• Roger Collins
Part of the New Studies in Medieval History book series (NSMH)


Early in the year 376 demoralised and frightened bands of people, in flight from their homes and deserting many of their former leaders, began to gather on the northern bank of the river Danube. They were the Theruingi, later to be called the Visigoths, a Germanic people whose origins and earliest history now survive in little more than legendary form. For over a century they had dominated the flat and fertile lands between the rivers Danube and Dneister, where they had posed a continuous threat to the security of the frontiers of their southern neighbour, the Roman Empire. Even within the last decade the reigning Emperor, Valens (364–378), had been forced to take the field against them. But now they were fugitives, some taking refuge in the Carpathian Mountains to the west, but perhaps the greater part congregating on the Danube as humble suppliants of their former enemy and victim, petitioning the emperor to receive them into his territories and give them new lands upon which to settle.1


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  1. 1.
    Ammianus Marcellinus, Res Gestae XXXI, vol. III, ed. J.C. Rolfe (Loeb Library, 1939) pp. 376–505 (Latin with English translation), for the relations between the Romans and the Visigoths, the battle of Adrianople, and the rise of the Huns.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    H. Wolfram, History of the Goths (Berkeley, 1988) pp. 117–71; P. Heather, Goths and Romans 332–489 (Oxford, 1991) pp. 71–224.Google Scholar
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    J.F. Matthews, ‘A Pious Supporter of Theodosius I: Maternus Cynegius and his Family’, Journal of Theological Studies, n.s. XVIII (1967) pp. 438–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    R. Collins, The Basques (Oxford, 1986) pp. 8–12.Google Scholar
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© Roger Collins 1995

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  • Roger Collins

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