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Gothic eagle brooch, Museo Arqueológico Nacional Madrid (Spain).

The Goths were an East Germanic people who had been involved in military conflicts with the Romans several times since the 3rd century. During the late ancient migration period , the West and then the Ostrogoths formed their own empires on the soil of the Roman Empire , which perished in 711 and 552 respectively.

The origin of the Goths is disputed. At the turn of the times , a people settled in the area of ​​the Vistula estuary who were known to ancient authors such as Tacitus under the name Gotonen ( Gutonen ; Gothic Gutans ). The name is often derived from the Gothic word giutan ("pour") or gutans ("poured") and interpreted as a "pourer". Whether these peoples were the ancestors of the later Goths, as was previously assumed, is a matter of dispute. According to reports by Jordanes , the Goths originally came from Scandinavia, but most historians believe that this is a fiction that served to increase the prestige of the Goths.

With the starting point that the Gutons were the ancestors of the Goths, the assumption is supported that in the second half of the 2nd century some of the people moved southeast to the Black Sea. Other researchers, on the other hand, take the view that the Goths only emerged as a separate peoples in the Black Sea region and thus in the run-up to the Roman border (see ethnogenesis ). After the first clashes with the Roman Empire in Southeastern Europe around the middle of the 3rd century, at the end of the 3rd century there was a split into an eastern ( Greutungen ) and a western group ( Terwingen ), which later - to put it simply - the Ostrogoths (Ostrogothi = brilliant Goths) and the Visigothi (Visigothi = noble, good Goths) developed.

The Greutungen or Ostrogoths were subjugated by the Huns around 375 . After their decline, they were initially Roman foederati (allies), but conquered Italy in 488 under Theodoric , formally on behalf of Eastern Europe . After Theodoric's death, the Ostrogoth empire disintegrated around 550 under the onslaught of the Eastern Roman troops of Emperor Justinian .

The Terwingen (later Visigoths) defeated the Eastern Roman army under Emperor Valens in the battle of Adrianople in 378 . They became Roman foederati in 382 and founded an empire in Gaul at the beginning of the 5th century , which was driven into Hispania by the Franks . The Visigoth Empire was subject to the Muslim Moors in 711 .

Tribal names

The Visigoths were also called Tervingi (mainly in their settlement areas north of the Danube ) or Vesigithi or Visigothi (here the Latin forms). Terwingen means "forest people" (Gothic triu "tree"). Vesi is a splendid self-designation, which means something like "the noble / good".

There are basically two forms of name for the Ostrogoths: Ostrogot (h) i, Ostrogotae and Greutungi ( subsidiary forms: Greothingi, Grutungi, Grauthungi ), whereby Greutungen means “steppe dwellers” or “beach dwellers”. The oldest surviving form of Ostrogoths is Austrogoti ( Historia Augusta , Vita Claudii 6.2). It is a self-designation, derived from a Bible-Gothic lexeme handed down by Wulfila , the compound * Austra-gutans . In the Germanic comparison, austra means "east". Other interpretations such as “the Goths shining through the sunrise” cannot be proven etymologically. Such interpretations were made, for example, by Herwig Wolfram from austr (o) -a as “shiny, radiant”, from Germanic * ausra (also Easter ).

Later, the names Vesigothi and Ostrogothi were reinterpreted in an anachronistic manner as Visigoths and Ostrogoths by Cassiodor , a high Roman official of the Ostrogoth king Theodoric , when the separation of the tribes became clear. Cassiodorus names the Gepids as the third ethnic group alongside the Eastern and Visigoths . Originally they were probably their own people and had joined the southern movement of the Goths. Most of the Gepids stayed in the hinterland, near the Carpathian Mountains, and played a rather subordinate role politically. The Visigoths settled north of the Danube, while the Ostrogoths spread at the mouth of the Dnieper , including in the Crimea . The Visigoths constituted themselves in an oligarchy ruled by many small kings , while the royal house of the Amaler was (allegedly) able to maintain its power with the Ostrogoths. Historically, however, the Amals have only been documented since the late 4th century AD, the ancient family tree that Jordanes gave is constructed.

In addition to the West and Ostrogoths, Jordanes named another, allegedly numerous group, which he called the small Goths . These small goths, to which the Gothic bishop Wulfila belonged, are said to have populated the area of ​​Nicopolis in Moesia during Jordanes' time .


The Goths before the separation

red: Oxhöft culture , then early Wielbark culture
blue: Jastorf culture (light: expansion, purple: displaced)
yellow: Przeworsk culture (orange: displaced)
pink, orange, purple: expansion of Wielbark culture (2nd century)
Reconstruction of a gothic long farmer's house near Masłomęcz in the powiat Hrubieszów (2nd / 3rd century)

Origin: tribal legend and reality

The first mentions of the Goths can be found by the ancient historians Tacitus , Strabo and Ptolemy as Gotons . From their messages to the image of a tribal alliance gives a remarkably strong for Germanic relations kingdom, who is currently turning north of the Vistula knee in the sphere of the Marcomanni settled. Western neighbors on the Baltic coast were the Rugians . It is unclear whether the south-western neighbors, i.e. Vandals and Lugier , were two tribal associations or one.

When Cassiodorus wrote the Historia Gothorum (“History of the Goths”) on behalf of Theodoric in the first third of the 6th century , he went much further back in time. Since Cassiodor's twelve-volume version has not survived, only the shortened revision by Jordanes (around 550, De origine actibusque Getarum , or Getica for short ) is available as a source for the early tribal legends. These tribal legends may have been passed on orally, but were at least arranged and partly invented by Cassiodorus according to influential historiographical models (Tacitus' Germania ). Cassiodorus brought together numerous Scandinavian and Scythian peoples, the names of which had been known to classical and ancient geography and ethnography in part since Herodotus (especially the Geten , which was often confused with the Goths ), and apparently also their lists of kings to form a Gothic history. The evaluation of the Getica is made more difficult by the fact that it is unclear how much of Cassiodor's work has been preserved in them.

According to the origin story handed down by Jordanes, the Goths descended from the legendary tribal founder Gapt on the island of Scandza (Scandinavia). From there, under King Berig , they landed with three ships in Gothiscandza on the Baltic coast and, after five generations under Filimer, headed south. The division of the people into West and Ostrogoths occurred when the bridge collapsed while crossing a large river.

However, this representation, which only appeared in the 6th century in the often unreliable Jordanes, cannot be confirmed. It is more likely to be viewed as a topical myth of origin (see Origo gentis ). Thus, through archaeological research, no significant immigration from Scandinavia could be determined for the Willenberg culture (also Wielbark culture), which was often attributed to the early Goths . According to recent research, it is more likely that this culture originated east of the Vistula and slowly shifted from there to the southeast since the 1st century, while some settlements at the mouth of the Vistula continued into the 4th century.

