Gothic Roman Armies

9th-century Stuttgart Psalter, fol. 23, illustration of Psalm 91:13
"Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet."

We've been looking at the Goths who invaded then settled into the Roman Empire and how they are described - falsely - by the Roman Church in the Middle Ages, as part of its (mythological) textual tradition, as Arian Christian:

  1. Proto-Christian Gothic Bible
  2. Arianism as Chrestianity
Now, we'll look at how these 'pagan' 'barbarians' adopted the religion of the Eastern Roman Empire and how they were then used.

Part III

The Goths appeared on the eastern border of the Eastern Roman Empire, from a region long settled by Scythians:
Gothic invasions in the 3rd century
The Goths in Scythia and Dacia 
"The first Greek references to the Goths call them Scythians, since this area along the Black Sea historically had been occupied by an unrelated people of that name. The term as applied to the Goths appears to be geographical rather than ethnological in reference.[Kulikowski 2006, p. 19. "And so the Goths, when they first appear in our written sources, are Scythians – they lived where the Scythians had once lived, they were the barbarian mirror image of the civilised Greek world as the Scythians had been, and so they were themselves Scythians."]"
So, although historians prefer to believe sources that are far too late, I won't argue (this time): where they originated is in dispute, but there is a consensus that the Goths appeared out of Scythia and were called Scythian.

Figure carved on the Frankish grave stele of Niederdollendorf (7th century)
Now, their conversion:
"Initially pagan, the Goths were gradually converted to Arian Christianity in the course of the 4th century as a result of the missionary activity by the Gothic bishop Wulfila, who devised an alphabet to translate the Bible."

Gothic Christianity
"The Gothic tribes converted to Christianity sometime between 376 and 390 AD."
"Within a few generations of their appearance on the borders of the Empire in 238 AD, the conversion of the Goths to Christianity was nearly all-inclusive."
"In 337 or 341, Ulfilas was sent by Arian emperor Constantius II to preach to the Goths in their language, and became the first bishop of the (Arian Christian) Goths. By 348, one of the (pagan) Gothic kings (reikos) began persecuting the Christian Goths, and Ulfilas and many other Christian Goths,[Jamie Wood (20 March 2012). The Politics of Identity in Visigothic Spain: Religion and Power in the Histories of Isidore of Seville. BRILL. pp. 26–. ISBN 978-90-04-20990-9. Retrieved 19 March 2013.] fled to safety within the Roman Empire's borders."
Gothic Christianity in the Roman Empire 
"According to Patrick Amory, the Gothic churches had close ties to other Arian churches in the Western Roman Empire.[Amory, Patrick, People and Identity in Ostrogothic Italy, p. 238]"
There is no bishop Arius in the cultural layer of that time and place, and similarly, all we know of Arianism belongs to the Christian textual tradition, for which we have only 'copies' made by monks in the 8th-12th centuries.
"Controversy over Arianism arose in the late 3rd century and persisted throughout most of the 4th century. It involved most church members—from simple believers, priests, and monks to bishops, emperors, and members of Rome's imperial family. Two Roman emperors, Constantius II and Valens, became Arians or Semi-Arians, as did prominent Gothic, Vandal, and Lombard warlords both before and after the fall of the Western Roman Empire."
The imperial court of the Eastern Roman Empire was 'Arian' in this period. As Arianism is Chrestianity - the contemporaneous records make this clear -  then this empire was officially Chrestian and this is how the Goths became Chrestian.

What religion was the Church of Rome, then? What it had always been, with its long-standing, pagan institutions. The list of early popes is too late and mythological to be relevant to the history of this period. Chrestianity began in the East and there it flourished.

Fighting for the Eastern Roman Empire

Victory of Shapur over the Romans; Emperor Gordian III trampled under the hooves of Shapur's horse and Philip the Arab offering terms; rock carving at Bishapur in the Shiraz region of Iran
The battle was in 244, near the city of Misikhe (modern Fallujah in Iraq), during which the Roman army was annihilated; the Persian version:
"When at first we [Shapur] had become established in the Empire, Gordian Caesar raised in all of the Roman Empire a force from the Goth and German realms and marched on Babylonia against the Empire of [Persia] and against us. On the border of Babylonia at Misikhe, a great frontal battle occurred. Gordian Caesar was killed and the Roman force was destroyed."
We remember Gordian from the Julius Terentius fresco at Dura Europos, in my last post. Three divine men, probably the trinity of divine, Roman emperors. As an example of how unreliable is our Roman history, this battle is ignored, not mentioned at all.

