Numismatic and History Discussions > History and Archeology

The Battle of Adrianople and its Effect on Coinage

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sejanus:
Hi all, :)

I think that the battle of Adrianople (Hadrianopolis) was extremely interesting and a pivotal point in Roman history.  I also think that its affect on the coinage of Theodosius I is quite enthralling as well.  Any comments?

Sejanus

Alex:
It certainly was a major hit for the roman empire.   As a coincidence last night I was reading a bit on the gothic history since this people was so close to Dacia.

The first gothic invasions are related to the terrible actions of the carps, a tribe of free dacians leaving in the north east part of today Roamnia.  They got Philip the Arab into much trouble.  Shorthly the goths start to appear in the area. First they join the carps in smaller numbers.  Soon they arrive more and more ending up controling the carps.   Decius dies in battle.
At this moment they were localised in the NE of Romania (in the plain areas; they were not fans of highlands were the dacians felt as home) and their bulk in Ukraine.
They attack at a furious pace, like every 3 years. The entire Balkans and Minor Asia are virtually paralised both in economy and social life. Countless cities are sacked burned and obliterated.  They seem to have remainind like that till the Tetrarchy era.
In order to enhance the Danube defence, the Romans pull back the two legions of Dacia south of Danube.  The current theory guesses two waves, first under Gallienus when some army elements from the north of Dacia were pulled back in Moesia, while Aurelian called back the entire army and administration.  As a result the provincials switched from urban life to rural life. Just in a few ocassions they tried to resist in the cities; for example an amphitheatre was transformed into a fortress.  And again as a results the goths ignored the region since it wasnt such attractive for sacking anymore.
The horrible era ends at a begining of the IVth century with a peace that lasted a few decades.  While in the south the Balkans can enjoy a normal life and reconstruction, in their land the goths start settling down.  Archeology shows that they start practicing agriculture and roman sources tell us they start to be christianised (at least the normal people; the ruling class remained pagan and sometimes hostile to this roman influence)

Alex:
In these conditions they started to live and mix together with the free dacians. This culture is called Santana de Mures in Romania and Cerneahov in Rep. of Moldavia.
Peace is too good to last too long isnt it.  Soon the huns arrive from the east and start to threaten the goths.  The tribes ruled by Ermanarich are defeated (these are called by the romans the ostrogoths because they were the eastern part of the goths, however in culture there is no distinction between the two)
The remaining Goths try to resist.  Their main ruler was Athanaric.  They sort of fortify the central moldavian highlad by constructing a limes.  However soon they fight.  The traditionalists ruled by Athanaric choose to stay and resist. The pro-romans ruled by Frithigern and Alaviv want to seek help from Valens.  In the end they leave the land and cross the danube. The condition was for them to act as any other roman subject.  
The goths of Athanaric cant hold too much. They retreat in the Buzau hills area. Here many treasures were found including the very royal treasure it seems.  It was found in 1837 consisted in 22 pieces. Today only 12 survive and weight 19 kg of gold. Wonderful vases, platters and fibulas decorated with precious stones. One piece is incribed with runic letters and can be read as "gutani hailag" which means "sacred, of the goths"
Soon Athanaric flees too. In 381 he arrives at Constantinople where he is nicely received but soon dies.  

What happened to the goths that crossed the Danube earlier ? First of all they werent too happy to act as roman citizens and pay taxes.  In addition the local authorities gave them a hard time and spoiled them. Soon a famine starts and they HAD to rise after their receive no help.  Combined with anarchic groups of the ostrogots and maybe even huns looking for early pray, the Balkans are in flames again. Emperor Valens loses the battle of Adrianopole, and his life too.
Still, Theodosius was able to settle them down afterwards. Frithigern died, and so much pressed by the huns, Athanaric comes to Constantinople as said above.  The peace lasted until 395, when the new king Alaric rebells again.  Alaric was now an actual part of the roman army and just helped crush the usurpation of Eugenius. Being in the west he sees the opportunity to invade the badly defended Italy so that is what he did.  

Hope I didnt bore you to death with common knowledge but maybe it will be interesting for some.

Robert_Brenchley:
It would be interesting to know what was happening further east. Until the mid-Third Century, more or less, Rome flourished because it had no serious military threat from outside. Then, OK, the Sassanians replaced the Parthians, and they were serious. But what was happening to cause the trouble on the northern borders? Why did the tribes come under pressure then?

Alex:
The goths were pushed by the huns, even before the huns actually arrived in the proximity of the roman world.  On their end, altough its not sure, the huns were firstly driven by the chinese empire.  The went east. The first important encounter was with the alans in the Volga region. They crushed the alans and their remains were incorporated in the hunic tribes, then they moved east again.  

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