MALE Huoching

Alemannian noble, ca. 700?

In the genealogy of Charlemagne's wife Hildegarde, as given by Thegan in the ninth century, Huoching is given as the son of duke Gottfried and the father of Nebi ["Qui cum in iuventute erat, supradictus imperator desponsavit sibi nobilissimi generis Suavorum puellam, nomine Hildigardam, quae erat de cognatione Gotefridi ducis Alamannorum. Gotefridus dux genuit Huochingum, Huochingus genuit Nebi, Nebe genuit Immam, Imma vero genuit Hiltigardam beatissimum reginam." Thegan, Vita Hludowici, c. 2, MGH SS 2: 590-1]. Nothing else is known about Huoching.

Some scholars have expressed doubt about the existence of Huoching, suggesting instead that Thegan's account was influenced by the appearance of a Hnæf Hócing (or Hnæf son of Hóc) in Anglo-Saxon heroic poetry [e.g., Eckhardt (1965), 62-4]. See the page of Nebi for more details.

Date of birth: Unknown.
Place of birth:

Date of death: Unknown.
Place of death: Unknown.

Probable father: Gottfried, d. 709, duke of the Alemannians.
Since no other source mentions Huoching, the main question here is the reliability of Thegan's account. While Thegan was not contemporary to Huoching, he was writing only a century or so later, when the correct descent would have presumably still have been reasonably well known. In addition to the doubt expressed regarding Huoching's existence [see above], it has been pointed out that in the listing of Reichenau benefactors in the Reichenau confraternity book, the consecutively listed sons of Gottfried are widely separated from Nebi on the list ["Lantfridus dux, Deotpold, Liutfrid, Uatalo, [32 other names], Nebi com." MGH Libri Confrat. 1: 294 (col. 465); Mayer (1953), 328; Mitterauer (1963), 8-9]. Dienemann-Dietrich expressed chronological concerns about how the succession Gottfried-Huoching-Nebi-Imma-Hildegarde could be placed in the years 710-783, especially when two of Gottfrieds sons were active as dukes until just before the middle of the century, and she pointed out that the name Nebi was probably a short form of Nibelung [Dienemann-Dietrich (1952), 184], suggesting the side branch of the Carolingians known as the "Nibelungen" [see Levillain (1937-8)]. However, Thegan gives neither Huoching nor Nebi a title, so that it is likely that neither of them was duke of Alemannia, and the apparently relatively early floruit of Nebi could be easily explained if Huoching were an older son of Gottfried who died not long after his son was born. While these concerns about the reliability of Thegan's information are significant, I think that it is more likely than not that the genealogical sequence Gottfried-Huoching-Nebi is correct.

Mother: Unknown.
See the page of Gottfried for conjectures regarding his wife.

Spouse: Unknown.

Probable child:

MALE Nebi, d. bef. 9 August 773, Alemannian count.
Some authors have expressed doubt about Thegan's account that Nebi was a son of Huoching. See the page of Nebi for details.


Conjectured son (extremely doubtful):

MALE Berthold, fl. 724, Alemannian leader.
The Life of St. Meginrat mentions Berthold as an Alemannian leader during the time of St. Pirmin ["... Perahtoldi nobilissimi Alemannorum ..." Vita S. Meginrati, MGH SS 15.1: 445; "... Berchtoldi nobilissimi Alemannorum ducis ..." Vita S. Meginradi Eremitæ, c. 2, AASS Ord. S. Ben., 4.2: 67, but the word ducis does not have manuscript authority; see MGH SS 15.1: 445, note r]. Hermann von Reichenau states that in 724 Berthold and Nebi took abbot Pirmin, the future saint, to Charles Martel, who put the abbot in charge of Reichenau ["Sanctus Pirminius abbas et chorepiscopus a Berhtoldo et Nebi principibus ad Karolum ductus, Augiaeque insulae ab eo praefectus, ..." Hermann von Reichenau, Chronicon, s.a. 724, MGH SS 5: 98]. Berthold is also mentioned along with Charles Martel and duke Lantfrid (of Alemannia) in a false foundation charter for Reichenau dated 25 April 724 ["Igitur ego, in dei nomine Carolus maior domus, inlustris uiris Lantfrido duci et Bertoaldo comiti." Brandi (1890), 90 (Exkurs 1, #1), similarly 92 (#2); BM2 1: 15 (#37)]. Stälin makes Berthold a son of Huoching and brother of Nebi [Stälin (1841), 1: 243 (table)], but this relationship appears to be based on no more than the fact that he was mentioned along with Nebi by Hermann of Reichenau.

