Gapt, Progenitor of the Amals

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Gapt of the Goths

Also Known As: "Geatwa", "Geata", "Geat", "Gaut", "Geot", "Gauti", "(¿Geat?)", "de los Godos"
Birthplace: Gothiscandza (Present Pomorze), (Present Poland)
Death: circa 100 (61-79)
Gothiscandza (Present Pomorze), (Present Poland)
Immediate Family:

Son of (unknown) and (unknown)
Husband of (Generation 1)
Father of Hulmul, Progenitor of the Amals

Occupation: King of the Amals, King of the Goths, koning der Goten
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Gapt, Progenitor of the Amals


We know no more... lest you have a time machine and are willing to take us all with you to the past to verify your information, please, no parents...

Gapt was probably the same legendary figure as Geat, the divine ancestor of the Geats in southern Sweden. Already in pre-saga times Geat was beginning to be identified with Odin. There is no way to reconcile the genealogies. (Justin Swanström, Dec. 26, 2011)


From the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy page on Hungary Kings:


Iordanes sets out the ancestors of Athal, in order, as follows "Gapt…Hulmul…Augis…Amal a quo et origo Amalorum decurrit…Hisarnis…Ostrogotha…Hunuil…Athal"[31].


[31] Iordanes Getarum, MGH Auct. ant. V.1, p. 77.


From Jordanes' Getica:


(79) Now the first of these heroes, as they themselves relate in their legends, was Gapt, who begat Hulmul. And Hulmul begat Augis; and Augis begat him who was called Amal, from whom the name of the Amali comes.


From the Wikipedia page on the name Gaut:

Gautr, Gauti, Guti, Gothus and Geats are name forms based on the same Proto-Germanic root, *ǥuđ- (see God). Gapt is generally considered to be a corruption of Gaut.[1]

The names may represent the eponymous founder of an early tribe ancestral to the Gautar (Geats), Gutans (Goths) and Gutar (Gotlanders). Gaut was one of Odin's names and the name forms are thought to be echoes of an ancient ancestry tradition among Germanic tribes, such as that of Yngvi and the Ingaevones.

Moreover, the names Geats, Goths and Gutar are closely related tribal names. Geat was originally Proto-Germanic *Gautoz, and Goths and Gutar were *Gutaniz. According to Andersson (1996), *Gautoz and *Gutaniz are two ablaut grades of a Proto-Germanic word with the meaning "to pour" (modern Swedish gjuta, modern Danish gyde, modern German giessen; English in-got) designating the tribes as "pourers of metal" or "forgers of men".

The name Gautr appears as one of the names of Odin in Norse mythology, but also as an alternative form of the name Gauti, who was one of Odin's sons, and the founder of the kingdom of the Geats, Götaland (Gautland/Geatland). This Gautr/Gauti also appears as the father of the recurrent and undatable Geatish king Gautrekr.

Some versions of the English royal line of Wessex add names above that of Woden, purportedly giving Woden's ancestry, though the names are now usually thought be in fact another royal lineage that has been at some stage erroneously pasted onto the top of the standard genealogy. Some of these genealogies end in Geat, whom it is reasonable to think might be Gaut. In the Life of Alfred, Asser states that the pagans worshipped this Geat himself for a long time as a god, but the account in the Brythonic Historia Britonum calls Geat a son of a god writes instead. In Old Norse texts Gaut is itself a very common byname for Odin.

Jordanes in The origin and deeds of the Goths traces the line of the Amelungs up to Hulmul son of Gapt, purportedly the first Gothic hero of record. This Gapt is felt by many commentators to be an error for Gaut or Gauti. Nennius reports that a Gothus was the ancestor of the Goths. In the same book Jordanes tells that Tomyris was the queen of Getae, possibly referring to the Dacians (see article). Tomyris was, according to Herodotus, a queen of the Massagetae, an Iranian tribe.

The Gutasaga, which treats the history of Gotland before its Christianization, begins with Þjelvar and his son Hafþi, who had three sons, Graipr, Guti and Gunfjaun, who were the ancestors of the Gotlanders, the Gutar (which is originally the same name as Goths).


