11131Re: [gothic-l] Epithets used for Theodosius, for Constantinople, etc.
- Dec 17, 2013
Some people like to think of the Goths (and other Germanic people) as biological "Abstammungsgemeinschaften", or common roots groups. However, this is not the case, they were polities that were much more open to integration, assimilation and acculturation than those people like to believe. Indeed, I would argue that the ability for integration was a key success factor for any of the Roman successor kingdoms.
Herwig Wolfram in “Gotische Studien”, 2005 deals with this at length on pages 280-292. Wolfram shows that the Goths of the 5th/6th century were not a biological common roots group. Wolfram says that Visigoths and Ostrogoths consisted each of at least 10 different ethnic groups including non-Germanic groups (not to mention the Roman majority populations). Theoderic’s special envoys included men like the Alan/Hun Candac and the Iranian Tutizar. His “comes” included “Romans and Goths without any difference”. A Roman military leader of the Gothic army dedicated a mosaic to a church in Teurnia. The Goths Bessa was probably of Thracian origin and Wolfram continues like this.
The upshot is that the Goths (like the Franks, i.e. the other large Germanic people that created a kingdom on Roman soil) were not a biological “Abstammungsgemeinschaft”,indeed not even religion has created an effective boundary. Instead, what was important was personal allegiances to particular rulers or ruling dynasties.
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