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Re: [gothic-l] Re: Treaty agreements Danubian Goths - Rome

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  • Thomas Chelmowski
    Sir, Thank you for your very good, very informative response to my question.  Your book is at the top of my To Buy list. Tom.
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 20, 2011

      Thank you for your very good, very informative response to my question.  Your book is at the top of my "To Buy" list.


      From: Ingemar Nordgren <ingemar@...>
      To: gothic-l@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, August 15, 2011 11:08 AM
      Subject: [gothic-l] Re: Treaty agreements Danubian Goths - Rome

      Your question is not easy to answer in short. There is no straight answer to any of your questions.

      Of course some tributes were delivered to the Kindins but the distribution should have gone via the council of reiks which he headed. Ther is however as far as I know no written documentation of this procedure. Part of the subsidies were also in Natura through deliveries of grains, clothings, utensils et c. since when the army was helping the Romans the rest population was too small to manage the hrwest and cattleproduction. The Vesigothic society became rapidly depending on imports. Trade allowances for trading over the linmes were also special privileges and this means they also were influenced by money economy. When the Huns attacked their economy was quite depending on the Roman world. I suggest you read some books of E.A. Thompson, e.g."The Visigoths in the time of Wulfila", Oxford 1966, and also Jens Ulrich "Barbarische Gesellschaftsstruktur und römische Aussenpolitik zu Beginn der Völkerwanderung", Bonn 1995. The payment was also some times
      dependent on the emperors whim and it sometimes came to a state of war after the emperor changed the conditions. Hence a new alliance must be sealed. The people allowed over the liomes in 376 were solely betrayed by local officials. They should get providid in situ but instead starved. This led to the battle of nicopolis and the slaying of emperor valens and his son. I give below an excerpt of my book which you can find in any net book shop, but I suggest you complete with the literature shown above.

      Excerpt of The Well Spring of the Goths:

