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Saturday, 30 December 2017 11:39

A HISTORY OF UKRAINE. EPISODE 11. THE GOTHS

Oleksandr Palii, A History of Ukraine, 30.12.2017 

 

EPISODE TEN HERE 

 

In the 230s AD, a large Germanic tribe of Goths came from Scandinavia to the area north of the Sea of Azov and near the Black Sea. 

 

The Goths started to launch raids into the Roman Empire, including by sea. As a result, Rome’s borders were pushed back beyond the Danube River in the late 3rd century AD. 

 

goths1
Battle between the Romans and the Goths, bas-relief from a sarcophagus, Rome, 3rd century AD. 

 

In the 4th century AD, both the Slavs and the Sarmatians in the territory of modern Ukraine were forced to pay tribute to the Gothic king Ermanaric (350-375 AD). 

 

Incited by an instigator, he cruelly executed Sunilda, one of his wives and a daughter of a Roxolan prince. Her brothers broke into Ermanaric’s palace and were killed in a fight, having wounded the Gothic king, who later also died. The Goths also killed the Slavic prince Bozh and his 70 boyars. 

 

goths alphabet

Gothic alphabet, created by Greek Christian priest Wulfila in 350 AD

 

The Sarmatians and the Slavs turned to the Huns for assistance. In 375 AD together they were able to subjugate the Goths and drive a portion of them out of the territory of Ukraine. 

 

In 378, crowds of fleeing Goths defeated an army of the Roman Empire and killed the emperor. 

 

Finally, after roaming Europe for quite a while, the Goths seized Rome on 24 August 410 AD. 

 

This event upended the usual state of affairs in the world, which had existed for half a millennium. 

 

Part of the Goths founded a state in Northern Italy, while others created a state jointly with the Alans-Sarmatians in Northern Spain (thence Catalonia — Goth-Alania).

 

goths2 fibula

Gothic fibula (clasp on a cloak), 6th century AD.

 

Some of the Goths stayed back in the Crimea where they intermixed with the Greeks and the Sarmatians. Their small polity, the Principality of Theodoro, existed in the southern Crimea until 1475 when it was destroyed by the Turks.

 

TO BE CONTINUED

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