Talk:Gothic and Vandal warfare

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Priority * -- 20:01, 10 May 2014 (UTC)

Hang On[edit]

Frankly, coverage of 'Barbarian' military institutions has to start somewhere (though the classical/medieval split gets in the way). I haven't had the time to work on the subsections I'm familiar with, and don't have the expertise to work on the others. Jacob Haller 20:03, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

That's fine. But empty articles shouldn't exist for more than a few minutes. Once you've got the content, recreate and add it. --Eyrian 20:19, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
First, I'm not familiar enough with wikipedia formatting to draft the article off-site and post it in whole. Second, I'm not an expert in every subsection. I suspect someone else has some knowledge of the later material, and getting the page 'out there' speeds up such collaboration. Jacob Haller 21:47, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
Empty sections should be omitted from the article page, potentially finding a home on the talk page if necessary. If you're not very familiar with the subject, just add a little bit of information and use the {{sectionstub}} tag. If you want a place to experiment with contributions before putting them into a live article, try using a sandbox. Like this one: User:Jacob Haller/Sandbox. --Eyrian 21:57, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Typing[edit]

I'm not sure how to type the Gothic (th) or (hw) letters in the Roman alphabet. Jacob Haller 06:48, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Not totally sure what you're talking about, but perhaps you could copy/past from Gothic language? Wikipedia also has a spcial character map at the bottom when editing, perhaps the symbols you're looking for are there. --Eyrian 18:29, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

page numbers[edit]

please give the page numbers in the books you cite. Wandalstouring 19:32, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

helpful material[edit]

take a look at the leidang article (the English version is poor, the Scandinavians are better) on germanic military organization. I don't know who wrote these translations, but as long as he doesn't explicitly prove that the Gothic armies were modelled after the Roman armies, it is absolutely misleading to use specific Roman vocabulary. Wandalstouring 20:03, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Origins stuff & Ethnic stuff[edit]

I don't want to get touchy, since you've added some really helpful material, but imho, "theories on the origin and ethnic identity," isn't really necessary. It belongs in the Goths article but does it connect to Gothic army structures, military institutions, etc.? Jacob Haller 22:40, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

I would suggest either (1) a short section on Gothic armies in the 1st & 2nd centuries or (2) a short section considering Germanic and Alanic influences on the later (3rd and 4th Century) armies. It's still debated whether the Goths were a distinct Germanic group within Gothic society/the Chernyakhov Culture or the Goths describe the whole society, fusing native and Germanic customs (which leads to problems with Slavic origins, but explains the Gothic evidence). Jacob Haller 22:40, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

The cultural identity is important for the army because it leads to the issue whether they did include strongly elements in their warfare that were not common among other Germanic tribes. One example you didn't mention was Baltic influence. Wandalstouring 11:14, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
While we do mention them as Germanic we may point out possible non-Germanic roots of these federations (Baltic, Slavic, Indo-Iranian, Sarmatian, etc.) Wandalstouring 16:10, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Dominion & Common Rule[edit]

Huh? This makes it sound like another empire. Jacob Haller 22:40, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

The Goth did have kind of an 'empire' before migrating, although dominion or common rule is far better suited. It was possibly the second largest 'territory' in Europe after the Roman Empire. It isn't that clear how far it extended politically and who was ally or subject, etc, but their cultural mainlands can be defined by archeological findings. It has been some time since I last saw a map of their kingdom (quite short-lifed before they started to break apart into Visigoths and Ostrogoths). take a look at Ermanaric for more information. There are various theories on the size of his dominion, some stretching it (by including finno-ugrian vassals) between the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea and the Ural, others only between the Baltic and the Black Sea (based on the continuation of declining archeological presence of the culture associated with the Goths) and others place it in between Dnjepr, Don and Black Sea, but it is neither clear whether it controlled the whole area. As far as vassals go these accounts are prune to misinterpretations by our primary sources (family bounds by intermarriage for example), so all in all a complicated topic.

Chernyakhov.PNGWandalstouring 11:12, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

But cultural unity doesn't imply political unity. Heather 1998, pp.52ff.
Heather, pp. 52 ff:

... the description turns out to be a deliberately expanded version of the account of Ermaneric that can still be read in Ammianus. Rather thin narratives of supposed victories, together with a list of Gothic equivalents for names common to classical ethnography and some Biblical references have been used to fill out Ammianus' account. The Getica's Ermaneric has been intentionally recast as a Gpothic precursor to Attila: the ruler of 'all the Scythian and German nations'. ... Ermaneric was used there to link the ancestral line of Theodoric the Great with that of Eutharic ... the real extend of Ermaneric's kingdom remains an open question.

