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Heather contends, however, that "there is still more than enough good-quality evidence to establish that Germanic migration from the north was a major factor in the strategic revolution of the third century" (114).

He also maintains that this migration would have taken place centuries before the Goths came to play their pivotal role in the fall of Rome and development of northern Europe.

Under the fierce warrior king Genseric, the Vandals took advantage of Roman weakness in North Africa and established their kingdom there, with its capital at Carthage, by 440.

With Genseric’s forces marching on Rome in 455, the desperate Romans sent Pope Leo I to plead for mercy; in exchange for free entry, the Vandals agreed not to burn the city or massacre its citizens.

Alaric’s descendants, known as the Visigoths (western Goths), settled in Gaul and Iberia; the last Visigoth kingdom, in Spain, fell to the Moors in 711.

In Italy, the Ostrogoths (eastern Goths) established dominance by the end of the fifth century, but would fall to the Byzantine Empire within a few decades.

The claim that the Visigoths were originally ruled by a family named Balthi (or Balts) and the Ostrogoths by the illustrious Amal family seems to have some truth to it but is thought to have been embellished upon by Cassiodorus or, perhaps, Jordanes.

Last modified 19-Dec-2017 00:11