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The Roman empire under Hadrian (ruled 117-138 AD), showing the location of the Lugii (Vandilii) tribes between the Viadua (Oder) and Vistula rivers

The Lugii (or Lugi, Legii, Lygii, Ligii, Lugiones, Lygians, Ligians, Lugians, or Lougoi) were a large tribal confederation mentioned by Roman authors living in ca. 100 BC–300 AD in Central Europe, north of the Sudetes mountains in the basin of upper Oder and Vistula rivers, covering most of modern south and middle Poland (regions of Silesia, Greater Poland, Mazovia and Little Poland). Most archaeologists identify the Lugians with the Przeworsk culture.[1] The Lugii may have played an important role on the middle part of the Amber Road from Sambia at the Baltic Sea to the provinces of Roman Empire: Pannonia, Noricum and Raetia.[2] A tribe of the same name, usually spelled as Lugi, inhabited the southern part of Sutherland in Scotland.



The Lugii are first mentioned in Strabo's Geographica. He writes that the Lugians were "a great people" and—together with other peoples like Semnones, Lombards and the otherwise unknown Zumi, Butones, Mugilones and Sibini—were part of a federation subjected to the rule of Maroboduus king of Suebi, and leader of the Marcomanni tribal confederation whose realm appears to have been centered in modern Bohemia 9 BC–19 AD.[2][3] In 19 AD Marbod was overthrown with the help of Arminius of the Cherusci.[3]

The Lugii are not mentioned at all by Pliny the Elder, who instead says that "these regions, as far as the river Vistula, are inhabited by the Sarmati, the Venedi, the Sciri, and the Hirri." (Book 4, 96-97). The next mention of Lugii are the times of the Roman emperor Claudius (41–54). According to Tacitus's Annales, in 50 'a great multitude' of Lugians and Hermunduri, led by the Hermundurian Vibilius, took part in the fall of Vannius, who the Romans had imposed as a ruler to replace Marbod. Tacitus also mentions the Lugii as Legii in his (Germania), writing that they were divided into many tribes ('civitates'), of which he mentions the five most powerful: Harii, Helveconae, Manimi, Helisii and Nahanarvali.

The next information about the Lugians comes from Cassius Dio's work Roman History, in which he mentions events of 91–92 during the reign of emperor Domitian. The Lugii allied themselves with the Romans and asked them for help against some of the Suebi. Domitian sent 100 horsemen to support the Lugians. It is not known if these horsemen really arrived at their destination; if they did, it would be the first recorded presence of Roman soldiers on what is now Poland.[4] The 12th century Chronica Polonorum by Wincenty Kadlubek mentions the alliance between the Lugii and the Romans.[5]

Ptolemy mentions the Lugi Omani (Λοῦγοι οἱ Ὀμανοὶ), the Lugi Diduni (Λοῦγοι οἱ Διδοῦνοι) and the Lugi Buri (Λοῦγοι οἱ Βοῦροι) located on or near the upper Vistula in Germania Magna in what is now south Poland (Book 2, Chapter 10, 4th map of Europe). The Buri, who according to Ptolemy were part of the Lugians, (Tacitus treated them separately, and as Suevian in language) took an important role during the Marcomannic Wars (166–180): the Romans were forced to organize a separate military campaign against them called 'Expeditio Burica' in 182-183 during the reign of emperor Commodus.

The later history of the Lugians is uncertain, but some historians assume that the Lugians can be identified with the 'Longiones' tribe mentioned in Zosimus's New History (Historia Nova), as being defeated by the Emperor Probus in year 279 in the province of Raetia near the Lygis river (usually identified with Lech river in modern Austria and Bavaria). Another mention might be a great people of 'Lupiones-Sarmatae' shown on a Latin map Tabula Peutingeriana generally dated to 2nd-4th century AD.


  1. ^ Merrils 2004, pp. 32–33
  2. ^ a b Schutte 2013, pp. 51–53
  3. ^ a b "Germanic peoples". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  4. ^ Cassius Dio, "LXVII", Roman History
  5. ^ Chronica seu originale regum et principum Poloniae; by Wincenty Kadlubek; 1190

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