and then spread up into the Ingaevonic North.
See also 
- High German languages
- Ingvaeonic languages
- List of Germanic tribes
- Confederations of Germanic tribes
- Low Franconian languages
- Friedrich Maurer (1942), Nordgermanen und Alemannen: Studien zur Sprachgeschichte, Stammes- und Volkskunde, Strasbourg: Hünenburg.
- Grimm, Jacob (1835). Deutsche Mythologie (German Mythology); From English released version Grimm's Teutonic Mythology (1888); Available online by Northvegr © 2004-2007:Chapter 15, page 2-; 3. File retrieved 09-26-2007.
- Tacitus, Germania (1st Century AD). (in Latin)
Further reading 
- Friedrich Maurer (1942) Nordgermanen und Alemannen: Studien zur germanischen und frühdeutschen Sprachgeschichte, Stammes- und Volkskunde, Strasbourg: Hünenburg.