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European Kingdoms

Germanic Tribes


MapVisigoths (Germanic)

The Germanic Visigoths were the Western Goths, separated from their Ostrogothic brethren by the divisions caused in the 270s. The kingdom was based north of the Danube, in the region of modern Bulgaria and Romania.

The Balti Goths (or Balthes, Baltungs, or Balthings) took their name from the Gothic word for bold. They were considered second in status only to the Amali Goths, but the latter were leading the Ostrogoths so the Balti were able to assume leadership in the west, apart from one brief attempt by the Amali to regain control.

(Additional information from The Oxford History of England: Roman Britain, Peter Salway, from The Barbarians: Warriors & Wars of the Dark Ages, Tim Newark (Blandford Press, 1985), from The Origin and Deeds of the Goths, Jordanes (Dodo Press - and C C Mierow supplies a different translation from this version alongside some dates for early kings), and from External Link: GEN-MEDIEVAL Archives (Rootsweb Ancestry.com - dead link).)


The Tervingi Goths, led by the Balti Goths, consolidate their realm between the Dniester and the Danube in modern western Ukraine, and become known to the Romans as the Visigoths. They are led by Ilderic, son of one of the last universal Goth kings, Ovida. His brothers, Respa and Veduc, command the Ostrogoths.

fl c.273 - 317

Ilderic / Hilderith

Son of Ovida of the Goths. First ruler of the Visigoths?

fl c.273 - 317

Ariaric / Ascaric

Brother and co-ruler, or possibly king of the Ostrogoths.


In the spring of 291 the Taifali form a close alliance with the Tervingi division of Goths (soon to be known as the Visigoths), perhaps providing confirmation that the Goths had been distracted by the death of their great leader, Cannabaudes, in 271 and had loosened their grip on subservient tribes like them. This confederation survives until 376.

fl c.317 - 350

Geberic / Geberich

Son of Ilderic. Claimed as king of Ostrogoths & Visigoths.


The names of kings of the Ostrogoths and Visigoths contains at least two crossovers during the late third and early fourth centuries, suggesting perhaps that the divisions are not quite so divided after all until the coming of the Huns. It is possible, given the approximate dates for Geberic, that he rules both groups until the rise of Ermanaric re-establishes the division between Visigoth and Ostrogoth.

Continued Gothic settlement outside Roman borders and across the entire Pontic steppe is also increasing Visigoth dominance of the northern Balkans. This is despite Roman attempts to reverse the process, with Tervingi being routed in battle in 332.

The Iazyges and Roxolani are becoming increasingly boxed in, which would seem to push them closer to Rome, while the Taifali are now Roman foederati. At some point in the first half of the fourth century a series of earthworks are constructed around Iazyges territory - known typically as the Devil's Dykes - possibly with Roman help.


Apparently now concentrating on the western Gothic territories (appropriately, if the supposition is correct that he has lost control of the Ostrogoths to the east), Geberic conquers Dacia, ejecting the Vandali.

350 - c.365

There appears to be a gap in the line of Visigothic kings which can only be explained by Eormanric of the Ostrogoths extending his rule westwards to encompass the Visigoths. Given the apparent closeness of both branches of the Goth people over the past century or so, it would be entirely natural for all Goths to accept the most powerful king. It is possible that Athanaric remains a sub-king or co-ruler until the destruction of the Ostrogothic kingdom in 376.

fl 365 - 381

Athanaric / Aþanareiks

376 - 378

The Visigoths are defeated by the Huns in 376, and flee across the Danube to seek shelter in the Roman empire (thereby ending their confederation and alliance with the Taifali). Badly treated and starved of supplies, they revolt and ravage the land south of the Danube, killing Emperor Valens in battle. Peace is made and they are allowed to settle in northern Greece, in Thrace and Moesia, charged with defending the Danube.

fl 376 - 382

Fritigern / Frithugairns

Rival of Athanaric. Converted to Arianism.