Andersson, Thorsten. (1996) "Göter, goter, gutar" in Journal Namn och Bygd, Uppsala.



From "Cassiodorus, Jordanes and the history of the Goths: studies in a migration myth" by Arne Søby Christensen, pg. 132 - :

Of course, the editing per se does not necessarily undermine the historical value of the names that do appear, provided they build on an authentic Gothic tradition. We have no way of directly verifying the oldest ancestors in the genealogy (that is, the first nine generations from Gapt to Achiulf and Oduulf) since, due to the nature of the genealogy, they are not found elsewhere in the literature.[24]

One might obviously form hypotheses regarding the names given. One option would be to amend, as J.Grimm did, the name Gapt to Gaut, thereby having the Goths descend from some Northern deity.[25]

Another option would be to believe that Hulmul and Saxo's Humble are identical, thereby linking the Danish royal genealogy to that of Jordanes and the Goths.[26]

Yet another would be to determine that Hisarnis was Celtic, thereby demonstrating that the Goths were linked to the Celts for a time.[27] When and where this is supposed to have happened remains unclear, for not even Jordanes mentions anything of this nature.

There are at least two prerequisites on which such claims must be based: firstly that Jordanes and Cassiodorus built their work on an authentic Gothic tradition containing genuine names that can be traced back in time to their ostensible Nordic origins, and secondly that an unbroken and unadulterated oral tradition featuring Humble or some similar figure had survived in the Nordic region down through the millennia - independently of Jordanes and the Getica, of course. As noted earlier, this can be neither confirmed nor refuted, but according to Jordanes' own chronology, in which he links the origin of the Ansis concept to the age of Domitian, it has nothing to do with the Nordic region.

Consequently, the early part of the genealogy will not be discussed further. On the other hand, it is possible to investigate the later generations in the Amal genealogy in order to determine whether they are part of an authentic Gothic tradition. If they are not, then at least that may prepare us to lose what faith we have had in the older parts of the genealogy.[28]


24. See for instance R. Wenskus (1973): 247: 'Zweifellos gehören die ersten Glieder der Stammreihe in den Bereich des Mythus'.

25. H. Wolfram (1988): 31: "The Ansis stand for the divine descent of the Amal clan. Their genealogy begins with Gaut, the Scandinavian god of war and ancestor of many peoples. His son is Humli-Humul, the divine founding father of the Danes." - This theory was introduced by J. Grimm (1848): 774 - Cf. M. Schönfeld (1911): 103, s.v. Gapt - K. Müllenhoff (1882): 243, s.v. Gapt, however, refuses to believe that a Gothic "u" should have been mistaken for a Gothic "p" as no other examples of this are known. - see also the seminal criticism of this identification in W. Goffart (1995): 18.

26. Saxo GD. I 1. 1: 'Dan igitur et Angul, a quibus Danorum coepit origo, patre Humblo procreati non solum conditores gentis nostrae, verum etiam rectores fuere." In other words Dan and Angel, the sons of Humble, from which the Danes originated, are not the founders of this people, but also their leaders.

27. Cf. for instance H. Wolfram (1988): 31.

28. Cf. P. Heather (1989): 108: "A priory, therefore, such smooth successions are likely to be fiction."


Information on the first 13 generations of this line of the family (the Amal line of the Ostrogoths, starting with Gaut of the Goths) comes from a description in Bulfinch's Mythology on "Theodoric the Goth," written by Thomas Hodgkin:


Ostrogoths and Visigoths--Nations forming the Gothic Confederacy--Royal family of the Amals--Gothic invasion in the Second Century--Hermanric the Ostrogoth--Inroad of the Huns--Defeat of the Ostrogoths--Defeat of the Visigoths--The Visigoths within the Empire--Battle of Adrianople--Alaric in Rome.