It is often assumed that the Goths emerged from the amalgamation of different tribes. It is conceivable that the name “Goths” had a special prestige, which is why it was used by very different groups (similar to that of the Huns ). What the groups traditionally assigned to the Goths have in common is that they did not put any weapons in the grave of their deceased, which is atypical for Teutons. The informative value of this observation is now disputed. Some researchers (such as Michael Kulikowski ) now deny any connection between the Willenberg culture and the Goths and assume that there was no migration of the Goths at all before the 3rd century, since the ethnogenesis of the tribe only took place then - and on the Danube, in the immediate vicinity of the Imperium Romanum . Just like the Franks and Alemanni, the Goths emerged as a new major tribe on the Roman border. The outcome of the debate is currently open.

A somewhat certain Gothic “history” can only be spoken of when the Goths entered the horizon of Roman and Greek historians when they crossed the Danube in 238 .


Jordanes reported: After the middle of the second century, when the size of the people increased more and more, according to legend, King Filimer made the decision to emigrate with his army, women and children. According to the traditional view, the Goths moved (relatively slowly) upstream along the Vistula to the Danube and the Black Sea . On their way, if one follows this view, they ousted the Marcomanni , who ruled the Bohemian region, and thus, according to some researchers, triggered the Marcomann Wars between Elbe-Germanic tribes and Romans.

Gothic walks: 1. Götaland (green); 2. Gotland (pink); 3. the Wielbark culture , 2nd century (red); 4. the Cernjachov culture , 3rd century (orange)

The only thing that is really undisputed is that the Goths appeared in the Danube region and on the northwest coast of the Black Sea at the beginning of the 3rd century. According to many researchers, a shift of parts of the Wielbark culture into the area of ​​the Chernyakhov culture (mostly in the Ukraine ) has been archaeologically proven , while this is now vehemently denied by other scholars who believe in a Gothic "local ethnogenesis" . The attack by Gothic groups on the empire, sometimes referred to as the "Gotensturm", began on the Danube. This coincided with the imperial crisis of the 3rd century , when the internal political instability of the soldier empire was combined with foreign policy threats on the northern and eastern borders of the empire.

In 238 the Goths, together with the Carps , invaded the Roman Histria south of the mouth of the Danube. In the only surviving contemporary historiographical source , the Greek historian Publius Herennius Dexippus (Dexippos), they were referred to as Scythai , according to an anachronistic ethnographic topos for barbaric peoples from the Black Sea region . After the city was sacked and annual tributes extorted , they withdrew. When, ten years later, Emperor Philip Arab stopped paying tributes after conquering the Carps, the Goths, under their leader Kniva , invaded Dacia , Thrace , Moesia and Illyria in 250 with several large groups of warriors ; Another Goth leader seems to have been Ostrogotha , who is mentioned in a newly found text fragment (Scythica Vindobonensia) , which is attributed to Dexippos. The now new Emperor Decius was defeated in several battles and finally fell in the Battle of Abrittus in 251.

The next emperor Trebonianus Gallus again granted tributes to the Goths, but was overthrown by Aemilianus , who had defeated Kniva in 252 as governor and stopped paying as emperor in 253. Again the Goths attacked Thrace and Moesia, but this time they were defeated. After another change of emperors, the Goths advanced to Thessaloniki in 254 . In the meantime, many Roman cities that had previously remained unfortified under the protection of the Pax Romana were heavily fortified and the country suffered from severe devastation.

From 255 some Goths went over to sea-based attacks, initially in the area of ​​the eastern Black Sea, they conquered Pityus and Trebizond together with the Borans 256 . From 257 the Goths crossed the Bosporus for the first time and took a number of cities in Asia Minor. A second time, in 268, a great Gothic-Herulic armada, united with strong land forces, advanced against Byzantium , crossed the Dardanelles and plundered the Peloponnese . Emperor Claudius II defeated the attackers in the battle of Naissus and was the first to accept the honorary title Gothicus . After his successor Aurelian had won further victories north of the Danube, a longer period of peace began between the Romans and the Goths. However, the emperor gave up the province of Dacia north of the river , which was then settled by the Goths and their allies.

Split and further ethnogenesis

With the end of the crisis of the empire under Diocletian , which ended the internal turmoil and thus restored the defensive strength of the empire, the situation on the Danube calmed down for the time being . During this time (around the year 290) the Goths split into the Terwingen-Vesier / Visigoths and Greutungen-Ostrogothen / Ostrogoths.

In this context it must be emphasized that the Terwingen were not simply the later Visigoths and the Greutungen were not simply the later Ostrogoths. Rather, the ethnogenesis took place in a more differentiated manner: parts of the Terwingen later merged with Greutungen and parts of other peoples to the Ostrogoths, just as parts of the Greutungen took part in the ethnogenesis of the main part of the Terwingen to the Visigoths. In terms of time, one can roughly say that the Visigoths in the period of settlement in the Roman Empire in the years from 376 to the kingship of Alaric I , the Ostrogoths in the period from the decline of the Hunnic Empire (middle of the 5th century) to the relocation to Italy under Theodoric the Great (489) "arose".

In research, however, there is no consensus as to the extent to which, for example, the later Ostrogoths can speak of a sense of community. The idea that the Goths were an ethnically closed union is certainly wrong. Rather, it was probably sufficient that newcomers behaved loyally to the “core group” (perhaps a leadership group that had a “traditional core”). In fact, real lines of ethnic continuity cannot necessarily be proven, since ethnicity was subject to numerous fluctuations, especially in late antiquity, and names in particular may have moved.

According to researchers such as Michael Kulikowski, the Roman influence on Gothic ethnogenesis became apparent again around 300 - when the emperors systematically supported the Terwingen in particular, in order to use them as allies for apron control, they would have the expansion of the Terwingian sphere of power and the consolidation of a Visigothic one Promotes identity decisively.

Greutungen / Ostrogoths


Gothic shield boss (4th to 5th century) from Kerch ( Crimea )

The territory of the Greutungen, which their king Ermanarich ruled, is said to have been considerable before the invasion of the Huns in AD 375. However, it is difficult to say more precisely, as Ammianus Marcellinus , the most important source for this period, hardly gave any information. Jordanes reported in chapter 119 of his Getica that Ermanaric had defeated the Venethi towards the end of his reign . In chap. 116 he enumerated some of the previously subjugated peoples. Not all races can be identified and localized. But the Merens and Mordens mentioned by him can be identified as Merier and Mordwinen . The Imniscaris can be used as in the Nestor Chronicle testified Meščera recognize. With the Wasinabroncas , after a modification in Wasinabrocans, a people is assumed to live in lush, partially swampy grassland, which, however, cannot be localized in more detail. If you pull Rogas Tadzans to Gothic * Rōastadjans together, it is "Volgaan border" ( Rhōs is the Gothic name borrowed from the Mordvinen for the Volga ). If you leave out the scytha, which probably slipped into it later, from golthe scytha Thiodos, the result is Gothic * Golthethiodos , which means "gold people". This name must refer to the Urals , since gold was only found there. According to Jordanes, the peoples subject to Ermanarich lived in an area between the Urals and Volga, from the catchment area of ​​the Kama in the north to the Ural River in the south.