395 - 410

Alaric I / Alareiks

Balti Goth. Died following a brief illness.

397 - 402

Alaric retreats into Epirus with his Visigoths and the Western Roman military commander Stilicho is forbidden by the Eastern Roman government from pursuing him. Granted the rank of magister militum per Illyricum by the Eastern Romans in about 399 in order to protect the area from takeover by the Western Romans, Alaric leads his people through the Alps and winters in northern Italy in 401. Stilicho collects all his available forces, including units from Britain, to stop Alaric's advance in 402, although the encounter is not decisive.


Alaric leads his forces back into northern Italy, still largely undefeated by the Romans. He collects the settled Taifali into his Visigothic host, The following year Athaulf brings another Visigothic army to reinforce Alaric.


Communications (and intrigues) between Rome and the Visigoths break down, so Alaric leads the Visigoths to the sack of Rome. Shortly afterwards, he himself dies.

410 - 415

Athaulf / Adolphus / Ataulfo

Brother-in-law. m Emperor Honorius’ half-sister, Placidia.


Athaulf's accession improves relations with Rome to an extent, and the Visigoths are instrumental in defeating the usurper, Jovinus, on the Rhine. The Visigoths subsequently move south, into Aquitaine in southern Gaul, accompanied by an important group of Alani and the general population of Taifali.


The Visigoths come into renewed conflict with Emperor Honorius which culminates in the siege of Vasatis (modern Bazas) in 414. Paulinus of Pella, a Christian poet who is one of those being besieged inside the city, records the fact in his work Eucharisticos (Thanksgiving) that the Visigoths are supported by a group of Alani. Having previously established a level of friendship with the unnamed king of these Alani, Paulinus persuades him to side with the city's Roman defenders. The Alani leader does so, turning over his wife and son to the Romans as hostages. The Visigoths withdraw from Vasatis and retreat into Iberia while the Alani are settled as Roman allies.



Amali Goth. Assassinated by the Balti Goths.

415 - 417

Wallia / Vallia

Balti Goth. Helped establish the Visigoths in Aquitaine.


The Siling Vandali are dissipated by warfare against the Visigoths, who are acting as Roman allies. However, they still maintain their hold on the former Roman provinces of Lusitania and Baetica (the latter of which includes the city of Gades). The Alani are also defeated alongside their comrades-in-arms.

417 - 418

One of Wallia's grandsons is Ricimer, who is the power behind the throne of the Western Roman empire during its last days. Allowed by the emperor to settle in southern Gaul in a treaty signed in 418, Theodoric founds the kingdom of the Visigoths.

Visigoth Kingdom
AD 418 - 711

The Visigothic kingdom of Tolosa (home to the Tolosates, today's Toulouse) was created, with the consent of Rome, in the province of Gallia Aquitania (the former territory of the Aquitani tribes). This was a large and rich region which stretched from the Lower Loire to the Garonne in south-western Gaul. The Roman domain of Soissons was located to the immediate north. The Visigoths straight away forced out the Alani and Vandali, and these groups then headed southwards into Iberia. As part of their settlement agreement with Rome, the Visigoths were obliged to provide military support, but essentially they ran an independent kingdom within the fragmenting Western Empire.

Odds and ends from other tribes also joined them, such as members of the Scirii. Once in Iberia, the later heartland of their kingdom, they absorbed the Celtiberian tribes of the Arevaci, Belli, Berones, Cantabri (perhaps, and then only southern sections of territory), Carpetani, Cratistii, Lusones (remnants), Olcades, Titti, Turmodigi, and Uraci. Their kingdom also reached towards the north-western area of Iberia where they assumed they had subdued the warlike Astures, only to find them repeatedly rebelling.

In Iberia they took command of former Roman provinces which included amongst their populations Celtiberian peoples such as the Carpetani and Olcades. They also placed on an equal footing both the peninsula's Christian population and its Jewish Diaspora population of Sephardi Jews. As Arians themselves, the Visigoths may even have preferred the Jewish population to the Catholic one as the former offered them no political enmity.

