Saturday, July 11, 2009
Who are the Goths?
The Goths are a very recent people who were unknown in the Antiquity. The Greeks, the Jews, the early Romans, the Partians, and even the Germans and the French (Gaul) never suspected their existence. Who are the Goths (not the fashion Goths of the pic) and how they became illegal immigrants in Europe?
Jordanes explains that the Goths lived in Crimea till the Huns expulsed them. Jordanes, who was a Goth and felt no sympathy for the Huns, describes them as "a savage race which dwelt in the swamps, a stunted, foul and puny tribe, scarcely human, and having no language save one which bore but slight resemblance to human speech." As a native speaker of Hungarian, hereby I register here my formal protest. Hungarian is a very expressive language. But let us continue with Jordanes.
"This cruel tribe lived on the farther bank of the Maeotic swamp...(The Sea of Azov, see pic. j). Like a whirlwind they swept across the great swamp and at once fell upon Scythia. The Alani who were their equals in battle, they exhausted by their incessant attacks and subdued. For by the terror of their features they inspired great fear in those whom perhaps they did not really surpass in war. They made their foes flee in horror because their swarthy aspect was fearful, and they had, if I may call it so, a sort of shapeless lump, not a head, with pin-holes rather than eyes. They are short in stature, quick in bodily movement, alert horsemen, broad shouldered, ready in the use of bow and arrow, and have firm-set necks which are ever erect in pride. Though they live in the form of men, they have the cruelty of wild beasts."
"When the Goths had to face his active race that had invaded many nations, they took fright and consulted with their king how they might escape from such a foe. While Hermanaric, king of the Goths, was deliberating, the Huns moved in with their army into the country of the Ostrogoths (Eastern Goths)."
To make it short, the Goths received such a beating from the Huns that they did not stop till Sweden (the Eastern Goths) and Morocco and Spain (the Western Goths). The Huns settled in Hungary and continued sacking the Roman Empire till it colapsed.
The Huns, so historians say, left nothing but desolation after them. The Goths, I imagine, left us the Haagen Dazs ice cream, which is good but fattening.