This List of Germanic Tribes includes names of populations speaking Germanic languages or otherwise considered Germanic in sources from the late 1st millennium BC to the early 2nd millennium AD. The c. 300 tribes do not necessarily represent contemporaneous, distinct or Germanic-speaking populations or have common ancestral populations. Some closely fit the concept of a tribe. Others are confederations or even unions of tribes. Some may not have spoken Germanic at all, but were bundled by the sources with the Germanic speakers. Some were undoubtedly of mixed culture. They may have assimilated to Germanic or to other cultures from Germanic.
Around the middle of the river Ems, which flows into the North Sea, at the Dutch-German border. Most likely they lived between the Bructeriminores (located at the delta of the Yssel) and the Bructeri maiores that were living south of them at the end of the Ems.
Northwestern Germany; present-day North Rhine-Westphalia. Their territory included both sides of the upper Ems (Latin Amisia) and Lippe (Latin Luppia) rivers. At its greatest extent, their territory apparently stretched between the vicinities of the Rhine in the west and the Teutoburg Forest and Weser river in the east. In late Roman times, they moved south to settle upon the east bank of the Rhine facing Cologne, an area later known as the kingdom of the Ripuarian Franks.
May have emigrated from mainland Scandinavia to the Baltic island of Bornholm, and from there to the Vistula basin, in the middle of modern Poland. A part of the Burgundian tribes migrated further westward, where they may have participated in the 406 Crossing of the Rhine, after which they settled in the Rhine Valley and established the Kingdom of the Burgundians. Another group of Burgundians stayed in their previous homeland in the Oder-Vistula basin and formed a contingent in Attila's Hunnic army by 451.
Central and northern Hesse and southern Lower Saxony, along the upper reaches of the Weser River and in the valleys and mountains of the Eder, Fulda, and Weser River regions, a district approximately corresponding to Hesse-Kassel, though probably somewhat more extensive.
Gepids, Gifþas; closely related to/subdivision of the Goths
The Gepids are thought to have migrated (along with the Goths) from Scandinavia to the Vistula River, and then onward into Dacia around 260 CE. After being driven out of their homeland in 504 CE by Theodoric the Great, the Gepids settled in the rich area around Singidunum (modern Belgrade).
Dwelt in southern Scandinavia (Scadanan) before migrating to seek new lands. In the 1st century CE, they formed part of the Suebi in northwestern Germany. By the end of the 5th century, they had moved into the area roughly coinciding with modern Austria north of the Danube river. After defeating the Gepids at the Battle of Asfeld in 567, Alboin led the Langobardes to Italy, which had become severely depopulated after the long Gothic War (535–554) between the Byzantine Empire and the Ostrogothic Kingdom there.
Migrating southward from the Baltic Sea, the Greutungi built up a huge empire stretching from the Dniester to the Volga River and from the Black Sea to the Baltic shores. After their subjugation by the Huns around 370 CE, little is heard of the Ostrogoths for about 80 years, after which they reappear in Pannonia on the middle Danube River as federates of the Romans, while a pocket remained behind in the Crimea. After the collapse of the Hun empire in 453, the Ostrogoths first moved to Moesia (c. 475–488) and later conquered the Italian Kingdom.
Perhaps originating north of the River Main, the Quadi (along with the Marcomanni) migrated into what is now Moravia, western Slovakia, and Lower Austria where they displaced Celtic cultures and were first noticed by Romans in 8–6 BCE.
First encountered dwelling on the right bank of the Rhine in the time of Julius Caesar; transported in 39 BCE by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa to the left bank, apparently at their own request, as they feared the incursions of their neighbors the Chatti.
Unknown origin. After being defeated while participating in an invasion of Gaul in 58 BC, they made peace with the Romans and were allowed to settle among the Mediomatrici in northern Alsace. They gradually assumed control of the Celtic city of Burbetomagus, later Worms.
Many of the authors relating ethnic names of Germanic peoples speculated concerning their origin, from the earliest writers to approximately the Renaissance. One cross-cultural approach over this more than a millennium of historical speculation was to assign an eponymous ancestor of the same name as, or reconstructed from, the name of the people. For example, Hellen was the founder of the Hellenes.
Although some Enlightenment historians continued to repeat these ancient stories as though fact, today they are recognized as manifestly mythological. There was, for example, no Franko, or Francio, ancestor of the Franks. The convergence of data from history, linguistics and archaeology have made this conclusion inevitable. A list of the mythical founders of Germanic peoples follows.