Germany is a country located in central-western Europe. Throughout history, the name of this region has changed multiple times due to various political, social, and cultural factors.
In ancient times, Germany was called by different names by different tribes and civilizations that lived in the region. Let’s take a closer look at what Germany was called in ancient times.
Ancient Times – What did Germany call itself?
During ancient times, Germany was inhabited by several tribes, each of which had its own language and culture. The most prominent among them were the Celts, who lived in the central part of Europe from around 1200 BCE to 400 BCE.
The Celts referred to their land as “Gallia” or “Gaul.” This region included present-day France, Belgium, Switzerland, and parts of Italy.
Another prominent tribe that lived in Germany during ancient times were the Germanic people who spoke the Germanic languages. They were known by different names like Teutons or Teutones (the name comes from Proto-Germanic word “Þeudanōz”, meaning people or nation) and also referred to their land as “Deutschland” which means “Land of the People” – a name that is still used today.
The Roman influence on naming
The Romans had a significant impact on the naming conventions used for this region during ancient times. They referred to the lands east of Rhine as Germania Magna which translates to “Great Germany.” Later on, they divided Germania Magna into two provinces: Germania Superior (Upper Germany) and Germania Inferior (Lower Germany), which corresponded roughly to present-day Switzerland and southern Germany respectively.
Medieval period – changes in naming conventions
During the medieval period (5th-15th century CE), several kingdoms emerged in what is now Germany. The Franks, a Germanic tribe that had settled in the region, established a kingdom that they called Francia, which included modern-day France and parts of Germany. Later on, the Holy Roman Empire was established in 800 CE by Charlemagne, which included most of present-day Germany as well as Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and parts of Italy.
In conclusion, Germany has been called by several names throughout history due to various political, social, and cultural factors. The Celts referred to their land as “Gallia” or “Gaul,” while the Germanic people referred to their land as “Deutschland.”
The Romans called the lands east of Rhine as Germania Magna and later divided it into Upper and Lower Germania. During the medieval period, several kingdoms emerged in what is now Germany including Francia and the Holy Roman Empire. These changes in naming conventions highlight how complex and diverse this region’s history has been.