The highest estimate is based on a Gothic area of ​​influence from the Baltic to the Urals, which is considered by most modern researchers to be exaggerated, especially since it is not certain whether Ermanarich ruled over all Greutungen. In any case, the center of Greutungian rule was in Ukraine and included not only the Goths but also other ethnic groups. As with the later Rus, long-distance trade is seen as the cause of this empire's size. They were furs from the Arctic Ocean, gold from the Urals, wax and honey, a specialty of the Meščera, a Finno-Ugric name that etymologically refers to beehive to the south. Ermanarich finally managed to defeat the Heruli ruling the exit of the Volga-Don route , which only made sense from the point of view of trade. From the point of view of long-distance trade, the Ermanaric Empire was a forerunner of the Russian Empire that later emerged with the same goal.

The process of expansion under the influence of the Iranian steppe peoples meant that the armored lancers made up a significant part of the Greutungen's armed force - in contrast to the Terwingen, where the foot soldier predominated. The Gothic cavalry warrior fought duels on horseback and was able to cover great distances.

In 375 at the latest, the Huns crossed the Don and subjugated the Alan empire. With that, war was declared on Ermanarich. With their ultra-modern reflex arcs and attack tactics, the Hunn riders were far superior to the Gothic warriors. The king himself, Ammianus Marcellinus says , neither wanted to experience nor answer for it. After several defeats, in view of the terrible dangers threatening him and for fear of the big decisions, he put an end to his life himself. His people did not give up the fight yet and chose a successor from the royal family. This fell after a year and the Eastern Gothic resistance collapsed. The majority of the people came under the supremacy of the Huns, but a strong group of Greutungen and Alans managed to connect with renegade Huns and evade submission, whereupon they sought refuge in the Roman Empire. It was this group that helped the Terwingen / Visigoths to victory in the battle against the Romans a year later.

Most of the Greutungen, including the Gepids , submitted to the Huns and migrated with their armies to the west. Only a minority remained in the Crimea, which was able to assert itself as an independent culture for an extremely long time. Gothic was still spoken there in the 16th century . The Flemish envoy Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq met such Crimean Goths in Istanbul, some of whom he handed down a few words, such as reghen (rain), stul (chair) and handa (hands). The "Goths", the cities of the Crimean Goths , are carved directly into the stone. In their capital Dori , all streets and houses are carved into the rock.

The Goths living under Hunnic rule evidently adapted to the new circumstances. Priskos reports that the Gothic language was an important lingua franca in the Hun Empire of Attila . In the case of the Goths living among the Huns, the custom of deforming the skull can also be proven. Huns took on Gothic names, just as, conversely, Goths had Hunnic names. However, the relationship between Goths and Huns remained ambivalent, apparently some groups of Goths were repeatedly able to withdraw from Hunnic rule or attempt to achieve this (see Radagaisus ).


In the course of the decline of Hun rule after Attila's death , the Gepids and other subjugated peoples freed themselves from Hun rule in 454 at the Battle of Nedao . The Goths had still fought on the side of the Huns, but gained their independence through their defeat (according to some researchers, the Ostrogoths only now formed as a separate group). While the remnants of the Huns withdrew to the east, the Ostrogoths finally signed a federate treaty with the Roman Empire and settled in Pannonia . In 469 they struck an alliance of several hostile tribes under the leadership of the Danube-Suebi Hunimund in the Battle of the Bolia . The son of the Ostrogoth king Thiudimir , Theodoric , came as a hostage to the court in Constantinople (probably from 459 to 469). After his release he fought for control of part of the Ostrogoths in the Balkans and became their king in 474.

Nevertheless there were Ostrogoths in the Eastern Roman service, such as the army master Theoderich Strabo , the rival of the aforementioned Theodoric. It was only after Strabo's accidental death in 481 that Theodoric the Great was finally able to assert himself.

On behalf of the emperor Zeno , who wanted to get rid of the Amaler, the army master Theoderic moved to Italy in 488 with most of the Ostrogoths to drive Odoacer , who had deposed Romulus Augustulus in 476 and ruled the country as patricius . The Goths invaded Italy in 489. Theodoric was to retake Rome and Italy for the empire until the emperor himself came to the west. After two years of siege of Ravenna, Theoderich Odoacer was able to defeat in the battle of raven . Although both had already agreed on a joint Italian government, Theodoric murdered his opponent on March 5, 493 in Ravenna and ruled Italy from then on as princeps Romanus and "in place of the emperor". Zeno had died in 491 and his successor Anastasius initially did not recognize Theodoric, who apparently had himself acclaimed again as rex . In 497/498 there was a provisional agreement between Ravenna and Constantinople, whereby the toleration of Gothic rule from the emperor's point of view only related to Theodoric, not to any descendants. Whether Theodoric should henceforth be seen more as the king of an Italian Ostrogothic empire or more as a Western Roman head of government in the tradition of Ricimer is disputed in research.

After the elimination of competition in his own camp, Theodoric's rule was in any case characterized by the connection to late antique administrative practice in Italy, the striving for a balance between Goths and Romans (who were Arians and Catholics) and the consolidation of power (marriage and alliance policy) . However, he could not prevent the establishment of Frankish rule over Gaul and only the Mediterranean coast remained Gothic after 507. In 511 he made himself a rex over the Visigoths, which had been defeated by the Franks four years earlier, while Italy was in a late cultural bloom inside. Theodoric's last years were overshadowed by growing tensions with Constantinople, which contributed to wrong decisions such as the execution of Boethius for high treason. Theodoric finally died on August 30, 526, giving rise to numerous legends about his death. His tomb in Ravenna is empty.

The time after that was chaotic: Theodoric's daughter Amalasuntha ruled as guardian of the designated, but only ten-year-old successor, Athalaric . However, her cousin Theodahad disempowered her in 534. Ostrom intervened in the battle under the energetic Emperor Justinian : The Eastern Roman general Belisarius landed in Sicily in 535 and quickly advanced as far as Rome. The rebelling Goths overthrew Theodahad and raised 536 Witichis to rex , which Belisarius was able to withstand until 540. But in May 540 Belisarius entered Ravenna and took Witichis prisoner: the Ostrogoths seemed defeated.

The remnants of the Goths army raised Totila to rex in 541 , which then, completely surprisingly, managed to recapture large parts of Italy within a short time. Apparently the imperial officials had made themselves so unpopular in a very short time that Totila found many followers. In the following ten years the country was so thoroughly devastated by the war that this catastrophe marked the end of the late ancient culture of Italy; a cruel war raged with varying fortunes. The Belisarius, who was sent again, was unable to bring about a decision due to insufficient troop strength - the main imperial army was bound by a war against the Persian Sassanids - and was finally recalled. In 552 the new East Roman Italian army (around 30,000 soldiers) was led by Narses , who decisively defeated Totila in 552 in the battle of Busta Gallorum (Totilas death).