Heather, p. 55:

archaeologists have identified six Chernyakhov sites as political centers of some kind on the basis of size, fortification, and topography. Five have been found on the territory of the former Soviet Union - Basmachka, Alexandrovka, Novie Gorodok, Rumarov and Sovari - the sixth is a re-used Roman fort at Pietroasa in Romania.

Heather, p. 56:

A more powerful objection to the existence of one large fourth-century kingdom arises out of reflections ipon exactly how vast it would have been. It would have encompassed the vast majority ofthe Goths (ten out of the 12 known Gothic groups), and would certtainly have been much more powerful than the contemporary Tervingi (the remaining two groups). It would even have commanded greater resources of Gothic manpower than the kingdom-founding Visigoths and Ostrogoths of the fifth century. This being so, the Greuthungi, occupying lands at no great distance from the Roman frontier, ought to have been the major focus of Roman foreign policy in the lower Danubian region. The Emperor Valens fought some of them in 369 (AM 27.5.6) but otherwise the Greuthungi barely intrude into the narrative of fourth-century Gotho-Roman relations (see below). It is deiificult to believe that sucha vast Gothic political unit could have left so little trace in what is a fairly substantial historical record.

I myself assume multiple political units bound by cultural if not linguistic ties.Jacob Haller 17:16, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
It's good to have a source and an opinion, but in case of disputed issues you need more than one source and have to state all opinions, no matter what you think personally. Wandalstouring 18:14, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but positive statements implying political unity are only one opinion, not all opinions. I've just shown another (backing itself up with arguments). And Kulikowski 2007 describes Jordanes' picture of Ermaneric's empire as 'Utter nonsense.' (p. 112) without drawing further conclusions.Jacob Haller 18:40, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
It doesn't matter whether this opinion is nonsense according to your source, as long as some scholars stick to it, you have to include it or at least mention that your scholar arguments against it. Wandalstouring 18:48, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
The article presented the large-kingdom model as an undisputed fact. And are there any recent (not Wolfram!) scholars who accept the model? I'd be interested in their arguments.Jacob Haller 19:10, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Just say that Wolfram dismissed that model and that there aren't other scholars supporting it. Is that so difficult? Wandalstouring 19:12, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

sword[edit]

please define 'sword'. The east Germanic warriors did have double-edged weapons that are commonly called swords and they did have much cheaper single edged weapons of differing length that are sometimes called swords, but were much more common than the double-edged versions. Wandalstouring 10:48, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Well, *mekeis (which I can't find in my glossaries but which occurs in Eph 6:17) and hairus both describe Roman swords, with the archetypal double straight edge. I generally consider any blade shorter than 45cm a dagger or short sword.
That is your private opinion and thus a WP:POV, but we have to write WP:NPOV. This is an encyclopedia and you are quoting a source, so you have to make perfectly clear what this source means when saying sword. Falcatas and seax are often counted along as swords, but can also be refered to as fighting knifes, etc. Wandalstouring 18:19, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
The second half (the 45cm part) is my private standard. The first half (that these words described Roman swords in that context) is clear anyway. Gothic swords are largely unknown but Germanic swords resemble Roman swords of the same time-frame anyway.
That's not quite right, there were also distinctive Germanic sword types (for example strong emphasis of the point and especially the long seax!) and for many designs it would be better to say Romano-Celtic because it isn't clear whether the Celts exported them to the later germanic lands before or after becoming part of the Roman Empire. Wandalstouring 18:40, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Osprey Rome's enemies (1) mentions long 'Sarmatian' swords for Gothic cavalry. Wandalstouring 18:45, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
The sax is not Roman, strictly Germanic, agreed. Sorry. I read 'sword' and mentally assumed 'not sax' without thinking about it. The long swords are fairly common in Roman contexts (a 1922 find at Camelon (73 cm blade), one from Newcastle (94 cm blade), one from Bavai (73 cm blade), one from Straubing (80 cm blade, 3rd century), one from Köln (71 cm blade, late 3rd century), etc. See also Rald, Ulla, 1994, The Roman Swords from Danish Bog Finds, in the Journal of Roman Military Equipment Studies, vol. 5, pp. 227-241. On p. 237 he refers to the similarity between Roman and Barbarian swords. Jacob Haller 19:06, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Than the author forgets that these swords are not Roman, but from Roman territory. They have their own history of development from the swords of the Celtic cavalry. Barbarian is an absolutely outdated term in research, becauxse it can mean anything from the inhabitants of the Sahara, Nubia, Arabia, Persia, China to the various groups in Europe. Wandalstouring 19:10, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Here's my proposed 'History' intro text[edit]

