The Earliest History of the Allamans
The Allaman Heritage, Durward B. Allaman / Richard J. Henry
The Alemannic tribe, whose women dressed and fought like men, along with the Goths, overran the part of the German Empire that lay along the Rhine. "See there are no women among them. They are all men," the hard-pressed Germans are reported to have said. Out of this no-woman legend some say the name All-Man has developed in its various forms, the most common in America being Allemong, Allemang, Allamen, Alleman, and Allaman.
In the possession (about 1870) of George Johnston Alleman, Esq., LL.D., F.R.S., Senator of the Royal University in Ireland and Professor of Mathematics, was an old volume entitled, De Illustribus Allemannis, edited by M. Urbanus Gottofredus Siberus, and printed at Leipzig in 1710. Title page photo of De Illustribus Allemannis Translation to English In it are given several derivations of the name Alleman and a short history of the original bearers of the name, from the time of the ascension of the Roman Emperor Caracalla in 211 to the time of the overthrow of the nation by Clovis, King of the Franks, at Tolbiac in 476.
The archdeacon editor of this volume gives rather lengthy biographies of some sixty individuals, many of them very illustrious, who lived during and after the Middle Ages. He indignantly repudiates the notion that the Alemanni were a promiscuous rabble of many tribes. On the contrary, he asserts that these folk chose a name to indicate their stalwart appearance and bravery. These are his words:
"Virtutis roborisque aspectu, quod omnibus fere aequale erat, eque nimia sui fiducia, sibinet ipsis hoc nomen impouisse; conventique haec appellatio cum rei veritate; nemoe quod fortissimo bellatores essent, et viri omnes."
Courageous and strong in aspect, equal to almost all, great confidence in themselves, asserting this about themselves; because no men are better fighters than these men.
The Alemanni engaged the forces of Emperor Constantine of the Holy Roman Empire, whom he had trusted to his faithful ally Gronodid. He was treacherously murdered and the Alemanni tribes, previously at variance among themselves, were now united and ferociously attacked the Roman Legions. Barbatos, the Emperorís other captain was defeated and this left Julian unsupported with only 13,000 men at his command. This caused the Alemanni hopes to rise.
The Alemanni left 6,000 dead on the battlefield when Julian attacked ferociously, but were only defeated in a serious footman to footman fight. Their chieftain was at last captured and sent in chains to the Emperor. The soldiers, captains and booty were sent to Hetz.
Their chieftains of the tribes sued for peace, but only after their property and lands were laid waste by fire and sword. To seal this success, Julian built a fortress which Trojans had constructed on the right bank of the Rhine. The Alemanni agreed to a truce of ten months.
In the agreement the Alemanni were to furnish the Trojan garrison with food, drink, and supplies. Only after this did the Holy Roman Empire establish control temporarily over Gaul (France).
The last offense on a large scale which the Romans waged on the Rhine, was the restoration of security to the frontier for a period of twenty years.
In the year of 358 under Galleinus, the storm broke. With irresistible force, the armies of the Alemanni broke through the great chain of frontier fortifications between the Main and Danube, and after overpowering the scattered Roman Legions, poured like a flood across the whole of the "Agir Decumatis," and established permanently in the conquered territory. At the same time, a strong force crossed the Alps and penetrated as far as Ravenna. In this battle, Robert Alemanni, who was at one time, "Lord of the Uriage," perished gloriously. The invaders were driven out of Italy after a period of three years. The country at the northern base of the Alps was lost, and its loss threw open to the Germans the gates of Italy.
Alemanni lived south of the Main and others flowed into the Agri Decumatis, the present Baden.
Having followed the fortunes of these redoubtable warriors (against whose incursions the wall that still surrounds the city of Rome was built as a defense) down to their final defeat, the painstaking archdeacon presents his biographical sketches, beginning with one "Aleman, son of Seigfrid, Count of Alsace, 764," whose province was included within the former territories of the Alemanni, which in turn, extended in the fourth century westward of the Rhine as far as the Vosges Mountains.