The Ostrogoth agony ended with Teja in the autumn of 552 in the battle of the Milchberg . Most of the Goths submitted to Narses. Some of the surviving Goths became Eastern Roman subjects, some of them offered persistent resistance in some places until 562, and some of them joined the Franks and Lombards (see also: Justinian I ).

Terwingen / Visigothen / Visigoths


Towards the end of the 3rd century the Terwings began to colonize Dacia , which was abandoned by the Romans for strategic reasons . Until shortly before the threat of the Huns began , the situation remained calm, with the exception of occasional small raids by the Terwingen. Constantine the Great had signed a treaty with the Danube Goths in 332, who thereby undertook to provide weapons assistance. With the era of Athanaric , however, the Roman-Terwingi disputes intensified from 365 onwards because of the bad treatment by the Roman administration. Athanaric, who had supported a Roman usurper , was decisively defeated in 369 by the Eastern Roman Emperor Valens , but was still able to negotiate a favorable treaty. The Christianization of the Terwingen, which had begun in the meantime (especially Wulfila is to be emphasized), led to the persecution of Christians and the formation of an opposition to Athanaric under the Fritigern who had converted to Arianism .

Although Fritigern was supported by Valens, Athanaric retained the upper hand for the time being. However, this changed with the growing danger of the Huns, which Athanaric could not avert. Large parts of the Terwingen fled to the empire under Fritigern in 376 with the permission of the Romans under chaotic conditions.


The approximate route of the train of the Visigoths / Visigoths - within two generations they crossed half the Roman Empire between 376 and 418, until they finally settled in the western provinces.

The Visigoths , which arose as part of an ethnogenesis process on Eastern Roman soil after this Danube crossing in 376, differed from the Terwingen (as well as the Greutungen). The Visigoths were wrongly interpreted as "Visigoths" in the Getica des Jordanes . In German historical research and in languages ​​influenced by it, such as Russian and Ukrainian, the term “Visigoths” prevailed for the Visigoths, in many other countries the term “Visigoths” is used.

In 376 Emperor Valens had allowed the Terwingen under Fritigern to cross the Danube and settle in parts of Thrace . However, they were not disarmed because of the failure of the administration there; As a result, tens of thousands of Terwingen finally came across the Danube, so that the Romans were completely overwhelmed by logistical problems with the supply, especially since there was also mismanagement on the Roman side. The Roman army was also completely overwhelmed and could not prevent several other tribes from crossing the Danube with the Terwingen Fritigerns, some in a disorderly manner; shortly afterwards there was fighting. The Roman regional army was defeated and Roman slaves and previously Romanized Goths went over to Fritigern. A group of Greutungen who were very close at the same time made contact with the Terwingen, as did some Alans and fugitive Huns. Against this three peoples confederation , Emperor Valens led the entire eastern court army of around 30,000 men to Thrace. His nephew Gratian should advance from the north with his elite troops, but was by a sudden invasion of the Alemanni delayed and did not arrive until late in the northwest of present-day Bulgaria one.

Since the Romans received news that the Visigoths army would only consist of 10,000 men, Valens decided to attack on the morning of August 9, 378, despite the lack of reinforcements. Both armies met at Adrianople . Contrary to their assumption, however, the Romans found a numerically much stronger opponent who had holed up behind a huge wagon castle. Both sides tried to negotiate to avoid a fight and to find a peaceful solution, but two Roman units began the attack due to lack of discipline without orders. The remaining troops then followed, so that it came to the battle . After the Visigoths had repulsed a first attack, the Romans regrouped and began a second attack on the wagon castle. In the middle of the battle, however, the Greutungen riders returned from their search for food and immediately plunged into battle. Now that Fritigern also started a failure, the Romans found themselves suddenly caught in a pinch and were attacked from two sides. The left wing was able to advance further, but was intercepted by the Greutung riders, whereupon the Roman cavalry and the tactical army reserve fled.

Two thirds of the Roman army, Emperor Valens and almost all of the generals and staff officers were killed. The most powerful parts of the Roman army in the east were largely destroyed. The consequences of the battle were manifold: The Terwingian Visigoths became horsemen, Christianization was promoted and the Roman policy towards barbarians belonging to the empire had to be changed: they were integrated from now on and economic, political and legal measures were taken accordingly. The fact that Adrianople was the beginning of the end of the empire, as sometimes assumed in older research, is now heavily doubted. However, as a result there was a reorientation of Roman foreign policy, which now had to rely less than before on preventive strikes and more on diplomacy and tributes . The reason was an acute shortage of soldiers, which promoted the barbarization of the army.

Depiction of Theodosius I on a Roman coin

In October 382 a contractual agreement was reached between the Visigoths and the Roman emperor Theodosius I , who ruled the east as co-emperor Gratian from 379. Accordingly, the Visigothen were settled as federates between the Danube and the Balkan Mountains, received tax-free land (which, however, remained Roman territory) and annual allowances, but had to serve as soldiers. In addition, a marriage ban between Romans and Visigoths was issued. This treaty set in motion a development that ultimately led to the Visigoths becoming a "state within the state", although this development was not foreseeable beforehand in its full scope - especially since Theodosius had at least temporarily solved the Goth problem and now again had a powerful army in which the Visigoths were integrated. Viewed as a whole, this “Gothic Treaty” did not differ significantly from the Roman contract practice. It was rather the later development which made the effects of the foedus come to light. The exact content and meaning of the Gothic Treaty of 382 are controversial due to the poor sources.

Possibly due to the increasing Hunnic pressure, from the year 391 onwards, Visigothic groups plundered southward; The tribal leader Fravitta, loyal to Rome, killed his rival Eriulf . When the Huns crossed the Danube on a large scale in 395, most of the Visigoths who had settled since 382 left their homes and plundered the Balkans and the Peloponnese under Alaric I , especially since they no longer dress after the death of Emperor Theodosius I felt bound by their contracts with him. In 394 they had supported Theodosius in the civil war against Eugenius and paid an immense toll in blood. After they had been defeated by the Roman general Stilicho , they received a new foedus three years later in 397 and were settled in Macedonia .

They stayed there for only four years, because Alaric had still not obtained a position in the Roman state that corresponded to his ideas and would have legalized and secured his position. He and his men felt cheated of their reward for helping them fight Eugenius. In 401, Alaric's Visigoths went on a journey again and crisscrossed the Eastern Empire (Balkans) and Italy, only to settle in front of Rome seven years later (408) after Stilicho's death . Alaric's increasingly desperate requests to the Emperor Honorius to provide for and reward him and his men were repeatedly rejected by the Romans in incorrect assessments of the situation. On August 24, 410, Alaric's troops, who had already threatened such an action twice before, took Rome almost without resistance and looted it for three days . Because of the still precarious supply situation, Alarich tried in vain to get to rich North Africa, but there was a lack of ships. He died on the retreat to northern Italy. His successor Athaulf led the Visigoths to Gaul .

