Goths were an East Germanic people, two of whose branches, the
Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of
Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe. The
Goths dominated a vast area, which at its peak under the Germanic
Ermanaric and his sub-king
Athanaric possibly extended all the
way from the
Danube to the Don, and from the
Black Sea to the Baltic
Goths spoke the Gothic language, one of the extinct East Germanic
languages. It was last spoken in
Crimea in the 18th century by the
Crimean Goths; the least-powerful, least-known, and almost
paradoxically, the longest-lasting of the Gothic communities.
3 Migrations and contact with Rome
Visigoths and Ostrogoths
6.1 In the sagas
6.2 Ancients who wrote about the Goths
Götaland, south Sweden, with the island of
Gotland in the east, a
possible origin of the Goths; the southernmost and westernmost parts,
Blekinge and Bohuslän, were originally not a part of
Götaland, but were Dano-Norwegian territory until 1658.
Further information: Gaut
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,; another name, Gutans, is
inferred from a genitive plural(?) form gutani in the Pietroassa
Old Norse they were known as the Gutar or Gotar, in
Latin as the Gothi, and in Greek as the Γότθοι, Gótthoi.
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
(as most modern scholars do) 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.
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)
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. The
traditional account of the Goths' early history depends on the
Getica written c. 551 AD.
Jordanes states that the
Goths sailed from what is now
Sweden to what is now
Poland, and replaced inhabitants there, forming the Wielbark
culture. Modern academics have generally abandoned
this theory. Today, the
Wielbark culture is thought to have developed
from earlier cultures in the same area. 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, Jordanes' story
was based on an oral tradition with some basis in fact.
The expansion of the Germanic tribes AD 1:
red: Oksywie culture, then early Wielbark culture
Jastorf culture (light blue: expansion, purple: repressed)
Przeworsk culture (orange: repressed)
pink, orange, purple: expansion of
Wielbark culture (2nd century AD)
Sometime around the 1st century AD,
Germanic peoples may have migrated
Scandinavia to Gothiscandza, in present-day Poland. Early
archaeological evidence in the traditional Swedish province of
Östergötland suggests a general depopulation during this period.
However, there is no archaeological evidence for a substantial
emigration from Scandinavia and they may have originated in
the island of Gotland
Wielbark culture in the early 3rd century
Chernyakhov culture, in the early 4th 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.
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.
The culture of this area was influenced by southern Scandinavian
culture beginning as early as the late
Nordic Bronze Age
Nordic Bronze Age and early
Pre-Roman Iron Age
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[who?] see the culture of the region as part of the Nordic Bronze
Age culture. In Eastern
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
Gothic and Vandal warfare
Gothic and Vandal warfare Germanic tribes (Rugii, Goths,
Gepids, Vandals, Burgundians, and others) crossed either the lower
Danube or the Black Sea, and led to the Marcomannic Wars, which
resulted in widespread destruction and the first invasion of what is
Italy in the
Roman Empire period. It has been suggested that
Goths maintained contact with southern
Sweden during their
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.
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, in particular the
Battle of Abrittus
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
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
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 by
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
the Bosporus and captured several cities on the
including Olbia and Tyras, which enabled them to engage in widespread
Great Ludovisi sarcophagus
Great Ludovisi sarcophagus depicts a battle between
Goths and Romans.
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
Italy. After he defeated them in the Battle of Lake Benacus, he was
finally able to take care of the invasions in the Balkan
Learning of the approach of Claudius, the
Goths first attempted to
directly invade Italy. 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
Goths was causing great trouble in Colchis,
Galatia and even Cilicia. They were defeated
sometime in 276 by Emperor Marcus Claudius Tacitus.
In 332, Constantine helped the
Sarmatians to settle on the north banks
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
Goths increasingly became soldiers in the Roman armies in the
4th Century AD, contributing to the almost complete
Germanization of the
Roman Army by that time. The Gothic penchant
for wearing skins became fashion in Constantinople, which was heavily
denounced by conservatives.
Following a famine the Gothic War of 376–382 ensued, where the Goths
and some of the local Thracians rebelled. The Roman Emperor
killed at the
Battle of Adrianople
Battle of Adrianople in 378. Following the decisive
Gothic victory at Adrianople, Julius, the magister militum Eastern
Roman Empire, organized a widescale massacre of
Goths in Asia
Minor, Syria and other parts of the Roman East. Fearing rebellion,
Julian lured the
Goths into the confines of urban streets from which
they could not escape and massacred soldiers and civilians alike.
