The Germanic peoples (also called Teutonic, Suebian or Gothic in older literature) are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic starting during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.
The term "Germanic" originated in classical times, when groups of tribes were referred to using this term by Roman authors. For them, the term was not necessarily based upon language, but rather referred to tribal groups and alliances who were considered less civilized, and more physically hardened, than the Celtic Gauls living in the region of modern France. Tribes referred to as Germanic in that period lived generally to the north and east of the Gauls.
The ethnic groups in Europe are the various ethnic groups that reside in the nations of Europe. European ethnology is the field of anthropology focusing on Europe.
Pan and Pfeil (2004) count 87 distinct "peoples of Europe", of which 33 form the majority population in at least one sovereign state, while the remaining 54 constitute ethnic minorities. The total number of national minority populations in Europe is estimated at 105 million people, or 14% of 770 million Europeans.
The Migration Period, also known as the period of the "Barbarian" invasions or of the Völkerwanderung ("migration of peoples" in German), was a period of intensified human migration in Europe from about 400 to 800 AD. Historians consider it to be the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages.]citation needed[ This period was marked by profound changes both within the Roman Empire and beyond its "barbarian frontier". The migrants who came first were Germanic tribes such as the Goths, Vandals, Angles, Saxons, Lombards, Suebi, Frisii and Franks; they were later pushed westwards by the Huns, Avars, Slavs, Bulgars and Alans. Later migrations (such as the Arab conquest and Viking, Norman, Magyar, Moorish, Turkic, and Mongol invasions) also had significant effects (especially in North Africa, the Iberian peninsula, Anatolia and Central and Eastern Europe); however, they are outside the scope of the Migration Period.
Germanic peoples moved out of southern Scandinavia and Germany to the adjacent lands between the Elbe and Oder after 1000 BC. The first wave moved westward and southward (pushing the resident Celts west to the Rhine by about 200 BC) and moving into southern Germany up to the Roman province of Gaul by 100 BC, where they were stopped by Gaius Marius and Julius Caesar. It is this western group which was described by the Roman historian Tacitus (56–117 AD) and Julius Caesar (100–44 BC). A later wave of German tribes migrated eastward and southward from Scandinavia between 600 and 300 BC to the opposite coast of the Baltic Sea, moving up the Vistula near the Carpathians. During Tacitus' era they included lesser known tribes such as the Tencteri, Cherusci, Hermunduri and Chatti; however, a period of federation and intermarriage resulted in the familiar groups known as the Alemanni, Franks, Saxons, Frisians and Thuringians.