The Semnones were a Germanic tribe which was settled between the Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...
and the Oder
The Oder is a river in Central Europe. It rises in the Czech Republic and flows through western Poland, later forming of the border between Poland and Germany, part of the Oder-Neisse line...
in the 1st century when they were described by Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...
The Germania , written by Gaius Cornelius Tacitus around 98, is an ethnographic work on the Germanic tribes outside the Roman Empire.-Contents:...
"The Semnones give themselves out to be the most ancient and renowned branch of the SueviSuebiThe Suebi or Suevi were a group of Germanic peoples who were first mentioned by Julius Caesar in connection with Ariovistus' campaign, c...
. Their antiquity is strongly attested by their religion. At a stated period, all the tribes of the same race assemble by their representatives in a grove consecrated by the auguries of their forefathers, and by immemorial associations of terror. Here, having publicly slaughtered a human victim, they celebrate the horrible beginning of their barbarous rite. Reverence also in other ways is paid to the grove. No one enters it except bound with a chain, as an inferior acknowledging the might of the local divinity. If he chance to fall, it is not lawful for him to be lifted up, or to rise to his feet; he must crawl out along the ground. All this superstition implies the belief that from this spot the nation took its origin, that here dwells the supreme and all-ruling deity, to whom all else is subject and obedient. The fortunate lot of the Semnones strengthens this belief; a hundred cantons are in their occupation, and the vastness of their community makes them regard themselves as the head of the Suevic race."
A grove of fetters
Grove of fetters
A Grove of fetters is mentioned in the Eddic poem Helgakviða Hundingsbana II:The description is often compared with a section by Tacitus on a sacred grove of the Semnones:...
is also mentioned in the eddic poem
The Poetic Edda is a collection of Old Norse poems primarily preserved in the Icelandic mediaeval manuscript Codex Regius. Along with Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda, the Poetic Edda is the most important extant source on Norse mythology and Germanic heroic legends, and from the early 19th century...
Helgakviða Hundingsbana II
Helgakviða Hundingsbana II
Völsungakviða in forna, Helgakviða Hundingsbana II or the Second Lay of Helgi Hundingsbane is an Old Norse poem found in the Poetic Edda...
In the 3rd century, the Semnones shifted southwards and eventually ended up as part of the Alamanni
The Alamanni, Allemanni, or Alemanni were originally an alliance of Germanic tribes located around the upper Rhine river . One of the earliest references to them is the cognomen Alamannicus assumed by Roman Emperor Caracalla, who ruled the Roman Empire from 211 to 217 and claimed thereby to be...
people. An inscription found on an altar in Augsburg
Augsburg is a city in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany. It is a university town and home of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben and the Bezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is, as of 2008, the third-largest city in Bavaria with a...
, a Roman monument from 260 AD, states that the Semnones were also called Juthungi
The Juthungi were a Germanic tribe in the region north of the rivers Danube and Altmühl in the modern German state of Bavaria....
Nationalencyklopedin is the most comprehensive contemporary Swedish language encyclopedia, initiated by a favourable loan from the Government of Sweden of 17 million Swedish kronor in 1980, which was repaid by December 1990...
- List of Germanic peoples
- Germania - The Origin and Situation of the Germans