Germania, 395-774


The six major German tribes, the Visigoths, the Ostrogoths, the Vandals (the Asding and the Siling Vandals), the Burgundians, the Lombards, and the Franks participated in the fragmentation and the collapse of the Western Roman Empire.

Several other tribes were also involved, esspecially the Alans and the Suevi, though the Alans were an Iranian steppe people, not a German tribe.

All of the six major tribes founded significant kingdoms. But all of them disappeared except one, the Franks, who gave their name to Western Europe in languages like Arabic. The diagram below illustrates the fate of the kingdoms, two overthrown by the Franks, two by Romania, and one by Islam.
The parts of Italy preserved from the Lombards by the Romans later, of course, fell to the Franks too (then ceded to the Pope Zachary by King Pippin); and North Africa, retrieved by the East Romans from the Vandals, then went to Islam.
The Frankish kingdom later breaks up into the elements of Mediaeval European history. Although Burgundy and Lorraine are now gone as such, Switzerland and Monaco are Modern pieces of the former, and the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg are Modern pieces of the latter.

Besides the German tribes that entered and conquered or damaged the Western Roman Empire, there were the tribes that remained back in Germany proper. These were the Saxons, the Alemanni, the Thuringians, and the Rugians.

When the Rugians were destroyed 487 by Odoacer, a new confederation of Germans formed in their stead, the Bavarians. All these tribes were subjugated by the Franks, the Alemanni in 496 and 505, the Thuringians in 531, the Bavarians at some point after 553, and then finally the Saxons by 804. When Germany eventually separated as East Francia, the old tribal areas assumed a new identity as the Stem Duchies.