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,[1] 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.[2]

The Goths spoke the Gothic language, one of the extinct East Germanic languages.

Gothic soldiers on the Missorium of Theodosius I, made in 388 AD
Tomb of Theodoric the Great Ravenna (cropped)
The Mausoleum of Theodoric, a Gothic monarch, in Ravenna, Italy


Map Götaland Sweden
Götaland, south Sweden, with the island of Gotland in the east, a possible origin of the Goths; the southernmost and westernmost parts, Scania, Halland, Blekinge and Bohuslän, were originally not a part of Götaland, but were Dano-Norwegian territory until 1658.

In the Gothic language of Ostrogothic Italy they were called the Gut-þiuda, most commonly translated as "Gothic people", but only attested as dative singular Gut-þiudai;[3] another name, Gutans, is inferred from a genitive plural form gutani in the Pietroassa inscription.[4] In Old Norse they were known as the Gutar or Gotar, in Latin as the Gothi, and in Greek as the Γότθοι, Gótthoi.

The Goths have been referred to by many names, perhaps at least in part because they comprised many separate ethnic groups, but also because in early accounts of Indo-European and later Germanic migrations in the Migration Period in general it was common practice to use various names to refer to the same group. The Goths believed (as most modern scholars do)[5] that the various names all derived from a single prehistoric ethnonym that referred originally to a uniform culture that flourished around the middle of the first millennium BC, i.e., the original Goths.


Roman Empire 125
The Roman empire, under Hadrian showing the location of the Gothones East Germanic group, then inhabiting the east bank of the Visula (Vistula) river, (present Poland)
Germanic tribes (750BC-1AD)
The expansion of the Germanic tribes 750 BC – AD 1 (after the Penguin Atlas of World History 1988):
   Settlements before 750 BC
   New settlements by 500 BC
   New settlements by 250 BC
   New settlements by AD 1

The exact origin of the ancient Goths remains unknown. Evidence of them before they interacted with the Romans is limited.[6] The traditional account of the Goths' early history depends on the Ostrogoth Jordanes' Getica written c. 551 AD. Jordanes states that the earliest migrating Goths sailed from what is now Sweden to what is now Poland. If this is accurate, then they may have been the people responsible for the Wielbark archaeological complex. Modern academics have generally abandoned this theory. Today, the Wielbark culture is thought to have developed from earlier cultures in the same area.[7] Archaeological finds show close contacts between southern Sweden and the Baltic coastal area on the continent, and further towards the south-east, evidenced by pottery, house types and graves. Rather than a massive migration, similarities in the material cultures may be products of long-term regular contacts. However, the archaeological record could indicate that while his work is thought to be unreliable,[8] Jordanes' story was based on an oral tradition with some basis in fact.[7]

Oksywie Wielbark Przeworsk
The expansion of the Germanic tribes AD 1:

Sometime around the 1st century AD, Germanic peoples may have migrated from Scandinavia to Gothiscandza, in present-day Poland. Early archaeological evidence in the traditional Swedish province of Östergötland suggests a general depopulation during this period.[9] However, there is no archaeological evidence for a substantial emigration from Scandinavia[10] and they may have originated in continental Europe.[11]

  the island of Gotland
  Wielbark culture in the early 3rd century
  Chernyakhov culture, in the early 4th century
Gothic raids in the 3rd century
Gothic invasions in the 3rd century

Upon their arrival on the Pontic Steppe, the Germanic tribes adopted the ways of the Eurasian nomads. The first Greek references to the Goths call them Scythians, since this area along the Black Sea historically had been occupied by an unrelated people of that name. The application of that designation to the Goths appears to be not ethnological but rather geographical and cultural - Greeks regarded both the ethnic Scythians and the Goths as barbarians.[12]

The earliest known material culture associated with the Goths on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea is the Wielbark culture, centered on the modern region of Pomerania in northern Poland. This culture replaced the local Oxhöft or Oksywie culture in the 1st century AD, when a Scandinavian settlement developed in a buffer zone between the Oksywie culture and the Przeworsk culture.[13]

The culture of this area was influenced by southern Scandinavian culture beginning as early as the late Nordic Bronze Age and early Pre-Roman Iron Age (c. 1300 – c. 300 BC). In fact, the Scandinavian influence on Pomerania and today's northern Poland from c. 1300 BC (period III) and onwards was so considerable that some see the culture of the region as part of the Nordic Bronze Age culture.[14] In Eastern Europe the Goths formed part of the Chernyakhov culture of the 2nd to 5th centuries AD.

Migrations and contact with Rome

Around 160 AD, in Central Europe, the first movements of the Migration Period were occurring, as Germanic tribes began moving south-east from their ancestral lands at the mouth of River Vistula, putting pressure on the Germanic tribes from the north and east. As a result, in episodes of Gothic and Vandal warfare Germanic tribes (Rugii, Goths, Gepids, Vandals, Burgundians, and others)[15] crossed either the lower Danube or the Black Sea, and led to the Marcomannic Wars,[16] which resulted in widespread destruction and the first invasion of what is now Italy in the Roman Empire period.[17] It has been suggested that the Goths maintained contact with southern Sweden during their migration.[18] Goths also served in the Roman military and played a limited role, e.g. Gainas.

In the first attested incursion in Thrace, the Goths were mentioned as Boranoi by Zosimus, and then as Boradoi by Gregory Thaumaturgus.[12] The first incursion of the Roman Empire that can be attributed to Goths is the sack of Histria in 238. Several such raids followed in subsequent decades,[12] in particular the Battle of Abrittus in 251, led by Cniva, in which the Roman Emperor Decius was killed. At the time, there were at least two groups of Goths: the Thervingi and the Greuthungs. Goths were subsequently heavily recruited into the Roman Army to fight in the Roman-Persian Wars, notably participating at the Battle of Misiche in 242. The Moesogoths settled in Thrace and Moesia.[19]

The first seaborne raids took place in three subsequent years, probably 255-257. An unsuccessful attack on Pityus was followed in the second year by another, which sacked Pityus and Trabzon and ravaged large areas in the Pontus. In the third year, a much larger force devastated large areas of Bithynia and the Propontis, including the cities of Chalcedon, Nicomedia, Nicaea, Apamea Myrlea, Cius and Bursa. By the end of the raids, the Goths had seized control over Crimea and the Bosporus and captured several cities on the Euxine coast, including Olbia and Tyras, which enabled them to engage in widespread naval activities.[20]

Grande Ludovisi Altemps Inv8574
The 3rd-century Great Ludovisi sarcophagus depicts a battle between Goths and Romans.

