This is a scholarly study of the collision of Goths and Romans in the fourth and fifth centuries. Gothic tribes played a major role in the destruction of the western half of the Roman Empire between 350 and 500, establishing successor kingdoms in southern France and Spain (the Visigoths), and in Italy (the Ostrogoths).
Our historical understanding of this `Migration Period' has been based upon the Gothic historian Jordanes, whose mid-sixth-century Getica suggests that the Visigoths and Ostrogoths entered the Empire already established as coherent groups and simply conquered new territories. Using the available contemporary sources, Peter Heather is able to show that, on the contrary, the Visigoths and Ostrogoths were new and unprecedentedly large social groupings at this time, and that many Gothic societies failed even to survive the upheavals of the Migration Period. Dr Heather's scholarly study explores the development of Visigothic and Ostrogothic societies, their rise to power, and the complicated interactions with the Romans which helped bring about the fall of the Roman Empire.
`compelling re-reading of Gothic and Roman history ... a masterful account.'
'Goths and Romans, 332-489 represents a considerable amount of research and thought by its author, This is a significant book for specialists and can be read with profit by non-specialists interested in the period. Classroom teachers in schools and colleges will appreciate the consistent thematic development and the careful effort at estimating the size of populations and forces involved.'
Thomas S. Burns Emory University The Classical Outlook Winter '94
`an exemplary reading of the late Roman texts on the Goths. He uses this to rewrite the history of the Goths in a way which demolishes myths and establishes a realistic narrative of events. Heather's critical and pragmatic approach to his sources works well in countering their more or less obvious bias,,,excellent book.'
Shorter Notices vol 110 issue 436
`A thoroughgoing study of Gothic origins and the formation of the large groupings of the Ostrogoths and Visigoths. `Not the last word on the subject, but the first one should read'.'
The Medieval World