Much debate is raised as to whether the original domains of the Suiones really was in Uppsala, the heartland of Uplandia, or if the term was used commonly for all tribes within Svealand, in the same way as old Norways different provinces were collectively referred to as Nortmanni. The established Svealand theory holds that Svear, based at the Asa-cult center in Ancient Uppsala, dominated the territory and gave it its name.
In literature, the Svear are named in the Old English epic Beowulf as Sweonas, and by the Roman author Tacitus under the name Suiones in his Germania. In the work of Adam of Bremen, about the Hamburg-Bremen archbishops, they are denoted Sueones. By Jordanes in the History of the Goths, they are called Suehans, and by Snorri Sturluson they are called Svias.