Kráľovská hodnosť u Germánov

Germanic Kingship

The author is concerned with the origin and development of Germanic kingship from the 1st century BC to the 6th century AD. The first mention of Germanic tribes, their social structure and habits is in Caesar's and particularly Tacitus' writings. Although their terminology is different, they described basically the same circumstances. Both of them clearly distinguished between elected war leader, the commander, and chosen judge, the chieftain or king, who descended from respected and noble family. In Tacitus' times the strong military leaders or autocratic kings were disliked by their fellow tribesmen and some of them, like Arminius, Maroboduus or Vannius, were deposed, expelled or even murdered. After two murky centuries, however, Ammianus Marcellinus witnessed high degree of hierarchization within Germanic tribal society and documented king's highest authority. Since that times king held military power of commander as well jurisdiction and sacral functions of chieftain. His office was hereditary and lifelong. Written sources occasionally reveal also some of personal, physical or mental qualities of particular chief. The most notable leaders or kings were described, for example, as young, tall and strong, handsome, bold, intelligent, wise men and especially as capable commanders. Militarily inept or cowardly kings were therefore removed or killed, usually after crushing defeat.