The paper deals with the question whether the terms clients, client states and client kings can be used to describe the relationships between the Romans and Germanic tribes in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. Among the Germanic tribes a client kingship as an instrument of Roman rule only occurred in exceptional cases, when there existed a personal relationship to the Emperor. This was most true for Italicus and Chariomerus among the Cherusci. On the other hand the establishment of a client kingship with Marbod and Vannius failed. This type of power relationship, which had developed in the Middle East, could not be transferred to the Germanic tribes. There was the threat that a client king could become a rival, while the Hellenistic potentates were embedded in a geopolitical situation between the Roman and Parthian empires. With the Germanic tribes there is no proof of a uniform client status or any client states which existed for any substantial time.