(Admittedly theory-laden, especially in the first paragraph.)

In the 3rd Century, some Germanic people of the Baltic Sea followed part of the Amber route along the Vistula and Bug rivers and settled among the Dacians, Sarmatians, and other peoples of the Black Sea steppes. These Germanic people brought their name and language to the Gothic people who emerged in the 3rd century.

The Gothic people had divided into two or more groups by the end of the 3rd Century. These groups lasted from the late 3rd Century to the late 4th Century. The Thervingi lived between the Danube and the Carpathians west of the Dnestr river; the Greuthungi, and possibly other groups, lived east of the Dnestr river.

Jordanes, a mid 6th Century historian describes a large Greuthung kingdom in the late 4th century, but Ammianus Marcellinus, a late 4th Century historian, does not record this. Many modern historians doubt that it was ever particularly extensive.

This Gothic society seems to have broken apart through internal strife and Hunnic raids. As a result several groups sought refuge in the Roman Empire; two of the more successful groups, the Visigoths and Ostrogoths, absorbed smaller groups and gained independence within the Roman Empire. Another group, the Crimean Goths survived on the Black Sea. The Vandals and Burgundians shared similar histories.

The Visigothic and Burgundian kingdoms in Gaul fell to Clovis' Frankish invasions in the early 6th Century; the Vandal kingdom in north Africa, and the Ostrogothic kingdom in Italy and Illyria fell to Justinian I's Byzantine invasions by the mid 6th Century. The Visigothic kingdom in Hispania survived (despite losing most of their old Gallic territory) until the Islamic conquest of Hispania in the early 8th Century.

(So, what do you think?) Jacob Haller 22:41, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

You seem to have sourced it somehow, but I can't see them. The part about the amber route seems a bit doubtful, just mentioning a traderoute or some rivers could be better. The part about the Greuthungen kingdom could be expanded, name the different theories. If the knigdom didn't exist it is hard to understand how a split tribe can break apart. The society didn't break, nobles stayed nobles and freemen stayed freemen. Perhaps we should make a clarification who is part of the Gothic people. the Gepids are also listed among them. Wandalstouring 00:33, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
I'd add footnotes later. Amber gives some substance to the trade routes; however, the Wikipedia entry only shows the western Amber Route, not the eastern one, so it's misleading. Heather 1998 (p. 49) refers to the eastern amber route and (p. 46) shows a map. Vistula-Dnestr and Vistula/Bug-Bug are the most likely eastern routes. Green 2000 (p. 165) refers to this as well.
Greuthungi - (A) Single large kingdom as in Jordanes (B) Single medium-sized kingdom and non-Gothic areas in part of eastern Chernyakhov culture-region (C) More than one small kingdom (D) More than one small kingdom and non-Gothic areas in part of eastern Chernyakhov culture-region.
Breaking Apart - (1) separate friendly groups can become seperate hostile groups (2) single groups can split into multiple groups, so that each of, say, 5 groups splits into 2-3 groups, and we get 12 groups. But that's not what I'm interested in.
Breaking Apart II - (1) mass emmigration; Wulfila, Fritigern, et al. at different times. (2) Religious turmoil, conversions (attested), persecutions (attested), religious wars (attested in Socrates Scholasticus, chapter 33, but not elsewhere). (3) Social turmoil, possibly tied to religious turmoil. Not directly attested (ancient hisrorians rarely discuss it) but not unlikely. Consider the names which Alatheus and Odotheus use.
Gepids - sure.
Bastarnae ??? - neither of us mentioned them - see below. Jacob Haller 02:33, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Green 2000, Language and History in the Early Germanic World, pp. 164ff, claims that the Bastarnae were east-Germanic, and east-Germanic speakers had settled the Black Sea area since the 2nd Century BCE. Jacob Haller 02:33, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Updated version:

In the 3rd Century, some Germanic people of the Baltic Sea followed the Vistula, Bug, and Dnestr rivers and settled among the Dacians, Sarmatians, Bastarnae, and other peoples of the Black Sea steppes. These Germanic people brought their name and language to the Gothic people who emerged in the 3rd century.