After Gallienus was assassinated outside Milan in the summer of 268 in a plot led by high officers in his army, Claudius Gothicus was proclaimed emperor and headed to Rome to establish his rule. Claudius' immediate concerns were with the Alamanni, who had invaded Raetia and Italy. After he defeated them in the Battle of Lake Benacus, he was finally able to take care of the invasions in the Balkan provinces.[21] Learning of the approach of Claudius, the Goths first attempted to directly invade Italy.[22] They were engaged at the Battle of Naissus. It seems that Aurelian, who was in charge of all Roman cavalry during Claudius' reign, led the decisive attack in the battle. Some survivors were resettled within the empire, while others were incorporated into the Roman army. The battle ensured the survival of the Roman Empire for another two centuries. In 270, after the death of Claudius, Goths under the leadership of Cannabaudes again launched an invasion on the Roman Empire, but were defeated by Aurelian, who however surrendered Dacia beyond the Danube.

Around 275 the Goths launched a last major assault on Asia Minor, where piracy by Black Sea Goths was causing great trouble in Colchis, Pontus, Cappadocia, Galatia and even Cilicia.[23] They were defeated sometime in 276 by Emperor Marcus Claudius Tacitus.[23]In 332, Constantine helped the Sarmatians to settle on the north banks of the Danube to defend against the Goths' attacks and thereby enforce the Roman Empire's border. Around 100,000 Goths were reportedly killed in battle, and Ariaricus, son of the King of the Goths, was captured. The Goths increasingly became soldiers in the Roman armies in the 4th Century AD leading to the Germanization of the Roman Army by the time the Western Empire disappeared.[15] The Gothic penchant for wearing skins became fashion in Constantinople, which was heavily denounced by conservatives.[24]

Following a famine the Gothic War of 376–382 ensued, where the Goths and some of the local Thracians rebelled. The Roman Emperor Valens was killed at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. Following the decisive Gothic victory at Adrianople, Julius, the magister militum of the Eastern Roman Empire,[12] organized a widescale massacre of Goths in Asia Minor, Syria and other parts of the Roman East.[12] Fearing rebellion, Julian lured the Goths into the confines of urban streets from which they could not escape and massacred soldiers and civilians alike.[12] As word spread, the Goths rioted throughout the region, and large numbers were killed.[12] Survivors may have settled in Phrygia.[12] Although the Huns successfully subdued many of the Goths, who joined their ranks, a group of Goths led by Fritigern fled across the Danube. Major sources for this period of Gothic history include Ammianus' Res gestae, which mentions Gothic involvement in the civil war between emperors Procopius and Valens of 365 and recounts the Gothic War (376-382). Around 375 AD the Huns overran the Alans and then the Goths.In the late fourth century, the Huns arrived from the east and invaded the region controlled by the Goths.

Empire of Theodoric the Great 523
The maximum extent of territories ruled by Theodoric the Great in 523

Visigoths and Ostrogoths

By the 4th century, the Goths had captured Roman Dacia which Aurelian had evacuated in 274[25] and divided into at least two distinct groups separated by the Dniester River: the Thervingi (led by the Balti dynasty) and the Greuthungi (led by the Amali dynasty). The Goths separated into two main branches, the Visigoths, who became foederati (federates) of the Roman Empire, and the Ostrogoths, who joined the Huns.

Both the Greuthungi and Thervingi became heavily Romanized during the 4th Century. This came about through trade with the Romans, as well as through Gothic membership of a military covenant, which was based in Byzantium and involved pledges of military assistance. Reportedly, 40,000 Goths were brought by Constantine to defend Constantinople in his later reign, and the Palace Guard was mostly composed from among Germanic peoples since foreign troops were less likely to rebel so far from home and also had less hesitation about using deadly force on the native population. [26] The Gothic missionary Wulfila devised the Gothic alphabet to translate the Wulfila Bible and converted many of the Goths from Germanic paganism to Arian Christianity.The Huns fell upon the Thervingi, whose staunchly pagan ruler, Athanaric, sought refuge in the mountains. Meanwhile, the Arian Thervingian rebel chieftain Fritigern approached the Eastern Roman Emperor Valens in 376 with a portion of his people and asked to be allowed to settle on the south bank of the Danube. Valens permitted this, and even assisted the Goths in their crossing of the river (probably at the fortress of Durostorum)[27]

The Goths remained divided – as Visigoths and Ostrogoths – during the 5th Century. These two tribes were among the Germanic peoples who clashed with the late Roman Empire during the Migration Period. The Visigoths were settled south of the Danube in 376. They kept to the treaty of 382 as federates of the Romans and sent troops to fight for Theodosius I during the civil war of 394 in which Eugenius and Arbogast, usurpers in the West were defeated. Alaric and his Goths ravaged Greece in the years 395-97. They moved west into Italy in 402. They were held in check but in led by Alaric I sacked Rome in 410. Honorius granted the Visigoths lands in Aquitania after they savaged the Sueves, Alans and Vandals in 417. The Visigoths had taken over the south of France and most of Spain in the 470s.


The Visigoths, after the Sack of Rome (410) under Alaric I, were settled by the Romans in Aquitaine in 418 as foederates. Periodically they marched on Arles, the seat of the praetorian prefect but were always pushed back. In 437 they signed a treaty with the Romans which they kept. In 451 they provided one-third of the army of other tribes and Romans which defeated the Huns confederation of Eastern peoples led under Attila at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains. They were led by their king Theodoric I in 451. They became independent of the Empire under his son, Euric who extended their territory over most of the Iberian peninsula and Gaul in the 460s and 470s. In 507, the Visigoths were pushed into Hispania by the Frankish Kingdom following the Battle of Vouillé in which the combined forces of Franks and Burgundians fell on them. They were able to retain Narbonensis and Provence after the timely arrival of an Ostrogoth detachment sent by Theodoric the Great. By the late 6th century, the Visigoths had converted to Catholicism. Their kingdom fell and was progresively conquered from 711 when the Muslim Moors defeated their last kings Roderic and Ardo (ruling until 724 over Catalonia and Narbonne) during the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. Some nobles found refuge in the mountain areas of the East Pyrenees and Cantabrian West and founded different autonomous realms, as Gothia, Pamplona and the Kingdom of Asturias in 718, they all began later to regain control under the leadership of the Visigothic nobleman Pelagius of Asturias, whose victory at the Battle of Covadonga (c. 722) it is taken to be the earliest at the centuries-long Reconquista. It was from the Asturian kingdom that some parts of modern Spain and Portugal evolved.[28]

These Goths never became completely Romanized, as they became rather 'Hispanicized' and further became widespread over a large territory and body of population. They progressively adopted a new culture, retaining little of their original culture except for practical military customs, some artistic modalities, family traditions such as heroic songs and folklore, as well as select conventions to include Germanic names still in use in present-day Spain. It is these artifacts of the original Visigothic culture that give ample evidence of its contributing foundation for the present regional culture.[29]

In the late 6th Century Goths settled as foederati in parts of Asia Minor. Their descendants, who formed the elite Optimatoi regiment, still lived there in the early 8th Century. While they were largely assimilated, their Gothic origin was still well-known: the chronicler Theophanes the Confessor calls them Gothograeci.


