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Eth. BURGUNDIO´NES, BURGUNDII (Βουργουνδιῶνες, Βουργοῦνδοι, Βουργίωνες, Φρουγουνδιῶνες, Οὐρουγοῦνδοι), are mentioned first by Pliny (4.28) as a branch of the Vandals, along with the Varini, Carini, and Guttones. This circumstance proves that they belonged to the Gothic stock; a fact which is also recognised by Zosimus. (1.27, 68), Agathias (1.3, p. 19, ed. Bonn), and Mamertinus (Paneg. 2.17). But this view is in direct contradiction to the statement of Ammianus Marcellinus (18.5), who declares them to be descendants of ancient Roman settlers, and of Orosius, who relates that Drusus, after subduing the interior of Germany, established them in different camps; that they grew together into a great nation, and received their name from the fact that they inhabited numerous townships, called burgi. The difficulty arising from these statements is increased by the different ways in which the name is written, it becoming a question whether all the names given at the head of this article belong to one or to different peoples. Thus much, at any rate, seems beyond a doubt, that a branch of the Vandal or Gothic race bore the name of Burgundians. In like manner, it is more than probable, that the Buguntes mentioned by Ptolemy (2.11. § § 15. 18) as occupying the country between the Vistula and Viadus are the same as the Bargundiones. That they dwelt on and about the Vistula is clear also from the statement, that Fastida, king of the Gepidae about the Carpathians, almost destroyed the Burgundiones. (Jornand. De Reb. Goth. 17; comp. Mamert. Paneg. 2.17; Zosim, 1.68.) It is accordingly a fact beyond all doubt, that the Burgundians were a Gothic people dwelling in the country between the Viadus and the Vistula.

But besides these north-eastern Burgundians, others occur in the west as neighbours of the Alemanni, without its being possible to say what connection existed between them; for history affords no information as to how they came into the south-west of Germany, where we find them in A.D. 289. (Mamert. Paneg. 1.5.) At that time they seem to have occupied the country about the Upper Maine, and were stirred up by the emperor Valentinian against the Alemanni, with whom they were often at war. (Amm. Marc. 28.5; comp. 18.2.) An army of 80,000 Burgundians then appeared on the Rhine, but without producing any permanent results, for they did not obtain any settlements there until the time of Stilico, in consequence of the great commotion of the Vandals, Alani, and Suevi against Gaul. (Oros. 7.32.) In the year 412, Jovinus was proclaimed emperor at Mayence, partly through the influence of the Burgundian king Gunthahar. The year after this they crossed over to the western bank of the Rhine, where for a time their further progress was checked by Aetius. (Sidon. Apollin. Carm. 7.233.) But notwithstanding many and bloody defeats, in one of which their king Gunthahar was slain, the Burgundians advanced into Gaul, and soon adopted Christianity. (Oros. l.c.; Socrates, 7.30.) They established themselves about the western slope of the Alps, and founded a powerful kingdom.

Although history leaves us in the dark as to the manner in which the Burgundians came to be in the south-west of Germany, yet one of two things must have been the case, either they had migrated thither from the east, or else the name, being an appellative, was given to two different German peoples, from the circumstance of their living in burgi or burghs. (Comp. Zeuss, Die Deutschen v. d. Nachbar Stämme, p. 443, foil.; v. Wersebe, Völker st. Volkerbünd. p. 256, foll; Latham, on Tacit. Germ. Epileg. p. lv. foll.)


hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 4.28
    • Ammianus Marcellinus, Rerum Gestarum, 18.5
    • Ammianus Marcellinus, Rerum Gestarum, 28.5
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 2.11
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