Goths, The

Goths, The appeared in the. countries of the Lower Danube, the former seat of the Getse, in the 3d century A.D. Yet from this we are not to infer that the former drove away and replaced the latter but, on the contrary, they are to be considered as one and the same people, as has been shown by J. Grimm (Gesch., d. deutsch. Sprache, 2 volumes, 2d ed. Leipz. 1853). This consideration sheds an important light on a period in the religious history of the Goths which had before been involved in deep obscurity, and gives us an insight into their deeply-rooted predisposition to embrace Christianity. The mighty confederacy of the Getae, founded by Boerebistes, was dissolved even before the emperor Augustus tools up arms against them. Some of the dispersed tribes entered the Roman empire in the provinces of the Lower Danube about the first century A.D., and from them sprung a new nation, composed of these different tribes again united, which, under the name of Goths, appeared during the reign of Caracalla, in the beginning of the 3d century A.D. Their unity emboldened them to attack the Roman empire; and in the reign of Alex. Severus we already find them receiving tribute to preserve the peace, and the issue of the struggle with Decius led to new invasions. Commodian, the Christian apologist of the times, regarded them as instruments of divine justice, and precursors of the and Christ: according to his statement, the seventh persecution of the Christians ended on their approach. Three of their armies again invaded the Roman empire during the reign of Valerian and Gallienus, and, among the monuments of antiquity, destroyed the splendid temple of Diana at Ephesus. Finally, after a fierce conflict, Constantine the Great concluded with them a peace, which lasteso bong as his family reigned. Some Christians, carried away as prisoners by the Goths during the invasion above spoken of, became the instruments of their conversion. Sozomen says (2:6): "The priests taken captives healed the sick and cast out devils by calling on the name of Christ, the Son of God; and they, besides, overcame all the prejudices existing against the name of Christian by the purity of their life and by their virtues. The barbarians, full of admiration of the life and deeds of these men, saw that it would be well to gain the favor of the Christian God; and when they sought for it, they were instructed, baptized, and organized into congregations." The Arian historian, Philostorgius, gives a similar account of the propagation of Christianity among them. In the reign of Constantine, Athanasius speaks of the triumphs of the Gospel over the barbarians, and especially the Goths, now civilized. At the Council of Nice in 325, Theophilus, a Gothic bishop,. subscribed the decrees. Ulpheilas (see the article), having become bishop in 348, labored with great zeal for the propagation of Christianity among the Goths, even in the tribes beyond the Danube, notwithstanding the persecutions of Athansaric, the heathen king of the Visigoths, who commanded Christians to worship idols he caused to be drawn up in front of their houses, under penaltyof being burned in their dwellings (Acta S. S., September 15). In the middle of the 4th century, Eutyches and Audius, which latter had separated from the Syrian Church, both labored among the Goths beyond the Danube, and the result cas the erection of several monasteries for the convert, which, however, disappeared in the persecution of 370. These persecutions ceased only when Fritigern, rival of Athanaric, took the Christians under his protection, and embraced Arianism, the general form of Christianity among the Goths. In 370 Ulphilas ttranslated the Scriptures into Gothic; but soon after, the hordes of Huns crowding from Asia upon the Ostrogoths, whose king, Hermanrich, was unable to resist them, drove part of the Visigoths south of the Danube into the Roman territory, while others followed Fritigern into Thrace, where war, and the persecutions of the Roman prefects, interrupted the missions for a time. Finally, Fritigern, victorious in 378, marched with his troops on Constantinople, but died; and Theodosius, the new emperor, concluded a peace with Athanaric, who had once more joined the Gothsa, and who died also soon after. Theodosius then induced them to become faederati of Romae; and, in order to sunitthem still more to the empire the council of Constantinople (A.D. 383), attempted, but unsuccessfully, to frame a creed acceptable to both the Arians and the Nicene party; the batter also prevented the assembling of another council promised to the former for 388. Religions divisions among, the Goths afterwards permitted Chrysostom to attempt uniting the secessionists from Arianism with the Catholic Church, and he ordained presbyters, deacons, and lectors who spoke the Gothic language; be also sent bishop Unila to the Goths in the Crimea. Gothia, along the Cimmerian Bosphorus, was, during thee whole of the Middle Ages, a see of the Byzantine Church, and the bishop of Capha was also named bishop of Gothia as late as the 18th century. The Catholic Goths of the Crimea, men, tioned in the 16th century bly Busbek, disappeared with the surname of the bishop. The Gothi suinores near Nicopolis seem to have disappeared among thee nations which invaded the Danhubian countries in the 7th century, and the two principal Gothic tribesTrturnedWest. The Visigoths, under Alaric, invaded the: countries south of the Danube to the Pehoponnesu, destroying the temples and altars of the heathen gods; the sacking of Eleusis put an end to the famed mysteries of Ceres; pagan priests and philosophers were put to death; and finally, in 408, after the death of Stilicho, Alaric appeared before Roume, demanding tribute. To satisfy him, the statues of the gods — among them the Virtus Romana — were melted. Alaric came again in 410, when he made the Christian prefect Attalus emperor of Rome; yet, findings that his enads was not accomplisheed, he returned a third time and lay waste the city, with the exception of the Christian churches, sparing only such of the inhabitants as had taken refuge in them. After Alaric's death, his brother-in-law Athaulf succeeded him; and, having married Galla Placidia, daughter of Theodosius the Great (in which marriage some saw a fulfillment of Da 2:32), he attempted to reanimate the decaying Roman empire by Gothic help. Finally, the Visigoths were rewarded for conquering Spain to Rome by permanent possessions in Gaul, where they founded an independent empire. SEE VISIGOTHS. The Ostrogoths settled for a while in Pannonia, then some of them united with the Visigoths in Gaul, while the greater part followed Theodomir into the Eastern empire. The emperor Zeno finally induced them to remove to Italy, where Theodoric, in 489, founded the Ostrogoth kingdom (see that art.). — Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 5:251 sq.; Dr. J. Aschbach, Geschichte der Westgothen (Frank. a.M. 1827); Krafft, Kirchengesch. d. germ. Völker (Berlin, 1854); Helfferich, Der westgothische Arianismus (Leipz. 1860).

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