Magdeburg, says the archdeacon, subsequently became the chief seat of the clan, branches of which were later scattered beyond France and Germany to Spain and to Italy. Among those listed in the "Alemanor Illust" are Louis Alemann, Cardinal of Arles and president of the Council of Basel; Anthony Alemann, 1466, Bishop of Cahors; Sybond Alemann, 1451, Bishop of Grenoble and others.
At a distance of twelve kilometers from Grenoble, northeastward at the foot of the Dauphinese Alps, on a site formerly occupied by the Romans is the modern establishment of the Uriage les Bains, dominated toward the north by a hill on which stands the medieval castle of Uriage. This castle was built and owned for hundreds of years by the powerful head of the Dauphinese branch of the Alleman family. Guide books give more or less detailed accounts of its once famous lords. Ch‚teau d'Uriage-les-Bains
One of these books, Uriage les Bains et son Chateau, reads:
"The Dauphine and especially the Graisvaudan, underwent, as it appears, towards the end of the 10th century an invasion of pillaging hordes who are supposed to have been Saracens and whom the ancient records only designate by the vague name of pagan nation. Whoever they were, the Bishop of Grenoble, the great Isarn, who under the nominal suzerainty of the Emperor, was the real sovereign of the country, made an appeal to all who could assist him to drive away the invaders. Of the number of those who responded best to this appeal was one Alleman, whom the bishop rewarded by the gifts of the lands of the Uriage. Never did origin on a Peerage-Rool justify itself better and the family of the Allemans prospered throughout all the Middle Ages."
From the Guide du Baigneur Uriage et du Touriste, the low part of the Uriage was but a kind of marsh, when the Bishop of Grenoble, Isarn, gave the investure of it to the Allemanís, a war-like family, the chief of which had distinguished himself by his exploits against the Saracens. The gift took place towards the end of the 10th century. The Alleman family did not delay to attain considerable importance in the Dauphine, and the union of its members was such that it gave rise to the branch and popular proverb, "Gare la queue des Alleman," which they adopted as their motto. Bayard's mother, Helen Alleman, belonged to the branch of the Uriage and the "Chevalier sans peur et sans" reproach passed part of his childhood with his grandfather in the castle of the Uriage. A portrait of Bayard is still shone on one of the halls, which evidently dates from his own time.
In a large publication, Histore du Chateau dí Uriage, is given this account:
"Here comes in quite naturally the history of the possessors of this ancient building. Its most ancient proprietors were the Allemanís, an illustrious family of the Dauphine, now extinct. The Allemans came, it is said at the call of the Bishop Isarn; and as much for service rendered as for services to come, they received from the war-like prelate the investure of the lands of the Uriage. This family became very numerous, and its divers branches established themselves to a great extent in a valley of Graisivivandan and in adjoining mountains. The union of the diverse branches of the name rendered it strong to the other Dauphinese barons, who were assured of having to contend with all the Alleman family in case of any serious difficulty with one of its members."
From time to time, in order to retain feelings of kindred and to discuss questions affecting the entire family, the Allemans met in council. One held in 1455 is mentioned, which took place in the palace of Sybond Alleman, Bishop of Grenoble, where thirty gentlemen of this house represented the twenty branches of which it was composed. The castle of Uriage saw several of these meetings. Besides this was a war-like family and several times the valley of Isere and the gorge of Uriage resounded with their war cry. Near them was another family, as ancient and as powerful as their own, that of Aignard. In the 14th century a violent quarrel arose between these two houses. Several barons were engaged in it, and a great part of the Dauphine was distracted by this baronial war.
Before that, and during the absence of the Dauphin, Humbert 2nd, who was then commanding a crusade against the Turks, Odo, Lord of the Uriage, and Sybond, Lord of Revel, being irritated because of the Dauphinese jurisdiction of the officer over Vizelle, equipped their men-at-arms and took possession of the town, where they committed great excesses. This revolt against the Dauphin did not remain unpunished for the two rebel vassals to obtain pardon, were obliged to pay 700 florins in gold.
