Also referred to as Ingaevones, North Sea Germans (Ingwäonen, Nordsee-Germanen in German). West Germanic cultural group or proto-tribe along the North Sea coast. Their name comes from Tacitus’ Germania (c. 98 CE) who categorized them as one of the three tribes descended from the three sons of Mannus son of Tuisto. They probably became distinct from the North Germanic group between 1000 and 500 BCE moving into the areas of Jutland, Holstein, Frisia and the Danish islands and in turn differentiated into the Frisians, Saxons, Jutes and Angles by about 50 BCE.
The northern dialects of Low German (Low Saxon and Dutch) can also be classified together with English and Frisian as the North Sea Germanic or Ingvaeonic languages. Even in the distant past these languages seem to have been a collection of closely related dialects, sharing innovations back and forth, rather than possessing a common Ingvaeonic ancestor. This situtation also applies to West Germanic languages as a whole.
Other West Germanic proto-tribes were the Irminones and Istvaeones.
Pliny in his Natural History (4.99) lists the Ingvaeones as one of the his five German confederations. According to him they were made up of the Cimbri, Teutons and Chauci.
The legendary father of the Ingaevones/Ingvaeones is named Ing, or Ingo or Inguio son of Mannus. Jacob Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology and many others think this Ing to have been originally identical to the vague Scandinavian Yngvi, eponymous ancestor of the Swedish royal house of the Ynglings.
In Nennius we find Mannus corrupted to Alanus and Ingio/Inguio his son to Neugio. Here the three sons of Neugio are named as Vandalus, Saxo and Boganus from whom came the peoples of the Bogari, Vandals, Saxons and Tarincgi.
The element Ing- in Old English names is usually considered to be related.
The Old English Runic Poem contains these obscure lines:
- Ing wæs ærest mid Eástdenum
- gesewen secgum, oð he síððan eást
- ofer wæg gewát. wæn æfter ran.
- þus Heardingas þone hæle nemdon.
- Ing was first amidst the East Danes
- so seen, until he went eastward
- over the sea. His wagon ran after.
- Thus the Heardings named that hero.