After further military conflicts (advances to Hispania, another attempt to advance to North Africa), the Visigothen received after a defeat against imperial troops in 418 again a federal treaty and were by Constantius III. located in Aquitaine . This was the beginning of the Gallic Empire of the Visigoths around Tolosa (today's Toulouse ).

The Tolosan Empire

Over the next few decades, there were repeated clashes between Romans and Visigoths, as well as between Romans and various other Germanic tribes, and finally the ever increasing danger of the Huns. In 451 there was a battle in the Catalaunian fields . There were the Huns, Gepids, various other Germanic tribes and Ostrogoths on the one hand, and Romans, Gauls, also various Germanic tribes and Visigoths on the other. The battle ended in a draw, but the aura of the invincibility of Attila was gone. According to legend, the then king of the Visigoths Theoderid died by throwing a spear from the Ostrogoth Andagis. It is questionable, however, whether the battle can be assigned any significance in world history.

In the period that followed, the Visigothic empire increasingly consolidated. Theodoric II influenced Western Roman politics and put his acquaintance, the distinguished Gallo-Roman Avitus , through as emperor. After his death Theodoric II fought against the Western Roman army master Aegidius , who in 458 lifted the Visigoth siege of Arles . When Aegidius fell out with the government in Ravenna in 461 and withdrew to Northern Gaul, the Visigoths attacked on behalf of the powerful army master Ricimer Aegidius, who, however , was able to defeat them with Frankish support in 463 near Orléans . A Roman enclave in northern Gaul was under Syagrius , son of Aegidius, until 486.

Especially under the important King Euric , who in the 460s, in view of the weakness of the Western Roman emperor, terminated the federal treaty and set out to conquer the surrounding Gallic territories, the Visigothic empire grew stronger. Apparently the Goths met with little resistance; on the contrary, in many places they probably simply moved into a position that the emperor could no longer fill. There was both confrontation and cooperation with the Gallo-Roman upper class. Spain came increasingly into the focus of Visigoth activities, where Eurich was able to establish himself. With the end of the Western Roman Empire in 476, the Tolosan Empire became virtually independent and at the time of its greatest expansion reached from Hispania, which experienced two large waves of immigration in the 490s, to the Loire .

Against the advancing Franks under the Merovingian Clovis I , who had conquered the northern Gallic empire of Syagrius in 486 , the Visigoths under King Alaric II largely lost their Gallic lands after the defeat at the Battle of Vouillé in 507. After that they were limited to the Iberian Peninsula and a narrow, very valuable strip of the French Mediterranean coast ( Septimania and the coast to the west). Tolosa was also lost. Apparently Alaric II had completely underestimated the threat from Clovis and did not take the case of Syagrius, which he had handed over to Clovis, seriously as a warning. Even the support from Gallo-Roman contingents under Senator Apollinaris could not turn the tide. Alaric was killed in the battle and his son Amalaric first took over the rule. The Visigoth Empire was in dissolution and could only be defended against the Franks with the help of Ostrogoths. In 511 the Visigoths came under Ostrogothic rule: Theodoric , exploiting Visigoth anarchy, declared himself their king.

The Toledan Empire

Visigoth bow brooch (6th century)
from Castiltierra , Spain

After Theodoric's death, the Visigoths became independent again in 526, and Toledo became their new residence . In 531 another heavy defeat against the Franks and the loss of all remaining Gallic territories except for Septimania had to be accepted . Only after a long period of turmoil, King Leovigild succeeded in consolidating the empire from the late 560s onwards and gradually bringing the Iberian Peninsula almost completely under Visigothic control. He subjugated the Cantabrians and the Suebi in the northwest and also pushed back the Eastern Romans, who under Justinian had conquered areas in the south around Córdoba and Carthago Nova since 552 . The last imperial fortresses in Spain did not capitulate until the 620s.

Leovigild (568 to 586) was the first Visigoth king to openly pretend to be a sovereign ruler: He stopped putting the emperor's image on his gold coins, thereby signaling that he no longer recognized the formal sovereignty of Constantinople. He was also the first Visigoth to wear a crown and purple, and in the style of the Roman emperors, he founded a new city, Reccopolis , which was named after his son Rekkared . But the following decades were marked by frequent arguments about the succession to the throne. An electoral monarchy had developed under Roman influence and powerful aristocratic families fought for the crown. The respective royal house tried, however, to enforce a hereditary monarchy .

Another power factor was the Catholic Church. After repeated attempts by the kings to convert the majority of the population to Arianism had failed , they finally chose the opposite path: after King Rekkared I had converted to Catholicism in 587 , Catholicism became the imperial religion at the 3rd  Council of Toledo in 589, whereupon Arianism apparently soon disappeared. This enabled the previously forbidden (albeit often practiced) mixing of the previously Arian Visigoths (probably only about two to three percent of the total population of Hispania) with the other population groups. As a result, the use of the Gothic language quickly dwindled in favor of a late Latin or early Spanish colloquial language. At the time of the Arab invasion in 711, no one other than the highest nobility will have used the Gothic language. In the period that followed, the Visigoth kings ruled the church with virtually no restrictions, without interference from the Pope, which the Spanish bishops apparently agreed to.

The late 6th century was a cultural heyday of the Visigothic Empire, which was characterized by an increasing displacement of the Visigothic elements in favor of the late ancient Roman elements. So it was no coincidence that Isidore of Seville was able to work in this environment , who tried to preserve the knowledge of antiquity that was still accessible to him. Kings also ensured the continuation of the legal codification , which had already begun by Eurich and which continued into the 7th century. But the battles for the throne did not break off in the period that followed. King Wamba (672–680) was the first Western European ruler who is known to have been anointed to be king according to the Old Testament model - a way of strengthening one's own position that was taken a few decades later in the Frankish Empire.

After King Witiza's death , Roderich (Rodrigo) was elected king in 710 . But the Muslims who had conquered all of North Africa crossed the Strait of Gibraltar with an expeditionary force of at least 8,000 men . King Roderich was currently on a campaign against insurgent Basques. He hurried south with almost the entire Gothic army. Contrary to claims to the contrary in later sources, according to the current state of research, it is clear that the king was not betrayed by nobles from his own ranks. However, he was apparently compelled by the Gothic greats to accept the battle before his army was fully assembled. In the battle of the Río Guadalete he was defeated by the invaders. The Visigoth capital Toledo fell without a fight. Seville and some large cities were able to hold out against the Muslims who subsequently poured into the country in large numbers for almost two years. In 719 the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula was complete. In 725 the last remainder of the kingdom of Septimania north of the Pyrenees was taken by the Muslims. The Visigoth nobleman Theodemir made peace with the Muslims and was able to secure a hereditary principality under Muslim sovereignty, this landscape was named Tudmir after him.

