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.
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.