The Goths are truly a 'lost civilization'. Sweeping down from the north, ancient Gothic tribes sacked the imperial city of Rome and set in motion the decline and fall of the western Roman Empire. Ostrogothic and Visigothic kings ruled over Italy and Spain, dominating early medieval Europe. Yet the last Gothic kingdom fell more than a thousand years ago, and the Goths disappeared as an independent people. Over the centuries that followed, the vanished Goths were remembered both as barbaric destroyers and as heroic champions of liberty. This engaging history brings together the interwoven stories of the original Goths and the diverse Gothic legacy: a legacy that continues to shape our modern world. From the ancient migrations to contemporary Goth culture, through debates over democratic freedom and European nationalism and across the work of writers from Shakespeare to Bram Stoker, David M. Gwynn explores the ever-widening gulf between the Goths of history and the Goths of popular imagination. Historians, students of architecture and literature and general readers alike will learn something new from The Goths.
David M. Gwynn is Reader in Ancient and Late Antique History at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of a number of recent books, including The Roman Republic: A Very Short Introduction (2012) and Christianity in the Later Roman Empire: A Sourcebook (2014).