Goths [ґоти; goty]. The name of ancient Germanic tribes that migrated from southern Scandinavia and in the 1st century AD inhabited the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea and the Vistula River basin. In the second half of the 2nd century they began migrating south and reached the Black Sea, where they intermixed with local Scythians and Sarmatians and established a tribal state. From the middle of the 3rd century they raided the Roman provinces, forcing the Romans to abandon Dacia in 271. Internal divisions resulted in the creation of two realms: that of the Ostrogoths, from the Donets River and the Kuban to the Dnister River, and that of the Visigoths, between the Dnister River and the Danube River. The Ostrogoths captured the Black Sea states of Olbia, Tyras, and the Bosporan Kingdom and established a large empire, which reached its zenith during the reign of King Ermanaric (350–75). In the 4th century the Goths adopted Arian Christianity, and their bishop, Ulfilas, translated the Bible into Gothic (extant portions are known as the Codex Argenteus). In 375 the Huns conquered the Ostrogothic state. Some Ostrogoths remained behind in the Crimea, where they managed to survive until the 17th century, but most moved into Thrace, and later into Pannonia and, in 455, into Italy. They ruled Italy from 493 to 526; in 554 they were dispersed by Emperor Justinian I and disappeared. Gothic metal products and goldware were distributed widely throughout Eastern Europe, and with their great migration the Goths brought their metalworking skills to Western Europe. The artistic style they introduced is known as the Merovingian or Gothic style.

Braun, F. Razyskaniia v oblasti Goto-slavianskikh otnoshenii (Saint Petersburg 1899)
Vasiliev, A. The Goths in Crimea (Cambridge, Mass 1936)
Iordan [Jordanes]. O proiskhozhdenii i deianiiakh gotov, trans E. Skrzhinskaia (Moscow 1960)
Burns, T. A History of the Ostrogoths (Bloomington, Ind 1984)

Arkadii Zhukovsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]

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