Gothic soldiers on the Missorium of Theodosius I, 388 CE.
So here we have the Goths fighting as part of the imperial army in 244, a century before the textual tradition describes them as converted.

This is how we know the lie. Nothing was more important to the empire than loyalty, fidelity and because the emperor was divine, this expression combines with Roman theology to become sanctity and even saint (there were saints and the community of saints long before even Chrestianity.

We see how Christianity has taken saints for their own and distorted the term:
"The English word "saint" is from the Latin "sanctus", in origin a word in indigenous tradition connected to the god Sancus, but in Christian context the word is used to translate the Greek "ἅγιος" ("hagios"), which is derived from the verb "ἁγιάζω" ("hagiazo"), which latter word means "to set apart", "to sanctify", or "to make holy". The word ἅγιος appears 229 times in the Greek New Testament, and its English translation 60 times in the corresponding text of the King James Version of the Sacred Scriptures.
"As used by the apostolic authors of the Sacred Scriptures, "saint" did not denote the deceased who had been recognized as such, but rather the living faithful who had dedicated themselves to God.
"The word was also originally a technical one in ancient Roman religion, but due to its "globalized" use in Christianity the modern word in English and Romance languages is now also used as a translation of comparable terms for persons "worthy of veneration for their holiness or sanctity" in other religions."
Also sanctity:
Origin of sanctity 
"Middle English saunctite, from Anglo-French sainteté, from Latin sanctitat-, sanctitas, from sanctus sacred"
In Rome, both Republican and Imperial:
Semo Sancus, Herculaneum, Curcumas Shop
"In ancient Roman religion, Sancus (also known as Sangus or Semo Sancus) was the god of trust (fides), honesty, and oaths. His cult is one of the most ancient of the Romans, probably derived from Umbrian influences.[K. Latte Rōmische Religiongeschichte München 1960 p. 127.]"
"The temple dedicated to Sancus stood on the Quirinal Hill, under the name Semo Sancus Dius Fidius.
"Sancus was considered the son of Jupiter, an opinion recorded by Varro and attributed to his teacher Aelius Stilo.[Varro Lingua Latina V 66.] He was the god of heavenly light, the avenger of dishonesty, the upholder of truth and good faith, the sanctifier of agreements. Hence his identification with Hercules, who was likewise the guardian of the sanctity of oaths.
"The shrine on the Quirinal was described by 19th century archeologist R.A. Lanciani.[R.A. Lanciani Pagan and Christian Rome Boston and New York 1893 pp. 32-33.] It was located near the Porta Sanqualis of the Servian walls,[Festus s. v. Sanqualis Porta p. 345 L.] not far from the modern church of San Silvestro al Quirinale, precisely on the Collis Mucialis.[Varro Lingua Lat. V 52: Collis Mucialis: quinticeps apud aedem Dei Fidi; in delubro ubi aeditumus habere solet.] It was described by classical writers as having no roof so as oaths could be taken under the sky."
Simon Magus
"Justin Martyr records that Simon Magus, a gnostic mentioned in the Christian Bible, performed such miracles by magic acts during the reign of Claudius that he was regarded as a god and honored with a statue on the island in the Tiber which the two bridges cross, with the inscription Simoni Deo Sancto, "To Simon the Holy God".[The First Apology, Chapter XXVI.—Magicians not trusted by Christians, Justin Martyr.] However, in 1574, the Semo Sancus statue was unearthed on the island in question, leading most scholars to believe that Justin Martyr confused Semoni Sanco with Simon."
To be loyal was to be sacred, holy and saintly. When Goths became an important part of the imperial Roman army - as they were in 244 - they had to have been regarded as loyal to the emperor, the empire; this loyalty has theological implications ignored by historians.