The Gothic people had divided into two or more groups by the end of the 3rd Century. These groups lasted from the late 3rd Century to the late 4th Century. The Thervingi lived between the Danube and the Carpathians west of the Dnestr river; the Greuthungi, and possibly other groups, lived east of the Dnestr river.

Jordanes, a mid 6th Century historian describes a large Greuthung kingdom in the late 4th century, but Ammianus Marcellinus, a late 4th Century historian, does not record this. Many modern historians doubt that it was ever particularly extensive (and suggest several smaller kingdoms).

This Gothic society faced internal strife and Hunnish attacks in the late 4th Century. As a result several groups sought refuge in the Roman Empire; two of the more successful groups, the Visigoths and Ostrogoths, absorbed smaller groups and gained independence within the Roman Empire. Another group, the Crimean Goths survived on the Black Sea. The Vandals and Burgundians shared similar histories.

The Visigothic and Burgundian kingdoms in Gaul fell to Clovis' Frankish invasions in the early 6th Century; the Vandal kingdom in north Africa, and the Ostrogothic kingdom in Italy and Illyria fell to Justinian I's Byzantine invasions by the mid 6th Century. The Visigothic kingdom in Hispania survived (despite losing most of their old Gallic territory) until the Islamic conquest of Hispania in the early 8th Century.Jacob Haller 15:16, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Article structure[edit]

the article structure needs to be improved. telling first what an army looked like and several chapters later what its purpose was leads the reader into confusion. Find a better solution. Wandalstouring 12:23, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Why history when there is a page on the Goths already and your versions are incomplete if not misleading? Why write about the history at all when you are so far off the article about the Goths..? There are clear links to Sweden both earlier than your history starts and later with documented contacs. Also, why did they keep so strongly to their tradition of their origins being scandinavian as supposed to slav? Nilsnorway (talk) 11:01, 31 July 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nilsnorway (talkcontribs) 10:56, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

equipment of Gothic forces[edit]

I doubt the authors account (it reads like based on tombs). The problem is probably that he concludes the equipment of the soldiers from what was found in tombs, although in tombs was given equipment that could be spared, not what was invaluable (swords). Try to get another author on the topic and compare it to the finds from weapon offerings(a religious ceremony to annihilate the complete equipment of a defeated army). These finds are mostly in southern Scandinavia, the poorest Germanic region, here are some examples: the equipment found in Ejsbøl(in between 300-400 AD) of an estimated force of 200 men had 60 of them with swords, knifes, shields, spears and lances, further 140 had javelins, lances and shields. In Vimose (first offering in the first half of the third century and second offering in the fourth century) 85 swords, 325 spearpoints and 775 lancepoints were found, the estimated equipment for a force of 500 men (lances are thrusting weapons, while spears have a longer blade - Celtic spears). It has been common in the bronze age to equip soldiers with two lances/spears, what still influenced the iron-poor Northern European societies. (Rudolf Simek Götter und Kulte der Germanen ISBN 3-406-50835) Wandalstouring 12:45, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

There are very few Gothic weapon burials. Much of the evidence comes from (North/West Germanic) bog finds, and the proportions of weapons therein. We can reasonably assume that Gothic weapons have much in common with West Germanic ones and with Roman ones. In the latter case, more evidence points to spears than to swords. Elton 1996: 109. Stephenson 2001: 58. Bishop & Coulston 2006: 202. Jacob Haller 15:35, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Also, every lance/spear distinction seems to use a different standard.Jacob Haller 15:40, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
You miss the point that this assessment of the proportions of actual equipment via burials is highly disputed and doesn't have much support in science. To be able to spare a sword means that you had at least one left is the mainstream theses, while many older authors and still a minority thinks the burial weapons are representative for the distribution and state of the art equipment. I gave you the example of the Scandinavian excavations, because in this case it can be assumed that the complete eqipment was destroyed and the remains can be found. Please retrieve more than one authority for such disputeable claims on equipment. Wandalstouring 15:55, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

language footnotes[edit]

