According to some sources in Spanish, Ariarico was the first tervingio chief (tribal leader), being tervingios Gothic people from the III and IV centuries. And also according to some Spanish sources, Atanarico was considered by Visigoths to be their first King. As Atanarico was the grandson of Ariarico and commanded similar gothic tribes, why one is considered the "first chief" and the other the "first king". What is the difference?

  • I think that Goths originally avoided the use of king. Instead the prefered to use a term like judge, as not to offend the individual tribal leaders. I can't really remember if I'm thinking of the right time and people, though. – John Dee Feb 10 '18 at 3:53
  • 1
    Probably no difference at all. The Goths were a tribal nomadic people. Their leadership were usually elected positions (not inherited), and people were usually free to leave their tribe and join another on a whim. Translating that concept of leadership into something peoples living in a large agricultural civilization can understand can be a bit of a challenge. – T.E.D. Feb 10 '18 at 4:20
  • Gothic seems to be rather alone in not having retained the common Germanic word that evolved to "king". It might be a question of terminology rather than exact status. – andejons Feb 10 '18 at 10:13
  • Please cite all the source you refer to. What are these "some sources" and what did they actually say? I think the answer is there isn't any difference, but it would be best to know the sources of these claims before discounting them. – Semaphore Feb 13 '18 at 0:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.