The Gepids (Latin: Gepidae, Gipedae) were an East Germanic tribe. They were closely related to, or a subdivision of, the Goths.

They are first recorded in 6th-century historiography as having been allied with the Goths in the invasion of Dacia in c. 260. In the 4th century, they were incorporated into the Hunnic Empire. Under their leader Ardaric, the Gepids united with other Germanic tribes and defeated the Huns at the Battle of Nedao in 454. The Gepids then founded a kingdom centered on Sirmium, known as Gepidia,[2] which was defeated by the Lombards a century later. Remnants of the Gepids were conquered by the Avars later in the 6th century.

Jordanes reports that their name comes from gepanta, an insult meaning "sluggish, stolid" (pigra).[3] An Old English form of their name is recorded in Widsith, as Gefþ-, alongside the name of the Wends.[4]

Europe and the Near East at 476 AD
Europe in 476 AD
Coin of the Gepids 454-552 Sirmium mint. In the name of Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I 491-517 CE
Coin of the Gepids ca. 491-518. Sirmium mint. In the name of Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I.
Coin of the Gepids. Sirmium mint. Struck in the name of Justin I, 517-527 CE
Coin of the Gepids. Sirmium mint. Struck in the name of Justin I, ca. 518-526 CE. Obv: D N IVSTINVS P LV (first N retrograde), pearl-diademed and cuirassed bust right. Rev: VINVICTL ROMLNI, large “Theodericus” monogram across fields, cross above.[1]


The Gepids were the "most shadowy of all the major Germanic peoples of the migration period", according to historian Malcolm Todd.[5] Neither Tacitus nor Ptolemy mentioned them in their detailed lists of the "barbarians", suggesting that the Gepids emerged only in the 3rd century AD.[6] The first sporadic references to them, which were recorded in the late 3rd century, show that they lived north of the frontier of the Roman Empire.[7] The 6th-century Byzantine writer, Procopius, listed the Gepids among the "Gothic nations", along with the Vandals, Visigoths and Goths proper, in his Wars of Justinian.[8] According to historian Walter Goffart, Jordanes' remark shows that Byzantine scholars had invented a concept of the "Gothic nations, sharing the same language, white bodies, blond hair, and Arian form of Christianity".[7]

All information of the Gepids' origins came from "malicious and convoluted Gothic legends",[9] recorded in Jordanes' Getica after 550.[7][10][11] According to Jordanes' narration the northern island of "Scandza", which is associated with Sweden by modern scholars, was the original homeland of the ancestors of the Goths and Gepids.[12] They left Scandza in three boats under the leadership of Berig, the legendary Gothic King.[12][13] Jordanes also writes that the Gepids' ancestors traveled in the last of the three ships, for which their fellows mocked them as gepanta, or "slow and stolid".[13][14][15] They settled along the southern shore of the Baltic Sea on an island at the mouth of the Vistula river, called "Gepedoius", or the Gepids' fruitful meadows, by Jordanes.[11][16] Modern historians debate whether the part of Jordanes' work which described the migration from Scandza was written at least partially on the basis of Gothic oral history or whether it was an "ahistorical fabrication".[17] Jordanes' passage in his Getica reads:

Should you ask how the [Goths] and Gepidae are kinsmen, I can tell you in a few words. You surely remember that in the beginning I said the Goths went forth from the bosom of the island of Scandza with Berig, their king, sailing in only three ships toward the hither shore of Ocean, namely to Gothiscandza. One of these three ships proved to be slower than the others, as is usually the case, and thus is said to have given the tribe their name, for in their language gepanta means slow. Hence it came to pass that gradually and by corruption the name Gepidae was coined for them by way of reproach. For undoubtedly they too trace their origin from the stock of the Goths, but because, as I have said, gepanta means something slow and stolid, the word Gepidae arose as a gratuitous name of reproach.[18][19]


Extinct(date missing)
Language codes
ISO 639-3


Before the arrival of the Huns

Roman Empire 125
The Roman empire under Hadrian (ruled 117–138), showing the location of the Gepidae (Gepids) East Germanic tribe, then inhabiting the region around the mouth of the Visula (Vistula) river, Poland

Modern historians who write of the Gepids' early history tend to apply a "mixed argumentation", combining Jordanes' narration with results of archaeological research.[20] According to Jordanes, the Gepids decided to leave "Gepedoius" during the reign of their legendary king, Fastida.[21] They moved to the south and defeated the Burgundians.[21][22] After the victory, Fastida demanded land from Ostrogotha, King of the Visigoths, because the Gepids' territory was "hemmed in by rugged mountains and dense forests".[9][22][23] Ostrogotha refused Fastida's demand and the Gepids joined battle with the Goths "at the town of Galtis, near which the river Auha"[24] flowed, according to Jordanes.[22] They fought until darkness when Fastida and his Gepids withdrew from the battlefield and returned to their land.[9][22] Archaeologist Kurdt Horedt writes that the battle took place east of the Carpathian Mountains after 248 and before the withdrawal of the Romans from the province of Dacia in the early 270s.[21] On the other hand, historian István Bóna says that the two armies clashed in the former province of Dacia around 290.[9]

The Gepids invaded the Roman provinces in the Balkan Peninsula, in alliance with the Goths and other "tribes of the Scythians",[25] in 269, but Emperor Claudius Gothicus routed them, according to the Augustan History.[9][21] The same source also says that Emperor Probus, who ruled between 276 and 282, settled Gepid prisoners of war in the Roman Empire in the Balkans.[21][26] According to a formal speech, delivered in praise of Emperor Maximian on 1 April 291, the Thervingi—a Gothic group—joined "battle with the Vandals and Gepids"[27] around that time.[9][28]

