Where did the Visigoths come from?
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

Who were the Visigoths?

Danube River
Danube River

The Visigoths, like other German peoples, were originally Indo-European. Their language, Gothic, was closely related to German. We first hear of them when they are living in Poland around 100 BC. Soon after that, some of them, along with their relatives the Ostrogoths, seem to have decided to migrate to the south, very gradually and slowly. Probably bad weather at home made it impossible to feed everyone, and so some people left looking for food, or possibly somebody else pushed the Goths out.


How to speak Gothic

The Visigoths slowly moved south through Slovakia, but stopped when they came up against the Roman Empire, because they could not beat the Roman army. The Visigoths settled along the north side of the Danube river, took up farming and trading with the Romans, and lived there more or less peacefully for several hundred years. Their name, "Visigoths", means the "Nearer Goths," because they lived closer to the Romans than the Ostrogoths did. Then in the 300s AD, like their cousins the Ostrogoths, the Visigoths began to be pushed southward by new invaders, the Huns.

Learn by doing: try to speak a little Gothic!
More on the Visigoths
More about the Ostrogoths
More about the Huns

Bibliography and further reading about the Visigoths:

Europe in the Iron Age
Quatr.us home


LIMITED TIME OFFER FOR TEACHERS: Using this article with your class? Show us your class page where you're using this article, and we'll send you a free subscription so all your students can use Quatr.us Study Guides with no distractions! (Not a teacher? Paid subscriptions are also available for just $16/year!)
Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article

Does your class page honor diversity, celebrate feminism, and support people of color, LBGTQ people, and people with disabilities? Let us know, and we'll send you a Diversity Banner you can proudly display!
Looking for more?
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 23 April, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT