Amal dynasty

The Amali, also called Amals or Amalings, were a leading dynasty of the Goths, a Germanic people who confronted the Roman Empire in its declining years in the west. They eventually became the royal house of the Ostrogoths and founded the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy.


Jordanes accounts Gothic origins as follows: "Now the first of these heroes, as they themselves relate in their legends, was Gapt, who begat Hulmul. And Hulmul begat Augis; and Augis begat him who was called Amal, from whom the name of the Amali comes. Athal begat Achiulf and Oduulf. Now Achiulf begat Ansila and Ediulf, Vultuulf and Ermanaric." Ermanaric (also referred to as Ermanaricus or Hermanaric), is identified as a Greuthungian king that ruled territories in modern Ukraine.


The Amali remained a prominent family as the Greuthungi evolved into the Ostrogoths, became vassals of the Huns, and moved west. In 453, the Ostrogoths regained their independence under the Amali, Theodemir. According to Jordanes, "Vultuulf begat Valaravans and Valaravans begat Vinitharius. Vinitharius moreover begat Vandalarius; Vandalarius begat Theodemir and Valamir and Vidimer." Theodemir's son, Theoderic the Great, founded the Ostrogothic Kingdom.

A separate branch of the family were members of the Visigoths. Sigeric, a brief usurper to the Visigothic throne in 415, is said to be a member of the Amali. Another Visigoth, Eutharic, reunited the branches of family by marrying Theoderic's daughter Amalasuntha. Jordanes states "Hermanaric, the son of Achiulf, begat Hunimund, and Hunimund begat Thorismud. Now Thorismud begat Beremud, Beremud begat Veteric, and Veteric likewise begat Eutharic."

The last attested member of the Amamli house was Theodegisclus, son of Theodahad.

In Literature

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.

Amali Rulers


  • 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.
  • Jones, Arnold. Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, Cambridge at the University Press, 1971.
  • Jordanes. The Origin and Deeds of the Goths, 551.
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