I'm trying to surmise what was/might have been the Gothic name for Ravenna, which served as the Ostrogothic capital for some time. Gothic does have the sounds to emulate the Latin pronunciation (Rawenna), so would it have stayed the same, or is there a different, historically attested name that the Goths used for the city?

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    This seems like a history question more than a linguistics question. Linguists might know details about the Gothic language, but historians are more likely to have sources on a particular city's name in the past, I'd think.
    – Draconis
    Dec 23, 2022 at 18:55
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    P.S. there's History Dec 23, 2022 at 20:01

2 Answers 2


Gothic is mainly preserved in the form of incomplete Bibles, of which the most well known is the Codex Argenteus (now in Uppsala).

Apart from these, there are a few very short texts, most of which are also dealing with religious matters. The Wulfila project collects almost everything there is, and is also hosting a dictionary (from 1919, but since then, the only text has been found is one of the missing pages from the Codex Argenteus). The closest word to "Ravenna" in the dictionary is probably "Raibaikka", 'Rebecca'

There are a couple more sources for Gothic, but they are equally silent on this matter: a few very short runic inscriptions, and the short dictionary of Crimean Gothic Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq produced in the 16th century. The Wulfila dictionary might have missed a gloss of the city name in some text mainly in another language, but that seems very unlikely.


The Gothic name for Ravenna is 𐍂𐌰𐌱𐌰𐌹𐌽𐌽𐌰 (Rabainna) [raβɛːnːa]/[ravɛːnːa]. Finding this out is as easy as finding the word “Ravenna” in Wikipedia and then switching the article to the Gothic language. https://got.wikipedia.org/wiki/𐍂𐌰𐌱𐌰𐌹𐌽𐌽𐌰

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    Do you have any Gothic evidence for the Gothic name of Ravenna? As you know, the internet was not around when Gothic was actually spoken.
    – user6726
    Dec 25, 2022 at 5:29
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    Good find, but I suspect it may just be a modern transliteration from the Latin.
    – Draconis
    Dec 25, 2022 at 6:03
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    @JanusBahsJacquet - In fact, the question specifically asks for what the name of Ravenna might have been in Gothic, it's explicitly written in the question.
    – Yellow Sky
    Dec 25, 2022 at 10:54
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    @YellowSky That part of the question is off topic. Speculations about what something might potentially have hypothetically been are not on topic. The subsequent part, whether there is an actually attested name for the city, is on topic and should take precedence. Dec 25, 2022 at 11:02
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    A transliteration made up by somebody in the 21st century, however plausible, is not a useful answer to the question, at least without a big red message saying "Warning: this is made up!"
    – Colin Fine
    Dec 25, 2022 at 12:20

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