As word spread, the
Goths rioted throughout the region, and large
numbers were killed. Survivors may have settled in Phrygia.
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
Valens of 365 and recounts the Gothic War
(376-382). Around 375 AD the
Huns overran the
Alans and then the
In the late fourth century, the
Huns arrived from the east and invaded
the region controlled by the Goths.
The maximum extent of territories ruled by
Theodoric the Great
Theodoric the Great in 523
Visigoths and Ostrogoths
By the 4th century, the
Goths had captured Roman Dacia 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.
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
Byzantium and involved pledges of military assistance.
Goths were brought by Constantine to defend
Constantinople in his later reign, and the Palace Guard was mostly
Germanic peoples since foreign troops were less likely to
rebel so far from home and also had less qualms about using deadly
force on the native population.  The Gothic missionary Wulfila
Gothic alphabet to translate the
Wulfila Bible, had
converted many of the
Germanic paganism to Arian
Goths remained divided – as
Ostrogoths – during
the 5th Century. These two tribes were among the Germanic peoples
who clashed with the late
Roman Empire during the Migration Period. A
Visigothic force led by
Alaric I sacked Rome in 410. Honorius granted
Visigoths Aquitania, where they defeated the
Vandals and conquered
most of the
Iberian Peninsula by 475.
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
Valens in 376 with a portion of his people and asked to be
allowed to settle with his people 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). In 410, the
Sack of Rome (410)
Sack of Rome (410) under Alaric I, defeated
Attila at the
Battle of the Catalaunian Plains
Battle of the Catalaunian Plains under
Theodoric I in 451, and founded
in 418 a
Visigothic Kingdom in Aquitaine. In 507, the
Hispania by the
Frankish Kingdom following the Battle of
Vouillé in 507. By the late 6th century, the
Visigoths had converted
to Christianity. They were conquered in 711 when the Muslim Moors
Roderic during the Umayyad conquest of Hispania, but they
Kingdom of Asturias
Kingdom of Asturias in 718 and began to regain control
under the leadership of the Visigothic nobleman Pelagius of Asturias,
whose victory at the
Battle of Covadonga
Battle of Covadonga (c. 722) began the
centuries-long Reconquista. It was from the Asturian kingdom that
Portugal evolved. These
Goths became completely
Hispanicized, retaining little of their original culture except for
Germanic names still in use in present-day Spain.
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:
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. It is possible that the Hunnic attack came as a
response to the Gothic eastwards expansion. Ermanaric
committed suicide, and the
Greuthungi fell under Hunnic dominance.
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. 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'.
In 454 AD, the
Ostrogoths successfully revolted against the
Battle of Nedao and their leader
Theoderic the Great
Theoderic the Great invaded what
Italy in 488 and settled his people there, founding an
Ostrogothic Kingdom which eventually gained control of the whole
Under Theodemir, the
Ostrogoths broke away from Hunnic rule following
Battle of Nedao in 454, and decisively defeated the
Valamir at Bassianae in 468. At the request of emperor Zeno,
Theodoric the Great
Theodoric the Great 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 Theodoric the Great, 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.
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 Theodoric's death, the country was conquered by the Byzantine
Empire in the
Gothic War (535–554)
Gothic War (535–554) that devastated and depopulated
the peninsula. In 552, after their leader
Totila was killed at the
Battle of Taginae
Battle of Taginae (552), effective Ostrogothic resistance ended, and
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. However, it
was claimed that the
Crimean Goths had survived to interbreed with
German settlers in
Crimea during the
Third Reich and that German
Crimea constituted native peoples of that
An Ostrogothic eagle-shaped fibula, 500 AD, Germanisches
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.
Gothic language and Gothic alphabet
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
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). It is now an extinct language.
Reconstruction of the 3rd century Gothic grave from
Masłomęcz in the
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.
In Eastern Europe, houses include sunken-floored dwellings, surface
dwellings, and stall-houses. The largest known settlement is the
Criuleni District. 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.
Archaeology shows that the Visigoths, unlike the Ostrogoths, were
predominantly farmers. They sowed wheat, barley, rye, 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.
