The Alamanni were led by regional hereditary chieftains, whom the Romans called reges, ‘kings’ and their kingdoms pagi, ‘districts’. Under the kings were optimates, ‘nobles’. An unpopular king might be challenged by his nobles, and there was probably chronic elite-rivalry that led to internal feuding and external raiding of neighbours. In order to maintain peace on the frontier, Rome may have intervened to keep allied chieftains in power: part of a cosy symbiosis of mutual exploitation that also inhibited the emergence of an Alamannic ‘Great King’. There was little sense of common political identity. The existence of larger units—‘constituent tribes’ (‘Teilstämme’)—of Alamanni is unlikely. Alamannic population was mixed, consisting of Elbe-Germani, residual Romans, refugees from the Empire, and Roman soldiers and civilians still patrolling and exploiting the region. At c.120,000 it was, compared with the Empire, relatively low.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.