Towards the end of the second century of the Christian Era a great confederacy of Teutonic nations occupied those vast plains in the south of Russia which are now, and have been for more than a thousand years, the homes of Sclavonic peoples. These nations were the Ostrogoths, the Visigoths, and the Gepidæ. Approximately we may say that the Ostrogoths (or East Goths) dwelt from the Don to the Dnieper, the Visigoths (or West Goths) from the Dnieper to the Pruth, and the Gepidæ to the north of both, in the district which has since been known as Little Russia (Ukraine).

These three nations were, as has been said, Teutons, and they belonged to that division of the Teutonic race which is called Low-German; that is to say, that they were more nearly allied to the Frisians, the Dutch, and to our own Saxon forefathers than they were to the ancestors of the modern Swabian, Bavarian, and Austrian. They worshipped Odin and Thunnor; they wrote the scanty records of their race in Runic characters; they were probably chiefly a pastoral folk, but may have begun to practise agriculture in the rich cornlands of the Ukraine.

They were essentially a monarchic people, following their kings, whom they believed to be sprung from the seed of gods, loyally to the field, and shedding their blood with readiness at their command; but their monarchy was of the early Teutonic type, always more or less limited by the deliberations of the great armed assembly of the nation, which (in some tribes at least) was called the Folc-mote or the Folc-thing; and there were no strict rules of hereditary succession, the crown being elective but limited in practice to the members of one ruling and heaven-descended family.

This family, sprung from the seed of gods, but ruling by the popular will over the Ostrogothic people, was known as the family of the Amals. It is true that the divine and exclusive prerogatives of the family have been somewhat magnified by the minstrels who sang in the courts of their descendants, for there are manifest traces of kings ruling over the Ostrogothic people, who are not included in the Amal genealogy. Still, as far as we can peer through the obscurity of the early history of the people, we may safely say that there was no other family of higher position than the Amals, and that gradually all that consciousness of national life and determination to cherish national unity, which among the Germanic peoples was inseparably connected with the institution of royalty, centred round the race of the divine Amala.

The following is the pedigree of this royal clan, as given by the historian of the Goths (Jordanes), and with those epithets which the secretary of Theodoric (Cassiodorus) attached to the names of some of the ancestors of his lord. (The names of those who wore the crown are marked in italics: Ostrogotha, Hermanric - brother of Vultwulf, Hunimund "The Beautiful" - his son, Thorismund "The Chaste" - his son, Winithar "The Just" - his cousin, Wideric his son, and Walamir and Widemir, before Theodemir.)

These fifteen generations, which should carry back the Amal ancestry four hundred and fifty years, or almost precisely to the Christian Era, seem to have marked the utmost limit to which the memory of the Gothic heralds, aided by the songs of the Gothic minstrels, could reach.

The forms of many of the names, the initial "Wala" and "Theude", the terminal "wulf", "mir", and "mund" will be at once recognised as purely Teutonic, recalling many similar names in the royal lines of the Franks, the Visigoths and the Vandals, and the West Saxons.

In the great, loosely knit confederacy which has been described as filling the regions of Southern Russia in the third and fourth centuries of our Era, the predominant power seems to have been held by the Ostrogothic nation. In the third century, when a succession of weak ephemeral emperors ruled and all but ruined the Roman State, the Goths swarmed forth in their myriads, both by sea and land, to ravage the coast of the Euxine and the Ægean, to cross the passes of the Balkans, to make their desolating presence felt at Ephesus and at Athens.

Two great Emperors of Illyrian origin, Claudius and Aurelian, succeeded, at a fearful cost of life, in repelling the invasion and driving back the human torrent. But it was impossible to recover from the barbarians Trajan's province of Dacia, which they had overrun, and the Emperors wisely compromised the dispute by abandoning to the Goths and their allies all the territory north of the Danube.

This abandoned province was chiefly occupied by the Visigoths, the Western members of the confederacy, who for the century from 275 to 375 were the neighbours, generally the allies, by fitful impulses the enemies, of Rome. With Constantine the Great especially the Visigoths came powerfully in contact, first as invaders and then as allies (fœderati) bound to furnish a certain number of auxiliaries to serve under the eagles of the Empire.

