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Saturday, June 10, 2017
Where is Swabia?
My last post, I shared a surname from my mother's side of the family: Stiffler. This surname was instrumental in the formation of the medieval Swabian Society. I had to do some research.
Swabia (German Schwaben, Latin Suevia), with its (former) capital at Augsburg, was a medieval duchy in the lands now forming southwestern Germany. Its territories covered the area now occupied by Baden-Württemberg (including the Black Forest) and parts of western Bavaria (to the Lech River) and northern Switzerland. It owes its importance to its strategic position between the upper reaches of two of Europe's most important rivers, the Danube and the Rhine.
The region was first known to the Romans as Alemannia because at the time its settlers were the Germanic tribe of Alamans (or Alemanni). When the Romans began to conquer the area, it was incorporated as part of the Agri Decumates. It later received its present name from later German migrants, the Suevi, who became amalgamated with the Alemanni in the 5th century AD.
Okay, it's a bit more involved than I thought.
The term Swabia nowadays is used in a more restricted way and does not refer to the whole area once encompassed by the medieval duchy. It is related to the custom of speaking the Swabian dialect, which is prevailing on the territory of Württemberg in the area south of the Danube (till the Lake Constance, or Bodensee, and the Rhine) called Oberschwaben, and the region between Iller and Lech, called Bavarian Swabia. The more recent Swabian history is closely related to that of Württemberg, except for Bavarian Swabia, which belongs to Bavaria since 1815. The modern center of Swabia is thought to lie at Stuttgart and there one can often hear spoken the Swabian dialect, Schwäbisch, with its customary friendly greeting of "Grüss Gott" (sounds like 'Gree's Godd'). Those parts of the medieval Swabian duchy that are now located in Switzerland, Baden or Alsace are nowadays commonly referred to as 'Alemannic' according to the kinds of dialects that are spoken there. Of course, the borders between Swabian and Alemannic (in the southwest) and Franconian (in the north-east) are not very sharp.
Short Story of Suevia (Swabian)
Swabia: HISTORICAL REGION, GERMANY
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- Stay at home Mom to 1 dog and 2 cats. I am the "big sister" in the photo. My baby sister, passed away unexpectedly, Sept. 2015 at the young age of 56. I miss her terribly. Everyone in my childhood family has now passed. I have 3 sons. My oldest son died in 2003 at the age of 25. GENEALOGY is a growing passion of mine as well as History.