The Goths were a nomadic Germanic people who battled against Roman domination in the late 300s and early 400s A.D. This helped to bring about the fall of the Roman Empire, which had ruled much of Europe for centuries before the Goths’ involvement. According to some historians, the beginning of the medieval period in Europe coincides with the rise to power of the Goths. Ostrogoth was the term given to the Goth tribes that lived in the east, while Visigoth was the name given to the Goth tribes that lived in the west. Beginning in the year 376, the ancestors of the Visigoth launched a successful invasion of the Roman Empire, which culminated in the Visigoths’ victory over the Romans in the Battle of Adrianople in the year 378 A.D.
Where Did The Goths Visigoth Come From
After driving the Romans out of much of the European continent, the Goths came to rule a large swath of land, stretching from what is now Germany to the Danube and Don rivers in Eastern Europe and from the Black Sea in the south to the Baltic Sea in the north. This territory encompassed the entire continent of Europe. With the Visigoths’ conquest of Rome in 410 A.D., their power grew and eventually reached all the way to Eastern Europe, encompassing the Iberian Peninsula (where modern-day Portugal and Spain are located).
Visigoth Goth Religion
It is believed that the Visigoth were descended from an older Goth group known as the Thervingi. The Visigoth was a tribe of Goth. The Thervingi were the name of the gothic tribe that made the initial incursion into the Roman Empire in the year 376 and won the battle of Adrianople in the year 378.
After the Battle of Adrianople, the Romans and Visigoths engaged in a variety of economic and military interactions over the course of the subsequent decade or so. But, under the leadership of Alaric I, the first king of the Visigoth, the tribe launched a victorious invasion of Italy in 410, which included the sacking of Rome. This victory marked the beginning of the Visigothic dynasty.
Alaric and the Visigoth established their kingdom in the region of Gaul (present-day France), initially as an outlying nation of the Roman Empire, before expanding their territory to include the areas that are now known as Spain and Portugal, taking these lands by force from the Suebi and Vandals in the early 500s. Alaric and the Visigoths were able to do this because their primary rivals for European power had been defeated.
From an early stage on, they kept up their cordial connections with the Romans and, as a result, received protection from the ancient empire.
The relationship between the two factions did not last long, and by 475, the Visigoths had taken complete control of their country under the leadership of King Euric. In point of fact, Visigoth established permanent settlements on the Iberian Peninsula beginning in the middle of the fourth century and continuing into the early seventh century, when they were crushed by an army of African Moors who had invaded from Africa. The territory was known as the Kingdom of the Visigoth at the time.
Ostrogoths, also known as eastern Goths, were people who resided in the region close to the Black Sea (modern-day Romania, Ukraine, and Russia).
In the same way that Goths did elsewhere, the Ostrogoths conducted regular inroads into Roman territory. This continued until the Huns, from further to the east, invaded their own holdings. But, once Attila was killed, the Ostrogoths were free to expand their territory into Roman-held territory.
The Ostrogoths, led by Theodoric the Great, were able to successfully conquer the rulers of the Italian peninsula, which allowed them to extend their territory from the Black Sea into Italy and farther west.
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But as a result of a string of military operations waged against the Byzantium emperor Justinian and other adversaries, the Ostrogoths completely disappeared from history.
The Code of Visigoth
In the year 643, the Visigothic King Chindasuinth gave the command to write what is now known as the Visigothic Code or the Law of the Visigoths. Later on, in the year 654, Recceswinth, Chindasuinth’s son, was in charge of expanding upon these regulations.
Significantly, the Visigoth Code was enforced equally by both the conquering Goth and the common inhabitants of the kingdom, the majority of whom had Roman roots and had previously lived their lives in accordance with Roman regulations. In the eyes of the law, it completely eliminated the distinction between the “gothic” and “Romani” people by enacting the ruling that everyone living within the Visigoth Kingdom was to be deemed “Hispanic.”
(The word “Hispanic” is a forerunner of the term “Hispanic,” which is used to designate persons who are of Spanish descent in modern times.)
In addition, the Visigoth Code established rules for marriage and the inheritance of property, which were governed by a combination of Roman, Catholic, and Germanic tribal laws. It is interesting to note that the Code was unusually progressive with regard to the rights of women. Women were granted the ability to inherit property and autonomously manage assets, free from the control of their husbands and/or male relatives.
In accordance with the Code, women were also permitted to act as their own legal counsel and to conduct their own marriage negotiations.
With the fall of the Visigoth kingdom, several aspects of the Visigothic Code continued to be followed. References to the Code have been discovered by historians in monastic charters that were written during the reign of the Kingdom of Galicia in the 10th century. And it is known to have formed the basis of the rules created by the Moors after they conquered the kingdom in the early 700s. This occurred after the Moors took control of the kingdom.
Under the leadership of the Moors, Christians were allowed to live according to their own rules as long as these laws did not come into conflict with the laws of the Africans they had conquered. This is consistent with a good number of the precepts outlined in the Visigothic Code.
The Catalan translation of the original Visigothic Code was completed in the year 1050, making it one of the oldest documents in the Catalan language spoken in the area surrounding the city of Barcelona at the present time. If you live in Chicago or nearby, then Chicago Suicde Club must be on your list of places to visit.