I think it best to footnote each entry. All entries come from the glassaries of the works, so the page numbers are not really needed. Dropping the page numbers or subbing 'glossary' for them would allow more consolidation of footnotes. I'm not sure how the coding works. Jacob Haller 19:57, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Take a look at Campaign history of the Roman military or Alcibiades and don't reinvent the wheel. Wandalstouring 22:06, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

naval raids of the Gothic people[edit]

you might want to add a link to this topic and create a seperate article or include it and move the article to a title that better includes the topic. Wandalstouring 18:22, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

How about "Gothic warfare"? I'm not sure how to retitle the article or add the redirect. Jacob Haller 22:14, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

more suitable infobox[edit]

You might use a timeline similar to {{History_of_China}}. The subject mustn't be limited to political entity, you can use it on the development of different types of military equipment for example or different fighting styles, etc. Wandalstouring 18:25, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

military terms[edit]

I read about a theses that the Germanic numerical system was probably heavily influenced by the Central Asian decimal organization (10 - 100 - 1000) of armies. Perhaps you can find out more about this. Wandalstouring 16:10, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Evidence for Roman armour and weapons[edit]

This section does present a POV not reflected by all sources. Please do more research on whether equipment was adopted by the Germanic tribes or the late Roman army. Wandalstouring 21:29, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure what the POV issue is. I include this section because (1) I was familiar with the subject and had several sources handy (2) Gothic and Vandal soldiers (in regular units, if not federate units as well) might well have used standard Roman weapons (3) Gothic and Vandal fighters fighting against the Roman Empire or in Roman Civil Wars (not that uncommon) might well have faced opponents using these weapons (4) if we can find more references to non-Roman weapons, we might compare/contrast these with Roman weapons. Jacob Haller 00:10, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Admittedly the writing isn't great, especially the representative evidence/archaeological evidence alternation. Jacob Haller 00:25, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
The problem is did the Germanic warriors copy Roman equipment or the Romans Germanic? There is an ongoing dispute, so better say they used the same equipment and not they used Roman equipment. Furthermore there were a lot more swordstyles common in the Germanic forces than in the Roman of that era. If you want to maintain the claim that it is Roman equipment, please quote any metallurgic source that states this equipment was manufactured in the Empire, otherwise it is a wrong claim, like saying all AK 74 are produced in Russia. Wandalstouring 19:23, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

I wasn't trying to say that the Romans copied Germanic equipment or vice-versa (though the Romans copied Sarmatian ring-pommel swords) or whether they had different equipment. Ideally we would have sections on Roman equipment, Sarmatian equipment and Vandal and West Germanic equipment. Personally, I don't have that many sources for the non-Roman material or that much time. Jacob Haller 22:39, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

P.S. The section describes evidence from the empire (or from Roman army bases where Imperial origins are unambiguous, e.g. Newstead). Most of the representational evidence shows Roman soldiers (in personal monuments) or Roman units (in propaganda monuments) though the Exodus Fresco is an exception. As for the archaeological evidence, this mostly comes from graves but clear Roman/non-Roman identification is not so simple. Other sections could describe evidence from elsewhere (though in many cases Imperial origins are likely, e.g. Neupotz). Jacob Haller 22:47, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
So your statements have nothing to do with the Gothic and Vandal warfare? I will than delete it or move it elsewhere. Wandalstouring 20:41, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
(1) It's directly relevent to Gothic and Vandal forces in the Roman Army (2) There is almost no direct evidence of Gothic weapons (because most direct evidence comes from burials, and the Goths, unlike the Romans, Vandals, West Germanic Peoples, and Sarmatians, almost never buried weapons with their dead), so we need indirect data fromneighboring peoples. I don't have enough sources to write up such info for the Sarmatians, Vandals, or West Germanic peoples, but in theory they should also get sections. Jacob Haller 21:08, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Germanic Weapons and Armor[edit]

Can anyone recommend suitable sources? Jacob Haller 01:30, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

there are Osprey "Germanic Warrior AD 236–568"[1], "Anglo-Saxon Thegn AD 449–1066" and "Viking Hersir 793–1066 AD". --dab (𒁳) 15:38, 29 August 2007 (UTC)