The Gepids' history in the 4th century is unknown, because no written source mentioned them during this period.[29][7] The silence of the Roman sources suggests that their homeland did not border on the Roman Empire.[7] On the basis of Jordanes' reference to the "rugged mountains" of the Gepids' land, historians locate it near the Carpathians, along the upper courses of either the Tisza or the Dniester rivers, in the late 3rd century.[21] The exact date of the Gepids' settlement in the Carpathian Basin cannot exactly be determined.[29][30] Archaeologist István Bóna says they were present in the northeastern region already in the 260s.[9] According to Coriolan H. Opreanu, they seem to have arrived around 300.[30] Archaeologists Eszter Istvánovits and Valéria Kulcsár write that no archaeological evidence substantiates the Gepids' presence before around 350.[29]

Graves from the 4th century which yielded swords, lances and shields with iron boss were unearthed in cemeteries between the rivers Tisza and Körös (in present-day north-eastern Hungary and north-western Romania).[9][29] Many scholars (including Kurdt Horedt, István Bóna and Coriolan H. Opreanu) attribute those graves to Gepid warriors.[9][29][30] Graves of women from the same cemeteries produced artefacts—including bronze and silver clasps, bone combs, and fibulae—which are similar to objects found in the cemeteries of the nearby "Sântana de Mureș-Chernyakhov culture".[9][29] István Bóna writes that the spread of these cemeteries shows that the Gepids subjugated the Germanic Victohali, who had previously inhabited the same region, before expanding towards the Mureș River in the middle of the 4th century.[9]

Within the Hunnic Empire

A large group of diverse peoples from the region of the Middle Danube crossed the river Rhine and invaded the Roman Empire in 405 or 406.[31] Although most contemporaneous sources only listed the Vandals, Alans and Sueves among the invaders, according to St. Jerome, who lived in Bethlehem around that time, Gepids also participated in the invasion.[32][33] According to a scholarly theory, the westward migration of the Huns forced the tribes to flee from the Carpathian Basin and seek refuge in the Roman Empire.[34]

Jordanes writes that Thorismund, King of the Ostrogoths, who was subjected to the Huns, "won a great victory over"[35] the Gepids, but fell in the battle in about 405.[9][36] Jordanes' report suggests that the Gepids were forced to accept the overlordship of the Ostrogoths, but the latter were representatives of the emerging Hunnic Empire.[5][9][37] A treasure of gold jewels, which was found at Șimleu Silvaniei, was hidden in the first decades of the 5th century, most probably in connection with the struggles ending with the Gepids' subjection to the Huns, according to István Bóna.[9]

The Gepid warriors fought along with the Huns during the next decades.[38] Attila the Hun prized Ardaric, King of the Gepids, and Valamir, King of the Ostrogoths, "above all the other chieftains",[39] who were subjected to the Huns, in the 440s, according to Jordanes.[37][40] The Gepids' participation in the Huns' campaigns against the Roman Empire brought them much booty, contributing to the development of a rich Gepid aristocracy.[37][41] Especially, the isolated graves of 5th-century aristocratic women evidence the Gepid leaders' wealth: they wore heavy silver fibulas on their shoulders, bead necklaces, silver bracelets, large gold earrings, and silver clasps on their clothes and belts.[41] A "countless host"[42] under the command of Ardaric formed the right wing of the army of Attila the Hun in the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains in 451.[38][40] On the eve of the main encounter between allied hordes, the Gepids and Franks met each other, the latter fighting for the Romans and the former for the Huns, and seem to have fought one another to a standstill with 15,000 dead.

Attila the Hun died unexpectedly in 453.[43] Conflicts among his sons developed into a civil war, enabling the subject peoples to rise up in rebellion.[43] According to Jordanes, the Gepid king, Ardaric, who "became enraged because so many nations were being treated like slaves of the basest condition",[44] was the first to take up arms against the Huns.[43][45] The decisive battle was fought at the (unidentified) Nedao River in Pannonia in 454 or 455.[46] In the battle, the united army of Gepids, Rugii, Sarmatians and Suebi routed the Huns and their allies, including the Ostrogoths.[38][47]

Kingdom of the Gepids

Gepid kingdom 6th century
Gepidia at its largest territorial extent
Belt buckle from Apahida, Romania
A belt buckle from the treasure of Apahida from the north-west area of Romania

After the Battle of Nedao, the Hunnic Empire disintegrated and the Gepids became the dominant power in the eastern regions of the Carpathian Basin.[38][40] According to Jordanes, the Gepids "by their own might won for themselves the territory of the Huns and ruled as victors over the extent of all Dacia, demanding of the Roman Empire nothing more than peace and an annual gift"[48] after their victory.[38][49] Emperor Marcian confirmed their status as the allies of the empire and granted them an annual subsidy of 100 pounds of gold.[38][40] The late-5th-century treasures excavated at Apahida and Someșeni show that the Gepid rulers accumulated great wealth in the second half of the century.[45]

The Gepids joined a coalition formed by the Suebi, Scirii, Sarmatians and other peoples formed against the Ostrogoths who had settled in Pannonia.[50][51] However, the Ostrogoths routed the united forces of their enemies in the Battle of Bolia in 469.[50] After the Ostrogoths left Pannonia in 473, the Gepids captured Sirmium (now Sremska Mitrovica in Serbia), a strategically important town on the road between Italy and Constantinople.[49] Thraustila, King of the Gepids, tried to hinder the Ostrogoths from crossing the river Vuka during Theoderic the Great's campaign against Italy, but the Ostrogoths routed Thraustila's army.[49][52] The Gepids also lost Sirmium to the Ostrogoths, according to Walter Pohl.[53] In short, according to Walter Goffart, Thraustila's son, Thrasaric, "regained control of Sirmium but possibly under Ostrogothic underlordship".[54] Theoderic the Great dispatched one comes Pitzia to launch a campaign against the Gepids who either tried to capture Sirmium or wanted to get rid of Theoderic's suzerainty in 504.[53][54][55] Comes Pitzia expelled the Gepid troops from Sirmium without much resistance.[50][56]

