1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Visigoths

By

Definition:

The Visigoths were a tribe of Germanic people who were very active during the waning years of the Western Roman Empire and the following few centuries. Originally part of the Gothic people, the Visigoths are believed to have broken away from them in the 4th century C.E.

In the late fourth and early fifth centuries, the Visigoths became federates of the empire, and fought alongside Romans against other Germanic tribes as well as against the Huns. But in the early 5th century the emperor did not honor his promises of food and land to the Visigothic leader, Alaric. After several attempts at obtaining what had been promised, Alaric led the Visigoths in an attack on the city of Rome in 410 C.E. -- an event considered by some scholars to mark the beginning of the medieval era.

Later, the Visigoths would settle in Gaul and Spain. One of their leaders, Euric, would put an end to their standing as federates of Rome when he declared his independence as a king. Euric would compile a written code of Visigothic law, fragments of which still exist.

After losing much of their northern territory to Clovis in the early 6th century, the Visigoths established a kingdom in Spain that lasted until they were overrun by Muslims in 711.

Examples: Alaric the Visigoth only wanted what was best for his people.
The Visigothic Code is an important example of early Germanic law.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.