      Gutþiuða and Vesi-Tervingi
      Now let us have a closer look on the Vesigothic realm, Gutþiuða, in the former Roman province of Dacia . Here the Vesi-Tervingi establish a realm which is not ruled by kings but consists of a number of rather independent tribes under a tribal king/kuningaz, reiks, who in all important aspects is the same as the old Scandinavian petty-kings, kings of settled countries.The tribe generally speaking consists of a people or a kin. The tribes are held together by means of a council consisting of the mentioned reiks and it is headed by a kindins.(Wolfram 1989, p.91 ff) Traditionally kindins is translated with 'law-man', 'judge', since Roman texts translate it with iudex 'judge' and the Greeks with dikastes). The law-man also has a strong connection with the Nordic thing-tradition. I however claim that the word kindins must be connected with the Nordic kind 'family, kin' and that
      this person, whose function is to uphold a functioning cooperation between different local tribes-internally united via family/kin-ties and/or cult – most suitably should be understood as kinsman or kin-leader, leader of the different kins. If you consult Feist's Etymologisches Wörterbuch der gotischen Sprache he says about kindins that it derives from kind 'family,kin' and the suffix -ina from IG. -eno- 'master, lord', `dominus'. (Feist, p.233) Hence the meaning becomes 'kin-master','kin-lord','kin-leader'. Law-man means a too limited definition of his function and is contradicted by his factual tasks. His responsibility was, apart of leading the council, mainly to care about the preservation of Gutþiuða as a whole body both what concerned outer defence, when he had an absolute command within Gutþiuða, but not even during war outside it's borders, and what concerns the religious unity. In this capacity you might even claim he had the function
      of a sacral king. The old concept of the king as primarily a leader in war, but else most a sacral leader, generally fits.
      Thompson demonstrates that all acts of war and support-forces to the Romans during a foedus were handled by individual chieftains – reiks, and the only time a common leader is referred to issuing command is after 364, when a "confederation" is formed under Athanarik. This is during the defense against the attacks of Valens 367-69 and at the attack by the Huns in 376, and in connection with the last mentioned most of the Vesigoths cross the limes, and Athanarik is left alone with mainly only his own tribe. Now the tribes also convert to the Arian Christianity and end the earlier chapter of their history. (Thompson 1966, p.43f. )
      That earlier there was a common þiuðans, whose functions partly have been substituted, accordingly seems quite probable. Ammianus names the members of the council, the above mentioned reiks,as optimates and in Passio S. Saba they are called (megistanes). Eunapius uses the expression (phylai), meaning tribe, when he describes the settlements of the Goths, and he talks of an organisation under tribal chiefs. Thompson, however, claims that the council as a unity pressed on in religious matters, and that the kindins just had to execute the decision of the council. I am not convinced by his arguments in this question. My starting position is instead that the tribal kings-the reiks–who were the ones who directly commanded their forces, in the religious aspect personified Gaut/Óðinn-Gaut in local cultic acts in the
      warrior-cult and in battle, while the kindins symbolised the common popular religious tradition, i.e. the fertility-cult, as a replacement for the no longer existing þiuðans- the direct descender of the god. In other words he guards the ethnicity of the people, rather than the direct politics. In any case the functions of the kindins show back towards a tradition, that suggests, that the origin of the cult is closely related to the old Nordic sacral kingdom. In one aspect, however, I agree with Thompson concerning the reiks – they represent indeed the factual secular power, and they grow all the time stronger while the kindins gets weaker. What concerns, however, common religious questions the kindins has the final right to decide until the Hunnic crisis occurs.This is exactly the same developement as in other cultic leagues – when you start using the cult politically also the modern state begins to evolve. Thompson confirms that before the time
      of Athanarik there is confirmation of general meetings – I suppose he means þíng – who could decide in common questions, but since Athanarik was appointed kindins all decisions are taken by the council, and it is only in the villages that local councils/local þíngs are allowed to decide in matters concerning the local village.(Thompson 1966, p.51 ff)
      We accordingly get a central rule where the kindins dictates the cult, presumably the fertility-cult,for the people, and where the cult of Gaut/Óðinn-Gaut more is a tool for the reiks as a means of power. Religious feasts for all warriors are not known, and Thompson means the cult was locally administrated, which strenghtens the impression the reiks controlled that part. On the other hand it was important that the kindins demonstrated the factual connection with Gaut, the creator god, to all the people and with the fertility-cult that was used as a medium. The local warrior cult seemingly was, as I already earlier have assumed, of a secret character. We know, however, that a guðe and a pristess, I assume a guðja, officiated in the civilian cult in every village. The only greater religious feast we know of is the celebration of yule/iul but no details.(Wolfram 1989, p. 91 ff)
      In this connection it is interesting to take a closer look on Ermanarik. With Jordanes he died satisfied of years at an age of 110 years. (Getica, XXIV, 130) According to Wolfram he commits suicide after having lost the war against the Huns, and this suicide is suggested to have a sacral character. (Wolfram 1989, p.115) By the description of the Ostrogoths in this section you can clearly notice signs of shamanism and Óðinn-cult. It accordingly quite well can deal with a king's sacrifice to Óðinn-Gaut. If Ermanarik, besides, has the same character of replacement for the sacral functions of the þiuðans as has a kindins, or if he rather functions as a reiks and a leader within the cult of Óðinn-Gaut in the same way as later kings initiated to Óðinn is not possible to decide. He in any case rather appears as a typical reiks/kuningaz and Óðinn-king.
