Goths On The Move: The Third Century Barbaricum Invasion of the Roman Empire

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Third Century Crisis Invasion of the Goths ( Kristian/ Adobe Stock)

Goths On The Move: The Third Century Barbaricum Invasion of the Roman Empire

In 238 AD, after at least two generations with no mention of the Goths, denizens of the territories above the Roman province of Dacia (modern Romania), showed the first signs of a barbarian renaissance in the uprising. Ominously, as if from nowhere, hordes of savages began to mobilize south, further complicating an already complex political situation. Between 235 and 260 the Roman Empire was ruled, legitimately or illegitimately, by no more than 51 individuals in a period generally referred to as the Third Century Crisis. These decades of internal civil strife were closely intertwined with the lesser-known Gothic invasions.

Gothic invasions in the third century (Public Domain)

Gothic invasions in the third century (Public Domain)

A Barbarian Renaissance

Following a lengthy period of quiet the Goths launched a devastating sortie into the Roman Empire in 238. The Empire’s inability to neutralize the barbarians between the Danube River and the Tisza River in the West, and its failure to secure the eastern border along the Prut River in the preceding years, was duly punished. The assailants plundered and pillaged the area south of the Danube mouth known as Histros-Histria in 236 before withdrawing, marking the start of a new and terrible Scythian War. Caught up in unexpected devastation, the Romans offered to pay an annual tribute to prevent further attacks.


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