Árheimar

Árheimar (Old Norse "river home") was a capital of the Goths, according to the Hervarar saga. The saga only states that it was located on the near Danparstathir, identified by some as the river Dnieper.

Hervarar saga

Hjalmars avsked av Orvar Odd efter striden på Samsö
A scene from the Hervarar saga, Orvar-Odd and Hjalmar bid each other farewell, by Mårten Eskil Winge (1866).

The name first appears in the Hervarar saga when Angantyr has avenged his father Heidrek and retaken the Dwarf-cursed sword Tyrfing:

And when it was close on midnight, Angantyr went up to them and pulled them down the tent on top of the slaves and slew all nine of them, and carried off the sword Tyrfing as a sign that he had avenged his father. He then went home and had a great funeral feast held to his father's memory on the banks of the Dnieper, at a place called Arheimar.

— (Kershaw 1921)

It was during this feast that Angantyr's Hunnish half-brother Hlöd appeared with a large army to demand half the inheritance:

"Hlöth , the heir of Heithrek,
Came riding from the East,
To where Angantyr was holding
King Heithrek's funeral feast.
He came to his court in Arheimar
Where the Gothic people dwell,
Demanding his share of the heritage left
By the King when he journeyed to Hell."

— (Kershaw 1921)

The next place is when Angantyr's brave sister Hervor fights the Huns, although, her small army is greatly outnumbered by the Horde and she knows she cannot win:

"Then Ormar rode back to the fortress, and found Hervör and all her host armed and ready. They rode forthwith out of the fort with all their host against the Huns, and a great battle began between them. But the Hunnish host was far superior in numbers, so that Hervör's troops began to suffer heavy losses; and in the end Hervör fell, and a great part of her army round about her. And when Ormar saw her fall, he fled with all those who still survived. Ormar rode day and night as fast as he could to King Angantyr in Arheimar. The Huns then proceeded to ravage and burn throughout the land.".

— (Kershaw 1921)

Arheimar is mentioned for the last time, when the Geatish king Gizur has arrived with his army from Scandinavia to fight for the Goths, and tells the Huns where they and the Goths are to meet the Huns in battle. Hlöd demeans Gizur by calling him an Ostrogoth (Gryting) and Angantyr's man from Arheimar, and not a king of the Geats:

"When Hlöth heard Gizur's words, he cried:
'Lay hold upon Gizur of the Grytingar. Angantyr's man, who has come from Arheimar!'
King Humli said: 'We must not injure heralds who travel about unattended.'
Gizur cried: 'You Hunnish dogs are not going to overcome us with guile.'
Then Gizur struck spurs into his horse and rode back to King Angantyr, and went up to him and saluted him. The King asked him if he had parleyed with the Huns.
Gizur replied: 'I spoke with them and I challenged them to meet us on the battle-field of Dunheith [i.e. the plains of the Danube] and in the valleys of Dylgia.'"

— (Kershaw 1921)

Notes

Sources

  • Kershaw, Nora (1921), Stories and Ballads of the Far Past, Cambridge University Press, pp. 79–150 , e-text
Goths

The Goths (Gothic: Gut-þiuda; Latin: Gothi) were an East Germanic people, two of whose branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Western Roman Empire through the long series of Gothic Wars and in the emergence of Medieval Europe. The Goths dominated a vast area, which at its peak under the Germanic king Ermanaric and his sub-king Athanaric possibly extended all the way from the Danube to the Don, and from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.The Goths spoke the Gothic language, one of the extinct East Germanic languages.

Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks

Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks (The Saga of Hervör and Heidrek) is a legendary saga from the 13th century combining matter from several older sagas. It is a valuable saga for several different reasons: it contains traditions of wars between the Goths and the Huns from the 4th century; the final part of the saga is used as a source for Swedish medieval history.

The saga may be most appreciated for its memorable imagery, as seen in a quote from one of its translators, Nora Kershaw Chadwick, on the invasion of the Horde:

Hervör standing at sunrise on the summit of the tower and looking southward towards the forest; Angantyr marshalling his men for battle and remarking dryly that there used to be more of them when mead drinking was in question; great clouds of dust rolling over the plain, through which glittered white corslet and golden helmet, as the Hunnish host came riding on.

The text contains several poetic sections: the Hervararkviða, on Hervor's visit to her father's grave and retrieval of the sword Tyrfing; another, the Hlöðskviða, on the battle between Goths and Huns; and a third, containing the riddles of Gestumblindi.

It has inspired later writers and derivative works, such as J. R. R. Tolkien when shaping his legends of Middle-earth. His son, Christopher Tolkien translated the work into English, as The Saga of King Heidrek the Wise.

Oium

Oium or Aujum was a name for an area in Scythia (modern Ukraine), where the Goths, under King Filimer, arguably settled after leaving Gothiscandza, according to the Getica by Jordanes, written around 551. Jordanes does not give an etymology, but many scholars interpret this word as a dative plural to the widespread Germanic words *aujō- or *auwō- and means "well-watered meadow" or "island".According to some historians, Jordanes' account of the Goths' history in Oium was constructed from his reading of earlier classical accounts and from oral tradition. According to other historians, Jordanes' narrative has little relation to Cassiodorus's, no relation to oral traditions and little relation to actual history.Archaeologically, the Chernyakhov culture, which is also called the Sântana de Mureș culture, contained parts of Ukraine, Moldova and Romania and corresponds with Gothic Scythia.

Attestations
Connected by the sword
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