Meanwhile the Ostrogoths, with their faces turned for the time northward instead of southward, were battling daily with the nations of Finnish or Sclavonic stock that dwelt by the upper waters of the Dnieper, the Don, and the Volga, and were extending their dominion over the greater part of what we now call Russia-in-Europe.

The lord of this wide but most loosely compacted kingdom, in the middle of the fourth century, was a certain Hermanric, whom his flatterers, with some slight knowledge of the names held in highest repute among their Southern neighbours, likened to Alexander the Great for the magnitude of his conquests. However shadowy some of these conquests may appear in the light of modern criticism, there can be little doubt that the Visigoths owned his over-lordship, and that when Constantius and Julian were reigning in Constantinople, the greatest name over a wide extent of territory north of the Black Sea was that of Hermanric the Ostrogoth.

When this warrior was in extreme old age, a terrible disaster befell his nation and himself. It was probably about the year 374 that a horde of Asiatic savages made their appearance in the south-eastern corner of his dominions, having, so it is said, crossed the Sea of Azov in its shallowest part by a ford. These men rode upon little ponies of great speed and endurance, each of which seemed to be incorporated with its rider, so perfect was the understanding between the horseman, who spent his days and nights in the saddle, and the steed which he bestrode. Little black restless eyes gleamed beneath their low foreheads and matted hair; no beard or whisker adorned their uncouth yellow faces; the Turanian type in its ugliest form was displayed by these Mongolian sons of the wilderness. They bore a name destined to be of disastrous and yet also indirectly of most beneficent import in the history of the world; for these are the true shatterers of the Roman Empire. They were the terrible Huns.

Before the impact of this new and strange enemy the Empire of Hermanric--an Empire which rested probably rather on the reputation of warlike prowess than on any great inherent strength, military or political--went down with a terrible crash. Dissimilar as are the times and the circumstances, we are reminded of the collapse of the military systems of Austria and Prussia under the onset of the ragged Jacobins of France, shivering and shoeless, but full of demonic energy, when we read of the humiliating discomfiture of this stately Ostrogothic monarchy--doubtless possessing an ordered hierarchy of nobles, free warriors, and slaves--by the squalid, hard-faring and, so to say, democratic savages from Asia.

The death of Hermanric, which was evidently due to the Hunnish victory, is assigned by the Gothic historian to a cause less humiliating to the national vanity. The king of the Rosomones, "a perfidious nation", had taken the opportunity of the appearance of the savage invaders to renounce his allegiance, perhaps to desert his master treacherously on the field of battle. The enraged Hermanric, unable to vent his fury on the king himself, caused his wife, Swanhilda, to be torn asunder by wild horses to whom she was tied by the hands and feet. Her brothers, Sarus and Ammius, avenged her cruel death by a spear-thrust, which wounded the aged monarch, but did not kill him outright.

Then came the crisis of the invasion of the Huns under their King Balamber. The Visigoths, who had some cause of complaint against Hermanric, left him to fight his battle without their aid; and the old king, in sore pain with his wound and deeply mortified by the incursion of the Huns, breathed out his life in the one hundred and tenth year of his age. All of which is probably a judicious veiling of the fact (as mentioned by Ammianus Marcellinus) that the great Hermanric was defeated by the Hunnish invaders, and in his despair laid violent hands on himself.

The huge and savage horde rolled on over the wide plains of Russia. The Ostrogothic resistance was at an end; and soon the invaders were on the banks of the Dniester threatening the kindred nation of the Visigoths. Athanaric, "Judge" (as he was called) of the Visigoths, a brave, old soldier, but not a very skilful general, was soon out-manœuvred by these wild nomads from the desert, who crossed the rivers by unexpected fords, and by rapid night-marches turned the flank of his most carefully chosen positions.

The line of the Dniester was abandoned; the line of the Pruth was lost. It was plain that the Visigoths, like their Eastern brethren, if they remained in the land, must bow their heads beneath the Hunnish yoke. To avoid so degrading a necessity, and if they must lose their independence, to lose it to the stately Emperors of Rome rather than to the chief of a filthy Tartar horde, the great majority of the Visigothic nation flocked southward through the region which is now called Wallachia, and, standing on the northern shore of the Danube, prayed for admission within the province of Mœsia and the Empire of Rome.

