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The Bavarii were a tribe which emerged late in Teutonic tribal times. The full name originally was the germanic *baio-warioz. This name has been handed down as Baiwaren, Baioaren, Bioras, latinised Bavarii, Baioarii. It is assumed that this is an endonym. The first part "baio" refers to the name of the Celtic Boier tribe, which also resolved into the regional name Bohemia (germanic latinised boio-hemum = home of the Boier tribe). The name of the Bavarians therefore is said to mean "men from Bohemia".

In the Middle Ages the Bavarians were considered the descendants of the Celtic Boier tribe. Later, science considered the Marcomanni as the "men of Bohemia", after whom the Bavarians were named. Currently they are being identified with a East Germanic group, whose remainders however have mostly been found in the North of modern day Bavaria. In the Bavarian original region the origins are very mixed. Over the last half of the 20th century, historical and archaeological research has increasingly supported the theory that the remnants of the Celtic Boii were absorbed into the Roman Empire and later intermingled with other Germanic peoples who chose to stay (or were stationed by the Romans) in the area. By the 6th c. AD there is evidence of the foundation of a Bavarian Stem duchy whose leadership was related to the ruling Frankish (and possibly Alemannic/Swabian) houses. However, there is no longer any real evidence that the rulers of Bavaria belonged to a people called the Bavarii. It is in fact likely that, after the name of the region became known by the name of its early inhabitants, later settlers became known by the accepted geographical name.

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