HerülI (eRuli, aEruli)

Herüli (Eruli, Aeruli)

a German tribe, which first appeared with the Goths on the shores of the Black Sea, and thence took an active part in all the incursions of the Goths in the eastern provinces of the Roman empire. We afterwards find them in Attila's armies with the Scythians and Gepidae. After the death of Attila they established themselves as a powerful nation on the shores of the Danube, and levied tribute on the Lombards. According to Procopius, they were thoroughly barbarous. After the Lombards and other neighboring nations had long been converted to Christianity, the Heruli still preserved their idolatrous worship, and continued to sacrifice human victims (see Procopius, De bello Goth. 2, c. 11). Under the leadership of Odoacer, they succeeded, in connection with the Turones, the Scythians, and the Rugii, in taking Rome, and from that time dates the downfall of the Western empire. About 495 they were defeated in an important battle by the Lombards. Paulus Diacon., in De gest. Longob., reports a popular tradition, according to which, after this battle, the whole army of the Heruli became so bewildered in consequence of the anger of the gods that they took the green flax-fields for water, and, having got to them, opened their arms to swim, when the Lombards came up and killed them. A part of the nation then established themselves in Rugiland, at the mouth of the Danube, but finally decided to settle in the eastern Roman empire. The emperor Anastasius received them in his dominions, and assigned them a territory in I1-lyria, but was subsequently obliged to send an army against them to put an end to their depredations. Those who remained now subjected themselves to Rome, and aided greatly in overthrowing the power of the Ostrogoths in Italy. They were converted to Christianity under Justinian I, joined the Roman Catholic Church, and were gradually civilized. Their history ceased to present any characteristic features. See Morere, Grand Dictionnaire (ed. Drouet, Paris, 1759), vol. 5.; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 6, 15. (J. N. P.)

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