In 376 an evil hour for himself Valens, the then reigning Emperor of the East, granted this petition and received into his dominions the Visigothic fugitives, a great and warlike nation, without taking any proper precautions, on the one hand, that they should be disarmed, on the other, that they should be supplied with food for their present necessities and enabled for the future to become peaceful cultivators of the soil.

The inevitable result followed. Before many months had elapsed the Visigoths were in arms against the Empire, and under the leadership of their hereditary chiefs were wandering up and down through the provinces of Mœsia and Thrace, wresting from the terror-stricken provincials not only the food which the parsimony of Valens had failed to supply them with, but the treasures which centuries of peace had stored up in villa and unwalled town.

In 378 they achieved a brilliant, and perhaps unexpected, triumph, defeating a large army commanded by the Roman Emperor Valens in person, in a pitched battle near Adrianople. Valens himself perished on the field of battle, and his unburied corpse disappeared among the embers of a Thracian hut which had been set fire to by the barbarians. That fatal day (August 9, 378) was admitted to be more disastrous for Rome than any which had befallen her since the terrible defeat of Cannæ, and from it we may fitly date the beginning of that long process of dissolution, lasting, in a certain sense, more than a thousand years, which we call the Fall of the Roman Empire.

In this long tragedy the part of chief actor fell, during the first act, to the Visigothic nation. With their doings we have here no special concern. It is enough to say that for one generation they remained in the lands south of the Danube, first warring against Rome, then, by the wise policy of their conqueror, Theodosius, incorporated in her armies under the title of fœderati and serving her in the main with zeal and fidelity.

In 395 (probably, some historians put this date as 382, others as 400), a Visigothic chief, Alaric by name, of the god-descended seed of Balthæ, was raised upon the shield by the warriors of his tribe and hailed as their king. His elevation seems to have been understood as a defiance to the Empire and a re-assertion of the old national freedom which had prevailed on the other side of the Danube. At any rate the rest of his life was spent either in hostility to the Empire or in a pretence of friendship almost more menacing than hostility.

He began by invading Greece and penetrated far south into the Peloponnesus. He then took up a position in the province of Illyricum--probably in the countries now known as Bosnia and Serbia--from which he could threaten the Eastern or Western Empire at pleasure. Finally, with the beginning of the fifth century after Christ, he descended into Italy, and though at first successful only in ravage, in the second invasion he penetrated to the very heart of the Empire.

His three sieges of Rome, ending in the awful event of the capture and sack of the Eternal City in 410, are events in the history of the world with which every student is familiar. Only it may be remarked that the word awful, which is here used designedly, is not meant to imply that the loss of life was unusually large or the cruelty of the captors outrageous; in both respects Alaric and his Goths would compare favourably with some generals and some armies making much higher pretensions to civilisation. Nor is it meant that the destruction of the public buildings of the city was extensive. There can be little doubt that Paris, on the day after the suppression of the "Commune" in 1871, presented a far greater appearance of desolation and ruin than Rome in 410, when she lay trembling in the hand of Alaric. But the bare fact that Rome herself, the Roma Æterna, the Roma Invicta of a thousand coins of a hundred Emperors,--Rome, whose name for centuries on the shores of the Mediterranean had been synonymous with worldwide dominion,--should herself be taken, sacked, dishonoured by the presence of a flaxen-haired barbarian conqueror from the North, was one of those events apparently so contrary to the very course of Nature itself, that the nations which heard the tidings, many of them old and bitter enemies of Rome, now her subjects and her friends, held their breath with awe at the terrible recital.

Alaric died shortly after his sack of Rome, and after a few years of aimless fighting his nation quitted Italy, disappearing over the north-western Alpine boundary to win for themselves new settlements by the banks of the Garonne and the Ebro. Their leader was that Ataulfus whose truly statesmanlike reflections on the unwisdom of destroying the Roman Empire and the necessity of incorporating the barbarians with its polity have been already quoted. There, in the south-western corner of Gaul and the northern regions of Spain, we must for the present leave the Western branch of the great Gothic nationality, while our narrative returns to its Eastern representatives.