Christopher I. Beckwith suggests that the entire Hunnic thrust into Europe and the Roman Empire was an attempt to subdue independent Goths in the west.[29] It is possible that the Hunnic attack came as a response to the Gothic eastwards expansion.[29][30][31]

In the 4th century, the Greuthungian king Ermanaric became the most powerful Gothic ruler, coming to dominate a vast area of the Pontic Steppe which possibly stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea as far eastwards as the Ural Mountains.[32] Ermanaric's dominance of the Volga-Don trade routes made historian Gottfried Schramm consider his realm as a forerunner of the Viking founded state of Kievan Rus'.[33] Ermanaric later committed suicide, and the Greuthungi fell under Hunnic dominance.

In 454 AD, the Ostrogoths successfully revolted against the Huns at the Battle of Nedao and their leader Theoderic the Great invaded what is now Italy in 488 and settled his people there, founding an Ostrogothic Kingdom which eventually gained control of the whole Italian peninsula.

Under Theodemir, the Ostrogoths broke away from Hunnic rule following the Battle of Nedao in 454, and decisively defeated the Huns again under Valamir at Bassianae in 468. At the request of emperor Zeno, Theoderic conquered all of Italy from the Scirian Odoacer beginning in 488. The Goths were briefly reunited under one crown in the early 6th century under Theoderic, who became regent of the Visigothic kingdom following the death of Alaric II at the Battle of Vouillé in 507. Procopius interpreted the name Visigoth as "western Goths" and the name Ostrogoth as "eastern Goth", reflecting the geographic distribution of the Gothic realms at that time.

The Ostrogothic kingdom persisted until 553 under Teia, when Italy returned briefly to Byzantine control. This restoration of imperial rule was reversed by the conquest of the Lombards in 568. Shortly after Theoderic's death, the country was conquered by the Byzantine Empire in the Gothic War (535–554) that devastated and depopulated the peninsula.[34] In 552, after their leader Totila was killed at the Battle of Taginae (552), effective Ostrogothic resistance ended, and the remaining Goths in Italy were assimilated by the Lombards, another Germanic tribe, who invaded Italy and founded the Kingdom of the Lombards in 567 AD.

In the late 18th century, Gothic tribes who remained in the lands around the Black Sea, especially in Crimea - then known as Crimean Goths - were still mentioned as existing in the region and speaking a Crimean Gothic dialect, making them the last true Goths. The language is believed to have been spoken until as late as 1945. They are believed to have been assimilated by the Crimean Tatars.



An Ostrogothic eagle-shaped fibula, 500 AD, Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nuremberg

Before the invasion of the Huns, the Gothic Chernyakhov culture produced jewelry, vessels, and decorative objects in a style much influenced by Greek and Roman craftsmen. They developed a polychrome style of gold work, using wrought cells or setting to encrust gemstones into their gold objects. This style was influential in West Germanic areas well into the Middle Ages.


The Gothic language is the Germanic language with the earliest attestation, from the 300s, making it a language of interest in comparative linguistics. All other East Germanic languages are known, if at all, from proper names that survived in historical accounts, and from loan-words in other languages. It is known primarily from the Codex Argenteus, a translation of the Bible. The language was in decline by the mid-500s, due to the military victory of the Franks, the elimination of the Goths in Italy, and geographic isolation. In Spain the language lost its last and probably already declining function as a church language when the Visigoths converted to Catholicism in 589).[35] It is now an extinct language.


Archaeological evidence in Visigothic cemeteries shows that social stratification was analogous to that of the village of Sabbas the Goth. The majority of villagers were common peasants. Paupers were buried with funeral rites, unlike slaves. In a village of 50 to 100 people, there were four or five elite couples.[36] In Eastern Europe, houses include sunken-floored dwellings, surface dwellings, and stall-houses. The largest known settlement is the Criuleni District.[37] Chernyakhov cemeteries feature both cremation and inhumation burials; among the latter the head is to the north. Some graves were left empty. Grave goods often include pottery, bone combs, and iron tools, but hardly ever weapons.[38]


Archaeology shows that the Visigoths, unlike the Ostrogoths, were predominantly farmers. They sowed wheat, barley, rye, and flax. They also raised pigs, poultry, and goats. Horses and donkeys were raised as working animals, and fed with hay. Sheep were raised for their wool, which they fashioned into clothing. Archaeology indicates they were skilled potters and blacksmiths. When peace treaties were negotiated with the Romans, the Goths demanded free trade. Imports from Rome included wine and cooking-oil.[39]


Initially practising Gothic paganism, the Goths were gradually converted to Arian Christianity in the course of the 4th Century as a result of the missionary activity by the Gothic bishop Wulfila, who devised a Gothic alphabet to translate the Wulfila Bible.

During the 370s, Goths converting to Christianity were subject to persecution by the remaining pagan authorities of the Thervingi people.

The Visigothic Kingdom in Hispania converted to Catholicism in the 7th Century.

The Ostrogoths (and their remnants, the Crimean Goths) were closely connected to the Patriarchate of Constantinople from the 5th Century, and became fully incorporated under the Metropolitanate of Gothia from the 9th Century.


Don Pelayo
In Spain, the Visigothic nobleman Pelagius of Asturias who founded the Kingdom of Asturias and began the Reconquista at the Battle of Covadonga, is a national hero regarded as the country's first monarch.

The Gotlanders themselves had oral traditions of a mass migration towards southern Europe, recorded in the Gutasaga. If the facts are related, this would be a unique case of a tradition that endured for more than a thousand years and that actually pre-dates most of the major splits in the Germanic language family.