In an attempt to take advantage of the death of Theoderic the Great in 526, the Gepids invaded the region of Sirmium in 528 or 530, but Vitiges defeated them.[54][50]

The Gepids reached the zenith of their power after 537, settling in the rich area around Singidunum (today's Belgrade). For a short time, the city of Sirmium (present-day Sremska Mitrovica) was the center of the Gepid State and the king Cunimund minted golden coins in it.[57]

In 546 the Byzantine Empire allied themselves with the Lombards, and in 552 the Gepids suffered a disastrous defeat from Alboin, king of the Lombards, in the Battle of Asfeld, after which Alboin had a drinking cup made from the skull of Cunimund.[58]

List of Gepid kings

Fall and last records

The Gepids were finally overrun by the Avars in 567 (see Lombard–Gepid War (567)). Many Gepids followed Alboin to Italy in 568 (see Paulus Diaconus), but many remained. In 630, Theophylact Simocatta reported that the Byzantine Army entered the territory of the Avars and attacked a Gepid feast, capturing 30,000 Gepids (they met no Avars). Recent excavation by the Tisza River at Szolnok brought up a Gepid nobleman from an Avar period grave who was also wearing Turkic-Avar pieces next to the traditional Germanic clothes in which he was buried.

In the 8th century, Paul the Deacon lists Gepid, Bulgarian, Sarmatian, Pannonian, Suabian and Norican villages in Italy but we do not know if Paul means in his own day or is simply lifting the phrase from an older source.[59]

Physical appearance

The 6th-century Byzantine historian Procopius wrote that the Gepids were tall and blond-haired:

For they all have white bodies and fair hair, and are tall and handsome to look upon.[60]

Archeological sites

King Omharus gold ring
Gold ring with the inscription Omharus found at Apahida

Numerous archaeological sites have been attributed to the Gepids.[11] The first scientific excavations of such an attributed Gepid site were done by István Kovács at Band in 1906 and 1907.[61]

In Vlaha, Cluj County, Romania, a necropolis was discovered in August 2004 with over two hundred tombs dated to the 6th century AD. Eighty-five percent of the discovered tombs were robbed in the same period. The remaining artifacts are ceramics, bronze articles and an armory. Also in Romania, at Miercurea Sibiului, there is another necropolis with rich artifacts. Other necropolises in Romania are:

Gepid treasures were also found at Someșeni and Șimleu Silvaniei.

See also


  1. ^ CNG Coins [1]
  2. ^ Jordanes, Getica, XII.74: Haec Gotia, quam Daciam appellavere maiores, quae nunc ut diximus Gepidia dicitur ("This Gothia, which our ancestors called Dacia, we now call Gepidia.").
  3. ^ Jordanes. "Goths" (in Latin and English). Yeat, Theedrich tr. Harbour net. Retrieved 2008-03-03. For undoubtedly they too trace their origin from the stock of the Goths, but because, as I have said, gepanta means something slow and stolid, the name Giped arose as a spontaneous taunt. I do not believe the name itself is very far from wrong, for they are slow of thought and too sluggish for quick movement of their bodies.
  4. ^ Recorded in the dative plural, Gefþum; interpreted as "Gifþe or Gifþas". RG Latham, 'On the Gepidae', Transactions of the Philological Society (1857), 1–9. Latham also suggests Gapt, the variant given by Jordanes of Gaut, the eponymous ancestor of the Goths, as the eponymous ancestor of the Gepidae.
  5. ^ a b Todd 2003, p. 142.
  6. ^ Heather 2010, p. 124.
  7. ^ a b c d e Goffart 2009, p. 200.
  8. ^ Goffart 2009, pp. 199-200.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Bóna, István (2001). "From Dacia to Transylvania: The Period of the Great Migrations (271–895); "Forest people": the Goths in Transylvania; The Gepids before Hun Rule". In Köpeczi, Béla; Barta, Gábor; Makkai, László; Mócsy, András; Szász, Zoltán (eds.). History of Transylvania. Hungarian Research Institute of Canada (Distributed by Columbia University Press). ISBN 0-88033-479-7.
  10. ^ Wolfram 1988, p. 21.
  11. ^ a b c Kharalambieva 2010, p. 245.
  12. ^ a b Christensen 2002, p. 8.
  13. ^ a b Wolfram 1988, p. 26.
  14. ^ The Gothic History of Jordanes (xvii:95), p. 78.
  15. ^ Heather 2010, pp. 124-125.
  16. ^ Wolfram 1988, p. 23.
  17. ^ Christensen 2002, p. 318.
  18. ^ The Gothic History of Jordanes (xvii:94-95), p. 78.
  19. ^ Christensen 2002, p. 338.
  20. ^ Kharalambieva 2010, pp. 245–246.
  21. ^ a b c d e f Kharalambieva 2010, p. 246.
  22. ^ a b c d Wolfram 1988, p. 58.
  23. ^ The Gothic History of Jordanes (xvii:98), p. 79.
  24. ^ The Gothic History of Jordanes (xvii:99), p. 79.
  25. ^ "Historia Augusta: The Life of Claudius (6.2.)". Loeb Classical Library (on LacusCurtius). 11 February 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  26. ^ Southern 2001, p. 129.
  27. ^ Genethliacus of Maximian Augustus, p. 100.
  28. ^ Wolfram 1988, pp. 57-59.
  29. ^ a b c d e f Kharalambieva 2010, p. 247.
  30. ^ a b c Opreanu 2005, p. 119.
  31. ^ Heather 2010, pp. 173-174, 660.
  32. ^ Heather 2010, p. 172.
  33. ^ Goffart 2009, p. 81.
  34. ^ Heather 2010, p. 178.
  35. ^ The Gothic History of Jordanes (xvliii:250), p. 122.
  36. ^ Wolfram 1988, p. 255.
  37. ^ a b c Kharalambieva 2010, p. 248.
  38. ^ a b c d e f Todd 2003, p. 220.
  39. ^ The Gothic History of Jordanes (xxxliii:199-200), p. 122.
  40. ^ a b c d Bóna 1974, p. 14.
  41. ^ a b Bóna, István (2001). "From Dacia to Transylvania: The Period of the Great Migrations (271–895); The Kingdom of the Gepids; The Gepids during and after the Hun Period". In Köpeczi, Béla; Barta, Gábor; Makkai, László; Mócsy, András; Szász, Zoltán (eds.). History of Transylvania. Hungarian Research Institute of Canada (Distributed by Columbia University Press). ISBN 0-88033-479-7.
  42. ^ The Gothic History of Jordanes (xxxliii:199), p. 122.
  43. ^ a b c Heather 2010, p. 207.
  44. ^ The Gothic History of Jordanes (l:260), p. 125.
  45. ^ a b Kharalambieva 2010, p. 249.
  46. ^ Wolfram 1988, p. 258.
  47. ^ Wolfram 1988, pp. 258-259.
  48. ^ The Gothic History of Jordanes (l:264), p. 126.
  49. ^ a b c Goffart 2009, p. 201.
  50. ^ a b c d Bóna 1974, p. 15.
  51. ^ Wolfram 1988, pp. 264-265.
  52. ^ Wolfram 1988, p. 280.
  53. ^ a b Kharalambieva 2010, p. 251.
  54. ^ a b c Goffart 2009, p. 202.
  55. ^ Wolfram 1988, p. 321.
  56. ^ Todd 2003, p. 221.
  57. ^
  58. ^ Which occasioned his death later in Italy, at the hands of an assassin sent by Rosamund, Cunimund's daughter; as told in Procopius, in Paulus Diaconus and in Andreas Agnellus
  59. ^ Leif Inge Ree Petersen, Siege Warfare and Military Organization in the Successor States (400-800 AD): Byzantium, the West and Islam, BRILL, 2013, p. 179.
  60. ^ Procopius. History of the Wars. Book III. II
  61. ^ Dobos, Alpár (2011). "The Reihengräberfelder in Transylvania after 100 Years of Archaeological Research". Acta Archaeologica. Carpathica. 46: 171–206, pages 175–176.
  62. ^ Dobos 2011, pp. 175-176


