17 Facts About Visigoths


Visigoths were an early Germanic people who, along with the Ostrogoths, constituted the two major political entities of the Goths within the Roman Empire in late antiquity, or what is known as the Migration Period.

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The Visigoths emerged from earlier Gothic groups, including a large group of Thervingi, who had moved into the Roman Empire beginning in 376 and had played a major role in defeating the Romans at the Battle of Adrianople in 378.

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Visigoths first settled in southern Gaul as foederati to the Romans, a relationship that was established in 418.

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Visigoths were never called Visigoths, only Goths, until Cassiodorus used the term, when referring to their loss against Clovis I in 507.

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The term "Visigoths" was later used by the Visigoths themselves in their communications with the Byzantine Empire, and was still in use in the 7th century.

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Visigoths are called Wesi or Wisi by Trebellius Pollio, Claudian and Sidonius Apollinaris.

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Visigoths emerged from the Gothic tribes, probably a derivative name for the Gutones, a people believed to have their origins in Scandinavia and who migrated southeastwards into eastern Europe.

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The Visigoths spoke an eastern Germanic language that was distinct by the 4th century.

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Intense campaigns against the Visigoths followed their victory at Adrianople for upwards of three years.

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Visigoths resolved to cut the city off by capturing its port.

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From 408 to 410 the Visigoths caused so much damage to Rome and the immediate periphery that nearly a decade later, the provinces in and around the city were only able to contribute one-seventh of their previous tax shares.

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At his death, the Visigoths were the most powerful of the successor states to the Western Roman Empire and were at the very height of their power.

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At this point, the Visigoths were the dominant power in the Iberian Peninsula, quickly crushing the Alans and forcing the Vandals into north Africa.

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From 511 to 526, the Visigoths were ruled by Theoderic the Great of the Ostrogoths as de jure regent for the young Amalaric.

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Theodoric's death in 526 enabled the Visigoths to restore their royal line and re-partition the Visigothic kingdom through Amalaric, who incidentally, was more than just Alaric II's son; he was the grandson of Theodoric the Great through his daughter Theodegotho.

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The Visigoths scorned to interfere among Catholics but were interested in decorum and public order.

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Sources indicate that the Iberian Visigoths maintained their Christian Arianism, especially the Visigothic elite until the end of Liuvigild's reign.

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