The Gepids (Latin: Gepidae; Old English: Gifð; possibly Proto-Germanic: *Gibiðaz, "giver" or gepanta) were an East Germanic tribe who were closely related to the Goths. The Gepids were recorded in the area along the southern Baltic coast in the 1st century AD, having migrated there from southern Sweden some years earlier. Subsequently, the Gepids migrated further south during the 2nd century and were reported in the mountains north of Transylvania by the end of the 3rd century. In the 4th century, they were incorporated into the Hunnic State.
Under their leader Ardaric, the Gepids united with other Germanic tribes and defeated the Huns at Battle of Nedao in 454. The Gepids then founded a kingdom centered in Sirmium, commonly known as Gepidia or Kingdom of the Gepids.
In the 3rd century (around 260 AD), the Gepids participated with the Goths in an invasion of Dacia. Their early origins are reported in Jordanes' Origins and Deeds of the Goths, where he claims that their name derives from their later and slower migration from Scandinavia:
You surely remember that in the beginning I said the Goths went forth from the bosom of the island of Scandza with Berig, their king, sailing in only three ships toward the hither shore of Ocean, namely to Gothiscandza. One of these three ships proved to be slower than the others, as is usually the case, and thus is said to have given the tribe their name, for in their language gepanta means slow. (xvii.94-95)
The first settlements of the Gepids were at the mouth of the Vistula River, which runs south to north from the Polish Carpathian mountains. Their first named king, Fastida, enlarged their boundaries by war and overwhelmed the Burgundians, almost annihilating them in the 4th century. Like the Goths, the Gepids were converted to Arian Christianity.
Then in 375 they became subjects of the Huns. Under King Ardaric, Gepidan warriors joined Attila the Hun's forces in the Battle of Chalons (the "Catalaunian fields") in Gaul in 451. On the eve of the main encounter between allied hordes, the Gepids and Franks met each other, the latter fighting for the Romans and the former for the Huns, and seem to have fought one another to a standstill with 15,000 dead.[unreliable source?]
After Attila's death in 453, the Gepids and other people allied to defeat Attila's successors. Led by Ardaric they broke the Hunnic power in the Battle at the River Nedao in 454. After the victory they finally won a place to settle in the Carpathian Mountains in Gepidia. Not long after the battle at the Nedao the old rivalry between the Gepids and the Ostrogoths spurred up again, and they were driven out of their homeland in 504 by Theodoric the Great. In 552 the Gepids suffered a disastrous defeat from Alboin King of the Lombards. in the Battle of Asfeld and were finally conquered by the Avars in 567. Many Gepids followed Alboin to Italy (where they founded the Kingdom of the Lombards), but many remained. In 630, Theophylact Simocatta reported that the Byzantine Army entered the territory of the Avars and attacked a Gepidan feast, capturing 30,000 Gepids (they met no Avars).
In Vlaha, Cluj County, Romania, a necropolis was discovered in August 2004 with 202 identified tombs dated to the 6th century AD. Eighty-five percent of the discovered tombs were robbed in the same period. The remaining artifacts are ceramics, bronze articles and an armory. Also in Romania, at Miercurea Sibiului, there is another necropolis with rich artifacts. Other necropolises in Romania are:
- Moreşti, Mureş County
- Noșlac, Alba County
- Brateiu, Sibiu County
- Șeica Mică, Sibiu County
- Timişoara Freidorf site
- Royal necropolis at Apahida
- Turda: the richest Germanic tomb found in Romania is here. The "Franziska" tomb was found in a Roman site and dated to the 5th century AD.
- Fastida, fl. c. 250
- Ardaric, fl. c. 454
- Trapstila, fl. 488
- Trasericus, fl. 505
- Elemund, fl. c. 549
- Thurisind, fl. 552
- Cunimund, fl. 560s
- Yeat, Theedrich (tr.). "Jordanes in Latin and English". Retrieved 2008-03-03.
- Jordanes, Getica, XII.74: Haec Gotia, quam Daciam appellavere maiores, quae nunc ut diximus Gepidia dicitur ("This Gothia, which our ancestors called Dacia, we now call Gepidia.").
- "Jordane's Origins and Deeds of the Goths". Northvegr. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2008-03-03.
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (January 2012)|
- Jordanes: e-text
- "The Kingdom of the Gepids", in: Lászlo Makkai and András Mócsy, editors, 2001. History of Transylvania, II: István Bóna, "From Dacia to Erdöelve: Transylvania in the period of the Great Migrations (271-896)"
- Apahida Artefacts
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