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The Bavarii were a Germanic tribe whose name 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. or Bavarii, Bavarians, Bajuwaren, Bajuvarii, Bajuwaren and Baiern. It is assumed that this is an endonym. The first part "baio" refers to the name of the Celtic Boii tribe, which also resolved into the regional name Bohemia (Germanic latinised boio-hemum = home of the Boier tribe). Bavaria is geographically the same region as the Böhmer Wald (forested hill slopes). With the arrival of northern Gothic people, particularly the Scirii in the then Roman province of Pannonia by 493 a soundshift changed Boi to Bai (Bajuwari). The land remained under the name of Bohemia and part of the Holy Roman Empire even when centuries later Czech people moved to the area.
In the Middle Ages the Bavarians were considered the descendants of the Celtic Boii tribe. Later, the Marcomanni were believed to be the "men of Bohemia", after whom the Bavarians were named. They have also been identified with an East Germanic group, whose remains have mostly been found in the North of modern day Bavaria. In the Bavarian 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 century 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 region took on the name of its early inhabitants, later settlers were also known by the accepted geographical name.