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Goths Enter and Settle Within the Roman Empire

A. D. 375

In A. D. 375, the Ostrogothic nation and its leader, Fritigern, asked for permission to enter the Roman Empire and settle on sparsely populated Roman Land. In exchange, the Goths agreed to become federated troops in the Roman army and defend the Empire’s borders against barbarian invasion. This desperate plea of the Goths for asylum was brought about because of devastating attacks by the Huns upon the Gothic homeland. The fast riding, hard-hitting Hun warriors rode small, tough ponies and were deadly accurate with their compact bows which they could easily aim and fire from horseback through long practice since childhood. These mobile hit-and-run tactics were cutting the Gothic warriors to pieces and would later threaten to annihilate more than one Roman army sent against them.

The Romans permitted the Goths to enter, but the government and military officials in charge of seeing that they crossed the Danube and settled in an orderly fashion severely exploited and mistreated the unfortunate Goths. They took the Goths’ valuables and would not distribute adequate food to them, though there was plenty of food to be had. In exchange for a Gothic nobleman’s child to be sold into slavery, the Romans offered the meat of one dog to feed the rest of his family. The one thing they failed to do was to confiscate the Goths’weapons when offered a bribe to overlook the contraband. It was with these weapons that the Goths would exact revenge for their shabby treatment by the Romans.

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