The later so-called Reconquista (the reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula by the Christians) began in Asturias from 722 under the Visigoth nobleman Pelagius ( Pelayo ). After the collapse of the Visigoth Empire, Asturias came under complete Muslim rule, but in 718, Pelayo was elected king or prince by insurgents. He founded the kingdom of Asturias , whose rulers later regarded themselves as successors to the Visigoth kings.

Visigoth traces in Spanish culture are minimal, especially since the number of Visigoths was never particularly large. However, quite a few grandees still proudly traced their gender back to actual or supposed Germanic ancestors for a very long time - in some cases until today.

The culture of the Goths

It should be noted that after the settlement of the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths on Roman territory, the Goths appropriated Roman culture to different degrees, although there were still differences ( anthropomorphic rock tombs on the Iberian Peninsula ). Conversely, Islamic culture in medieval Spain took over a lot from the Visigoths, such as the shape of the column capitals in their mosques. This is particularly evident in Andalusia .


Gothic is the main representative of the East Germanic branch of the language , which also includes Vandalic and Burgundian . As Wulfila gave it a script several centuries earlier than all other Germanic languages and was the first Germanic language to achieve the status of a written language , the traditional Gothic is more ancient than, say, Old English or Old Norse . In some ways it is probably closer to the common Germanic .

The Gothic is extinct except for traces that it left in the vocabulary of Romance languages. Until 17./18. In the 17th century there were still remains in the Crimea : the Crimean Gothic .


The original religion of the Goths can be assigned to the Germanic religions . As for other Germanic religions, the sources for the religion of the Goths are poor.

Jordanes reports that the Goths no longer viewed their kings as ordinary people after a victory, but instead referred to them as demigods (semidei) , in Gothic ansis ( Getica 13). By name "ansis" appears to be the Gothic form of the name of Asen to act. Among the Visigoths, the god of war Tyz may have come first. A Gothic Wodan-Odin is not known for sure. In addition, the Danube and other rivers were worshiped as gods. The river god received human sacrifices and oaths were taken in his name. Battles were opened with songs praising the ancestors and the gods and drinking mead. The priests and shamans (also priestesses) of the individual tribes worshiped local deities. Apparently there was no common cult of all Goths (or even all Visigoths).

The Goths came into contact with Christianity as early as the 3rd century, since among the prisoners they took during their raids on Roman territory were Christians who tried to convert the Goths. The declared enemy of Rome Athanaric , who was the elected speaker of the Visigoth minor kings as judge (Latin iudex ) until 375 , persecuted the Gothic Christians in the name of the Gothic deities before 346 and 369–372.

Social Christianity spread from the bottom up. The Terwingian upper class saw this as a threat to the religious and social order and suspected the Christians of collaboration with the Romans. Hence the persecution of Christians. So Athanarich had Christians burned together with their houses, the Goth Wingurich set fire to full churches.

Page from the Codex Argenteus

In the course of these conflicts, Athanaric's opponent, the Fritigern , who had converted to Arian Christianity, allied himself with the Eastern Roman Emperor Valens and thus stood on the side of Rome. In the inner-Gothic battles between Athanaric and Fritigern in 367, the former was able to prevail. This had serious effects on the relationship with Rome and the Christians also suffered greatly.

The Gothic Bishop Wulfila and his helpers translated the first Germanic Bible (Wulfilabibel) after he had been expelled from the Goths during the first persecution of Christians and settled in the strip of land east of the lower Danube by the Roman Emperor Constantius II. He translated it partly on the basis of pieces already translated by Latin and Greek missionaries, from 350 until the year of his death 383. The best preserved copy is the Codex Argenteus - a royal piece on purple-colored veal parchment, written in silver and gold ink. It proves the appreciation that these identity-creating efforts were shown in the 6th century. Wulfila himself was probably baptized at birth, raised in three languages ​​and received a rhetorical education. Around 341 he must have received his ordination as bishop of Christians in the Gothic country.

Not much is known about the Christianization of the Ostrogoths. At least the Pannonian Goths under Theodoric were considered Arian .


Thanks to Jordanes, four royal families of the Goths have survived: the Amaler , the Balthen , the Berig and the Geberich . It is a matter of dispute how old these sexes actually were; In the meantime, many researchers assume that a real kingship with the Gothic associations was only established late and that the prehistory of the sexes is fiction. According to Joardanes Amal, the progenitor of the semi-divine Amal, the legendary great-grandson of the Gapt , whose great-grandson was a certain Ostrogotha , the "father of the Ostrogoths". Cassiodorus connects them with the A (n) ses (cf. the Nordic sir ), the gods. The first historical Amaler was Ermanarich , another prominent representative of this sex was Theodoric the Great . The German heroic legend preserves the name of the royal family as Amelungen . The visigotic Balthen (the "bold", English bold ) took second place. They included Alaric I. , Ricimer and Gesalech . From the Berig clan only Berig himself, an otherwise unknown Gadarig and Filimer are known. In addition to the namesake, Kniva may also belong to the von Geberich clan . The politically motivated tradition of the 6th century regards the Amaler and Balthen as the legitimate rulers of the Eastern and Visigoths.

Power building

The territory of the Goths was the gutþiuda , divided into small tribes, the kunja . The latter were headed by the chiefs (reiks) who met in the council (gafaúrds) . In the event of danger, a judge (kindins) was appointed. Judges or the council appointed an army commander (outside) for military operations . The country was ruled by the aristocracy in house (gards) and castle (baúrgs) in competition with the cooperative village (haims) .

In the course of time, especially with the migrations, the elements of the Germanic army-kingship became more and more prevalent : the assembly of warriors lifted the king ansiudans onto the shield (which became the winged word). This development ultimately led to the competition between the elected monarchy and the hereditary monarchy of the Spanish Visigoths. The Ostrogoth king Theodoric ("the great"), however, saw himself as a Roman citizen and Latin king, Flavius ​​rex . His endeavor was to make Gothic history a part of Roman.