From the English Wikipedia page on Gothiscandza:

According to a tale related by Jordanes, Gothiscandza was the first settlement of the Goths after their migration from Scandinavia (Scandza) around 1490 B.C.

Jordanes relates that the East Germanic tribe of Goths were led from Scandza by their king Berig. As soon as they had set foot in the land, they named the area Gothiscandza. They soon moved to the settlements of the Rugians (Ulmerugi, a Germanic tribe which had arrived in the area already before the Goths), who lived on the coast, and they chased them away. Then they defeated their new neighbours, the Vandals.

After some time, when at least four generations of kings had passed after Berig, and Filimer was the king of the Goths, their numbers had multiplied. Filimer decided that everyone was to leave Gothiscandza and move to a new region named Oium (Scythia).

Several archeologians and historians have proposed the theory that the name Gothiscandza was evolved linguistically into Kashubian and other West Slavic languages' rendition of the various historical names of Gdańsk (German: Danzig, English: Dantzig).[1]

History and linguistics

In the 1st century AD, the mouth of the Vistula was indicated as the land of the Gutones (Pliny the Elder) or Gothones (Tacitus):[citation needed]

Beyond the Lygians dwell the Gothones, under the rule of a king; and thence held in subjection somewhat stricter than the other German[ic] nations, yet not so strict as to extinguish all their liberty. Immediately adjoining are the Rugians and Lemovians upon the coast of the ocean, and of these several nations the characteristics are a round shield, a short sword and kingly government.

The names given by Pliny and Tacitus appear to be identical to *Gutaniz, the reconstructed Proto-Germanic form of Gutans, the Goths' and the Gotlanders' name for themselves.[citation needed]


One interpretation of Gothiscandza is that is a Latinised form of the Gothic gutisk-an[d]ja, "Gothic end (or frontier)", since the Goths' territory extended to here.[2] Another interpretation is that an[d]ja means "cape" so that the whole word means "gothic peninsula". It is also possible that the word is a product of conflation of the words gothic and Scandinavia.[3] Herwig Wolfram mentions "Gothic coast" and "Gothic Scandia" but prefers the latter, thinking that the former is "linguistically questionable".[4]


In the 1st century a new culture appeared at the mouth of the Vistula, called the Wielbark Culture replacing the local Oksywie culture. The most salient component of Scandinavian influence in the 1st century AD is the introduction of Scandinavian burial traditions such as stone circles and the stelae, showing that those who buried their dead preferred to do so according to Scandinavian traditions.[citation needed]

However, there is also archaeological evidence of previous Scandinavian influence in the area during the Nordic Bronze Age and the Pre-Roman Iron Age[2], perhaps corresponding to the arrival of Rugians and Vandals.[citation needed]

In the 3rd century AD, the Wielbark culture spread into Scythia, where it formed the Gothic Chernyakhov culture.[citation needed]

Norse mythology

Norse mythology presents at least two traditions that may be connected to Gothiscandza. The first one, the Gutasaga, may refer to the migration of the Goths and the second one, the legend of Dag the Wise, of raids from Scandza.[citation needed]

The Gutasaga

The Gutasaga relates that when the Gotlanders had multiplied so that the island (Gotland, i.e. Goth-land) no longer could support them, they drew lots so that one third of the island's inhabitants had to leave and settle in the south.

They eventually settled in the land of the Greeks.

"Over a long time, the people descended from these three multiplied so much that the land couldn't support them all. Then they draw lots, and every third person was picked to leave, and they could keep everything they owned and take it with them, except for their land. ... they went up the river Dvina, up through Russia. They went so far that they came to the land of the Greeks. ... they settled there, and live there still, and still have something of our language."


The legend of Dag the Wise may convey traditions of attacks by the Suiones in the 2nd or 3rd century.[citation needed] In Scandinavian sources, the territory is called Reidgotaland, a name that followed the Goths during their migrations in the Norse sagas.