Primary sources

  • Genethliacus of Maximian Augustus by an Anonymous Orator (291) (Translation and Notes by Rodgers) (1994). In: In Praise of Later Roman Emperors: The Panegyrici Latini (Introduction, Translation, and Historical Commentary with the Latin Text of R. A. B. Mynors by C. E. V. Nixon and Barbara Saylor Rodgers) (1994); University of California Press; ISBN 0-520-08326-1.
  • The Gothic History of Jordanes (in English Version with an Introduction and a Commentary by Charles Christopher Mierow, Ph.D., Instructor in Classics in Princeton University) (2006). Evolution Publishing. ISBN 1-889758-77-9.

Secondary sources

  • Bóna, István (1974). A középkor hajnala: A gepidák és a langobardok a Kárpát-medencében [The Dawn of the Dark Ages: the Gepids and the Lombards in the Carpathian Basin] (in Hungarian). Corvina Kiadó. ISBN 963-13-0491-4.
  • Christensen, Arne Søby (2002). Cassiodorus, Jordanes and the History of the Goths: Studies in a Migration Myth. Museum Tusculanum Press. ISBN 87-7289-7104.
  • Goffart, Walter (2009). Barbarian Tides: The Migration Age and the Later Roman Empire. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0-8122-3939-3.
  • Heather, Peter (2010). Empires and Barbarians: The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-973560-0.
  • Kharalambieva,, Anna (2010). "Gepids in the Balkans: A Survey of the Archaeological Evidence". In Curta, Florin (ed.). Neglected Barbarians. Studies in the early Middle Ages, volume 32 (second ed.). Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols. pp. 245–262. ISBN 978-2-503-53125-0.
  • Opreanu, Coriolan Horațiu (2005). "The North-Danube Regions from the Roman Province of Dacia to the Emergence of the Romanian Language (2nd–8th Centuries AD)". In Pop, Ioan-Aurel; Bolovan, Ioan (eds.). History of Romania: Compendium. Romanian Cultural Institute (Center for Transylvanian Studies). pp. 59–132. ISBN 978-973-7784-12-4.
  • Sarantis, Alexander (2009). "War and Diplomacy in Pannonia and the Northwest Balkans during the Reign of Justinian: The Gepid Threat and Imperial Responses". Dumbarton Oaks Papers. 63.
  • Southern, Patricia (2001). The Early Germans. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-23944-3.
  • Todd, Malcolm (2003). The Early Germans. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-631-16397-2.
  • Wolfram, Herwig (1988). History of the Goths. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-06983-8.

Further reading

External links


Alboin (530s – June 28, 572) was king of the Lombards from about 560 until 572. During his reign the Lombards ended their migrations by settling in Italy, the northern part of which Alboin conquered between 569 and 572. He had a lasting effect on Italy and the Pannonian Basin; in the former his invasion marked the beginning of centuries of Lombard rule, and in the latter his defeat of the Gepids and his departure from Pannonia ended the dominance there of the Germanic peoples.

The period of Alboin's reign as king in Pannonia following the death of his father, Audoin, was one of confrontation and conflict between the Lombards and their main neighbors, the Gepids. The Gepids initially gained the upper hand, but in 567, thanks to his alliance with the Avars, Alboin inflicted a decisive defeat on his enemies, whose lands the Avars subsequently occupied. The increasing power of his new neighbours caused Alboin some unease however, and he therefore decided to leave Pannonia for Italy, hoping to take advantage of the Byzantine Empire's reduced ability to defend its territory in the wake of the Gothic War.

