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MapManimi (Suevi)

FeatureIn general terms, the Romans coined the name 'Gaul' to describe the Celtic tribes of what is now central, northern and eastern France. The Gauls were divided from the Belgae to the north by the Marne and the Seine, and from the Aquitani to the south by the River Garonne. They also extended eastwards, into the region that was becoming known as Germania. The Celts had ruled much of this in their heyday, but by the middle of the first century BC they were fragmented, and were either in the process of being expelled by the increasingly powerful Germanic tribes who were migrating southwards from Scandinavia and the Baltic coast, or they were being defeated and integrated into Germanic or other tribes. The Manimi were a minor tribe that was located in the area which today roughly forms the meeting point between eastern Slovakia, southern Poland and western Ukraine. They were neighboured to the north by the Germanic Vandali, and generally by the Celtic Helveconae, Helisii, Harii, Buri, Osi, and Naharvali, and to the west by the vast homeland of the Boii.

The tribe's name is a hard one to break down - in fact it seems to have been garbled to an extent. Remove the Latin plural ending, '-i', and replace it with the usual Gaulish plural and the result is something like Manim or Manion for the tribe's actual name. Tacitus referred to an Omani tribe (of the Lugii) which may be the same group, 'mani' simply meaning 'men' or 'kin' or 'folk'. However, this does not fully explain the use of Manimi. The first part, 'man', would be 'hand', but what then is the 'im' part? Perhaps the break is in the wrong place and it is 'ma' plus 'nim', but what is a nim? An alternative is 'nem' (plural nemos), which means 'heaven' ('men of heaven'?). Again, though, perhaps the break is in the wrong place and it could be 'ma' plus 'ni' plus 'mi'. That renders 'ma' meaningless, but 'man' means 'hand' plus 'ni' means 'not', and 'me' means 'my'. Given their word order, this makes the tribe 'man ni me', meaning 'not my hand'. An unusual tribal name to say the least! Finally, perhaps the original breakdown of Manion (with the final 'n' garbled into an 'm') would be 'the hands'. Even that is speculation based upon few details.

Tacitus described the Manimi as one of a number of tribes which together formed the federation of the Lugii, which itself was viewed as being part of the vast Suevi confederation. Ptolemy breaks the Lugii down into Lugi Buri, Lugi Diduni, and Lugi Omani. It seems plausible that the Manimi had some relationship to the Omani, based on the similarity of names. The Suevi were a confederation of (usually) Germanic peoples that came into existence by the first century AD, and perhaps earlier. It perhaps also included Celtic tribes that had remained in the region and which were largely absorbed by the later arrivals. The Suevi confederation included the tribes of the Alemanni, Angles, Hermunduri, Langobards, Marcomanni, Quadi, Semnones, and Warini, and perhaps also the Heruli too. None of these tribes were what could be considered 'front line' tribes, living along the border with the Roman empire. Instead they were arrayed behind a large number of other tribes which were better known and better attested by Roman writers. The Suebic tribes remained a little more obscure, at least until they came into direct contact with the empire, and many of the more minor tribes that made up the confederation were almost entirely unchronicled. The Harii, Helisii, Helveconae, and Naharvali were also sometimes included in the Lugii federation.

(Information co-authored by Edward Dawson, and additional information from The La Tene Celtic Belgae Tribes in England: Y-Chromosome Haplogroup R-U152 - Hypothesis C, David K Faux, from The Oxford History of England: Roman Britain, Peter Salway, and from Complete Works of Tacitus, Alfred John Church, William Jackson Brodribb, & Lisa Cerrato. Other major sources listed in the 'Barbarian Europe' section of the Sources page.)

6th century BC

The Manimi probably belong to the Hallstatt culture of Celts, along with the Bebryces, Boii, Cotini, Harii, Helisii, Helveconae, Naharvali, Osi, and at least some elements of the later Lugii. They are to be found around the central German lands, and in Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, and the edges of Poland and Ukraine. Around this time a large-scale expansion begins that sees many Hallstatt Celts migrate outwards, towards northern Italy, Gaul, or Iberia. Many others remain, and control the region until pressure from newly-arriving Germanic tribes begins to erode their hold in the second and first centuries BC.

Bohemia
The landscape of Bohemia is and was defined by wooded mountainsides and extensive farming land - a green and fertile area at the centre of Europe and of the Hallstatt culture

AD 23

The first historical mention of the Lugii is by Strabo, who seems to place them as members of a tribal federation which includes the Butones (a questionable name, perhaps a misspelling of Gutones), Mugilones, Semnones, Sibini and Zumi. There is no mention of the Harii, Helisii, Helveconae, Manimi, and Naharvali at this time.

98

Writing in AD 98, Tacitus mentions the Lugii. He is of the opinion that they are a federation of the smaller Gaulish tribes, the Harii, Helisii, Helveconae, Manimi, and Naharvali. Tacitus also mentions the Buri but not as members of the Lugii.

c.140s

Ptolemy breaks the Lugii down into Lugi Buri, Lugi Diduni, and Lugi Omani. It seems plausible that the Manimi of AD 98 have some relationship to the Omani, based on the similar names, but of the Harii, Helisii, Helveconae, and Naharvali there is no sign once again. Have they been absorbed into the larger Lugii collective, or have they drifted off elsewhere, never to be recorded again by history?

254

By this time, the Suevi have formed a wide-ranging confederation of tribes that are all known individually but which are counted as being Suevi. The vast number of tribes included in the confederation include the Aestii, Angles, Aviones, Buri, Cotini, Eudoses, Gutones, Hermunduri (who have virtually ceased to exist as a recognisable independent people), Langobards, Lugii (a name applied to several tribes: the Harii, Helisii, Helveconae, Manimi, and Naharvali, although these are not mentioned at this time), Marcomanni, Marsigni, Naristi, Nuitones, Osi, Quadi, Reudigni, Semnones, Sitones, Suardones, Suiones (Swedes), and the Warini.