Further information: Gothic Christianity
Initially practising Gothic paganism, the
Goths were gradually
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
During the 370s, converted
Goths were subject to the Gothic
persecution of Christians by the remaining pagan authorities of the
Visigothic Kingdom in
Hispania converted to Catholicism in 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.
In Spain, the Visigothic nobleman
Pelagius of Asturias
Pelagius of Asturias who founded the
Kingdom of Asturias
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.
The language survived as a domestic language in the Iberian peninsula
Spain and Portugal) as late as the 8th Century, and
Walafrid Strabo wrote that it was still spoken in the
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
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
members of the
Colombian Conservative Party
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
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
Goths had left Sweden, invaded the Roman empire and
settled in Spain.
Gutnish is still spoken in
Gotland and Fårö. Old
Gutnish was the
Old Norse there.
In the sagas
Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks
Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks (The Saga of Hervör and
Heidrek), a 13th-century legendary saga,
Árheimar was a capital of
the Goths. The saga states that it was located on the River Dnieper.
Hlöðskviða (The Battle of the
Goths and Huns)
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.[citation
needed] Comment on Saint Luke: "Chuni in Halanos, Halani in Gothos,
Gothi in Taifalos et Sarmatas insurexerunt"[improper synthesis?]
Ammianus Marcellinus: Res Gestae Libri XXXI. He wrote that Hunnic
domination of the Gothic kingdoms in Scythia began in the 370s.
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
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. However, large portions are known to be
fraudulent and the factual accuracy of the remainder is disputed.
Of the second invasions, the history reports that an enormous
coalition consisting of
Greuthungi and Thervingi),
Bastarnae, led again by the Heruli, assembled at the mouth of river
Tyras (Dniester). They claim a total number of
2,000–6,000 ships and 325,000 men. 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
Black Sea and the
Danube (Constanţa, Marcianopolis), they
Byzantium and Uskudar. Part of their fleet was wrecked,
either because of the Gothic inexperience in sailing through the
violent currents of the Propontis or because it was defeated by
the Roman navy.
Aurelius Victor: The Caesars, a history from
Augustus to Constantius
Cassiodorus: A lost history of the
Goths used by Jordanes
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. Eutropius: Breviary
Eusebius, an historian who wrote in Greek in the third century, wrote
that in 334, Constantine evacuated approximately
Sarmatians from the north bank of the
Danube after a
revolt of the Sarmatians' slaves. From 335 to 336, Constantine,
Danube campaign, defeated many Gothic tribes.
Gregory of Nyssa
Hermann of Reichenau, an 11th-century scholar, wrote that the Goths
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
Cassandreia, it retreated to the Balkan interior at the news that the
emperor was advancing. On their way, they plundered
Jordanes, in his Getica, written in the mid-500s, wrote that the
Goths sailed from
Scandza (Scandinavia) under King
Berig in three ships. One shipload settled near the Vistula. They
then moved into an area along the southern coast of the Baltic Sea
which was inhabited by the Rugians, and expelled them.
Julian the Apostate
Lactantius: On the death of the Persecutors
Olympiodorus of Thebes
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.
Philostorgius: Greek church history
Pliny the Elder
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
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.
He noted that the Goths, Gepidae and
Vandals were physically and
culturally identical, suggesting a common origin.
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.
Tacitus wrote that the
Goths and the neighboring
Rugii and Lemovii
carried round shields and short swords. However, the
would later fight or be allied with the Huns, and who fought for and
against Rome, might not be the same people
Theoderet of Cyrrhus
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
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
allegedly killed or taken captive and their base at Thessalonika
^ "Ostrogoth". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia
Britannica, Inc. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
^ Waldman, Carl; Mason, Catherine (2006). Encyclopedia of European
peoples. New York: Facts On File. p. 575.
^ 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.
^ Braune, W; Heidermanns, F (2004). Gotische Grammatik. Tübingen:
^ 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.
^ "Who Were the Ancient Goths?". Retrieved 2016-09-09.
^ a b Kaliff, Anders (2001). Gothic Connections. Contacts between
Scandinavia and the southern Baltic coast 1000 BC – 500 AD.
Uppssala: OPIA. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
^ Kessler, P L. "Kingdoms of the Germanic Tribes -
Ostrogoths". www.historyfiles.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-09-09.
^ Oxenstierna, Eric (1945). Die Urheimat der Goten. Johann Ambrosius
Barth. p. 73.
