World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0039010744
Reproduction Date:

Title: Athanaric  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Persecution of Christians, Gothic and Vandal warfare, Alaric I, 370s, 380s
Collection: 381 Deaths, 4Th-Century Gothic People, 4Th-Century Monarchs in Europe, Balti Dynasty, Gothic Kings, Year of Birth Unknown
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Athanaric or Atanaric[1] (Gothic: Aþanareiks presumably from aþni "year" and reiks "king"; Latin: Athanaricus; died 381) was king of several branches of the Thervingian Goths for at least two decades in the 4th century. Athanaric made his first appearance in recorded history in 369, when he engaged in battle with the Eastern Roman Emperor Valens and ultimately negotiated a favorable peace for his people. During his reign, many Thervings had converted to Arian Christianity, which Athanaric vehemently opposed, fearing that Christianity would destroy Gothic culture. According to the report of Sozomenos, more than 300 Christians were killed in Athanaric's persecution during the 370s.

Fritigern, Athanaric's rival, was an Arian and had the favor of Valens, who shared his religious beliefs. In the early 370s, Athanaric successively fought Fritigern in a civil war, only to later be defeated by the invading Huns. Temporarily fleeing to Caucaland in the Carpathians, Athanaric was warmly received by Theodosius in Constantinople in 381, where he signed a treaty of friendship with the Eastern Roman Empire.[2]

Philostorgius do not record such conflicts.

According to Socrates, Fritigern and Athanaric were rival leaders of the (Therving) Goths. As this rivalry grew into warfare, Athanaric gained the advantage, and Fritigern asked for Roman aid. The Emperor Valens and the Thracian field army intervened, Valens and Fritigern defeated Athanaric, and Fritigern converted to Christianity, following the same teachings as Valens followed.[3] Sozomen follows Socrates' account.[4]

According to Zosimus, Athanaric (Athomaricus) was the king of the Goths (Scythians). Sometime after their victory at Adrianople, and after the accession of Theodosius, Fritigern, Alatheus, and Saphrax moved north of the Danube and defeated Athanaric, before returning south of the Danube.[5]

In 376, Valens permitted Fritigern's people to cross the Danube River and settle on Roman soil to avoid the Huns, who had recently conquered the Greuthungs and were now pressing the Thervings then living in Dacia. Athanaric's people were left to their fate, but many of them found their own way across the river, as well. In 381, Athanaric unexpectedly came to the East Roman capital of Constantinople. According to Jordanes, he negotiated a peace with the new emperor, Theodosius I, that made some Thervings foederati, or official allies of Rome allowed to settle on Roman soil as a state within a state.[6] Orosius (Historiae adversum paganos 7, 34) and Zosimus (New History 4, 34, 3-5) affirm this, but another source, Ammianus Marcellinus (Res gestae 27, 5, 10) tells us an entirely different story. According to him, Athanaric was banished by his fellow tribesmen and forced to seek asylum on the Roman territory. Cf. Themistius (oratio 15, 190-1), who likewise describes Athanaric as a supplicant and a refugee. Clearly, Athanaric was by then no authority to negotiate with; he was welcomed by Theodosius in Constantinople only because the Emperor wished to make a lasting impression on the Tervingi, who were still fighting the Romans. A few weeks later, Athanaric died.[7] A peace and a treaty with those Tervingi (or Visigoths), who still fought the Romans in Thrace, was concluded in 382 and it lasted until Theodosius' death in 395.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Socrates Scholasticus, Church History, book 4, chapter 33.
  4. ^ a b Sozomen, Church History, book 6, chapter 37.
  5. ^ a b Zosimus, Historia Nova, book 4.
  6. ^ Jordanes, Getica 142-145.
  7. ^ Hydatius, Chronicon 39, 3; Prosper Tiro, Chronicon 41, 4; Fasti consulares, s. a. 381.
King of the Visigoths
Title next held by
Alaric I
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.