The Goths' relationship with Sweden became an important part of Swedish nationalism, and, until the 19th Century, the Swedes were commonly considered to be the direct descendants of the Goths. Today, Swedish scholars identify this as a cultural movement called Gothicismus, which included an enthusiasm for things Old Norse.

Gothic language and culture largely disappeared during the Middle Ages, although its influence continued in small ways in some western European states. As late as the 16th century a small number of people in the Crimea may still have spoken Crimean Gothic.[40]

The language survived as a domestic language in the Iberian peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal) as late as the 8th Century, and Frankish author Walafrid Strabo wrote that it was still spoken in the lower Danube area and that Crimean Gothic was spoken in isolated mountain regions in Crimea in the early 9th century. Gothic-seeming terms found in later (post-9th century) manuscripts may not belong to the same language.

In Medieval and Modern Spain, the Visigoths were believed to be the origin of the Spanish nobility (compare Gobineau for a similar French idea). By the early 7th Century, the ethnic distinction between Visigoths and Hispano-Romans had all but disappeared, but recognition of a Gothic origin, e.g. on gravestones, still survived among the nobility. The 7th Century Visigothic aristocracy saw itself as bearers of a particular Gothic consciousness and as guardians of old traditions such as Germanic namegiving; probably these traditions were on the whole restricted to the family sphere (Hispano-Roman nobles did service for Visigothic nobles already in the 5th century and the two branches of Spanish aristocracy had fully adopted similar customs two centuries later).[41]

In Chile, Argentina and the Canary Islands, godo was an ethnic slur used against European Spaniards, who in the early colony period often felt superior to the people born locally (criollos). In Colombia, the members of the Colombian Conservative Party were referred to as godos.

The Spanish and Swedish claims of Gothic origins led to a clash at the Council of Basel in 1434. Before the assembled cardinals and delegations could engage in theological discussion, they had to decide how to sit during the proceedings. The delegations from the more prominent nations argued that they should sit closest to the Pope, and there were also disputes over who were to have the finest chairs and who were to have their chairs on mats. In some cases, they compromised so that some would have half a chair leg on the rim of a mat. In this conflict, Nicolaus Ragvaldi, bishop of the Diocese of Växjö, claimed that the Swedes were the descendants of the great Goths, and that the people of Västergötland (Westrogothia in Latin) were the Visigoths and the people of Östergötland (Ostrogothia in Latin) were the Ostrogoths. The Spanish delegation retorted that it was only the "lazy" and "unenterprising" Goths who had remained in Sweden, whereas the "heroic" Goths had left Sweden, invaded the Roman empire and settled in Spain.[42]

Gutnish is still spoken in Gotland and Fårö. Old Gutnish was the dialect of Old Norse there.

In the sagas

Ancients who wrote about the Goths

  • Ambrose: The prologue of De Spiritu Sancto (On the Holy Ghost) makes passing reference to Athanaric's royal titles before 376.[43] Comment on Saint Luke: "Chuni in Halanos, Halani in Gothos, Gothi in Taifalos et Sarmatas insurexerunt"
  • Ammianus Marcellinus: Res Gestae Libri XXXI.[44] He wrote that Hunnic domination of the Gothic kingdoms in Scythia began in the 370s.[45]
  • The anonymous author(s) of the Augustan History wrote that the Goths, along with the Heruli sacked Heraclea Pontica, Cyzicus and Byzantium. They were defeated by the Roman navy but managed to escape into the Aegean Sea, where they ravaged the islands of Lemnos and Scyros. In the Battle of Thermopylae (267) they sacked several cities of southern Greece (province of Achaea) including Athens, Corinth, Argos, Olympia and Sparta. An Athenian militia, led by the historian Dexippus, pushed the invaders to the north where they were intercepted by the Roman army under Gallienus.[46] However, large portions are known to be fraudulent and the factual accuracy of the remainder is disputed.[47] Of the second invasions, the history reports that an enormous coalition consisting of Goths (Greuthungi and Thervingi), Gepids and Bastarnae, led again by the Heruli, assembled at the mouth of river Tyras (Dniester).[48] They claim a total number of 2,000–6,000 ships and 325,000 men.[49] This is probably a gross exaggeration but remains indicative of the scale of the invasion. After failing to storm some towns on the coasts of the western Black Sea and the Danube (Constanţa, Marcianopolis), they attacked Byzantium and Uskudar. Part of their fleet was wrecked, either because of the Gothic inexperience in sailing through the violent currents of the Propontis[50] or because it was defeated by the Roman navy.
  • Aurelius Victor: The Caesars, a history from Augustus to Constantius II
  • Cassiodorus: A lost history of the Goths used by Jordanes
  • Claudian: Poems
  • Epitome de Caesaribus
  • The 4th Century Greek historian Eunapius described the Goths' powerful build in a pejorative way: Their bodies provoked contempt in all who saw them, for they were far too big and far too heavy for their feet to carry them, and they were pinched in at the waist – just like those insects Aristotle writes of.[51]
  • Eutropius: Breviary
  • Eusebius, an historian who wrote in Greek in the third century, wrote that in 334, Constantine evacuated approximately 300,000 Sarmatians from the north bank of the Danube after a revolt of the Sarmatians' slaves. From 335 to 336, Constantine, continuing his Danube campaign, defeated many Gothic tribes.[52]
  • Gregory of Nyssa
  • Hermann of Reichenau, an 11th-century scholar, wrote that the Goths entered the Aegean Sea and a detachment ravaged the Aegean islands as far as Crete, Rhodes and Cyprus. The fleet probably also sacked Troy and Ephesus, destroying the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. While their main force had constructed siege works and was close to taking the cities of Thessalonica and Cassandreia, it retreated to the Balkan interior at the news that the emperor was advancing. On their way, they plundered Dojran and Pelagonia.[53]
  • Jerome: Chronicle
  • Jordanes, in his Getica, written in the mid-500s, wrote that the earliest migrating Goths sailed from Scandza (Scandinavia) under King Berig in three ships. One shipload settled near the Vistula.[54] They then moved into an area along the southern coast of the Baltic Sea which was inhabited by the Rugians, and expelled them.[55]
  • Julian the Apostate
  • Lactantius: On the death of the Persecutors
  • Olympiodorus of Thebes
  • Panegyrici latini
  • Paulinus the Deacon: Life of bishop Ambrose of Milan
  • Paulus Orosius wrote that the Goths were of the same stock as the Suiones (Swedes), the Vandals, and the other Scandinavian tribes.[56]
  • Philostorgius: Greek church history
  • Pliny the Elder wrote that Pytheas, an explorer who visited Northern Europe in the 4th century BC, reported that the Gutones, a people of Germany, inhabit the shores of an estuary called Mentonomon (the Baltic Sea).[57]
  • The 6th Century Byzantine historian Procopius wrote that the Goths were tall and blond haired: For they all have white bodies and fair hair, and are tall and handsome to look upon.[58] He noted that the Goths, Gepidae and Vandals were physically and culturally identical, suggesting a common origin.[58]
  • Sozomen
  • Synesius: De regno and De providentia. The 4th   Century Greek bishop compared the Goths to wolves among sheep, mocked them for wearing skins and questioned their loyalty towards Rome:

