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Gothi




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GOTHI -- The Goths; ancient tribes of northern Europe, who inhabited the borders of the Vistula to its mouth in the Baltic Sea, where at the present stands the city of Dantzic. This barbarous people spreading themselves as far as the Oder, combined with the Heruli, and during the reign of Marcus Aurelius passed the Vistula, and proceeding south eastward as far as the Palus Maeotis (now sea of Asof), took possession of Dacia after having crossed the Borysthenes (now the Dnieper).
Afterwards those who inhabited the more eastern parts towards the Black Sea (Pontus Euxinus), were called Ostrogoths, or Eastern Goths; the others who dwelt towards the west were called Visi-goths, or Western Goths. These two nations ravaged at different times many provinces of the Roman empire. In the time of Gallienus, the whole of Thrace was depopulated by them. (Vaillant.)
-- Claudius II. Tacitus, Probus, Constantine and his sons, Julian II., Valentinian, and other emperors respectively defeated them, and succeeded in confining those desolating hordes within their own natural confines. But during the government of Valens, the Huns, having passed the Palus Maeotis, came like an impetuous torrent upon the Goths, subdued the Ostrogoths, and driving the Visigoths from their country established themselves there in their room.
The Visigoths thus compelled to emigrate across the Danube, applied for support to Valens, and that emperor, without any treaty, and even without disarming them, gave up to their possession a portion of Thrace, whence they soon afterwards began to make war upon other provinces of the empire. Valens proceeded to attack them near Hadrianopolis, but his army having been cut to pieces, and himself wounded by an arrow, he took refuge in a cabin, where he was burnt alive A.D. 278.
The Visigoths, intoxicated with this success, went on carrying fire and sword everywhere, and set about besieging Constantinople. Theodosius the Great, Valens' successor, from A.D. 379 to 382, gained several victories over them, forcing them and their king Athanaricus to submit to his laws. After the death of that emperor (A.D. 395), the Visigoths elected for their monarch Alaric, who, after the death of Stilicho, the intriguing and ambitious minister of Honorius, invaded Italy, and besieged Rome, which was obliged to pay a heavy ransom (A.D. 408).
The following year Rome, again besieged by the Visigothic king, was taken by him; and Priscus Attalus was proclaimed emperor under his protection. In A.D. 410, Attalus was deposed by Alaric, who was then on the point of concluding a treaty with Honorius. But in a fit of irritation and caprice, the Visigoth broke off his negociations with the emperor, and restored to Attalus the imperial title; but almost immediately again deprived him of it. He then marched to Rome, which he took and pillaged. Alaric died A.D. 410; and was succeeded by his brother-in-law Ataulphus, who after a time retired with his army into Gaul, where he instituted the kingdom of the Visigoths in Aquitania and Gallia Narbonnensis (since called Languedoc), and Italy was once more left free from invaders.
In A.D. 476, Odoacer, king of the Heruli, being invited by the party of Junius Nepos to enter Italy with a vast army of barbarians, compelled the then reigning and last Emperor of the West, ROMULUS AUGUSTUS, to abdicate his throne, and retire as an exile into Campania. In 477, the Eastern, or Ostrogoths, were called in to the assistance of Zeno, Emperor of the East, against Odoacer, and the result, after many battles, was their amalgamation in Italy with the Heruli, and the foundation of a kingdome there under Theodorius, who died 526. The Gothic monarchy in Italy lasted from that period till the year 553 -- 77 years; and the series of its kings is -- Theodoricus, Athalaricus, Theodahatus, Witiges, Hildibaldus, Araricus, Baducla, Theias. It was these diademed chiefs of the hardy northern warriors, who under the successive reigns of Anastasius, Justinus, and Justinianus, occupied the western seat of the Roman empire, its "Eternal City;" whilst INVICTA [sometimes blundered into INVITA] ROMA, and the name of some Gothic REX. figured in strange companionship on coins of the imperial series! -- See Mionnet and Akerman.



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