The Gepids (Latin: Gepidae; Old English: Gifð; possibly Proto-Germanic: *Gibiðaz, "giver" or gepanta, see below) were an East Germanic Gothic tribe most famous in history for defeating the Huns after the death of Attila. The state of the Gepids was commonly known as Gepidia or Kingdom of the Gepids, whose territory is composed of parts of modern day Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Serbia.
The Gepids were first mentioned around 260 AD, when they participated with the Goths in an invasion in Dacia, where they were settled in Jordanes' time, the mid 6th century. Their early origins are reported in Jordanes' Origins and Deeds of the Goths, where he claims that their name derives from their later and slower migration from Scandinavia:
You surely remember that in the beginning I said the Goths went forth from the bosom of the island of Scandza with Berig, their king, sailing in only three ships toward the hither shore of Ocean, namely to Gothiscandza. One of these three ships proved to be slower than the others, as is usually the case, and thus is said to have given the tribe their name, for in their language gepanta means slow.. (xvii.94-95)
The first settlement of the Gepids were at the mouth of the Vistula River, which runs south to north from the Polish Carpathian mountains.
These Gepidae were then smitten by envy while they dwelt in the province of Spesis on an island surrounded by the shallow waters of the Vistula. This island they called, in the speech of their fathers, Gepedoios (perhaps Gibið-aujos, meaning "Gepid waterlands" ); but it is now inhabited by the race of the Vividarii, since the Gepidae themselves have moved to better lands.
Their first named king, Fastida, stirred up his quiet people to enlarge their boundaries by war and overwhelmed the Burgundians, almost annihilating them in the 4th century, then fruitlessly demanded of the Goths a portion of their territory, a demand which the Goths successfully repulsed in battle. Like the Goths, the Gepids were converted to Arian Christianity.
Then in 375 they had to submit to the Huns along with their Ostrogoth overlords, becoming the favored Hun vassals. Under their king, Ardaric, Gepid warriors joined Attila the Hun's forces in the Battle of Chalons (the "Catalaunian fields") in Gaul (451). On the eve of the main encounter between allied hordes, the Gepids and Franks met each other, the latter fighting for the Romans and the former for the Huns, and seem to have fought one another to a standstill, with 15,000 dead reported by Jordanes, the main source for the events.
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