    A man in skins leading warriors who wear the chlamys, exchanging his sheepskins for the toga to debate with Roman magistrates and perhaps even sit next to a Roman consul, while law-abiding men sit behind. Then these same men, once they have gone a little way from the senate house, put on their sheepskins again, and when they have rejoined their fellows they mock the toga, saying that they cannot comfortably draw their swords in it.[24]

  • Tacitus wrote that the Goths and the neighboring Rugii and Lemovii carried round shields and short swords.[59] However, the Goths who would later fight or be allied with the Huns, and who fought for and against Rome, might not be the same people Tacitus describes.[60]
  • Themistius: Speeches
  • Theoderet of Cyrrhus
  • Theodosian Code
  • According to Zosimus, Dexippus won an important victory near the Nessos (Mesta River), on the boundary between the Roman province of Macedonia and Thrace, the Dalmatian cavalry of the Roman army earning a reputation as good fighters. Reported barbarian casualties were 3,000 men. He writes about the Battle of Naissus by a Roman army led by Claudius advancing from the north. The battle most likely took place in 269, and was fiercely contested. Large numbers on both sides were killed but, at the critical point, the Romans tricked the Goths into an ambush by pretended flight. Around 50,000 Goths were allegedly killed or taken captive and their base at Thessalonika destroyed.[61]

See also


  1. ^ "Ostrogoth". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  2. ^ Waldman, Carl; Mason, Catherine (2006). Encyclopedia of European peoples. New York: Facts On File. p. 575. ISBN 978-0816049646.
  3. ^ Hewitt, Winfred P. Lehmann ; with bibliography prepared under the direction of Helen-Jo J. (1986). A Gothic etymological dictionary. Leiden: E.J. Brill. pp. 163–164. ISBN 978-9004081765.
  4. ^ Braune, W; Heidermanns, F (2004). Gotische Grammatik. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
  5. ^ Dunlap, Herwig Wolfram ; translated by Thomas J. (1990). History of the Goths (New and completely rev. from the 2nd German ed., 1st pbk. print. ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 16–56, 209–210. ISBN 978-0520069831.
  6. ^ "Who Were the Ancient Goths?". Retrieved 2016-09-09.
  7. ^ a b Kaliff, Anders (2001). Gothic Connections. Contacts between eastern Scandinavia and the southern Baltic coast 1000 BC – 500 AD. Uppssala: OPIA. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  8. ^ Kessler, P L. "Kingdoms of the Germanic Tribes - Goths / Ostrogoths". Retrieved 2016-09-09.
  9. ^ Oxenstierna, Eric (1945). Die Urheimat der Goten. Johann Ambrosius Barth. p. 73.
  10. ^ Heather, Peter (1998). The Goths (Pbk. ed.). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers. p. 26. ISBN 978-0631209324.
  11. ^ Kortlandt, Frederik (2001). "The origin of the Goths" (PDF). Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik. 55: 21–25. Retrieved 2017-11-08. ... the original homeland of the Goths must therefore be located in the southernmost part of the Germanic territories, not in Scandinavia ...
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h Kulikowski, Michael (2008-05-01). Rome's Gothic Wars: From the Third Century to Alaric (1 ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521608688.
  13. ^ Kokowski, Andrzej (1999), Archäologie der Goten (in German), ISBN 978-83-907341-8-7.
  14. ^ Dabrowski, J. (1989). Nordische Kreis und Kulturen Polnischer Gebiete. Die Bronzezeit im Ostseegebiet. p. 73.
  15. ^ a b "History of Europe: The Germans and Huns". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  16. ^ Gibbon, Edward (1930). The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Plain Label Books. ISBN 978-1-60303-405-0.
  17. ^ "Germany: Ancient History". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  18. ^ Arhenius, B, Connections between Scandinavia and the East Roman Empire in the Migration Period, pp. 119, 134, in Alcock, Leslie (1990), From the Baltic to the Black Sea: Studies in Medieval Archaeology, London: Unwin Hyman, pp. 118–37.
  19. ^  "Goth" . Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921.
  20. ^ Bowman, Garnsey & Cameron 2005, pp. 223–229
  21. ^ John Bray, p.290
  22. ^ Tucker 2009, p. 150
  23. ^ a b Bowman, Garnsey & Cameron 2005, pp. 53–54
  24. ^ a b Cameron, Long & Sherry 2013, p. 99.
  25. ^ "Goth". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  26. ^ "Ancient Rome: The Reign of Constantine". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  27. ^ Kulokowski 2006, p. 130.
  28. ^ "Spain: The Christian states, 711–1035". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  29. ^ a b c Beckwith 2009, pp. 331–332
  30. ^ Beckwith 2009, pp. 81–83
  31. ^ Beckwith 2009, pp. 94–100
  32. ^ Wolfram 1997, pp. 26–28
  33. ^ Gottfried Schramm, Altrusslands Anfang. Historische Schlüsse aus Namen, Wörtern und Texten zum 9. und 10. Jahrhundert, Freiburg i. Br. 2002, p. 54.
  34. ^ London, Jack (2007). The Human Drift. 1st World Publishing. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-4218-3371-2.
  35. ^ Pohl, Walter (1998). Strategies of Distinction: Construction of Ethnic Communities, 300–800 (Transformation of the Roman World. pp. 119–21. ISBN 978-90-04-10846-2..
  36. ^ "Visigothic Society". Magyar Elektonikus Könyvtár.
  37. ^ Heather, Peter; Matthews, John (1991). The Goths in the fourth century (Repr. ed.). Liverpool: Liverpool Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0-85323-426-5.
  38. ^ The Goths in the Fourth Century (1 ed.). Liverpool University Press. 1991-01-10. ISBN 9780853234265.
  39. ^ "The Visigoths' Peasant Economy". Magyar Elektronikus Könyvtár. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  40. ^ Bennett, William H (1980). An Introduction to the Gothic Language. p. 27.
  41. ^ Pohl, Walter (1998). Strategies of Distinction: Construction of Ethnic Communities, 300–800 (Transformation of the Roman World). pp. 124–6. ISBN 978-90-04-10846-2..
  42. ^ Söderberg, Werner. (1896). "Nicolaus Ragvaldis tal i Basel 1434", in Samlaren, pp. 187–95.
  43. ^ Ambrose, On the Holy Ghost, book I, preface, paragraph 15
  44. ^ Edward Gibbon judged Ammianus "an accurate and faithful guide, who composed the history of his own times without indulging the prejudices and passions which usually affect the mind of a contemporary." (Gibbon, Edward, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter 26.5). But he also condemned Ammianus for lack of literary flair: "The coarse and undistinguishing pencil of Ammianus has delineated his bloody figures with tedious and disgusting accuracy." (Gibbon, Chapter 25.) Ernst Stein praised Ammianus as "the greatest literary genius that the world produced between Tacitus and Dante" (E. Stein, Geschichte des spätrömischen Reiches, Vienna 1928).
  45. ^ "However, the seed and origin of all the ruin and various disasters that the wrath of Mars aroused ... we have found to be (the invasions of the Huns)",Marcellinus, Ammianus; tr. John Rolfe (1922), "2", Latin text and English translation, XXXI, Loeb edition.
  46. ^ Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Vita Gallienii, 13.8
  47. ^ Caldwell, Craig H. "Contesting late Roman Illyricum. Invasions and transformations in the Danubian-Balkan provinces" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 March 2016. A dissertation presented to the Pricenton University in candidacy for the degree of doctor in philosophy. Quote: "The Life Of Probus like much of the rest of Historia Augusta is a more trustworthy source for its fourth-century audience then for its third-century subject"; Robert J. Edgeworthl (1992): More Fiction in the "Epitome". Steiner. Quote: "For a century it has been established to general if not universal satisfaction, that biographies in Historia Augusta, especially after Caracalla, are a tissue of fiction and fabrication layered onto a thin thread of historical fact"; this view originates with Hermann Dessau.
  48. ^ The Historia Augusta mentions Scythians, Greuthungi, Tervingi, Gepids, Peucini, Celts and Heruli. Zosimus names Scythians, Heruli, Peucini and Goths.
  49. ^ Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Vita Divi Claudii, 6.4
  50. ^ Zosimus, 1.42
  51. ^ Moorhead & Stuttard 2010, p. 56
  52. ^ Eusebius, "IV.6", Vita Constantini
  53. ^ Contractus, Hermannus, Chronicon, quoting of Caesarea, Eusebius, Vita Constantini, p. 263: "Macedonia, Graecia, Pontus, Asia et aliae provinciae depopulantur per Gothos".
  54. ^ Jordanes; Charles C. Mierow, Translator (1997). "The Origins and Deeds of the Goths". Calgary: J. Vanderspoel, Department of Greek, Latin and Ancient History, University of Calgary. pp. 24–96. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
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  56. ^ Orosius (417). The Anglo-Saxon Version, from the Historian Orosius (Alfred the Great ed.). London: Printed by W. Bowyer and J. Nichols and sold by S. Baker. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  57. ^ Bostock, John. "Pliny the Elder, The Natural History".
  58. ^ a b Procopius. History of the Wars. Book III. II
  59. ^ Tacitus, Cornelius (2008-11-14). The Works of Tacitus: The Oxford Translation, Revised, with Notes, Volume II. BiblioLife. ISBN 9780559473357.
  60. ^ "The Goths". Retrieved 2016-09-09.
  61. ^ Zosimus, 1.43