Geoffrey Alleman, better known as Captain of the Mollard, was at one time a lord of the Uriage. Symphoriem Chamoier describes in these words, "He was a very fine cavalier, tall in stature, strong of limb, strong and broad of chest, and powerful in frame, bold of heart, gentle and gracious to his neighbors, and renowned in his time distinguished himself in the Italian wars, in company with his neighbors the Acres and the Bayards. One day in a surprise attack he almost captured Pope Julius II, when he carried off the standard of the church, which was presented to the King of France at the town of Grenoble. Finally the captain perished gloriously in the battle of Revenna."
In the early history of the family, there were two seigniors - one of the Uriage, the other of Revel. In Major-Generalís Porterís "History of the Knights of Malta," Hugh de Revel is said to be the finest Grand Master of the Hospitallers or Knights of St. John, which later became known as Knights of Malta. Those prior to Revelís time simply became known as the title Master, the prefix having been added by Pope Clement IV during Revelís presidency which was from 1259 to 1278. It also seems Hugh de Revel, with Thomas Berard, then Grand Master of the Templars, was witness to the will of Prince Edward of England, afterward King Edward of England.
In Uriage les Bains et son Chateau it is stated that in 1630 the Lordship passed by exchange, to the family of Boffin. The whole Alleman clan became extinct none remained in the Dauphine area. How could this happen to a family so numerous as to include twenty large branches? How could the great lord of the Uriage and all his barons completely disappear? Could they thus be separated from their glorious earned inheritance? No, they did not all die! But evidently they were driven away from the land and possessions that they had held for centuries.
Even today, wherever you meet an Allaman, he has strong convictions. And he will stand for them and suffer for them. So it was in this long ago time. The clan embraced the faith of the reformers, Lutheran and Reformed. For that, they suffered and lost their elegant domain. Religious persecution scattered them; they were banished but unconquered.
The family and its divers branches split. About half went to Swabia (old Duchy of Wertemberg), the rest to the Cantons of Bern and Zurich, Switzerland. Those of the Swiss branch came about 1551 and settled Alsace-Lorraine (the Western Empire) and the Duchy of Wertemberg, province of Metz (now France). Some of them went to Holland. Many others went to Switzerland. There is a rail station in Switzerland that is named Allaman, which has a large cemetery. At least one tenth of those buried there are Allamans. Still others crossed the channel to England, where, because of their experience in soldiering, they entered the Army of Parliament to help the struggle against the tyranny of the semi-Popish king, Charles 1st under Oliver Cromwell. During the ascendancy of Lord Cromwell, he invited the Allamans to invade England. They hired other tribes and proceeded to remove their cousin from the throne. They were given lands in Wales and are known to this day as yeoman and landed gentry. Their families spilled over into Scotland and Ireland.
The migrating Germans, mostly businessmen and craftsman used their original names only during the first and second generation. Soon the additional líAllemand, which means "The German," was added. As time passed, the old family name was forgotten in the every day language usage and all Germans were called líAllemand and finally the names Alleman or Aliman developed.
It is interesting to note the list of Germans on the church register of Metz
Also of interest are some of the German families of Pennsylvania and of the Valley of Virginia who intermarried with the Allamans:
More than a dozen families or persons bearing the name of Allaman came to America during the 18th century. They became active in the affairs of this country, and among them, here as in Europe, were many persons of both influence and affluence. They prospered in the arts and sciences. They were among the first to enlist in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and the Civil War.
A branch of the family whose ancestry is around Norfolk, Virginia can be traced to Kentucky and Tennessee. William Allaman was a gunner in the American Navy during the Revolutionary War; John Almond served in 2nd Virginia Battalion in 1777; Edmund Allaman of Norfolk county was prominent in colonial affairs, 1777; Albert Allamond, also of Norfolk County, was a member of the National committee that received Lafayette on his only tour of America after the American Revolutionary War. Our own immigrant grandfather, Jacob Allemong Sr. and son Jacob Allemong Jr. arrived in 1747.
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