For naming conventions, see Medieval Kingdoms of Western Europe.
The Amali were the leading dynasty of the Goths, a Germanic tribes|Germanic people who confronted the Roman Empire in its declining years in the west. They were also called the Amals, Amaler, or Amalings they were considered highest in worth among Gothic fighters and highest in royal dignity. According to Gothic legend, the Amali were descended from an ancient hero whose deeds earned him the title of Amala or "mighty."
However, the Goths branched into two groups around the year 200: the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths. And by 395 their histories had become significantly separated. Edward Gibbon writes, in the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Chapter 31, footnote 160):
:"the true hereditary right to the Gothic sceptre was vested in the Amali; but those princes, who were the vassals of the Huns, commanded the tribes of the Ostrogoths in some distant parts of Germany or Scythia."
In this vacuum, the rival Balti dynasty, predominant among the Visigoths in Italy and Gaul, was able to assume the Visigothic leadership. For it was Alaric I|Alaric the Visigoth, a member of the latter dynasty, who led his people in the sacking of Rome in 410 CE.
This success, and the dynasty of kings Alaric created, heightened tensions between the two families, leading to the Amali usurping the Visigothic throne in 415, making Sigeric king. But Sigeric's reign lasted only seven days before he was assassinated and the Balti dynasty resumed a powerful rule that didn't end until 531.
It can be generally said that, beginning in 395, the Amali were the royal house of the Ostrogoths while the Balti were that of the Visigoths.
In the Nibelungenlied and some other medieval German epic poems, the followers of Dietrich von Bern are referred to as Amelungen. In other cases, Amelung is reinterpreted as the name of one of Dietrich's ancestors. The Kaiserchronik also refers to Dietrich/Theoderic's family as the Amelungen, and in a letter of bishop Meinhard von Bamberg, as well as the Annals of Quedlinburg, Amulungum/Amelung ("the Amelung") is used to refer to Dietrich himself. This shows that the family's legacy was remembered in oral tradition far into the Middle Ages, long after any stories about Amal himself had ceased to circulate.
At least, two families claimed they had descended from Amali. First family was Billungs, Dukes of Saxony. They were also known as Amelungs or von Ömlingen. Another family was Solovjovs, Barons of Russian Empire from 1727 (in German speaking sources known as von Solowhoff or Solowhoff von Greutungen). Solovjovs claimed Ermanaric was their ancestor.
- Theodemir, until 474
- Theodoric the Great, 474–526
- Athalaric, 526–534
- Theodahad, 534–536
- Bradley, Henry. The Goths: From the Earliest Times to the End of the Gothic Dominion in Spain. 2nd ed. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1883.
Category:Goths Category:Ancient Germanic peoples Category:Ancient Germanic Families Category:Late Antiquity