Falsely attributed daughters:

FEMALE Hildeburg;
m. Berthold, fl. 724, Alemannian leader.
This very contrived theory is due to Jänichen [Jänichen (1976), 31-5]. Briefly, the argument goes as follows. As noted in more detail on the page of Nebi, the so-called Finn-episode in the epic poem Beowulf and the similar account in the Finnsburg Fragment mention a Danish king Hnæf, son of Hóc, and Hnæf's sister Hildeburh, wife of Finn, king of the Frisians [Beowulf 1069, 1071-6, 1114-7, 1153, in Klaeber (1922), 40-4; Finnsburg 40, Klaeber (1922), 233]. Finn is probably the same as the "Fin Folcwalding Fresna cynne" mentioned in Widsith [Widsith 27 (p. 69)]. Following the commonly made observation that Hnæf and Hóc[ing] appear to correspond to Nebi (Hnabi) and Huoching, Jänichen suggests that Finn's father Folcwald would correspond with the Folcholt who is not mentioned directly in any source, but whose existence is verified by the place-name Folcholtsbaar (near Bertholdsbaar), which was possessed by apparent descents of Berthold (fl. 724) ["Nos vero in dei nomine Wago et Chadaloh, filii Peratoldi comitis, ... in pago nuncupante Folcholtespara ..." UB Sanct Gallen 1: 175 (#186), 23 October 805]. He argued further that these names were transferred into Anglo-Saxon legend as Bertwald son of Folcwald. He then suggested that Bertwald was confused with the title Bretwalda (overking), with the name Finn supplied from another legend. From this, it was argued that the situation in the Anglo-Saxon poetic sources reflects a historical situation in which Berthold was married to a sister of Hnæf named Hildeburg. Although the theory that the correspondence between Hnæf-Hóc[ing] and Hnabi-Huoching represents a transfer of historical Alemannian figures into a distorted Anglo-Saxon legend is at least plausible [but see the page of Nebi for references which argue against this], it is not reasonable to suppose that otherwise unverified Alemannian genealogical relationships can be retrieved from Anglo-Saxon epic poetry, and this part of Jänichen's theory is unacceptable.

FEMALE Hereswind;
Nebi, d. bef. 9 August 773, Alemannian count.
As discussed on the page of Nebi, some have placed a certain Hereswind as the wife of Nebi. Based on the fact that a Heresint appears in the Reichenau confraternity book immediately after Gottfried's sons, daughter-in-law, and grandson ["Lantfridus dux, Deotpold, Liutfrid, Uatalo, Hiltrud, Tessilo, Heresint, ..." MGH Libri Confrat. 1: 294 (col. 465)], but Nebi (Hnabi) does not appear until much later in the list, Lacher concluded that it was Hereswind who was a daughter of Huoching [Lacher (1974), 116, 118 (table)]. However, as noted on the page of Nebi, the Nebi who married Hereswind was a different man than the Nebi who was a son of Huoching, so this theory cannot be accepted.


AASS Ord. S. Ben. = Acta Sanctorum ordinis S. Benedicti.

BM2 = Johan-Friedrich Böhmer & Engelbert Mühlbacher, Die Regesten des Kaiserreichs unter den Karolingern (2nd ed., vol. 1, Innsbruck, 1899).

Brandi (1890) = Karl Brandi, Die Reichenauer Urkundenfälschungen (Quellen und Forschungen zur Geschichte der Abtei Reichenau, 1, Heidelberg, 1890).

Dienemann-Dietrich (1952) = Irmgard Dienemann-Dietrich, "Der fränkische Adel in Alemannien im 8. Jahrhundert", in: Grundfragen der alemannischen Geschichte (Vorträge und Forschungen 1, Sigmaringen 1952), 149-192.

Eckhardt (1965) = Karl August Eckhardt, Merowingerblut, 2 vols. (Witzenhausen, 1965). [I have only seen vol. 1]

Klaeber (1922) = Fr. Klaeber, Beowulf and the fight at Finnsburg (Boston, New York, Chicago, 1922).

Jänichen (1976) = Hans Jänichen, "Die alemannischen Fürsten Nebi und Berthold und ihre Beziehungen zu den Klöstern St. Gallen und Reichenau", Blätter für deutsche Landesgeschichte 112 (1976): 30-40.

Lacher (1974) = Rolf-Peter Lacher, "Die Anfänge der Reichenau und agilolfingische Familienbeziehungen", Schriften des Vereins für Geschichte des Bodensees und seiner Umgebung 92 (1974), 95ff.

Levillain (1937-8) = Léon Levillain, " Les Nibelungen Historiques et leur alliances de famille", Annales du Midi 49 (1937): 337-408; 50 (1938): 5-66.

Mayer (1953) = Theodor Mayer, "Die Anfänge der Reichenau", Zeitschrift für die Geschichte des Oberrheins 101 (NF 62, 1953): 305-352.

MGH SS = Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores series.

Stälin (1841) = Christoph Friedrich Stälin, Wirtembergische Geschichte (Erster Theil: Schwaben und Südfranken von der Urzeit bis 1080, Stuttgart & Tübingen, 1841).

Widsith = Kemp Malone, ed., Widsith (Rosenkilde and Bagger, 1962).

Compiled by Stewart Baldwin

First uploaded 16 August 2012.

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