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Name  Ermanaric Ermanaric
House  Amali dynasty
Died  376 AD, Ukraine
Successor  Vithimiris

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The Fall of Ermanaric

Ermanaric (Gothic: *Aírmanareiks; Latin: Ermanaricus; Old English: Eormanrīc [ˈeormɑnriːtʃ]; Old Norse: Jǫrmunrekr [ˈjɔrmunrekr]; died 376) was a Greuthungian Gothic King who before the Hunnic invasion evidently ruled a sizable portion of Oium, the part of Scythia inhabited by the Goths at the time. He is mentioned in two Roman sources; the contemporary writings of Ammianus Marcellinus and in Getica by the 6th-century historian Jordanes. Modern historians disagree on the size of Ermanaric's realm. Herwig Wolfram postulates that he at one point ruled a realm stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea as far eastwards as the Ural Mountains. Peter Heather is skeptical of the claim that Ermanaric ruled all Goths except the Tervingi, and furthermore points to the fact that such an enormous empire would have been larger than any known Gothic political unit, that it would have left bigger traces in the sources and that the sources on which the claim is based are not nearly reliable enough to be taken at face value.


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In Germanic legend

Ermanaric also appears in Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon legend. Here, Ermanaric is ill-advised by Bicke, Bikka or Sifka, who wants revenge for the rape of his wife by Ermanaric. Also in some tales of Dietrich of Bern, Ermanaric is Dietrich's uncle who stole the kingdom. This adviser advised Ermanaric to kill those closest to him.


Ermanaric's Gothic name is reconstructed as Airmanareiks. It is recorded in the various Latinized forms:

  • in Jordanes' Getica, he is called Ermanaricus or Hermanaricus, but some of the manuscripts even have Armanaricus, Hermericus, Hermanericus etc.
  • in Ammianus' Res gestae, he is Ermenrichus (his name occurs only once).
  • In medieval Germanic epics, the name appears as:

  • Old English Eormenric in Beowulf; the alternative spelling Eormanric occurs in the poems Deor and Widsith,
  • Old Norse Jọrmunrekr,
  • Middle High German Ermenrîch.
  • Since the name Heiðrekr may have been confused with Ermanaric through folk etymology he is possibly identical to Heiðrekr Ulfhamr of the Hervarar saga.


    Ermanaric Wikipedia

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