After gathering a large coalition of peoples, Alboin crossed the Julian Alps in 568, entering an almost undefended Italy. He rapidly took control of most of Venetia and Liguria. In 569, unopposed, he took northern Italy's main city, Milan. Pavia offered stiff resistance however, and was taken only after a siege lasting three years. During that time Alboin turned his attention to Tuscany, but signs of factionalism among his supporters and Alboin's diminishing control over his army increasingly began to manifest themselves.

Alboin was assassinated on June 28, 572, in a coup d'état instigated by the Byzantines. It was organized by the king's foster brother, Helmichis, with the support of Alboin's wife, Rosamund, daughter of the Gepid king whom Alboin had killed some years earlier. The coup failed in the face of opposition from a majority of the Lombards, who elected Cleph as Alboin's successor, forcing Helmichis and Rosamund to flee to Ravenna under imperial protection. Alboin's death deprived the Lombards of the only leader who could have kept the newborn Germanic entity together, the last in the line of hero-kings who had led the Lombards through their migrations from the vale of the Elbe to Italy. For many centuries following his death Alboin's heroism and his success in battle were celebrated in Saxon and Bavarian epic poetry.


Amalafrid (Latin: Amalafridas, Greek: 'Αμαλαφρίδας ) was the son of the last Thuringian king Hermanafrid and his wife Amalaberga, daughter of Amalafrida and niece of the Ostrogothic king Theodoric the Great.

After the fall of the royal Thuringian seat of Scithingi to the king of Metz, Theuderic I in 531, Amalaberga fled to the Ostrogothic king Theodahad, her brother, with Amalafrid and his sister Rodelinda. They were captured by the Byzantine general Belisarius and sent to Constantinople, together with the captured Ostrogothic king Witiges (or Wittigis). Justinian made Amalafrid a general and married off his sister Rodelinda to the Lombard king Audoin.

When the Lombards applied to the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I for help against the Gepids, he sent an army under the command of Justinus and Justinianus, the sons of Germanus; Aratius and Suartuas (a former ruler of the Heruli); and Amalafrid. All the former remained in Ulpiana, Illyria, to decide on a question of doctrine among the local Christians. Amalafrid led part of the Roman army against the Gepids. As Audoin afterwards sent envoys to Justinian to complain about the lack of Imperial help, this seems to have been only a small part of the original army. Nevertheless, Amalafrid and the Lombard host under Audoin won a major victory over the Gepids.

Amalafrid had a son named Artachis (see Venantius Fortunatus, Carm. App. 3) but nothing further is known of his fate.

Ancient history of Transylvania

In ancient times, Romans exploited the gold mines in what is now Transylvania extensively, building access roads and forts to protect them, like Abrud. The region developed a strong infrastructure and economy, based on agriculture, cattle farming and mining. Colonists from Thracia, Moesia, Macedonia, Gaul, Syria, and other Roman provinces were brought in to settle the land, developing cities like Apulum (now Alba Iulia) and Napoca (now Cluj Napoca) into municipiums and colonias.

The Dacians rebelled frequently, the biggest rebellion occurring after the death of emperor Trajan. Sarmatians and Burs were allowed to settle inside Dacia Trajana after repeated clashes with the Roman administration. During the 3rd century increasing pressure from the free Dacians (Carpians) and Visigoths forced the Romans to abandon exposed Dacia Trajana.

In 271, the Roman emperor Aurelian abandoned Dacia Trajana and reorganised a new Dacia Aureliana inside former Moesia Superior.

The abandonment of Dacia Trajana by the Romans is mentioned by Eutropius in his

Breviarium Liber Nonus.

The province of Dacia, which Trajan had formed beyond the Danube, he gave up, despairing, after all Illyricum and Moesia had been depopulated, of being able to retain it. The Roman citizens, removed from the town and lands of Dacia, he settled in the interior of Moesia, calling that Dacia which now divides the two Moesiae, and which is on the right hand of the Danube as it runs to the sea, whereas Dacia was previously on the left.

The first wave of the Great Migrations, (300 to 500) brought the influence of migratory tribes, especially the Germanic tribes.

The Visigoths established a kingdom north of Danube and Transyilvania between 270-380. The region was known by Romans as Guthiuda and includes the region between Alutus (Olt) and Ister (Danube) too. It is unclear whether they used the term Kaukaland (land of the mountains) for Transylvania proper or the whole Carpathians. The (Vizi)Goths were unable to preserve the region's Roman era infrastructures. The goldmines of Transylvania were ruined and unused during the Early Middle Age.

Ulfilas had carried (around 340) Homoean Arianism to the Goths living in Guthiuda with such success that the Visigoths and other Germanic tribes became staunch Arians. When the Goths entered the Roman Empire (around 380) and founded successor-kingdoms, most had been Arian Christians.

In 380 a new power reached Transylvania, the Huns. They drow back every Germanic people from the Carpathian Basin except the Gepids. The Alans, Vandals, Quads left the region toward the Roman Empire. The Huns extended their rule over Transylvania after 420.

After the disintegration of Attila's empire, Transylvania was inhabited by the remnants of various Hunnic, and a Germanic tribe, the Gepids. The Transyilvanain Gepids had a semiindependent status inside the Kingdom of Gepids, but this relative autonomy came to an end in the late 6th century.

The rule of Gepids was crushed by a Lombards and Eurasian Avars attack in year 567. In fact the Gepids were exterminated from the region. We know only about slight Gepid remnants (cemeteries) in the Banat region after 600. In Transyilvania we have no traces which indicate a Gepids continuity after 567.