(Additional information by Trish Wilson, from Atlas historique mondial, Georges Duby (Larousse, 1978), and from Genealogy of the Kings of France, Claude Wenzler (Editions Ouest-France, Rennes, 2008), from The Celtic Encyclopaedia, Harry Mountain, from Celts and the Classical World, David Rankin, from Europe Before History, Kristian Kristiansen, and from External Links: Gran Enciclopedia Aragonesa (in Spanish), and Celtiberia.net (in Spanish), and Lista de pueblos prerromanos de Iberia (in Spanish, Hispanoteca.eu), and Euskomedia (in Spanish).)

417 - 451

Theodoric I

Son of Alaric. Died at the Battle of Chalons.


The Visigoths kill the king of the Alani.


Under pressure from the Visigoths, and from Roman attacks, the Vandali to the south see an opportunity presented by the unsettled conditions in Africa. They and the Alani migrate to the south of Iberia from where they invade Roman North Africa. Once there, they carve out a kingdom over the course of a decade, taking the cities of Carthage and Utica, and leaving eastern, central and southern Iberia back in Roman hands.


The Roman magister militum, Aëtius, sends his subordinate, Vitus, to Iberia to put a halt to Suevi raids. He leads a combined Romano-Visigothic force into the province of Carthaginiensis and Baetica, but when his unruly force meets the Suevi in battle, it is routed. The defeat confirms Suevian control of Lusitania and Baetica and the loss of the bulk of Hispanic revenues to Rome.


Theodoric is forced to change his foreign policy when relations improve between Rome and Genseric of the Vandali. This weakens Theodoric's own position as Rome's favourite barbarian ally, so he invites Rechiar of the Suevi to his capital at Tolosa (Toulouse), and in February 449 the two put aside the differences between their peoples. To seal the new peace, Theodoric gives one of his daughters in marriage to Rechiar.


To preserve their new domains, the Visigoths fight on the side of Rome to halt the advance of the Huns at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains (otherwise known as the Battle of Chalons), in north-eastern Gaul. Their cousins, the Ostrogoths (literally, in the case of Thorismund whose cousin is Valamir, king of the Ostrogoths) are forced to fight on the side of the Huns. Theodoric, hoping to kill Attila, is struck by a spear and falls from his horse, to be trampled by his own cavalry, but the Huns are fought to a standstill and are forced to withdraw.

Attila the Hun
Despite his great success over the barbarian tribes of eastern and Central Europe, Attila's stalemate against an allied Roman-led army in 451 was a blow to his prestige, and his death soon afterwards caused his empire to crumble

451 - 453


Son. Cousin of Valamir of the Ostrogoths.

453 - 466

Theodoric II



Theodoric encourages magister militum Avitus to become Western Roman emperor, which he does. His reign is brief before he abdicates, but it renews the empire's good relations with the Visigoths.


While Emperor Avitus is in trouble in Italy and Gaul, Theodoric is away defeating the Suevi in north-western Iberia with a large army which also consists of Burgundians under Gundioc and Chilperic. At the same time, Ricimer (Ricomer), the son of a prince of the Suevi with a mother who had been the daughter of Wallia (415-417), secures the position of magister militum in the Western Roman empire


The Franks and Syagrius of Soissons unite to defeat the Visigoths.

466 - 484

Euric I / Eurico


After years of equivocal behaviour from the Visigoths, Euric follows a decisively anti-Roman policy.

469 - 475

FeatureIn two major battles, the Visigoths have to fight a combined army consisting of Romans, troops from Soissons under Comes Paulus, Burgundian foederati, and joint federate Britanni (Britons and Armoricans) under Riothamus in 469 (470). Experiencing considerable success on the battlefield, the Visigoths expand to take in more of Gaul and much of Iberia, so that the kingdom stretches from Nantes to Gadir (Cadiz), and Soissons and Armorica are cut off from Rome. In 475, in exchange for Provence, Rome is forced to grant them full independence.

