Goths  

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"I reached the main land before day-break, and took a post-chaise to carry me to Trieste. I turned not out of my road to visit Aquileia; I felt no temptation to examine the breach by which the Goths and Huns penetrated into the native country of Horace and Virgil, or to seek the traces of those armies which were the executors of the wrath of the Almighty. On the 29th, at noon, I entered Trieste. This city is regularly built, and seated in a very fine climate, at the foot of a chain of sterile mountains; it contains no monument of Antiquity. The last breeze of Italy expires on this shore, where the empire of barbarism commences."

--Travels in Greece, Palestine, Egypt, and Barbary (1811) by Chateaubriand

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The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe.

In his book Getica (c. 551), the historian Jordanes writes that the Goths originated in southern Scandinavia, but the accuracy of this account is unclear. A people called the Gutones - possibly early Goths - are documented living near the lower Vistula River in current Poland in the 1st century, where they are associated with the archaeological Wielbark culture. From the 2nd century, the Wielbark culture expanded southwards towards the Black Sea in what has been associated with Gothic migration, and by the late 3rd century it contributed to the formation of the Chernyakhov culture. By the 4th century at the latest, several Gothic groups were distinguishable, among whom the Thervingi and Greuthungi were the most powerful. During this time, Wulfila began the conversion of Goths to Christianity.

In the late 4th century, the lands of the Goths were invaded from the east by the Huns. In the aftermath of this event, several groups of Goths came under Hunnic domination, while others migrated further west or sought refuge inside the Roman Empire. Goths who entered the Empire by crossing the Danube inflicted a devastating defeat upon the Romans at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. These Goths would form the Visigoths, and under their king Alaric I, they began a long migration, eventually establishing a Visigothic Kingdom in Spain at Toledo. Meanwhile, Goths under Hunnic rule gained their independence in the 5th century, most importantly the Ostrogoths. Under their king Theodoric the Great, these Goths established an Ostrogothic Kingdom in Italy at Ravenna.

The Ostrogothic Kingdom was destroyed by the Eastern Roman Empire in the 6th century, while the Visigothic Kingdom was conquered by the Umayyad Caliphate in the early 8th century. Remnants of Gothic communities in Crimea, known as the Crimean Goths, lingered on for several centuries, although Goths would eventually cease to exist as a distinct people.


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