By 568, the Avars under the capable leadership of their Kagan, Bayan, established in the Carpathian Basin an empire that lasted for 250 years. During this 250 years the Slavs were allowed to settle inside Transylvania and they started to clear the Carpathian's virgin forests. The Avars meet their demise with the rise of Charlemagne's Frankish empire. After a fierce seven-year war and civil war between the Kagan and Yugurrus which lasted from 796-803, the Avars were defeated.

The Transylvanian Avars were, subjugated by the Bulgars under Khan Krum at the beginning of the 9th century and Transylvania, along with eastern Pannonia, was incorporated into the First Bulgarian Empire.

In 862, Moravian Prince Ratislav rebelled against his lord, hired Magyar troops to help him, and with their aid he won his independence. This is the first time when Magyar expedition troops entered the Carpathians Basin. After a devastating Bulgar and Pecheneg attack the Magyar tribes crossed the Carpathians and occupied the entire basin without significant resistance. According to the prime Gesta Ungarorum from the 11th century they entered Transylvania first, where Prince Almos was killed: "Almus in patria Erdelw occisus est, non enim potuit in Pannoniam introire". According to some archeological findings near Turda (Golds of Prince Berthold of Bavaria) Transylvanian Magyars also participated in several raids against the West, Italy, or the Balkans. Although the defeat in the Battle of Lech in 955 stopped the Magyar raids against western Europe, the raids on the Balkan Peninsula continued for one more decade.

The history of Transylvania during the early Middle Ages is difficult to ascertain due to the scarcity of reliable written or archeological evidence. There are two major conflicting theories concerning whether or not the Romanized Dacian population (one of the ancestors of the Romanians) continued to live in Transylvania after the withdrawal of the Romans, and therefore whether or not the Romanians were present in Transylvania at the time of the

Great Migrations, particularly at the time of the Magyar migration; see: Origin of Romanians. These conflicting hypotheses are often used to back competing nationalistic claims by Hungarian and Romanian chauvinists.

Battle of Asfeld

The Battle of Asfeld was fought in 552 between the Lombards and the Gepids. The Lombards, led by King Audoin (with the help of his brother-in-law Amalafrid), were victorious, and, Turismod, the son of King Thorisind, was slain in the battle.

Battle of Nedao

The Battle of Nedao was a battle fought in Pannonia in 454 between Huns and their former Germanic vassals. Nedao is believed to be a tributary of the Sava river.After the death of Attila the Hun, allied forces of the subject peoples under the leadership of Ardaric, king of the Gepids, defeated the Hunnic forces of Ellac, the son of Attila, who had struggled with his brothers Ernak and Dengizich for supremacy after Attila's death. Ellac himself was killed in the battle.According to the 6th-century historian Jordanes:

And so the bravest nations tore themselves to pieces. For then, I think, must have occurred a most remarkable spectacle, where one might see the Goths fighting with pikes, the Gepidae raging with the sword, the Rugii breaking off the spears in their own wounds, the Suavi fighting on foot, the Huns with bows, the Alani drawing up a battle-line of heavy-armed and the Heruli of light-armed warriors.

Jordanes claims that, in the battle of Nedao, Ostrogoths fought against the Huns, but this is rejected by modern historians like Herwig Wolfram or Hyun Jin Kim. The latter believes that this is a forged story and that the Ostrogoth king Valamir himself fought alongside the Huns. Alternatively, J.R. Martindale and Franz Altheim accept that the Ostrogoths were among the victors of Nedao, while many others, including Otto J. Maenchen-Helfen, believe that they did not participate at all.

Battle of Sirmium (489)

The Battle of Sirmium was fought at Sirmium, Kingdom of the Gepids in August 489 between the Gepids and the Ostrogoths under Theodoric the Great. The Ostrogoths were marching through the area on the way to Italy. The battle was a victory for the Ostrogoths.


Cunimund (died 567) was the last king of the Gepids, falling in the Lombard–Gepid War (567) against the Lombards and Pannonian Avars.

Early history of Pomerania

After the glaciers of the Ice Age in the Early Stone Age withdrew from the area, which since about 1000 AD is called Pomerania, in what are now northern Germany and Poland, they left a tundra. First humans appeared, hunting reindeer in the summer. A climate change in 8000 BC allowed hunters and foragers of the Ertebølle-Ellerbek culture to continuously inhabit the area. These people became influenced by farmers of the Linear Pottery culture who settled in southern Pomerania. The hunters of the Ertebølle-Ellerbek culture became farmers of the Funnelbeaker culture in 3000 BC. The Havelland culture dominated in the Uckermark from 2500 to 2000 BC. In 2400 BC, the Corded Ware culture reached Pomerania and introduced the domestic horse. Both Linear Pottery and Corded Ware culture have been associated with Indo-Europeans. Except for Western Pomerania, the Funnelbeaker culture was replaced by the Globular Amphora culture a thousand years later.During the Bronze Age, Western Pomerania was part of the Nordic Bronze Age cultures, while east of the Oder river the Lusatian culture dominated. Throughout the Iron Age, the people of the western Pomeranian areas belonged to the Jastorf culture, while the Lusatian culture of the East was succeeded by the Pomeranian culture, then in 150 BC by the Oksywie culture, and at the beginning of the first millennium by the Wielbark culture.While the Jastorf culture is usually associated with Germanic peoples, the ethnic category of the Lusatian culture and its successors is debated. Veneti, Germanic peoples like Goths, Rugians, and Gepids, and Slavs are assumed to have been the bearers of these cultures or parts thereof.From the 3rd century onwards, many settlements were abandoned, marking the beginning of the migration period in Pomerania. It is assumed that Burgundians, Goths and Gepids with parts of the Rugians left Pomerania during that stage, while some Veneti, Vidivarii and other, Germanic groups remained, and formed the Gustow, Debczyn and late Wielbark cultures, which existed in Pomerania until the 6th century.The name Pomerania comes from Slavic po more, which means "[land] by the sea".


