Battle of Adrianople

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The Battle of Adrianople (August 9, 378), sometimes known as the Battle of Hadrianopolis, was fought between a Roman army led by the Roman Emperor Valens and Gothic rebels (largely Thervings as well as Greutungs, non-Gothic Alans, and various local rebels) led by Fritigern. The battle took place about 8 miles (13 km) or 13 kilometers north of Adrianople (modern Edirne in European Turkey, near the border with Greece and Bulgaria) in the Roman province of Thracia and ended with an overwhelming victory for the Goths.[1][2]

Part of the Gothic War (376–382), the battle is often considered the start of the final collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century. Adrianople actually was fought between the Goths and the Eastern Roman Empire, which ultimately withstood the Gothic invasions and developed into the Byzantine Empire.[3]



In 376, displaced by the invasions of the Huns, the Goths, led by Alavivus and Fritigern, asked to be allowed to settle in the Roman Empire. Hoping that they would become farmers and soldiers, the emperor Valens allowed them to establish themselves in the Empire as allies (foederati). However, once across the Danube (and in Roman territory), the dishonesty of the provincial commanders Lupicinus and Maximus led the newcomers to revolt after suffering many hardships. Valens (of the Eastern Empire) then asked Gratian, the western emperor, for reinforcements to fight the Goths. Gratian sent the general Frigeridus with reinforcements, as well as the leader of his guards, Richomeres. For the next two years preceding the battle of Adrianople there were a series of running battles with no clear victories for either side.[4]

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