      The Vesigoths settle specially along the rivers where the agri-cultural conditions are most favourable, and where also transportation and trade is facilitated. The extent of their settlements approximately includes Bessarabia, Muntenia, Moldavia and central and eastern Transsylvania. The southern border is towards the Roman province of Moesia in present Bulgaria and northern Greece. A presumably non-Germanic people allied with the Vesigoths, the Taifali, lived as their neighbours in Oltenia.(Thompson 1966, p.3 ff; Wolfram 1989,p.91 ff)
      When the Vesi-Tervingi arrive in Dacia, it is already populated by Romans and former natives. They live to a considerable part in cities and they are dependent of imported fournishing via shipping and road-transportation from other parts of the Roman empire.Now a drastic change of the prepositions occur. The great Roman country-estates having provided fresh meat and vegetables to the city-population now to a certaint extent are transferred to Gothic reiks while other remain with the Roman owner. Most Gothic settlements for commoners are built on places not obstructing the former and present estates. The Goths, accordingly, accept the Roman tradition of great estates/mansions and the to these connected juridical principle of the Roman law concerning private property.(Thompson 1966, p.53 ff) This law contradicts the ancient Germanic tradition of "the right of possession", since you must no longer occupy the ground to claim your right to live there.
      Now you can move elsewhere but still own the land. The agricultural production, however, is not great enough to provide the cities. In stead foremer city-dwellers in increasing extent start working on the estates for food and shelter. Since the Roman population already earlier was used to the Roman law stating that the son shall inherit his father's occupation, the same succession continues to be natural also during the new circumstances. Here we see the beginning of the serfdom as a general medieval characteristics in Germanic Europe. Besides, of course, thralls are used as labour-force exactly as the Romans have for habit to do. Thompson reasons about the way of getting hold of thralls, because he considers it one of the major export wares of the Vesigoths and, he notes, remarkably often thralls of Vesigothic origin. (Thompson 1966, p.34 ff) he means it should have been for example Vandals, Gepids, Sarmatians et c. having been captured in war, and he
      claims these ought to be the mainbody of thralls in Gutþiuða proper. Personally I beleive that this is a result of the Roman Law Codex since the old principle of 'common land' gradually is replaced with the idea of private property estate, and hence many stood without possibility to feed themselves in lack of land and also without a proper legal protection of their rights. This should lead to possible thralldom when not being able to pay allotment for the soil they cultivated et c. Children, besides, were automatically considered thralls if both the parents were thralls. I would say the normal in Germanic contries was that the thralls came from the own population. Anyhow Thompson confirms the existence of private property laws in Gutþiuða, and that the reiks started carrying out an own, personal power-politic.(Thompson 1966, p.53 f) Jens Ulrich demonstrates that every young or grown up man must prove himself to be able to take care of a house-hold
      through any kind of achievement.. He mentiones that the youngsters of the Taifali were expected to kill an animal. When performing the demanded achievement the yongster becomes a free man, *freis. I want you to recall the possibility I suggested above concerning initiation in a warrior league, which during the Gaut-epoch is assumed to be connected with the weaponless graves. You even could, as a thrall, follow your master in war and fight and loot. This loot you later could use to buy yourself free. This is told by Priscos but refers to the Huns. (Ulrich 1996, p.62)
      Peter Heather remarks concerning the Gothic ethnicity that he considers it uphold by the free men, which he regards as a social elite including from a fifth to half of the male population – a group participating in counsils and political decisions. This trend is, according to him, valid until around the end of the 6th c. in the Visigothic Spain, but when the Roman threat has disappeared a gradual merging of Roman and Gothic ruling groups take place. Against these free men he puts, except of beaten and cowed peoples, also thralls and freed, i.e. so called brytar in the Nordic tounge. It means they are free, but they may not cultivate their own land until they have been accepted as members of a free man's family. He assumes that also with other Germanic folks were similar rules and hence he bangs through a number of already wide open gates. (Heather 1996, p.299 ff) What concerns at least the Scandinavian area these organisatoric patterns are confirmed
      in both literary sources and early medieval law-codices, even if we do not know exactly how long back in time they date before the Viking period.
      It is interesting to note, that during the first thirty years after the Romans had abandoned Dacia, it does not occur any finds of Roman coins in the territory in spite of a lasting peace between Romans and Vesigoths. (Thompson 1966, p.3 ff, 34 ff) Similar examples are found during the same period in several other areas along the Roman limes. It is assumed that the Roman coin-system at this time ocassionally had collapsed. During the 4th c. there are lot of finds during the whole period. It also is demonstrated, that in connection with a war 367-69 against emperor Valens, the Goths are forced to make peace since they can not endure a trade-boycott by the Romans. This peace-agreement prescribes that the Goths only may trade with two border-cities, which is the normal restrictions the Romans use to apply, but before the war they had been granted unlimited trade along all the borderline as a result of a peace-agreement with emperor Constantin II in
      349. The new terms are felt as a real obstacle. When the Huns finally attack Gutþiuða in 376 the crops is still not harwested (Thompson 1966, p.34 ff) and the Vesigoths then in panic migrate over the Roman limes, leaving their last kindins, Athanarik, and a minor number of his followers in the former Gutþiuða. Athanaric and his people move Northwards and maintain for a considerable time a smaller realm well distanced from the Huns. The conclusion must nessecarily be that the Goths have become dependent of import of trade-goods nessecary for life-support and maintenance of the important activities in the society. They had to compensate the meager result of the agri-culture, which also had responsibility for the citydwellers since the Roman epoch. Beside the cultivation also the Gothic free-man had duties towards the army, and the agricultural technique was not that developed that it could provide enough for such complex a society. The cities are
