This article is about the Germanic figure. For the rural community in New South Wales, Australia, see Mannus, New South Wales.

Mannus, according to the Roman writer Tacitus, was a figure in the creation myths of the Germanic tribes. Tacitus is the only source of these myths.[1]

Tacitus wrote that Mannus was the son of Tuisto and the progenitor of the three Germanic tribes Ingaevones, Herminones and Istvaeones.[2] In discussing the German tribes Tacitus wrote:

In ancient lays, their only type of historical tradition, they celebrate Tuisto, a god brought forth from the earth. They attribute to him a son, Mannus, the source and founder of their people, and to Mannus three sons, from whose names those nearest the Ocean are called Ingvaeones, those in the middle Herminones, and the rest Istvaeones. Some people, inasmuch as antiquity gives free rein to speculation, maintain that there were more sons born from the god and hence more tribal designations—Marsi, Gambrivii, Suebi, and Vandilii—and that those names are genuine and ancient. (Germania, chapter 2)[3]

Several authors consider the name Mannus in Tacitus' work to stem from an Indo-European root;[4][5] see Proto-Indo-European religion, §Brothers.

The names Mannus and Tuisto/Tuisco seem to have some relation to Proto-Germanic Mannaz, "man" and Tiwaz, "Tyr, the god".[6][7]

Mannus again became popular in literature in the 16th century, after works published by Annius de Viterbo[8] and Johannes Aventinus[9] purported to list him as a primeval king over Germany and Sarmatia.[10]

In the 19th century, F. Nork wrote that the names of the three sons of Mannus can be extrapolated as Ingui, Irmin, and Istaev or Iscio.[11] A few scholars like Ralph T. H. Griffith have expressed a connection between Mannus and the names of other ancient founder-kings, such as Minos of Greek mythology, and Manu of Hindu tradition.[12]

Guido von List incorporated the myth of Mannus and his sons into his occult beliefs which were later adopted into Nazi occult beliefs.[13]

See also


  1. Publishers, Struik; Stanton, Janet Parker, Alice Mills, Julie (2007-11-02). Mythology: Myths, Legends and Fantasies. Struik. pp. 234–. ISBN 9781770074538. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  2. The Phonology/paraphonology Interface and the Sounds of German Across Time, p.64, Irmengard Rauch, Peter Lang, 2008
  3. Tales of the Barbarians: Ethnography and Empire in the Roman West, p. 40, Greg Woolf, John Wiley & Sons, 01-Dec-2010
  4. "Word and Power in Mediaeval Bulgaria", p. 167. By Ivan Biliarsky, Brill, 2011
  5. Mitra-Varuna: An Essay on Two Indo-European Representations, p. 87, by Georges Dumézil, Zone, 1988, "An Essay on Two Indo-European Representations Georges Dumézil. the Sanskrit Manu (both the name and the common noun for "man"), has given, in particular, the Germanic Mannus (-nn- from *-nw- regularly), mythical ancestor of the Germans."
  8. Germany and the Holy Roman Empire: Volume I: Maximilian I to the Peace of Westphalia, 1493-1648, p.110, Joachim Whaley, Oxford University Press, 2012
  9. Historian in an age of crisis: the life and work of Johannes Aventinus, 1477-1534, p. 121 Gerald Strauss, Harvard University Press, 1963
  10. William J. Jones, 1999, "Perceptions in the Place of German in the Family of Languages" in Images of Language: Six Essays on German Attitudes, p9 ff.
  11. Populäre Mythologie, oder Götterlehre aller Völker, p. 112, F. Nork, Scheible, Rieger & Sattler (1845)
  12. "A Classical Dictionary of India: Illustrative of the Mythology, Philosophy, Literature, Antiquities, Arts, Manners, Customs &c. of the Hindus", p. 383, by John Garrett, Higginbotham and Company (1873)
  13. Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas (1992). The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology. NYU Press. pp. 56–. ISBN 9780814730607. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  • Grimm, Jacob (1835). Deutsche Mythologie (German Mythology); From English released version Grimm's Teutonic Mythology (1888); Available online by Northvegr © 2004-2007: Chapter 15, page 2 File retrieved 12-08-2011.
  • Tacitus. Germania (1st Century AD). (in Latin)
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