History of the Goths by Herwig Wolfram: A Review
History of the Goths is a book by Herwig Wolfram, a professor of history at the University of Vienna and director of the Austrian Institute for Historical Research. The book was first published in German in 1980 and translated into English in 1988. It is considered one of the most authoritative and comprehensive works on the history of the Goths, a Germanic people who played a major role in the transformation of the Roman Empire and the emergence of medieval Europe.
The book covers the origins, migrations, settlements, wars, kingdoms, culture, religion, and legacy of the Goths from the 1st to the 6th centuries AD. Wolfram draws on a wide range of sources, including ancient historians, archaeology, linguistics, numismatics, epigraphy, and art history. He also incorporates new material that has come to light since the last German edition, such as the discovery of the Gepidic treasure at Nagyszentmiklós in Romania and the analysis of Gothic runic inscriptions.
Wolfram challenges many traditional views and myths about the Goths, such as their supposed origin in Scandinavia, their unity as a single people, their role as destroyers of civilization, and their conversion to Christianity. He argues that the Goths were a complex and diverse group of tribes that emerged from the interaction between Roman and barbarian societies. He shows that the Goths were not only warriors and conquerors, but also settlers and builders who adapted to different environments and political situations. He also explores the cultural and religious diversity of the Goths, who followed various forms of paganism, Arianism, and Catholicism.
The book is divided into three parts: The First Gothic Millennium (from the 1st to the 4th centuries AD), The Visigothic Kingdom (from the 4th to the 6th centuries AD), and The Ostrogothic Kingdom (from the 5th to the 6th centuries AD). Each part consists of several chapters that deal with specific topics and periods. The book also includes maps, illustrations, notes, a bibliography, an index, and a list of abbreviations.
History of the Goths is a scholarly and detailed work that requires some background knowledge and familiarity with the subject. It is not an easy or entertaining read, but rather a serious and rigorous study that offers a wealth of information and insights. It is recommended for anyone who wants to learn more about one of the most influential and fascinating peoples in European history.