The Goths as a loyal component of the imperial, Roman army was not a one-off affair. In its wars with the Western Roman Empire, the Goths became the military instrument of the imperial and "Arian" court in the Eastern:
The maximum extent of territories ruled by Theodoric the Great in 523.
Refugees and invaders in the Roman Empire
"A Visigothic force led by Alaric I sacked Rome in 410. Honorius granted the Visigoths Aquitania, where they defeated the Vandals and conquered most of the Iberian Peninsula by 475.
In the meantime, under Theodemir, the Ostrogoths broke away from Hunnic rule following the Battle of Nedao in 454, and decisively defeated the Huns again under Valamir at Bassianae in 468. At the request of emperor Zeno, Theodoric the Great conquered all of Italy from the Scirian Odoacer beginning in 488. The Goths were briefly reunited under one crown in the early 6th century under Theodoric the Great, who became regent of the Visigothic kingdom following the death of Alaric II at the Battle of Vouillé in 507."
"Some Visigothic nobles under the leadership of Pelagius of Asturias did manage to defeat the Moors at the Battle of Covadonga, and subsequently established the Kingdom of Asturias in the northwest of Iberian Peninsula. The Gothic victory at Covadonga is regarded as the initiation of the Reconquista, and it was from the Asturian kingdom that modern Spain evolved."
We appear to not like the idea that the "Roman Empire" was conquered to order the the Eastern, but that is how it was. The 'barbarian" Goths who invaded Western Europe fought for a Roman Emperor.
"It is now thought that, between c. 238 CE and 400 CE, while there certainly were clashes between the armies of Rome and those of the Goths (most notably the First Gothic War of 376-382 CE), a sizeable portion of the population of the Roman Empire was Gothic and that these Goths had adopted the Roman way of life. A number of the engagements fought in the 1st Gothic War were the result of disputes over land agreements, promises made and broken, or mistreatment of the Goths by the Romans."
Goths' baptistery in Ravenna; typically octagonal, as are many stupas.
We have no contemporaneous records - historical or archaeological - of the early Gothic invasions of the empire. Just perhaps this is poor luck, but considering the bad faith of the Christian textual tradition, which either deleted or remade Roman history, it is quite likely to have been deliberately erased. This means we cannot trust the later accounts of conflict between Goths and the empire - maybe they have some truth, but likely as not, they at least misrepresent the facts.
Who Were the Ancient Goths? 
"Ironically, however, they are often credited with helping preserve Roman culture. After the sacking of Rome, a group of Goths moved to Gaul (in modern-day France) and Iberia and formed the Visigothic Kingdom. This kingdom would eventually incorporate Catholic Christianity, Roman artistic traditions and other aspects of Roman culture."
I know plenty of Classicists who have bought in to the Christian textual tradition so entirely that hard facts leave them unmoved; they are lost in the glittering web of false assumptions. One of the biggest is to take Procopious at face value.
"The writings of Procopius are the primary source of information for the rule of the Roman emperor Justinian. Procopius was the author of a history in eight books of the wars fought by Justinian I, a panegyric on Justinian's public works throughout the empire, and a book known as the Secret History that claims to report the scandals that Procopius could not include in his published history.
"The famous Secret History (Greek: Ἀπόκρυφη Ἱστορία Apókryphe Historía, Latin: Historia Arcana) was discovered centuries later in the Vatican Library and published by Niccolò Alamanni in 1623 at Lyons.
"Due to the panegyrical nature of the The Buildings, historians have discovered in several occasions discrepancies between claims made by Procopius and other primary sources. A primary example is in Procopius starting the reign of Justinian in 518, which was actually the start of the reign of Justin I, Justinian's predecessor and uncle. This discrepancy can be seen as part of Procopius' panegyric method, as it allowed him to credit buildings constructed under the rule Justin I as Justinian's accomplishments. In this context can be mentioned the renovations to the walls of Edessa after a flood in 525, along with several churches in the region, all of which were completed under Justinian's uncle. Similarly, Procopius falsely credits Justinian for the extensive re-fortifications made in the cities of Tomis and Histria in Scythia Minor, along the Danubian frontier, actual accomplishments of Anastasius I, predecessor of Justin I."
The fact is, the history of Goths in the Roman Empire is unreliable. Next and probably last in this short series, we must look at some of the influences penetrating the Roman Empire from the East, in the same period as the Goths - perhaps they are related.

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