This name first appears in Caesar (Caes. Gal. 1.51
), who speaks of the Nemetes as one of the Germanic tribes in the army of Ariovistus.
In another passage (B. G.
6.25) he describes the Hercynia Silva as commencing on the west at the borders of the Helvetii, the Nemetes, and the Rauraci; and as he does not mention the Nemetes as one of the nations on the left bank of the Rhine (B. G.
4.10), we may probably infer that in his time they were on the east or German side of the Rhine. The Vangiones and Nemetes were afterwards transplanted to the west side of the Rhine. (Tac. Germ.
100.28.) Ptolemy makes Noviomagus (Speyer
) the capital of the Nemetes, but he incorrectly places them north of the Vangiones. whose capital was Borbetomagus (Worms
). Pliny (4.17
) mentions the Nemetes, Tribocci, and Vangiones in this order; but Tacitus mentions them just in the inverse order, Vangiones, Tribocci and Nemetes. From none of these writers could we determine the relative positions of these peoples; but the fact that Noviomagus (Νοιόμαγος
) is mentioned by Ptolemy as the chief town of the Nemetes, and that Noviomagus is proved to be Speyer
by the Itineraries along the west bank of the Rhine, determine the position of the Nemetes.
In Amrmianus Marcellinus (15.11) and the Not. Imp., Noviomagus appears under the name of the people Nemetes or Nemetae. Ammianus calls it a municipium, by which he probably means a Roman town.
In the Notitia of the Gallic provinces, Civitas Nemetum belongs to Germania Prima.
In some later writings the expression occurs “civitas Nemetum id est Spira.” The name of Speyer
is from the Speyerbach,
which flows into the Rhine at Speyer.
(D'Anville, Notice, &c.;
Walekenaer, Géog. &c.
vol. ii. p. 277.)