484 - 507

Alaric II / Alarico

Last Visigoth king of Toulouse.

486 - 487

Syagrius, Roman dux of Soissons, seeks refuge with Alaric after the Franks conquer the former Roman territory. Syagrius is betrayed and handed over to the Franks.

Map of the Visigoth & Suevi kingdoms in AD 470
Map of Western Europe between AD 481-511
In AD 469/470 the Visigoths expanded their kingdom to its largest extent (upper map), reaching Nantes in the north and Cadiz in the south, but it was not to last - with the accession of Clovis of the Salian Franks, the Visigoths had found an opponent who would wrest Gaul away from their control in stages (lower map), eventually forcing them entirely south of the Pyrenees (click or tap on either map to view full sized)


Defeated by Clovis, king of the Franks, the Visigoths are pushed south into Iberia where they rebuild the kingdom (although they generally leave the large and powerful Vascones alone). They may still retain portions of Aquitaine, as the region's overlordship is very uncertain in this period.

It seems likely that it is Frankish vassals who are contesting with the Visigoths to secure the region, and they use the Taifali to help defeat the Visigoths at the Battle of Vouillé in 507. Alaric's elder son, Gesalec is tentatively accepted as king, but is unable to hold Narbonne against the Burgundians.

507/508 - 512/14



509 - 526

The Ostrogoths intervene at Narbonne, driving out both Visigoths and Burgundians. This forces the Franks and Burgundians to withdraw from the Mediterranean coast. The following year the Ostrogoths defeat Gesalec in battle and he flees. One further attempt is made by him to recapture Narbonne, after a year spent in Aquitaine to gather his forces. He loses a second battle and is soon captured by the Ostrogoths. The Ostrogoth king, Theodoric, assumes the Visigothic crown until his death in 526, nominally acting as regent for the infant Amalaric who is able to take his rightful place as king after Theodoric's death.

526 - 531

Amalaric / Amalarico

Brother. Assassinated.

531 - 548

Theudes / Theudis

548 - 549


549 - 554



Rome is finally retaken by the Eastern Roman empire, which governs Italy from Ravenna. This marks the end of Ostrogothic rule in Italy. The Ostrogoths themselves eventually merge into the general Italian population, becoming indivisible from them, or migrate north of the Alps where they also merge into the general population. However, the Tauric Ostrogoths still retain an independent identity.

554 - 567



By this point, it seems that Aquitaine is more firmly under Frankish control. A duke is assigned by Chlothar I to govern the region.

567 - 571



King Theodemar of the Suevi in Iberia (or possibly Miro, his successor) convenes the First Council of Lugo to increase the number of dioceses in his kingdom, possibly because parts of it are under the religious administration of bishops whose seats are in the Visigoth kingdom. It would appear that several new dioceses are in fact created as these are represented in the Second Council of Braga in 572.

571 - 572

Leuva / Leova I

572 - 586

Leuvigild(o) / Leovigild

572 - 574

King Miro of the Suevi oversees the Second Council of Braga, in which the new dioceses that had been sought by King Theodemar are confirmed to exist, although the dates for their founding are unknown. In the same year, following up on a Visigoth attack in 570 and perhaps prompted further by this loss of influence over areas of the Suevi kingdom, Leuvigild attacks. He invades the valley of the Duoro, pushing back the Suevi to the west and north by 574.

580 - 586

Hermenegild / St Ermengild

Son. Exiled, and executed in 586.

580 - 584

Falling out with his father the previous year, Hermenegild now revolts against him. The quarrel is based on Hermenegild's recent conversion to Catholicism and his refusal to revert to Arianism, thanks to his marriage to Ingunthis, the Catholic daughter of Sigisbert I of Austrasia. He is blockaded by his father and the Suebian King Miro fights to break that blockade, but is defeated. Crucially, Miro is forced to recognise Leuvigild as a friend and protector to him and his successors, giving the Visigoths leverage over the whole Suevi kingdom. Hermenegild reaches an agreement with his father, ending the revolt, but a further falling out results in the prince being executed by his father just two years later.