Elemund (Latin: Elemundus, died 548) was king of the Gepids, an east Germanic people, during the first half of the 6th century. He may have been the son of Gunderit, himself son of Ardaric ascended by overthrowing a rival Ardariking branch. Based on archaeological evidence, István Boná believes that in the 520s or 530s Elemund must have consolidated his power in Transylvania by submitting or removing minor Gepid rulers. Elemund had a son and daughter, Ostrogotha and Austrigusa, respectively; the latter was given in marriage to Wacho, the king of the Lombards, in 512. The reasons behind the marriage were multiple: on one side it protected the two kings from the threat represented by the Ostrogothic Kingdom, while on the other it reduced the danger represented to the Lombard king by Ildechis, a pretender to the Lombard throne. Wacho was eventually to remarry after Austrigusa's death, but this did not compromise the good relations existing between Lombards and Gepids. Elemund died of illness in 548 and was succeeded by Thurisind, while the legitimate heir was forced into exile. Ostrogotha found hospitality among the Lombards, but was killed in 552 by his host, King Audoin, as part of a plan to ease relations between Gepids and Lombards.

Lombard–Gepid War (567)

In 566, Lombard king Alboin concluded a treaty with the Pannonian Avars, to whom he promised the Gepids' land if they defeated them. The Gepids were destroyed by the Avars and Lombards in 567. Gepid King Cunimund was killed by Alboin himself. The Avars subsequently occupied "Gepidia", forming the Avar Khaganate. The Byzantine Emperor intervened and took control of Sirmium (now Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia), also giving refuge to Gepid leader Usdibad, although the rest of Gepidia was taken by the Avars. Gepid military strength was significantly reduced; according to H. Schutz (2001) many of them joined Lombard ranks, while the rest took to Constantinople (the Byzantine Empire). According to R. Collins (2010) the remnants were absorbed either by the Avars or Lombards. Although later Lombard sources claim they had a central role in this war, it is clear from contemporary Byzantine sources that the Avars had the principal role. The Gepids disappeared and the Avars took their place as a Byzantine threat. The Lombards disliked their new neighbours and decided to leave for Italy, forming the Kingdom of the Lombards.According to Lombard Benedictine scribe Paul the Deacon (720s–799), Cunimund's daughter Rosamund, who was taken hostage by the Lombards and taken by Alboin as his wife, suffered from his cruelty. He forced her to drink from the skull of her dead father (which he carried around his belt), inviting her "to drink merrily with her father".


Pastramă is a popular delicatessen meat traditionally in Romania made from lamb and also from pork and mutton.

Pastramă was originally created as a way to preserve meat before modern refrigeration. For pastrami, the raw meat is brined, partly dried, seasoned with various herbs and spices, then smoked and steamed.

At the beginning, pastramă was a speciality from Wallachia made from young ram's meat.The word pastramă is etymologically rooted in the Romanian a păstra, which means "to keep" or "to preserve". But the word is maybe more ancient and comes from the Latin pastor who means shepherd. So Pastramă is shepherd's meat so lamb or mutton.Pastramă was introduced by Romans to the city of Caesarea Mazaca in Anatolia, known as pastron. This recipe may be the origin of pastirma.In 455 AD the Gepids under king Ardarich conquered Pannonia, settled for two centuries in Transylvania. The Gepids was destroyed by the attack of Lombards in 567 AD. At this time, the lombards discovered pastramă, known as bresaola.Pastramă was introduced to the United States in a wave of Romanian Jewish immigration from Romania in the second half of the 19th century. Early references in English used the spelling "pastrama", closer to the Romanian original. The modified "pastrami" spelling likely was introduced to sound related to the Italian salami.

Romania in the Early Middle Ages

The Early Middle Ages in Romania started with the withdrawal of the Roman troops and administration from Dacia province in the 270s. In the next millennium a series of peoples, most of whom only controlled two or three of the nearly ten historical regions that now form Romania, arrived. During this period, society and culture underwent fundamental changes. Town life came to an end in Dacia with the Roman withdrawal, and in Scythia Minor – the other Roman province in the territory of present-day Romania – 400 years later. Fine vessels made on fast potter's wheels disappeared and hand-made pottery became dominant from the 450s. Burial rites changed more than once from cremation to inhumation and vice versa until inhumation became dominant by the end of the 10th century.

The East Germanic Goths and Gepids, who lived in sedentary communities, were the first new arrivals. The Goths dominated Moldavia and Wallachia from the 290s, and parts of Transylvania from the 330s. Their power collapsed under attacks by the nomadic Huns in 376. The Huns controlled Eastern and Central Europe from around 400, but their empire disintegrated in 454. Thereafter the regions west of the Carpathian Mountains – Banat, Crişana, and Transylvania – and Oltenia were dominated by the Gepids. Within a century, the lands east of the mountains became important centers of the Antes and Sclavenes. Hydronyms and place names of Slavic origin also prove the one-time presence of Early Slavs in the regions west of the Carpathians.

The nomadic Avars subjugated the Gepids in 568 and dominated the Carpathian Basin up until around 800. The Bulgars also established a powerful empire in the 670s which included Dobruja and other territories along the Lower Danube. Bulgaria officially adopted the Eastern Orthodox variant of Christianity in 864. An armed conflict between Bulgaria and the nomadic Hungarians forced the latter to depart from the Pontic steppes and began the conquest of the Carpathian Basin around 895. Their invasion gave rise to the earliest reference, recorded some centuries later in the Gesta Hungarorum, to a polity ruled by a Romanian duke named Gelou. The same source also makes mention of the presence of the Székelys in Crişana around 895. The first contemporaneous references to Romanians – who used to be known as Vlachs – in the regions now forming Romania were recorded in the 12th and 13th centuries. References to Vlachs inhabiting the lands to the south of the Lower Danube abound in the same period.