^ Heather, Peter (1998). The
Goths (Pbk. ed.). Oxford, UK: Blackwell
Publishers. p. 26. ISBN 978-0631209324.
^ 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
^ 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.
^ Kokowski, Andrzej (1999), Archäologie der Goten (in German),
ISBN 83-907341-8-4 .
^ Dabrowski, J. (1989). Nordische Kreis und Kulturen Polnischer
Gebiete. Die Bronzezeit im Ostseegebiet. p. 73.
^ a b "History of Europe: The Germans and Huns". Encyclopædia
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved January
^ Gibbon, Edward (1930). The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Plain Label Books. ISBN 978-1-60303-405-0.
^ "Germany: Ancient History". Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
^ 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 .
^ "Goth". Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921.
^ Bowman, Garnsey & Cameron 2005, pp. 223–229
^ John Bray, p.290
^ Tucker 2009, p. 150
^ a b Bowman, Garnsey & Cameron 2005, pp. 53–54
^ a b Cameron, Long & Sherry 2013, p. 99.
^ "Goth". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica,
Inc. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
^ "Ancient Rome: The Reign of Constantine". Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 16 January
^ Kulokowski 2006, p. 130.
^ "Spain: The Christian states, 711–1035". Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved January 16,
^ a b Beckwith 2009, pp. 331–332
^ Beckwith 2009, pp. 81–83
^ Beckwith 2009, pp. 94–100
^ Wolfram 1997, pp. 26–28
^ Gottfried Schramm, Altrusslands Anfang. Historische Schlüsse aus
Namen, Wörtern und Texten zum 9. und 10. Jahrhundert, Freiburg i. Br.
2002, p. 54.
^ London, Jack (2007). The Human Drift. 1st World Publishing.
p. 11. ISBN 978-1-4218-3371-2.
^ Pohl, Walter. Strategies of Distinction: Construction of Ethnic
Communities, 300–800 (Transformation of the Roman World.
pp. 119–21. ISBN 90-04-10846-7. .
^ "Visigothic Society". Magyar Elektonikus Könyvtár.
^ Heather, Peter; Matthews, John (1991). The
Goths in the fourth
century (Repr. ed.). Liverpool: Liverpool Univ. Press.
Goths in the Fourth Century (1 ed.). Liverpool University Press.
1991-01-10. ISBN 9780853234265.
^ "The Visigoths'
Peasant Economy". Magyar Elektronikus Könyvtár.
Retrieved 17 September 2016.
^ Bennett, William H (1980). An Introduction to the Gothic Language.
^ Pohl, Walter. Strategies of Distinction: Construction of Ethnic
Communities, 300–800 (Transformation of the Roman World).
pp. 124–6. ISBN 90-04-10846-7. .
^ Söderberg, Werner. (1896). "Nicolaus Ragvaldis tal i Basel 1434",
in Samlaren, pp. 187–95.
^ Ambrose, On the Holy Ghost, book I, preface, paragraph 15
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).
^ "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 .
^ Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Vita Gallienii, 13.8
^ Craig H. Caldwell: Contesting late Roman Illyricum. Invasions and
transformations in the Danubian-Balkan provinces. A dissertation
presented to the Pricenton University in candidacy for the degree of
doctor in philosophy. Quote: "The
Life Of Probus
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.
^ The Historia Augusta mentions Scythians, Greuthungi, Tervingi,
Gepids, Peucini, Celts and Heruli.
Zosimus names Scythians, Heruli,
Peucini and Goths.
^ Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Vita Divi Claudii, 6.4
^ Zosimus, 1.42
^ Moorhead & Stuttard 2010, p. 56
^ Eusebius, "IV.6", Vita Constantini
^ Contractus, Hermannus, Chronicon , quoting of Caesarea,
Eusebius, Vita Constantini, p. 263 : "Macedonia, Graecia,
Pontus, Asia et aliae provinciae depopulantur per Gothos".
^ 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 October 26, 2013.
^ Beck, Heinrich; Geuenich, Dieter; Hoops, Johannes; Jankuhn, Herbert;
Steuer, Heiko (2004), Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde (in
German) (2nd ed.), Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, pp. 452ff,
ISBN 978-3-11-017733-6 .
^ 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.
^ Bostock, John. "Pliny the Elder, The Natural History".