The Suevi, on the north-western coast of Iberia, are finally absorbed into the Visigoth kingdom.

586 - 601

Recared(o) I / Reccared I

Brother of Hermenegild.


About this year, the Visigoths and their Romano-Hispanic subjects are led by Recared to abandon Arian Christianity in favour of the Roman Church.

601 - 603

Leova II

603 - 610


610 - 612


612 - 621

Sisebut / Sisebur

612 - 631

Sisebut and then Suinthila campaign against the Basques. Some Basques migrate into southern Aquitaine, which is part of the Frankish kingdom.


Recared II / Reccared II

621 - 631

Swintilla / Suintila / Swinthila

631 - 636


Revolted against Swintilla.


Dagobert I of the Franks leads an invasion force into Zaragoza in the Vascones territory of Iberia to support Sisenand in his revolt against King Swintilla. The combined resistance against Swintilla is successful.

636 - 640


640 - 642

Tulca / Tulga

642 - 653

Chindaswind / Chindasuinto

653 - 672

Recdeswinth / Reccaswinth

653 - 658

After Recdeswinth (alternatively recorded as Reccaswinth and Reccesuinth) succeeds Chindaswind (Chindasuinth) as Visigothic king, Froila, a would-be usurper in north-eastern Iberia, challenges Recdeswinth's ability to rule despite the king's earlier association as joint ruler.

653 - 658


Rebel would-be-king.

Froila's rebellion lasts four years. He seeks the help of the Basques who, in 654, ravage the Ebro valley. By 658, they have expanded towards the south-west of the Pyrenees to occupy Navarre and the eastern half of the northern coast of Iberia, territory which had belonged to the Visigothic kingdom.

672 - 680


672 - 673

When Wamba becomes Visigothic king, Count Paulus (Paul) rebels against him in Narbonne. Paulus seeks the support of the Basques but he is deposed in 673.

680 - 687

Euric II / Erwig

687 - 702

Ergica / Egica

702 - 709


709 - 711

Roderic / Rodrigo

710 - 711

Ceuta, and the Pillars of Hercules, which until very recently had fallen under the control of the Eastern Roman empire via Carthage, are apparently turned over to the Islamic empire by 'Count Julian', as the empire prepares its invasion of Visigothic Iberia. Roderic is campaigning against the Basques when he hears the news, and is forced to break off.

711 - 718

The kingdom is overrun by the Moorish Islamic invasion of the Umayyads, at the battles of Jerez de la Frontera and Ecija. Cordova is captured (711), as is Seville and Toledo (712). The Battle of Segoyuela sees Saragossa captured (in 713, capital of the Vascones), and Valencia falls (714).

Following the defeat of King Roderic, the Visigothic Count Theodemir (or Tudmir), takes control of south-eastern Iberia from his base in Murcia. He quickly enters into an agreement with the Umayyads so that he can continue to rule as a client state, while promising to hand over anyone who plots against Islamic rule.

Thanks to this agreement, Christians are largely unmolested, and other parts of Iberia soon capitulate on the same basis. The peninsula's communities of Sephardic Jews prosper under this tolerant governance. Umayyad Iberia now includes much of the peninsula's population under its sway.

In opposition to the occupation of Iberia, the small Asturian kingdom is founded in the unconquered and mountainous north-west soon afterwards (718), to which the Basques are appended, although the extent of their territory is not known.

Various march (border) counties also emerge over the course of the next century, including that of Urgel (close to Andorra) of which the first count is a Visigothic noble by the name of Borrell.

Interestingly in Africa, a Nubian splinter state called Alodia is founded at some point around the start of the seventh century. The name could be Visigothic or Vandali, deriving from the Germanic elements ala, meaning 'other' or 'foreign', and od, meaning 'riches' or 'wealth'. Could the creation of the state be influenced by refugees or captives from either state?

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