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The Alemanni are first mentioned by the Roman historian Cassius Dio, writing about the emperor Caracalla's campaign against them in 213A.D. The Alemanni had actually requested the assistance of Caracalla, who turned out to be a treacherous ally, colonising their lands and killing their warriors instead. To mark his victory over the Alemanni, Caracalla awarded himself the name Alemannicus, the git. At this time the Alemanni were living in their original homeland near the river Main in Germany.
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In 268 A.D., whilst the Romans are busy defeating a Gothic army in northern Greece and dealing with the assassination of the Emperor Gallienus, the Alemanni, who now appear on the 'Limes Germanicus' (the frontier of the Roman empire, deep inside Germany north of the Danube and east of the Rhine), invade Gaul and northern Italy.
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Following Emperor Gallienus' assassination the previous year, Claudius II becomes the Emperor of Rome and defeats the Alemanni in the Battle of Lake Benacus (modern day Lake Garda). Claudius fails to restore the original frontier which at its high water mark  - the 'Upper Raetian Limes' -  extended between c.50km and c.100km east of the Rhine, and up to 60km north of the Danube, until becoming the Danube c.30km west of modern day Augsburg. The new frontier is pulled back to the Donau-Iller-Rhine-Limes, and follows the Rhine as far west as Lak...
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The Alemanni take advantage of the crumbling Western Roman Empire and cross the Rhine frontier west and south, occupying Alsace and the north Swiss plateau.
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In the Battle of Tolbiac (modern day Zülpich, between Aachen and Bonn) the expanding Frankish empire under Clovis I defeats the Alemanni (some historians date the battle to 506).
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Following the victory of the Frankish King Clovis I over the Alemanni at the Battle of Tolbiac, Clovis' successors complete the subjugation of a reluctant Alemanni, who are then constituted as the Duchy of Alamannia within the Frankish empire.
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Following the death of the Frankish King Dagobert I, the Duchy of Alamannia wins a de facto independence from the Frankish empire.
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In the Blood Court of Cannstatt, the Frankish leader Carloman executes practically the entire tribal leadership of the Alemanni for treason, bringing Alamannia firmly back into the Frankish empire. By 814A.D. Carloman's nephew Charlemagne had expanded the Frankish empire to cover much of western and central Europe. Image Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Frankish_Empire_481_to_814-en.svg
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Following a successful rebellion against King Conrad I of Germany, Alamannia becomes Swabia when the Alemannic Hunfriding family, in the person of Burchard II, establishes the Duchy of Swabia, with a territory that covers modern day Alsace in France, southern Baden-Württemberg and western Bavaria in Germany, western Austria, Lichtenstein, and northern Switzerland. Image: Duchy of Swabia (yellow), courtesy of wikipedia, Marco Zanoli, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Alamannien_Hochburgund_ca_1000.png
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