^ a b Procopius. History of the Wars. Book III. II
^ Tacitus, Cornelius (2008-11-14). The Works of Tacitus: The Oxford
Translation, Revised, with Notes, Volume II. BiblioLife.
^ "The Goths". Retrieved 2016-09-09.
^ Zosimus, 1.43
Andersson, Thorsten (1996). "Göter, goter, gutar". Namn och Bygd (in
Swedish). Uppsala. 84: 5–21.
Beckwith, Christopher I. (16 March 2009). Empires of the Silk Road: A
History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present.
Princeton University Press. ISBN 1400829941. Retrieved 30
Bell-Fialkoff, Andrew, ed. (2000). The Role of Migration in the
History of the Eurasian Steppe: Sedentary Civilization vs. "Barbarian"
and Nomad. New York: St. Martin's Press.
Bowman, Alan; Garnsey, Peter; Cameron, Averil (September 8, 2005). The
Cambridge Ancient History: Volume 12, The Crisis of Empire, AD
193-337. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521301998. Retrieved
January 17, 2015.
Bradley, Henry (1888). The Goths: From the Earliest Times to the End
of the Gothic Dominion in Spain. London: T. Fisher Unwin.
ISBN 1-4179-7084-7. Downloadable Google Books.
Cameron, Alan; Long, Jacqueline; Sherry, Lee (2013). Barbarians and
Politics at the Court of Arcadius. University of California Press.
ISBN 0520065506. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
Hermodsson, Lars: Goterna — ett krigafolk och dess bibel,
Stockholm, Atlantis, 1993.
Jacobsen, Torsten Cumberland, The Gothic War: Rome's Final Conflict in
the West. Yardley: Westholme, 2009. x, 371 p.
Jhutti, Sundeep, The Getes. Philadelphia: Victor H. Mair, University
of Pennsylvania, 2003.
Jūratė Statkutė de Rosales Balts and Goths: the missing link in
European history, translation by Danutė Rosales ; supervised and
corrected by Ed Tarvyd. Lemont, Ill. : Vydūnas Youth Fund, 2004.
Kulokowski, Michael (2006). Rome's Gothic Wars: From the Third Century
to Alaric. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 1139458094. Retrieved
January 17, 2015.
Mastrelli, Carlo Alberto in Volker Bierbauer et al., I Goti, Milan:
Electa Lombardia, Elemond Editori Associati, 1994.
Moorhead, Sam; Stuttard, David (2010). AD410: The Year that Shook
Rome. Getty Publications. ISBN 1606060244. Retrieved January 17,
Nordgren, I.: Goterkällan — om goterna i Norden och på
kontinenten, Skara: Vaestergoetlands museums skriftserie nr 30, 2000.
Nordgren, I.: The Well Spring of the Goths: About the Gothic peoples
in the Nordic Countries and on the Continent (2004).
Rodin, L.; Lindblom, V; Klang, K.: Gudaträd och västgötska
skottkungar – Sveriges bysantiska arv, Göteborg: Tre böcker,
Schaetze der Ostgoten, Stuttgart: Theiss, 1995. Studia Gotica —
Die eisenzeitlichen Verbindungen zwischen Schweden und
Suedosteuropa — Vortraege beim Gotensymposion im Statens
Historiska Museum, Stockholm 1970.
Wenskus, Reinhard: Stammesbildung und Verfassung. Das Werden der
Frühmittelalterlichen Gentes (Köln 1961).
Tucker, Spencer (December 23, 2009). A Global Chronology of Conflict:
From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East. ABC-CLIO.
ISBN 1851096728. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
Wolfram, Herwig (1997). The
Roman Empire and Its Germanic Peoples.
University of California Press. ISBN 0520085116. Retrieved 1
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Goths.
Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article
List of ancient Germanic peoples
Category:Ancient Germanic peoples
Germanic parent language
North Germanic languages
West Germanic languages
East Germanic languages
Nordic Bronze Age
Pre-Roman Iron Age
Pre-Roman Iron Age in Northern Europe
Roman Iron Age
in northern Europe
Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
Germanic Iron Age
Gothic War (376–382)
Society and culture
Migration Period art
Ancient Germanic law
Numbers in Norse mythology
Sacred trees and groves
Gothic and Vandal warfare
Viking Age arms and armour
Migration Period spear
Migration Period sword
Alemannic grave fields
List of ancient Germanic peoples
Portal:Ancient Germanic culture