Goths

The Goths (Gothic: ๐Œฒ๐Œฟ๐„๐Œธ๐Œน๐Œฟ๐Œณ๐Œฐ, romanized: Gutรพiuda; Latin: Gothi, Ancient Greek: ฮ“ฯŒฯ„ฮธฮฟฮน) were a Germanic people who played a major role in the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the emergence of medieval Europe.[1][2][3]

Depiction of a Gothic warrior battling Roman cavalry, from the 3rd century Ludovisi Battle sarcophagus

In his book Getica (c. 551), the historian Jordanes writes that the Goths originated in southern Scandinavia, but the accuracy of this account is unclear.[1] A people called the Gutones โ€“ possibly early Goths โ€“ are documented living near the lower Vistula River in the 1st century, where they are associated with the archaeological Wielbark culture.[1][2] From the 2nd century, the Wielbark culture expanded southwards towards the Black Sea in what has been associated with Gothic migration, and by the late 3rd century it contributed to the formation of the Chernyakhov culture.[1][4] By the 4th century at the latest, several Gothic groups were distinguishable, among whom the Thervingi and Greuthungi were the most powerful.[5] During this time, Wulfila began the conversion of Goths to Christianity.[4]

In the late 4th century, the lands of the Goths were invaded from the east by the Huns. In the aftermath of this event, several groups of Goths came under Hunnic domination, while others migrated further west or sought refuge inside the Roman Empire. Goths who entered the Empire by crossing the Danube inflicted a devastating defeat upon the Romans at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. These Goths would form the Visigoths, and under their king Alaric I, they began a long migration, eventually establishing a Visigothic Kingdom in Spain at Toledo.[3] Meanwhile, Goths under Hunnic rule gained their independence in the 5th century, most importantly the Ostrogoths. Under their king Theodoric the Great, these Goths established an Ostrogothic Kingdom in Italy at Ravenna.[6][3]

The Ostrogothic Kingdom was destroyed by the Eastern Roman Empire in the 6th century, while the Visigothic Kingdom was conquered by the Umayyad Caliphate in the early 8th century. Remnants of Gothic communities in Crimea, known as the Crimean Goths, lingered on for several centuries, although Goths would eventually cease to exist as a distinct people.[5][4]


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