- Germanic people whose impact on the empire was profound from the third century through the reign of Justinian I (q.v.). Their raids across the lower Danube (q.v.) in the third century were a major threat to the Roman state. In the fourth century they split into two groups, the Visigoths and Ostrogoths (qq.v.). Many were settled below the Danube and enrolled in the army as foederati (q.v.). There, they were promoted, often to the highest commands, especially under Theodosios I (q.v.). Occasionally this had dire results, as in the case of Gainas (q.v.). Both Visigoths and Ostrogoths ultimately founded states on imperial territory, preceded by pillage and conquest, best illustrated by Alaric's (q.v.) invasions of Greece and Italy (qq.v.) before the Visigoths were finally settled in Gaul (q.v.). Once settled, their Arianism (q.v.) continued to insure that they would never be fully integrated into the empire, something Synesios of Cyrene (q.v.) argued. However, the massacre of Goths in Constantinople in 400 (including the death of Gainas [q.v.]) solved the problem of the Goths in the East.
Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . John H. Rosser .
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