  • The flight of Visigoth nobles to Asturias became part of Spanish history. The Spanish heir to the throne still bears the title " Prince of Asturias ". Asturias was never a Visigoth settlement area. The Visigoths, who settled in the heartland around Toledo, had already been largely Romanized, which is evidenced by the lack of an archaeological find horizon typical of the Visigoths in the 7th and 8th centuries. The mixed population that emerged in the Visigoth Empire was partially Islamized in the emirate and later caliphate of Córdoba (see Mozarab ).
  • In the Middle Ages, the appeal to the Goths served to historically legitimize the Reconquista (re-conquest) and the repopulation of depopulated regions. From the 15th century and up to modern times, the Goths were also captured by Swedes (with reference to Jordanes). However, a connection with the Guten ( Gotland ) and Gauten ( Östragötha and Västragötha ) who settled in southern Sweden and a connection to the epic Beowulf is controversial.
The tomb of Theodoric the Great in Ravenna
  • The Mausoleum of Theodoric in Ravenna is somewhat similar to the tomb of Constantine. Theodoric's bones, however, are lost.
  • The most famous work of art of the Goths is undoubtedly the Codex Argenteus , the silver Bible, written with silver and gold ink on parchment pages that have been colored with the red of the purple snail : an invaluable manuscript and one of the most important manuscripts of late antiquity . It originated in Italy in the early 6th century and is now in Uppsala . A single sheet of this work was found in a shrine in Speyer Cathedral in 1970 .
  • The Pietroasa treasure, discovered in 1837 in the National Museum of Bucharest , is one of the most splendid finds attributed to the Goths. It may have been hidden from the Huns. The treasure contains numerous late antique silver vessels and the famous eagle brooches. The eagle has been the Gothic symbol par excellence since the time on the Black Sea.
  • The treasure trove of Guarrazar near Toledo contains, among other things, the consecration crowns of two Visigoth kings.

See also


The Edictum Theoderici (fragment), a collection of legislation for both Romans and Goths

The source situation regarding the Goths is partly very sketchy. Jordanes 's historical work Getica is an important source , although modern research has to be far more critical of his descriptions and the information he provides must be used with due caution.

About the "Gotensturm" in the time of the Empire crisis of the 3rd century reported Dexippus (Dexippos) in detail, but only fragments of which are preserved. Ammianus Marcellinus is by far our best source for the period from the smashing of the Greutung Empire to the Battle of Adrianople (378) ; this becomes particularly clear when one uses the following narrative sources as a comparison. Zosimos and the fragments of several historians (such as Olympiodoros of Thebes ) or the Consularia Constantinopolitana offer only a few insights into the subsequent development. Prokopios of Caesarea offers us a detailed history of the Gothic Wars of Emperor Justinian in the 6th century.

In addition, the Chronicle of Hydatius of Aquae Flaviae and various late antique church histories (such as that of Sozomenos ), but also Orosius ' Historiae adversum Paganos and Cassiodors Variae (of which we regretfully only excerpts of the Gothic story from Jordanes are preserved; his is preserved brief chronicle ). The letters of Sidonius Apollinaris , a Gallo-Roman , provide insights into the Visigoth Empire of Toulouse and the relationship between the Roman and the Goths. Furthermore, it is the chronicle of John of Biclaro and to the historical work of Isidore referenced (Historia de regibus Gothorum, Vandalorum et Suevorum) . There are also various legal texts (for example the Leges Visigothorum ).

In addition, archeology is of particular importance, especially with regard to the early history of the Goths.


  • Thorsten Andersson , Volker Bierbrauer , Walter Pohl , Piergiuseppe Scardigli, Rüdiger Schmitt:  Goten. In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde (RGA). 2nd Edition. Volume 12, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1998, ISBN 3-11-016227-X , pp. 402-443.
    (Important introduction with detailed references.)
  • Frank M.äbüttel: Theodoric the great (figures of antiquity) . 2nd bibliographically updated edition. WBG, Darmstadt 2012.
  • Sam Barnish, Federico Marazzi (Ed.): The Ostrogoths from the Migration Period to the Sixth Century . London 2007.
  • Volker Bierbrauer: Archeology and History of the Goths from 1.-7. Century . In: Early Medieval Studies . Vol. 28. de Gruyter, Berlin 1994, pp. 51–171, ISSN  0071-9706
    (important presentation on an archaeological basis.)
  • Thomas S. Burns: A History of the Ostrogoths . Bloomington 1984.
  • Arne Søby Christensen: Cassiodorus, Jordanes and the History of the Goths. Studies in a Migration Myth . Museum Tusculanum Press, Copenhagen 2002, ISBN 87-7289-710-4 . ( Review by Ian Wood as PDF; 96.72 kB).
  • Dietrich Claude : History of the Visigoths. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1970.
  • Roger Collins : Visigothic Spain, 409-711. Blackwell, Oxford et al. a. 2004, ISBN 0-631-18185-7 .
  • Christoph Eger: Visigoth burial fields on the Iberian Peninsula as a historical source: Problems of ethnic interpretation . In: Cum grano salis. Likias, Friedberg 2005, pp. 165-181, ISBN 3-9807628-5-8
  • Wolfgang Giese : The Goths . Kohlhammer-Urban Taschenbücher, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-17-017670-6
    (easy to understand and concise presentation, based on the current research situation.)
  • Peter J. Heather : Goths and Romans 332-489 . Clarendon Press, Oxford 1991, 1994, ISBN 0-19-820535-X
    (Of particular importance with regard to Gothic-Roman relations; partly takes different views than Wolfram.)
  • Peter J. Heather: The Goths (The Peoples of Europe) . Blackwell, Oxford 1996, 1998, ISBN 0-631-20932-8 .
  • Ioan Ioniță:  Sântana-de-Mureș-Černjachov culture. In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde (RGA). 2nd Edition. Volume 26, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2004, ISBN 3-11-017734 X , pp. 445–455. (Introductory article on the archeology of the Goths of the 3rd and 4th centuries).
  • Gerd Kampers: History of the Visigoths . Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn 2008, ISBN 978-3-506-76517-8 .
    (Current and relatively comprehensive overview.)
  • Michael Kulikowski: Rome's gothic wars: from the third century to Alaric . Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge et al. a. 2007, ISBN 0-521-84633-1 .
    • German: The Goths before Rome . Theiss, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-8062-2198-5
      (Konziser overview from the pen of a younger researcher who radically questions many positions of researchers such as Heather, Bierbrauer or Wolfram and in particular the entire alleged Gothic migration before 200 AD . Chr. Considers fictitious.)
  • José Orlandis: Historia del Reino Visigodo Español . Ediciones Rialp, Madrid 1988 (ND 2003), ISBN 84-321-3469-4
    (Basic for the Toledan Empire)
  • Ludwig Rübekeil: Suebica. People's names and ethnos. Institute for Linguistics, Innsbruck 1992, ISBN 3-85124-623-3 , pp. 118–146. (Innsbruck Contributions to Linguistics 68). (Detailed presentation and discussion)
  • Alexander Sitzmann, Friedrich E. Grünzweig: The old Germanic ethnonyms. A guide to their etymology. In: (= Philologica Germanica Vol. 29). Fassbaender, Vienna 2008, ISBN 978-3-902575-07-4 .
  • Hans-Ulrich Wiemer : Theodoric the great. King of the Goths, ruler of the Romans. CH Beck, Munich 2018, ISBN 978-3406719080 .
  • Herwig Wolfram : The Goths. From the beginning to the middle of the sixth century. Draft of a historical ethnography. 5th edition, CH Beck, Munich 2009, ISBN 3-406-33733-3
    (fundamental, but also partly controversial work based on the studies of R. Wenskus .)
  • Herwig Wolfram: Gothic studies. People and rule in the early Middle Ages . Beck, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-406-52957-7 .