      dying but certain functions all the time remain. The impression of a complex society is still more reinforced if you look to what they import, or receive as contributions not to attack the Romans. (Thompson 1966, p.25 ff, 34 ff)
      It deals with grains, clothing, pottery and decoration wares et c. Specially grains and clothing are usual posts. It evidently not is purely a question of lack of food, but also of a decreasing rate of the own production of textiles, which clearly indicates that cattle-breeding not is the most distinguishing trait of the Vesigothic society. It preproposes maybe also a more permanent settlement to get time to develope a totally own fournishing, which structure was difficult to uphold during the migration. Concerning the pottery also an extensive own production is established, but with use of the last technic – the potter's wheel – which they got from the Roman population-element. The shapes of the pottery on the other hand seem to be classic forms and principally the same as the ostrogothic Kiev-forms. Accordingly it deals with a continous adaptation to the comfortabilities of the Roman civilisation. This problem of living-support is noticeable at
      several occasions also later in the Gothic history – both when Vesigoths and Ostrogoths were given land on Balkan, and later after the siege of Rome when they had gone into winter-quarters and so wasted all money on food. Similarly in Gaul and Spain when hunger-blockades efficiently break Gothic resistance. In spite of all this the Goths primarily are agri-culturalists (Thompson 1966, p.25ff) and not like in many other places in the Germanic societies primarily cattle-breeder, even if they of course have a considerable number of cattle and other animals like sheep, goats and pigs. This might be one of the main-resons they so easily were defeated by the Huns.
      This dependance of agri-culture is a natural inheritance from a background in the centre of the old fertility-cult during the Bronze Age. We concluded already in that connection, that Gaut was basically an Odinistic creator-god with a fertility-cultic approach, and that the broad majority worshipped the old fertility-gods. Evidently a transition to cattle-breeding occured in mass, but it began that early that there still were complementary possibilities for agri-culture and direct migrations only took place locally in extreme cases. In Scandinavia we later have got a more general transition to cattle-breeding within the whole area, but the Scandinavian Goths who possibly arrived at the Vistula-area in groups from some time before and to a couple of hundred years after the beginning of our time-reckoning – mostly relatively small groups I presume – there found a fertile river-delta giving better conditions for both agri-culture, cattle-breeding and
      trade. Specially the trade then should have incited further migrations.
      These newcomers melt with the earlier population, and wether there already is spoken an East-Germanic language in the area, or if a Gothic language comes into being as a consequence of the merging, is unclear. Evidently however there is a clear relation between the Gautic dialects and Gothic, and specially with the Gutniska of Gotland. The continued developement towards cattle-breeding in Scandinavia is more directly related to the expansion of the Continental Óðinn-cult, which ,by all signs to judge, is a direct continuation of the expansion of the earlier cult, where an almost identical god is called Gaut and where a sacrificial meton-cycle of nineteen years was applied, and of course with the accelerating deterioration of the climate. The example from Öland (Fallgren 1992, p. 114 ff) demonstrates that all possibilities of intensive cultivation were used in the Migration Period. Still, however, both territorial guarding of pastures as shamanistic
      exorsion of demons from the fields must have been important parts of farming. In the Vistuala-area a merging of peoples of different ethnicities might have occured, and where the uniting link was the very demand to accept the cult of Gaut, which, as earlier remarked, did not implicate the forsaking of the traditional fertility-gods. It took a considerable time before we can speak of a tribe or tribal groups in this area, and the Goths originally evidently were understood as just part of the Lugii. The Gothic origin from Scandinavia hence is mostly a cultic origin, and does probably not include a mass-emigration to the Vistula-mouth but rather a gradual migration of smaller groups from the whole Kattegat- and Baltic –area. The traditional opinion Gothic is an East-Germanic language is contradicted by among else Ernst Schwarz, who claims that this language was spoken at the time of the Gothic migration all over southern Scandinavia. He relates it's
      origin to a sub-group of North-Germanic which he calls Goto-Nordic. (E. Schwarz 1951) Wessén means, as earlier referred to, that the Gautic dialects are clearly related to Gothic.(Wessén 1972, p.120 ff) This does however not excludethe possibility that a permanently settled population in time has been assimilated linguistically, and still it does not pre-suppose a common mass-immigration.

      --- In gothic-l@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Chelmowski <the_lothian@...> wrote:
      > Hello,
      > In the Foedus between Rome and the Danubian Goths, while the Goths were still in Wallachia they probably received some payment from Rome along with access to border trading crossings.
      > What happened to that agreement once the Goths were settled in Lower Moesia? They were granted land in exchange (I am sure) for providing security for that region of the border. But, does anyone know if they still received payment?
      > My guesses are:
      > 1. If they did receive payment, I would assume the payment went to the Kindins who doled it out as he saw fit.
      > 2. If the foedus was invoked and Rome issued a call to arms (like in 394) I assume the soldiers would receive sustenance while under arms.
      > My questions are:
      > How was this payment delivered?
      > To whom was it delivered?
      > Was it a once a year payment or were payments made at the Emperor's whim?
      > Were there bonuses paid after a campaign where the Goths provided manpower (and lost men in the conflict?)
      > Thanks a lot. You guys are great.
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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