Goths

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The Goths (Gothic: *Gutans[dubious ][1]) were a heterogeneous East Germanic tribe, who played an important role in the history of the Roman Empire after they appeared on its lower Danube frontier in the third century.

The first recorded incursion of Goths into the Roman Empire took place in 238. Written records about the Goths prior to this date are scarce, the most important source is Jordanes’ 6th-century, semi-fictional Getica which describes a migration from Scandza, believed to be located somewhere in modern Götaland (Sweden), to Gothiscandza, which is believed to be the lower Vistula region in modern Pomerania (Poland), and from there to the coast of the Black Sea (Scythia, now Ukraine, Romania and Moldova). The Pomeranian Wielbark culture and the Chernyakhov culture northeast of the lower Danube are widely believed to be the archaeological traces of this migration.

During the third and fourth centuries, the Goths were divided into at least two distinct groups, the Thervingi and the Greuthungi, separated by the Dniester River. They repeatedly attacked the Roman Empire during the Gothic war of 375–82. In the late fourth century, the Huns invaded the Gothic region from the east. While many Goths were subdued and integrated into the Hunnic Empire, others were pushed towards the Roman Empire and converted to Arian Christianity by the half-Gothic missionary Wulfila, who devised a Gothic alphabet to translate the Bible.

In the fifth and sixth centuries, the Goths separated into two tribes, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths. Both established powerful successor states of the Western Roman Empire. In Italy the Ostrogothic Kingdom established by Theodoric the Great was defeated by the forces of the Eastern Roman Empire after the Gothic war of 535–54. The fifth-century Visigothic Kingdom in Aquitaine was pushed to Hispania by the Franks in 507, converted to Catholicism by the late sixth century, and in the early eighth century fell to the Muslim Moors. While its influence continued to be felt in small ways in some west European states, the Gothic language and culture largely disappeared during the Middle Ages. In the 16th century a small remnant of a Gothic dialect was described as surviving in the Crimea.[2]

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