or Eth. Ἑρμόνδοροι
) a large and powerful tribe of Germany, occupying the extensive country between the mountains in the north-west of Bohemia and the Roman wall in the south-west, which formed the boundary of the Agri Decumates. On. the east they bordered on the Narisci, in the north-east on the Cherusci, and in the north-west on the Chatti.
The accounts of the ancients about the Hermunduri are very contradictory. They belonged no doubt to the Suevi; but respecting their earliest place of abode, and the reasons which induced them to quit their homes, nothing is known. They first appear in history at the time of Domitius Ahenobarbus, as a host expelled from their country and wandering about, until Ahenobarbus assigned to them a part of the territory of the Marcomanni, between the Main and the Danube.
That district had been abandoned by the Marcormanni, and continued to be inhabited by the Hermunduri at the time of Tacitus, who describes them as friends of the Romans. (Dio Cass. Fragm.
32, ed. Morell.; Tac. Germ.
41.) Their original country was, according to some, in the north of Bohemia and the neighbouring mountains; for Tacitus places the sources of the Albis in the country of the Hermunduri, while Strabo (vii. p.290
) places them. beyond the Albis.
At all events, however, they were always hostile to the Marcomanni. (Tac. Ann. 2.63
After the overthrow of Maroboduus and Catualda, which they themselves had assisted to effect (Tac. Ann. 2.63
), they spread in a north-eastern directions taking possession of the north-western part of Bohemia and the country about the sources of the Main
that is, the part of Franconia as far as Kissingen,
and the south-western part of the kingdom of Saxony. (Vell. 2.106
; Tac. Ann. 13.57.
) Henceforth they continued to occupy that extensive country, and soon after we find them allied with their old enemies, the Marcomanni, in their war against the Romans. (Jul. Capitol. M. Anton.
22; Eutrop. 8.13
After this war they are no longer mentioned, but seem to be comprised under the general name of the Suevi; for Jul. Capitolinus expressly mentions the Hermunduri on the same occasion, where others, such as Eutropius and Orosius (7.15
), speak only of Suevi. Even Ptolemy appears not to have known them, for, in 2.11.24, he enumerates in their country quite different tribes, which are otherwise unknown to us.
The name Hermunduri is believed by some to signify highlanders, and to be a compound of Her==Ar,
that is “high,” and Mund
==Man. (Wilhelm, Germanien,
pp. 208, fol.)