Kingdom of the Thuringians
Friedrich Froebel wrote in 1826 that Schwarzburg and Thuringia were his home and his native land. One of the oldest European trade routes, the via regia passes through Thuringia, connecting Kiev, Breslau, Dresden and Leipzig, with Frankfurt, Paris and Santiago. For centuries, Thuringia has been an area of cultural diffusion, which may be why we are considered the most easy going of all Germans.
Theodoric the Great in a letter dated 507 referred to Hermanfrid (Hermenfredus) as rex thoringorum. Pageants celebrated the marriage in Ravenna of Hermanfrid and Amalaberga, the niece of Theodoric the Great. This Kingdom of the Thuringians extended from the west bank of the Elbe river to Kingdom of the Franks and from the Kingdom of the Saxons to the Danube river at Ratisbon (Regensburg). The term thoringi had been used a century earlier by Vegetius Renatus for a breed of horse.
The strategic importance of this region between the Rhine and Danube was recognised by the Roman general who encouraged the Hermunduri to settle in the region of the upper Main about 7-2 BCE, according to Tacitus:
"The Hermunduri are a state loyal to Rome. They are thus the only Germani with the right to trade not just on the riverbank but well inside the borders and in the illustrious colony of the Raetian province. They cross over everywhere without any guard, and although to the other tribes we display only our arms and camps, to them we reveal our homes and villas, without their coveting them. In the land of the Hermunduri rises the Elbe, a famous river once known through experience, but now through report alone."
After the death of Theodoric the Great, the Harz mountains became the border between the Franks and the Saxons. Amalaberga took refuge at Ravenna, and later Constantinople, where her son, "Amalafrid the Goth", entered the Imperial service and became one of the generals of Justinian.
Charlemagne secured a border along the river Saale. In the Thuringian March between the Saale and the Elbe rivers silver mining and vineyards developed.
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