Map showing the Roman empire in AD 125 and contemporary barbarian Europe, showing two possible locations of the Sitones. One, based on Tacitus, places them in Central Sweden. Another view places them roughly in modern Estonia and/or Finland.
The Sitones were a Germanic people living somewhere in Northern Europe in the 1st century CE. They are only mentioned by Cornelius Tacitus in 97 CE in Germania. Tacitus considered them similar to Suiones (ancestors of modern Swedes) apart from one descriptor, namely that women were the ruling sex.
"Upon the Suiones, border the people Sitones; and, agreeing with them in all other things, differ from them in one, that here the sovereignty is exercised by a woman. So notoriously do they degenerate not only from a state of liberty, but even below a state of bondage."
Speculations on the Sitones' background are numerous. According to one theory, the name is a partial misunderstanding of Sigtuna, one of the central locations in the Swedish kingdom, which much later had a Latin spelling Situne. Related to this may be a memory of a period in which the Swedes were ruled by a queen as described in the Disas saga.
According to medievalist Kemp Malone (1925), Tacitus' characterization of both the Suiones and the Sitones is "a work of art, not a piece of historical research", with the Sitones' submission to a woman as the logical culminating degeneracy after the Suiones' total submission to their king and surrendering of their weapons to a slave.
^Heinrich Gottfried Reichard took this view in his ion of the Germania; Pauly's Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft in alphabetischer Ordnung, ed. August Pauly, Christian Walz and W.S. Teuffel, Volume 6.1 Pra - Stoiai, Stuttgart: Metzler, 1852, OCLC165378771, p. 1226(in German)
^Charles Anthon, A classical dictionary containing an account of the principal proper names mentioned in ancient authors and intended to elucidate all the important points connected with the geography, history, biography, mythology, and fine arts of the Greeks and Romans: Together with an account of coins, weights, and measures, with tabular values of the same, New York: Harper, 1841, repr. 1869, OCLC52696823, p. 1244.
^Gudmund Schütte, tr. Jean Young, Our Forefathers, the Gothonic Nations: A Manual of the Ethnography of the Gothic, German, Dutch, Anglo-Saxon, Frisian and Scandinavian Peoples, Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1929–33, OCLC2084026, p. 126.
^Kyösti Julku, Kvenland - Kainuunmaa, Studia historica septentrionalia 11, Oulu, 1986, OCLC757840399(in Finnish), p. 51, writes that "there is no indistinctness whatsoever about the geographical location of the Sitones" and places them in Kvenland - areas north and northeast of the Suiones (later Sveas, Swedes) - as Kven ancestors.