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A History of Germany by Bayard Taylor

The Visigoths settle in Southern Gaul


The

boundaries between Germany and Rome still remained the Rhine and the Danube, but on the east they were extended to the Black Sea, and in place of the invasions of Caesar, Drusus and Germanicus, the Empire was obliged to be content when it succeeded in repelling the invasions made upon its own soil. Three hundred years of very slow, but healthy growth on the one side, and of luxury, corruption and despotism on the other, had thus changed the relative position of the two races.

CHAPTER V.

THE RISE AND MIGRATIONS OF THE GOTHS.

(300--412.)

Rise of the Goths. --German Invasions of Gaul. --Victories of Julian. --The Ostrogoths and Visigoths. --Bishop Ulfila. --The Gothic Language. --The Gothic King, Athanaric. --The Coming of the Huns. --Death of Hermanric. --The Goths take refuge in Thrace. --Their Revolt. --Defeat of Valens. --The Goths under Theodosius. --The Franks and Goths meet in Battle. --Alaric, the Visigoth. --He invades Greece. --Battle with Stilicho. --Alaric besieges Rome. --He enters Rome, A. D. 410. --His Death and Burial. --Succession of Ataulf. --The Visigoths settle in Southern Gaul. --Beginning of other Migrations.

[Sidenote: 325. RISE OF THE GOTHS.]

Rome, as the representative of the

civilization of the world, and, after the year 313, as the political power which left Christianity free to overthrow the ancient religions, is still the central point of historical interest during the greater part of the fourth century. Until the death of the Emperor Valentinian, in 375, the ancient boundaries of the Empire, though frequently broken down, were continually re-established, and the laws and institutions of the Romans had prevailed so long throughout the great extent of conquered territory that the inhabitants now knew no other.

But beyond the Danube had arisen a new power, the independence of which, after the time of Aurelian, was never disputed by the Roman Emperors. The Goths were the first of the Germanic tribes to adopt a monarchical form of government, and to acquire some degree of civilization. They were numerous and well organized; and Constantine, who was more of a diplomatist than a general, found it better to preserve peace with them for forty years, by presents and payments, than to provoke them to war. His best soldiers were enlisted among them, and it was principally the valor of his Gothic troops which enabled him to defeat the rival emperor, Licinius, in 325. From that time, 40,000 Goths formed the main strength of his army.

[Sidenote: 350.]

The important part which these people played in the history of Europe renders it necessary that we should now sketch their rise and growth as a nation. First, however, let us turn to Western and Northern Germany, where the development of the new nationalities was longer delayed, and describe the last of their struggles with the power of Rome, during the fourth century.


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