Web links

Commons : Goten  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikibooks: Gothic  - Learning and teaching materials
Wiktionary: Gote  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. Rudolf Much : Ostgoten . In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde (RGA), vol. 3, 1st edition Strasbourg 1915-16, p. 389, § 10 f. (comprehensive eponymous treatise).
  2. ^ Albrecht Greule: Ostrogoths. § 1 onomatology . In: Heinrich Beck, Dieter Geuenich, Heiko Steuer (Hrsg.): Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde . 2nd Edition. Vol. 22, De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2003, ISBN 3-11-017351-4 , p. 344 f.
  3. ^ Peter J. Heather : Cassiodorus and the Rise of the Amals. Genealogy and the Goths under Hun Domination . In: Journal of Roman Studies , 79, 1989, pp. 103-128.
  4. On the problem of the Getica des Jordanes as a source, see Heather: Goths and Romans , p. 3 ff. As well as the detailed analysis by Christensen: Cassiodorus, Jordanes and the History of the Goths
  5. See Walter Goffart: Jordanes's "Getica" and the Disputed Authenticity of Gothic Origins from Scandinavia , in: Speculum 80, 2005, pp. 379-398.
  6. On this question in detail Christensen: Cassiodorus, Jordanes and the History of the Goths ; see. also Walter A. Goffart : Barbarian Tides: The Migration Age and the Later Roman Empire . Philadelphia 2006, p. 56 ff.
  7. Article Goten . In: RGA, Volume 12, p. 412 and p. 428 f. (with further literature). See also Bierbrauer: Archäologie und Geschichte der Goten , p. 75 ff .; Rolf Hachmann : The Goths and Scandinavia . Berlin 1970; Heather: The Goths , pp. 11 ff .; Walter Pohl : The Great Migration . Stuttgart 2002, p. 44 f. Herwig Wolfram admits that there is no archaeological evidence, but believes that a smaller group from Scandinavia may have contributed to the ethnogenesis of the Goths in the Vistula region (Wolfram: Die Goten , p. 50).
  8. Beer brewers: Archeology and history of the Goths. P. 75 ff.
  9. ^ Michael Kulikowski: Rome's gothic wars: from the third century to Alaric. Cambridge 2007, p. 43 ff.
  10. The currently most important representatives of the traditional thesis of the connection between the two cultures as evidence of Gothic migration are M. Kazanski and V. Bierbrauer; S. Brather and especially M. Kulikowski are skeptical.
  11. See on this Peter Heather: Goths and Romans . P. 309 ff.
  12. Compare the positions of Peter J. Heather and Herwig Wolfram . Heather is of the opinion that there could very well have been a greater sense of community, while Wolfram sees a core of tradition and a small leadership group as the binding force.
  13. Habebat si quidem quos domuerat Golthescytha Thiudos Inaunxis Vasinobroncas Merns murder Imniscaris Rogas Tadzans Athaul Navego Bubegenas Coldas.
  14. Joos J. Mikkola: The names of the peoples of Hermanarich. In: Finnish-Ugric Research: Journal for Finnish-Ugric Linguistics and Folklore. Book XV, 1915, pp. 56-66.
  15. ^ Theodor von Grienberger : Ermanariks Völker . In: Journal for German Antiquity. Volume 39, 1895, pp. 154-184.
  16. Gottfried Schramm: Old Russia's Beginning. Historical conclusions from names, words and texts on the 9th and 10th centuries . Freiburg i. Br. 2002, p. 54.
  17. Gottfried Schramm: Old Russia's Beginning. Historical conclusions from names, words and texts on the 9th and 10th centuries . Freiburg i. Br. 2002, p. 52.
  18. See, for example, Heather, Goths and Romans , pp. 88 f.
  19. Gottfried Schramm: Old Russia's Beginning. Historical conclusions from names, words and texts on the 9th and 10th centuries . Freiburg i. Br. 2002, p. 56.
  20. Cf. Alexander Demandt : Die Spätantike: Roman history from Diocletian to Justinian, 284-565 AD , CH Beck, Munich 2007, p. 150, note 133: “The fine chronology of the events between the appearance of the Huns and the fall of the Goten 377 (Hieron. Chron. To 377; Prosper Tiro to 377; Chron. Min. I 460) is uncertain. That the negotiations and the takeover took place in 376 results from Orosius VII 33.9f, cf. 33.13. It is unclear how long before the events at the Barbaricum took place. The year 375, much cited for the beginning of the Great Migration (and the Middle Ages) since Gibbon 1781, is not guaranteed and certainly too late for the appearance of the Huns in Europe ... "
  21. On the military conflicts cf. Bernard S. Bachrach: Some Observations on the “Goths” at war . In: Francia 19/1, 1992, pp. 205-214.
  22. Peter J. Heather : The Creation of the Visigoths. In: Peter J. Heather (Ed.): The Visigoths from the Migration Period to the Seventh Century. An Ethnographic Perspective. Woodbridge 1999, pp. 43-73; see. also Peter J. Heather, John Matthews: The Goths in the Fourth Century. Liverpool 1991.
  23. See Jordanes, Getica 82.
  24. The current German version of the Visigothen / West Goths is offered by Kampers, Westgoten .
  25. General Heather: Goths and Romans and Michael Kulikowski: Rome's Gothic Wars , Cambridge 2007 (up to the plundering of Rome 410). On the Visigoths / Visigoths cf. also campers, Visigoths .
  26. See Hartmut Leppin: Theodosius the Great . Darmstadt 2003, p. 45 ff.
  27. Mischa Meier , Steffen Patzold: August 410 - A battle for Rome. Stuttgart 2010 (on reception history).
  28. It is disputed whether the Visigoths received a third of the country or a third of tax revenue, cf. for example Walter A. Goffart : Barbarians and Romans . Princeton 1980, p. 103 ff. See also Herwig Wolfram: The permanent settlement of the Goths on Roman soil. An endless story . in: Mitteilungen des Institut für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung 112 (2004), pp. 11–35.
  29. Cf. on the Toledan Empire Kampers: Visigoths . P. 155 ff.
  30. Cf. Giese: Goten . P. 163 ff.
  31. The article Goten in the Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde offers a brief overview of sources ; Wolfram and Heather go into the source situation in more detail (see references ).
  32. Cf. Arne Søby Christensen: Cassiodorus, Jordanes and the History of the Goths. Studies in a Migration Myth. Copenhagen 2002.
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on August 23, 2005 .