Thorismund

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Thorismund (also Thorismod or Thorismud, as manuscripts of our chief source confusingly attest [1] ) (c. 420–453), became king of the Visigoths after his father Theodoric was killed in the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains (also called Battle of Châlons) in 451 CE. He was murdered in 453 and was succeeded by his brother Theodoric II.

Visigoths Gothic tribe

The Visigoths were the western branches of the nomadic tribes of Germanic peoples referred to collectively as the Goths. These tribes flourished and spread throughout the late Roman Empire in Late Antiquity, or what is known as the Migration Period. The Visigoths emerged from earlier Gothic groups who had invaded the Roman Empire beginning in 376 and had defeated the Romans at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. Relations between the Romans and the Visigoths were variable, alternately warring with one another and making treaties when convenient. The Visigoths invaded Italy under Alaric I and sacked Rome in 410. After the Visigoths sacked Rome, they began settling down, first in southern Gaul and eventually in Hispania, where they founded the Visigothic Kingdom and maintained a presence from the 5th to the 8th centuries AD.

Theodoric I King of the Visigoths

Theodoric I was the King of the Visigoths from 418 to 451. An illegitimate son of Alaric, Theodoric is famous for his part in defeating Attila at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains in 451, where he was killed on June 20.

Battle of the Catalaunian Plains battle

The Battle of the Catalaunian Plains, also called the Battle of the Campus Mauriacus, Battle of Châlons, Battle of Troyes or the Battle of Maurica, took place on June 20, 451 AD, between a coalition led by the Roman general Flavius Aetius and the Visigothic king Theodoric I against the Huns and their vassals commanded by their king Attila. It was one of the last major military operations of the Western Roman Empire, although Germanic foederati composed the majority of the coalition army. Whether the battle was strategically conclusive is disputed: the Romans possibly stopped the Huns' attempt to establish vassals in Roman Gaul. However, the Huns successfully looted and pillaged much of Gaul and crippled the military capacity of the Romans and Visigoths. The Hunnic Empire was later dismantled by a coalition of their Germanic vassals at the Battle of Nedao in 454.

Thorismund appears to have played a pivotal role in the Battle of Châlons as he led a contingent of the Visigoth forces in capturing an important summit at the very early stages of the conflict. The summit seems to have extended to the whole of the left flank of the Ostrogoth and Hun forces. Thorismund descended from the hills during the late stages of the conflict, when the Huns had prevailed over the Alans, and the Ostrogoths were pushing the disorganized Visigoths after the death of their king Theodoric. Thorismund led his force of Visigoths in a decisive charge which, according to Edward Gibbon, flanked both the Ostrogoths and subsequently the Huns and snatched the victory from his enemies.

Ostrogoths

The Ostrogoths were the eastern branch of the older Goths. The Ostrogoths traced their origins to the Greutungi – a branch of the Goths who had migrated southward from the Baltic Sea and established a kingdom north of the Black Sea, during the 3rd and 4th centuries. They built an empire stretching from the Black Sea to the Baltic. The Ostrogoths were probably literate in the 3rd century, and their trade with the Romans was highly developed. Their Danubian kingdom reached its zenith under King Ermanaric, who is said to have committed suicide at an old age when the Huns attacked his people and subjugated them in about 370.

Huns Tribe of eastern Europe and central Asia

The Huns were a nomadic people who lived in Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Eastern Europe, between the 4th and 6th century AD. According to European tradition, they were first reported living east of the Volga River, in an area that was part of Scythia at the time; the Huns' arrival is associated with the migration westward of an Indo-Iranian people, the Alans. By 370 AD, the Huns had arrived on the Volga, and by 430 the Huns had established a vast, if short-lived, dominion in Europe, conquering the Goths and many other Germanic peoples living outside of Roman borders, and causing many others to flee into Roman territory. The Huns, especially under their King Attila made frequent and devastating raids into the Eastern Roman Empire. In 451, the Huns invaded the Western Roman province of Gaul, where they fought a combined army of Romans and Visigoths at the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields, and in 452 they invaded Italy. After Attila's death in 453, the Huns ceased to be a major threat to Rome and lost much of their empire following the Battle of Nedao (454?). Descendants of the Huns, or successors with similar names, are recorded by neighbouring populations to the south, east and west as having occupied parts of Eastern Europe and Central Asia from about the 4th to 6th centuries. Variants of the Hun name are recorded in the Caucasus until the early 8th century.

The Alans were an Iranian nomadic pastoral people of antiquity.

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References

  1. Jordanes, De origine actibusque Getarum (Getica) 81, 174, 190, 201 and elsewhere.

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King Thorismund of the Visigoths
 Died: 453
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Theodoric I
King of the Visigoths
451–453
Succeeded by
Theodoric II