The Gothiscandza theme was revived in German scholarship by Gustav Kossinna.[5]


1. ^ Martin Steinkühler (Author), Hans J. Schuch (Editor). (1997) Von Gothiscandza zu Danzig: Aus über 1000 Jahren wechselvoller Geschichte. Westpreussisches Landesmuseum: Münster-Wolbeck, Germany, pp. 12-23

2. ^ Adrian Room, Placenames of the World, 2nd Ed.


Quote: "a Gothic name, from Gutisk-anja, "end of the Goths," as these people's territory extended to here.", 142

3. ^ Sigmund Feist, A Gothic Etymological Dictionary (translation), Brill, 1986, ISBN-9-0040-8176-3, 158

4. ^ Wolfram, Herwig. History of the Goths (transl. by Thomas J. Dunlap), University of California Press, 1988, ISBN 0-520-06983-8, 38, 386

5. ^ Birger Nerman (1923), "Gothernas äldsta hem", Fornvännen: 168

Information on Scandza, original homeland of the Goths:

Scandza was the name given to Scandinavia by the Roman historian Jordanes in his work Getica, written while in Constantinople around AD 551. He described the area to set the stage for his treatment of the Goths' migration from Scandinavia to Gothiscandza. His account contains several accurate descriptions of Scandinavia, but is also jumbled and composed of information from several sources. According to the prominent Swedish archaeologist Göran Burenhult, Jordanes account gives us a unique glimpse into the tribes of Scandinavia in the 6th century.[1]

Geographical description

Jordanes referred to Ptolemy's description of Scandia "as a great island shaped like a juniper leaf" (i.e. long and not round) "having bulging sides and which tapered down in the south at a long end".

He also referred to Pomponius Mela's description of Codanonia (called Scatinavia by Pliny the Elder) which was located in the Codanian Gulf (probably Kattegat). "This island was in front of the Vistula and that there was a great lake" (probably Vänern) "from which sprang the river Vagus" (cf. Ván an old name for Göta älv). "On the western and northern side it was surrounded by an enormous sea" (the Atlantic), "but in the east there was a land bridge" (Lappland) "which cut off the sea in the east forming the German Sea" (the Baltic Sea). "There were also many small islands" (the Swedish and Finnish archipelagos) "where wolves could pass when the sea was frozen. In winter the country was not only cruel to people but also to wild beasts. Due to the extreme cold there were no swarms of honey-making bees."

[edit]Midsummer sun and the midwinter darkness

In the north, there was the nation of the Adogit (perhaps referring to the inhabitants of Hålogaland in Norway or the people of Andøya[2]) who lived in continual light during the midsummer (for forty days and nights) and in continual darkness for as long time during the midwinter. Due to this alternation they go from joy to suffering (the first description of the Scandinavian winter depression). The sun moreoever seemed to pass around the Earth rather than to rise from below.


Jordanes names a multitude of tribes living in Scandza, which he named the Womb of nations, and they were taller and more ferocious than the Germans (archaeological evidence has shown the Scandinavians of the time were tall, probably due to their diet). The listing represents several instances of the same people named twice, which was probably due to the gathering of information from diverse travellers[3] and from Scandinavians arriving to join the Goths, such as Rodwulf from Bohuslän[4]. Whereas linguists have been able to connect some names to regions in Scandinavia, there are others that may be based on misunderstandings.[1]

On the island there were the Screrefennae (i.e. Sami peoples[2]) who lived as Hunter-gatherers living on a multitude of game in the swamps and on birds' eggs.

There were also the Suehans (Swedes) who had splendid horses like the Thuringians (interestingly Snorri Sturluson wrote that the 6th century Swedish king Adils had the best horses of his time). They were the suppliers of black fox skins for the Roman market and they were richly dressed even though they lived in poverty.

There were also the Theustes (the people of the Tjust region in Småland), Vagoths (probably the Gotlanders[5]), Bergio (either the people of Bjäre Hundred in Skåne, according to L Weibull, or the people of Kolmården according to others), Hallin (southern Halland) and the Liothida (either the Luggude Hundred or Lödde in Skåne, but others connect them to Södermanland[6]) who live in a flat and fertile region, due to which they are subject to the attacks of their neighbours.