Chernyakhov culture

The Chernyakhov culture, or Sântana de Mureș culture, is an archaeological culture that flourished between the 2nd and 5th centuries AD in a wide area of Eastern Europe, specifically in what is now Ukraine, Romania, Moldova and parts of Belarus. The culture is probably the result of a multiethnic cultural mix of the Sarmatian, Slavic, Gothic, and Geto-Dacian (including Romanised Daco-Romans) populations of the area.The Chernyakhov culture territorially replaced its predecessor, the Zarubintsy culture. In Ukraine both cultures were discovered by the Austrian-Russian archaeologist, Vikentiy Khvoyka, who conducted numerous excavations around Kiev and its vicinity. Among other archaeologists are Austrian Karel Hadáček from Eastern Galicia and Ivan Kovac from Transylvania. With the invasion of Huns, the culture declined and was replaced with the Penkovka culture (or the culture of the Antes).

The Chernyakhov culture is very similar to the Wielbark culture, which was located closer to the Baltic Sea.

Crimean Goths

Crimean Goths were Greuthungi-Gothic tribes who remained in the lands around the Black Sea, especially in Crimea. They were the least-powerful, least-known, and the longest-lasting of the Gothic communities. Their existence is well attested through the ages though the exact period when they ceased to exist as a distinct culture is unknown; as with the Goths in general, they may have been diffused with the surrounding peoples. In the Fourth Turkish letter by Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, they are described as "a warlike people, who to this day inhabit many villages" though in the 5th century, Theodoric the Great failed to rouse Crimean Goths to support his war in Italy. At the time, it was customary to refer to a wide range of Germanic tribes as "Goths", so the exact ethnic origin of the Germanic peoples in Crimea is a subject of debate.

Aside from textual reports of the existence of the Goths in Crimea, both first and second hand, from as early as 850, numerous archaeological examples also exist, including the ruins of the former capital city of the Crimean Goths: Doros, or Mangup as it is now known. On top of this, there are numerous articles of jewelry, weaponry, shields, buttons, pins, and small personal artifacts on display in museums in Crimea and in the British Museum which have led to a better understanding of the Gothic Kingdom.


Decius (; Latin: Caesar Gaius Messius Quintus Trajanus Decius Augustus; c. 201 – June 251), also known as Trajan Decius, was Roman Emperor from 249 to 251.

A distinguished politician during the reign of Philippus Arabus, Decius was proclaimed emperor by his troops after successfully putting down a rebellion in Moesia. In 249, he defeated and killed Philip near Verona and was recognized as emperor by the Senate afterwards. During his reign, he attempted to strengthen the Roman state and its religion, leading to the Decian persecution where a number of prominent Christians (including Pope Fabian) were put to death.

In the last year of his reign, Decius co-ruled with his son Herennius Etruscus, until they were both killed by the Goths in the Battle of Abritus.