Banat, Crişana and Transylvania were integrated into the Kingdom of Hungary in the 11th century. These regions were subject to plundering raids by the nomadic Pechenegs and Cumans, who dominated the lowlands east of the mountains. Hungarian monarchs promoted the immigration of Western European colonists to Transylvania from the 1150s. The colonists' descendants, who were known as Transylvanian Saxons from the early 13th century, received collective privileges in 1224. Because of the settlement of the Saxons in their former territories, the Székelys were moved to the easternmost zones of the kingdom. The emergence of the Mongol Empire in the Eurasian Steppes in the first decades of the 13th century had lasting effects on the history of the region. The Mongols subjugated the Cumans in the 1230s and destroyed many settlements throughout the Kingdom of Hungary in 1241 and 1242, bringing the Early Middle Ages to an end.

Rosamund (wife of Alboin)

Rosamund (fl. 572) was a Lombard queen. She was the daughter of Cunimund, king of the Gepids, and wife of Alboin, king of the Lombards.


Thurisind (Latin: Turisindus, died c. 560) was king of the Gepids, an East Germanic Gothic people, from c. 548 to 560. He was the penultimate Gepid king, and succeeded King Elemund by staging a coup d'état and forcing the king's son into exile. Thurisind's kingdom, known as Gepidia, was located in Central Europe and had its centre in Sirmium, a former Roman city on the Sava River (now the town of Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia).

His reign was marked by multiple wars with the Lombards, a Germanic people who had arrived in the former Roman province of Pannonia under the leadership of their king, Audoin. Thurisind also had to face the hostility of the Byzantine Empire, which was resentful of the Gepid takeover of Sirmium and anxious to diminish Gepid power in the Pannonian Basin, a plain covering most of modern Hungary and partly including the bordering states. The Byzantines' plans to reduce the Gepids' power took effect when Audoin decisively defeated Thurisind in 551 or 552. The Byzantine Emperor Justinian forced a peace accord on both leaders so that equilibrium in the Pannonian Basin could be sustained.

Thurisind lost his eldest son, Turismod, in the Battle of Asfeld, during which the prince was killed by Alboin, son of Audoin. In about 560, Thurisind died and was succeeded by his remaining son Cunimund, who was killed by Alboin in 567. Cunimund's death marked the end of the Gepid Kingdom and the beginning of the conquest of their territories by the Lombards' allies, the Avars, a nomadic people migrating from the Eurasian Steppe.


Turismod (Latin: Turismodus) was a son of the king of the Gepids Thurisind. He was killed in 551 or 552 on the battlefield by Alboin, son of the king of the Lombards Audoin.

Turismod was the oldest son of Thurisind and a brother of Cunimund; his sibling eventually succeeded their father in circa 560. Thurisind seems to have given to his eldest son the rank of commander of the Gepids in the city of Sirmium as a way to guarantee his succession to the throne, as this position made him heir apparent. He seems to have had a son, Reptila, who under the reign of Cunimund held Sirmium.According to Paul the Deacon, he participated to the third Lombard-Gepid War; in 551 or 552 in the decisive battle of Asfeld he was slain there by Alboin, son of the king of the Lombards Audoin. His death was always according to Paul the turning point of the battle, as when the other Gepids saw their leader dead they broke the ranks and escaped.After the war, tells Paul who probably took the story from oral tradition, maybe an heroic lay dedicated to Alboin, Turismod's killer, Alboin, in order to obtain the right to become his father's table-companion as was customary to Lombards had to ask for the hospitality of a foreign king and have the king arm him; for this initiation he went with 40 companions to the court of Turismod's father Thurisind.Thurisind, in observance of the laws of hospitality, lets Alboin and his companions participate to a banquet given in their honor offering Alboin the seat where Turismod habitually stood. Following a mockery by Turismod's brother Cunimund and Alboin's rejoinder, a clash is avoided just by Thurisind's intervention, who puts peace and sends away Alboin with Turismod's arms. According to István Boná, who believes in the veracity of this story, the facts may have taken place as described by Paul but it also could reflect a secret peace condition imposed by Audoin on Thurisind under which the Gepid king had to arm his son's killer.


The Vidivarii are described by Jordanes in his Getica as a melting pot of tribes who in the mid-6th century lived at the lower Vistula:

Ad litus oceani, ubi tribus faucibus fluenta Vistulae fluminibus ebibuntur, Vidivarii resident ex diversis nationibus aggregati.

Though differing from the earlier Willenberg culture, some traditions were continued, thus the corresponding archaeological culture is sometimes described as the Vidivarian or widiwar stage of the Willenberg culture. The bearers of the Willenberg culture have been associated with a heterogeneous people comprising Vistula Veneti, Goths, Rugii, and Gepids. One hypothesis, based on the sudden appearance of large amounts of Roman solidi and migrations of other groups after the breakdown of the Hun empire in 453, suggest a partial re-migration of earlier emigrants to their former northern homelands.

Wielbark culture

The Wielbark culture (German: Wielbark-Willenberg-Kultur, Polish: Kultura wielbarska, Ukrainian: Вельбарська культура/Velbarska kultura) or East Pomeranian-Mazovian is part of an Iron Age archaeological complex that dates from the 1st century AD to the 4th century AD.

It replaced the Oksywie culture, in the area of modern-day Eastern Pomerania around the lower Vistula river, which was related to the Przeworsk culture.

Wielbark culture contained Venedi, Rugians, Goths, and Gepids located mainly in Pomerania and West Prussia later spreading down the east side into Podlasie and the southern Ukraine.

History of the Germanic peoples
Pagan society
(until about
Early Middle Ages)
Barbarian kingdoms established around the Migration Period
Hunnic kingdoms
Turkic kingdoms
Iranian kingdoms
Celtic kingdoms
Slavic kingdoms
Berber kingdoms
See also


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