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The fluidity of barbarian identity – the ethnogenesis of Alemanni and Suebi, AD 200-500

The fluidity of barbarian identity – the ethnogenesis of Alemanni and Suebi, AD 200-500

By H.J. Hammer

Early Medieval Europe, Vol.7:1 (1998)

Abstract: This article argues against the romantic notion that barbarian peoples organized themselves around internal identities which persisted essentially unchanged over centuries. The Alemanni comprised an amalgam of constituent groups whose identities and behaviour fluctuated according to situation and context. This loose association of groups was transformed into a more cohesively organized gentile configuration during the migration period, when Alemannic and Suebic elements formed a common Alemannic identity.

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