The Geats (, or ) (Old English: gēatas [ˈjæɑtɑs]; Old Norse: gautar [ˈɡɑu̯tɑr]; Swedish: götar [ˈjøːtar]), sometimes called Goths, were a North Germanic tribe who inhabited Götaland ("land of the Geats") in modern southern Sweden during the Middle Ages. They are one of the progenitor groups of modern Swedes, along with Swedes and Gutes. The name of the Geats also lives on in the Swedish provinces of Västergötland and Östergötland, the Western and Eastern lands of the Geats, and (though not with the English exonym Geats) in many other toponyms.


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, 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). An Old English form of their name is recorded in Widsith, as Gefþ-, alongside the name of the Wends.


De origine actibusque Getarum ("The Origin and Deeds of the Getae/Goths"), or the Getica, written in Late Latin by Jordanes (or Iordanes/Jornandes) in or shortly after 551 AD, claims to be a summary of a voluminous account by Cassiodorus of the origin and history of the Gothic people, which is now lost. However, the extent to which Jordanes actually used the work of Cassiodorus is unknown. It is significant as the only remaining contemporaneous resource that gives the full story of the origin and history of the Goths. Another aspect of this work is its information about the early history and the customs of Slavs.

Goth subculture

The goth subculture is a subculture that began in England during the early 1980s, where it developed from the audience of gothic rock, an offshoot of the post-punk genre. The name, goth subculture, derived directly from the music genre. Seminal post-punk and gothic rock artists that helped develop and shape the subculture include Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure, Joy Division, and Bauhaus. The goth subculture has survived much longer than others of the same era, and has continued to diversify and spread throughout the world. Its imagery and cultural proclivities indicate influences from 19th-century Gothic literature and gothic horror films. The scene is centered on music festivals, nightclubs and organized meetings, especially in Western Europe.

The goth subculture has associated tastes in music, aesthetics, and fashion. The music preferred by the goth subculture includes a number of different styles, e.g. gothic rock, death rock, post-punk, cold wave, dark wave, and ethereal wave. Styles of dress within the subculture draw on punk, new wave and new romantic fashion as well as fashion of earlier periods such as the Victorian and Edwardian eras (Belle Époque), or combinations of the above. The style usually includes dark attire (often black), pale face makeup and black hair. The subculture continues to draw interest from a large audience decades after its emergence.

Gothic Christianity

Gothic Christianity refers to the Christian religion of the Goths and sometimes the Gepids, Vandals, and Burgundians, who may have used the translation of the Bible into the Gothic language and shared common doctrines and practices.

The Gothic tribes converted to Christianity sometime between 376 and 390 AD, around the time of the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Gothic Christianity is the earliest instance of the Christianization of a Germanic people, completed more than a century before the baptism of Frankish king Clovis I.

The Gothic Christians were followers of Arianism. Many church members, from simple believers, priests, and monks to bishops, emperors, and members of Rome's imperial family followed this doctrine, as did two Roman emperors, Constantius II and Valens.

After their sack of Rome, the Visigoths moved on to occupy Spain and southern France. Having been driven out of France, the Spanish Goths formally embraced Nicene Christianity at the Third Council of Toledo in 589.

Gothic War (376–382)

Between about 376 and 382 the Gothic War against the Eastern Roman Empire, and in particular the Battle of Adrianople, is commonly seen as a major turning point in the history of the Roman Empire, the first of a series of events over the next century that would see the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, although its ultimate importance to the Empire's eventual fall is still debated.

Gothic War (535–554)

The Gothic War between the Byzantine Empire during the reign of Emperor Justinian I and the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy took place from 535 until 554 in the Italian peninsula, Dalmatia, Sardinia, Sicily and Corsica. The war had its roots in the ambition of the East Roman Emperor Justinian I to recover the provinces of the former Western Roman Empire, which the Romans had lost to invading barbarian tribes in the previous century (the Migration Period).

The war followed the Byzantine reconquest of the province of Africa from the Vandals. Historians commonly divide the war into two phases:

From 535 to 540: ending with the fall of the Ostrogothic capital Ravenna and the apparent reconquest of Italy by the Byzantines.

From 540/541 to 553: a Gothic revival under Totila, suppressed only after a long struggle by the Byzantine general Narses, who also repelled an invasion in 554 by the Franks and Alamanni.In 554 Justinian promulgated the Pragmatic sanction which prescribed Italy's new government. Several cities in northern Italy held out against the Byzantines until 562. By the end of the war Italy had been devastated and depopulated. The Byzantines found themselves incapable of resisting an invasion by the Lombards in 568, which resulted in Constantinople permanently losing control over large parts of the Italian peninsula.

Gothic paganism

Gothic paganism was the original religion of the Goths.


Hlod or Hlöd was the illegitimate son of Heidrek, the king of the Geats.

He appears in the Hervarar saga and probably also as Hlith in Widsith, line 115, together with his father Heiðrekr (Heathoric), half-brother Angantyr (Incgentheow), and his mother Sifka (Sifeca).


Jordanes (), also written Jordanis or, uncommonly, Jornandes, was a 6th-century Eastern Roman bureaucrat of Gothic extraction who turned his hand to history later in life.

Jordanes wrote Romana, about the history of Rome, but his best-known work is his Getica, which was written in Constantinople about AD 551. It is the only extant ancient work dealing with the early history of the Goths.

Jordanes was asked by a friend to write Getica as a summary of a multi-volume history of the Goths by the statesman Cassiodorus that had existed then but has since been lost. Jordanes was selected for his known interest in history, his ability to write succinctly and because of his own Gothic background. He had been a high-level notarius, or secretary, of a small client state on the Roman frontier in Scythia Minor, modern south-eastern Romania and north-eastern Bulgaria.Other writers, e.g. Procopius, wrote works which are extant on the later history of the Goths. As the only surviving work on Gothic origins, the Getica has been the object of much critical review. Jordanes wrote in Late Latin rather than the classical Ciceronian Latin. According to his own introduction, he had only three days to review what Cassiodorus had written, meaning that he must also have relied on his own knowledge. Some of his statements are laconic.

King of the Geats

Geatish kings (Latin: Rex Getarum/Gothorum), ruling over the provinces of Götaland (Gautland/Geatland), appear in several sources for early Swedish history. Today, most of them are not considered historical.

This list follows the generally accepted identification between the names Götar (modern Swedish), Gautar (Old Norse) and Geatas (Old English), which is based both on tradition, literary sources and on etymology. However, unlike some translations it does not identify this tribe with the Goths. Both Old Norse and Old English records clearly separate the Geats from the Goths, while still depicting them as closely related to each other.

