The Teutons or Teutones mentioned as a Germanic tribe in early historical writings by Greek and Roman authors such as Strabo and Velleius. According to Ptolemy's map, they lived on Jutland, whereas Pomponius Mela placed them in Scandinavia (Codanonia).

German historians did not associate the name Teutons with Proto-Germanic ancestors until the 13th century.

More than 100 years Before Christ many of the Teutones, as well as the Cimbri, migrated south and west to the Danube valley, where they encountered the expanding Roman Empire.
During the late 2nd century BC, the Teutons are recorded as marching West through Gaul along with their neighbors, the Cimbri, and attacking Roman Italy. After several victories for the invading armies, the Cimbri and Teutones were then defeated by Marius in 102 BC at the Battle of Aquae Sextiae (near present-day Aix-en-Provence). Their King, Teutobod, was taken in irons.

The captured women committed mass suicide, which passed into Roman legends of Germanic heroism (cf Jerome, letter cxxiii.8, 409 AD :


By the conditions of the surrender three hundred of their married women were to be handed over to the Romans. When the Teuton matrons heard of this stipulation they first begged the consul that they might be set apart to minister in the temples of Ceres and Venus; and then when they failed to obtain their request and were removed by the lictors, they slew their little children and next morning were all found dead in each other's arms having strangled themselves in the night.

The terms Teuton and Teutonic have sometimes been used in reference to all of the Germanic peoples. The Latin name Teutōnī was borrowed via a Celtic language from Proto-Germanic *Þeudanōz (meaning 'they of the tribe'), the word *þeudō being a Proto-Germanic name for 'tribe' or 'people'. The words can be further reconstructed as an earlier name *Teut-onōs and the root *Teutā, which is a western Proto-Indo-European word root meaning 'people'.
The word *þeudō is found not only in German deutsch ('German', from *þeudiskaz), Old English þēod, Gothic þiuda and Old Norse þjóð 'people', but also in Old Irish tuath 'people', Latvian tauta 'people', Oscan touto 'city; community; civitas' (Fick, Torp, Falk, 1909: 185)