Other tribes were the Ahelmil (identified with the region of Halmstad[7]), the Finnaithae (Finnhaith-, i.e. Finnheden, the old name for Finnveden), the Fervir (the inhabitants of Fjäre Hundred) and the Gautigoths (the Geats of Västergötland), a nation which was bold and quick to engage in war. There were also the Mixi, Evagreotingis (or the Evagres and the Otingis depending on the translator), who live like animals among the rocks (probably the numerous hillforts and Evagreotingis is believed to have meant the "people of the island hill forts" which best fits the people of Bohuslän[8]). Beyond them, there were the Ostrogoths (Östergötland), Raumarici (Romerike), the Ragnaricii (probably Ranrike, an old name for a part of Bohuslän) and the most gentle Finns (probably second mention of the Sami peoples[9]). The Vinoviloth (possibly remaining Lombards, vinili.[10]) were similar.

He also named the Suetidi (a second mention of the Swedes[9]). The Dani, who were of the same stock and who drove the Heruls from their lands. Those tribes were the tallest of men.

In the same area there were the Granni (Grenland[11]), Augandzi (Agder[11]), Eunixi, Taetel, Rugi (Rogaland[11]), Arochi (Hordaland[11]%29 and Ranii (possibly the people of Romsdalen[11]). The king Roduulf was of the Rani but left his kingdom and joined Theodoric[disambiguation needed], king of the Goths.


1. ^ Burenhult 1996:94

2. ^ Nerman 1925:36

3. ^ Nerman 1925:46

4. ^ Ohlmarks 1994:255

5. ^ Nerman 1925:40

6. ^ Nerman 1925:38

7. ^ Ohlmarks 1994:10

8. ^ Nerman 1925:42ff

9. ^ Nerman 1925:44

10. ^ See Christie, Neil. The Lombards: The Ancient Longobards (The Peoples of Europe Series). ISBN 978-0631211976.

11. ^ Nerman 1925:45


Burenhult, Göran (1996) Människans historia, VI.

Nerman, B. Det svenska rikets uppkomst. Stockholm, 1925.

Ohlmarks, Å. (1994). Fornnordiskt lexikon

Ståhl, Harry (1970) Ortnamn och ortnamnsforskning, AWE/Gebers, Uppsala.

A History of the Vikings (Nonfunctional link)

The Origin and the Deeds of the Goths


Om Gapt, Progenitor of the Amals (Norsk)

Gapt, konge i Amal gotenes dynasti, den første i slektslinja.

Han kan være den samme som Geat, en guddommelig stamfar til kongeene eller goterne i Danmark og Sør-Sverige. Det er ingen kilde som bekrefter dette, (Justin Swanström, 26 desember 2011)

Gotene levde opprinnelig nord for Donau. Legenden sier de kom til Svartehavet fra øya Scandza (Skandinavia) i Østersjøen. De delte seg inn i to stammegrupper, vestgoterne i vest og østgoterne i øst. Østgoterne seg ned i Gothiscandza (antatt å være nedre regionen ved Wisła, Pommern, i dagens Polen), og derfra til kysten av Svartehavet. Dette baseres på opplysninger i den gotiske historikeren Jordanus som skrev sin «Goternes historie» (De origine actibusque Getarum) rundt 550

To dynastier under gotiste konger er registrert i Pommern A, Skirer gotene og B. Amal goterne

Det er stor usikkerhet om de tidligste østgotiske konger. Jordanes fastsetter de antatte forfedrene til Athal, i rekkefølge, slik 1. Gapt fikk 2. Humul fikk 3..Augis fikk 4 Amal (Amaldynastiet er oppkalt etter han) fikk 4, Hisarnis fikk 5. Ostrogotha. fikk 6. Hunuil fikk 7. Athal.

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Gapt, Progenitor of the Amals's Timeline

Gothiscandza (Present Pomorze), (Present Poland)
Gothiscandza (Present Pomorze), (Present Poland)
Age 69
Gothiscandza (Present Pomorze), (Present Poland)