From the Middle Ages until 1974, the king of Sweden claimed the title King of the Geats as "King of Sweden and Geats/Goths" or "Rex Sweorum et Gothorum". Danish monarchs used the similar title "King of the Goths" from 1362 until 1972.

Ostrogothic Kingdom

The Ostrogothic Kingdom, officially the Kingdom of Italy (Latin: Regnum Italiae), was established by the Ostrogoths in Italy and neighbouring areas from 493 to 553.

In Italy the Ostrogoths, led by Theoderic the Great, killed and replaced Odoacer, a Germanic soldier, erstwhile-leader of the foederati in Northern Italy, and the de facto ruler of Italy, who had deposed the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire, Romulus Augustulus, in 476. Under Theoderic, its first king, the Ostrogothic kingdom reached its zenith, stretching from modern France in the west into modern Serbia in the southeast. Most of the social institutions of the late Western Roman Empire were preserved during his rule. Theodoric called himself Gothorum Romanorumque rex ("King of the Goths and Romans"), demonstrating his desire to be a leader for both peoples.

Starting in 535, the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire invaded Italy under Justinian I. The Ostrogothic ruler at that time, Witiges, could not defend the kingdom successfully and was finally captured when the capital Ravenna fell. The Ostrogoths rallied around a new leader, Totila, and largely managed to reverse the conquest, but were eventually defeated. The last king of the Ostrogothic Kingdom was Teia.


The Ostrogoths (Latin: Ostrogothi, Austrogothi) were the eastern branch of the older Goths (the other major branch being the Visigoths). The Ostrogoths traced their origins to the Greutungi – a branch of the Goths who had migrated southward from the Baltic Sea and established a kingdom north of the Black Sea, during the 3rd and 4th centuries. They built an empire stretching from the Black Sea to the Baltic. The Ostrogoths were probably literate in the 3rd century, and their trade with the Romans was highly developed. Their Danubian kingdom reached its zenith under King Ermanaric, who is said to have committed suicide at an old age when the Huns attacked his people and subjugated them in about 370.

After their annexation by the Huns, little is heard of the Ostrogoths for about 80 years, after which they reappear in Pannonia on the middle Danube River as federates of the Romans. After the collapse of the Hun empire after the Battle of Nedao (453), Ostrogoths migrated westwards towards Illyria and the borders of Italy, while some remained in the Crimea (where the Crimean Ostrogoths existed as a distinct people until at least the 16th century). During the late 5th and 6th centuries, under Theodoric the Great most of the Ostrogoths moved first to Moesia (c. 475–488) and later conquered the Kingdom of Italy of the Germanic warrior Odoacer. In 493, Theodoric the Great established a kingdom in Italy.

A period of instability then ensued, tempting the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian to declare war on the Ostrogoths in 535 in an effort to restore the former western provinces of the Roman Empire. Initially, the Byzantines were successful, but under the leadership of Totila, the Goths reconquered most of the lost territory until Totila's death at the Battle of Taginae. The war lasted for almost 21 years and caused enormous damage and depopulation of Italy. The remaining Ostrogoths were absorbed into the Lombards who established a kingdom in Italy in 568.

Tyrfing Cycle

The Tyrfing Cycle is a collection of Norse legends, unified by the shared element of the magic sword Tyrfing. Two of the legends are found in the Poetic Edda, and the Hervarar saga can be seen as a compilation of these legends.


The Visigoths (; Latin: Visigothi, Wisigothi, Vesi, Visi, Wesi, Wisi; German: Westgoten Italian: Visigoti Catalan: Visigots Spanish: Visigodos Portuguese: Visigodos) were the western branches of the nomadic tribes of Germanic peoples referred to collectively as the Goths. These tribes flourished and spread throughout the late Roman Empire in Late Antiquity, or what is known as the Migration Period. The Visigoths emerged from earlier Gothic groups (possibly the Thervingi) who had invaded the Roman Empire beginning in 376 and had defeated the Romans at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. Relations between the Romans and the Visigoths were variable, alternately warring with one another and making treaties when convenient. The Visigoths invaded Italy under Alaric I and sacked Rome in 410. After the Visigoths sacked Rome, they began settling down, first in southern Gaul and eventually in Hispania, where they founded the Visigothic Kingdom and maintained a presence from the 5th to the 8th centuries AD.The Visigoths first settled in southern Gaul as foederati to the Romans – a relationship established in 418. However, they soon fell out with their Roman hosts (for reasons that are now obscure) and established their own kingdom with its capital at Toulouse. They next extended their authority into Hispania at the expense of the Suebi and Vandals. In 507, however, their rule in Gaul was ended by the Franks under Clovis I, who defeated them in the Battle of Vouillé. After that, the Visigoth kingdom was limited to Hispania, and they never again held territory north of the Pyrenees other than Septimania. A small, elite group of Visigoths came to dominate the governance of that region at the expense of those who had previously ruled there, particularly in the Byzantine province of Spania and the Kingdom of the Suebi.

In or around 589, the Visigoths under Reccared I converted from Arianism to Nicene Christianity, gradually adopting the culture of their Hispano-Roman subjects. Their legal code, the Visigothic Code (completed in 654) abolished the longstanding practice of applying different laws for Romans and Visigoths. Once legal distinctions were no longer being made between Romani and Gothi, they became known collectively as Hispani. In the century that followed, the region was dominated by the Councils of Toledo and the episcopacy. (Little else is known about the Visigoths' history during the 7th century, since records are relatively sparse.) In 711 or 712, a force of invading North African Moors defeated the Visigoths in the Battle of Guadalete. Their king and many members of their governing elite were killed, and their kingdom rapidly collapsed. Gothic identity survived, however, especially in Marca Hispanica and the Kingdom of Asturias, which had been founded by the Visigothic nobleman Pelagius of Asturias after his victory over the Moors at the Battle of Covadonga.

During their governance of the Kingdom of Hispania, the Visigoths built several churches that survive. They also left many artifacts, which have been discovered in increasing numbers by archaeologists in recent times. The Treasure of Guarrazar of votive crowns and crosses is the most spectacular. They founded the only new cities in western Europe from the fall of the Western half of the Roman Empire until the rise of the Carolingian dynasty. Many Visigothic names are still in use in modern Spanish and Portuguese. Their most notable legacy, however, was the Visigothic Code, which served, among other things, as the basis for court procedure in most of Christian Iberia until the Late Middle Ages, centuries after the demise of the kingdom.

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.

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