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Goths (गोथ) (Gothic: Gutans) were an East Germanic tribe who from the 2nd century settled Scythia, Dacia and Pannonia. In the 3rd and 4th centuries, they harried Byzantium and later adopted Arianism.

In the 5th and 6th centuries, split into the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, they established powerful follower-states of the Roman Empire in Iberia and Italy. Scholars have suggested that the Greco-Latin variant of "Goth" is "Getae".[1][2][3][4]

Origin of Goths

The Goths possibly originated in Scandinavia (more particularly, Gotland or Götaland; Jordanes' Scandza). They would have become separated from related tribes, the Gutar (Gotlanders) and the Götar (Geats), which are sometimes included in the term Goths in about the 1st century BC (but the Gutasaga leaves open the possibility of prolonged contact). They migrated south-east along the Vistula during the 1st century (Jordanes' Gothiscandza; see Wielbark culture), settling in Scythia, which they called Oium "waterlands", from the 2nd century (see Chernyakhov culture). According to legendary accounts, the capital of this kingdom was Arheim, at the Dnieper.

In the 3rd century, the Goths split into two groups, the Tervingi or Visigoths ("West Goths"), and the Greuthungi or Ostrogoths ("East Goths"). The Visigoths launched one of the first major "barbarian" invasions of the Roman Empire from 263, sacking Byzantium in 267. A year later, they suffered a devastating defeat at the Battle of Naissus and were driven back across the Danube River by 271. This group then settled north of the Danube and established an independent kingdom centered on the abandoned Roman province of Dacia.

Both the Ostrogoths and Visigoths became heavily Romanized during the 4th century by the influence of trade with the Byzantines, and by their membership in a military covenant centered in Byzantium to assist each other militarily. They converted to Arianism during this time.

Pliny the Elder calls them the Gutones. According to him, they were a major Germanic people, being one of five. He also states that the explorer, Pytheas of Massilia (4th century BC) encountered them in his northern expedition to an "estuary" we know to have been the Baltic from Pliny's reference to amber washed up on the beaches. A date earlier than the 1st century is thus supported. Strabo also mentions that Marbod, after a pleasant sojourn with Augustus, took command of nearly all the tribes in Germania, including the Boutones. which are generally interpreted as an error for Goutones, Latinized to Gutones. For the Scandinavian Goths, we have Ptolemy, who mentions the Goutai as living in the south of the island of Skandia.

There is archaeological and historical evidence of continued contacts between the Goths and the Scandinavians during their migrations.

According to Prof. B.S. Dhillon[5] the Sarmartians In Southern Russia were replaced by the Goths. There is still controversy regarding the origin of the Goths. Some people say they originated in Scandinavia, while others say they came from Central Asia. Professor Wolfram's [6] explanation appears to be somewhat acceptable, "Does this mean, after all, that the Goths originated in Scandinavia ? Reinhard Wenskus has already given an answer, which ought to be slightly changed: not entire peoples but small successful clans, the bearers of prestigious traditions, emigrated and became founders of new Gentes". Even If we accept the origin of the Goths in Scandinavia, as per Col. Tod [7], the Swedish Chronicles points, the origin of the Swedes in Central Asia. Furthermore, Dr. Kephart [8] wrote, " the origin of the Goths to be Western Turkistan (Central Asia) and not Scandinavian as was once generally supposed”.

Two ancient writers: Isidore of Seville (born around 560 A.D.) and Jordanes (himself a Goth and compiled his works around 551 A.D.) say the Goths were a Scythian people. Isidore of Seville in his book [9] entitled, "History of the Goths, Vandals, and Suevi", wrote, " Goths are a very old nation and the Goths are descended from Magog, the son of Japhet, and are shown to have spring from the same origin as the Scythians, from whom they do not differ greatly in name. Formerly, however, the learned were accustomed to call them Getae (Jats) rather than Gog and Magog".

Jordanes [10] wrote In his book entitled, "Getica", "Then Cyrus, King of the Persians waged an unsuccessful war against Tomyris, queen of the Getae (Jats) the Getae and their queen defeated, conquered and overwhelmed the Parthian (probably mean Persians) and took rich plunder from them. Therefore; for the first time the race of the Goths saw silken tents". It is Interesting to note that Jordanes has the word Getae for Goths and vice-versa. Furthermore, according to Herodotus [11], Cyrus, the Persian King was defeated by Massagetae ("great" Jats), a Scythian people. It means, as per Jordanes' statements, Goths were a Scythian people.

On the Issue of the word "Goth" Professor Waddell [12] of the University of London remarked, " the First Dynasty of Egypt repeatedly call themselves in their official documents and seals "Gut" And early Sumerian Dynasties in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) called themselves Guti or Goti; and "Goti" was the regular title of the Goths in Europe the aspirated form Goth having coined by the Romans and never used by Goths themselves”.

Goths and Jats

Gathchal (गथचाल) and Ganthawara (गन्थवारा) gotra of Jats originated from Goths, who came from Rome and west Italy to India. [13]

The highly reputed historian, Arnold Joseph Toynbee has also advocated:

"It may not be fantastic to conjecture that the Tuetonic-speaking Goths and Gauts of Scandinavia may have been descended from a fragment of the same Indo-European-speaking tribe as the homonymous Getae and Thyssagetae and Massagetae of the Eurasian Steppe who are represented today by the Jats of the Panjab."[14]

James Francis Katherinus Hewitt also notes the connection between Jats and Goths:

"The Jats ... trace their descent to the land of Ghazni and Kandahar, watered by the mother-river of the Kushika race, the sacred Haetuman.t or Helmand. Their name connects them with the Getae of Thrace, and thence with the Gattons, said by Pytheas to live on the southern shores of the Baltic, the Gaettones placed by Ptolemy and Tacitus on the Vistula in the country of the Lithuanians, and the Goths of Gothland = Sweden. This Scandinavian descent is confirmed by their system of land-tenure, for the chief tenure of the Muttra district is that called Bhagadura, in which the members of the village brotherhood each hold as their family property a separate and defined area among the village lands, according to the customs of the Bratovos of the Balkan peninsula and the Hof-bauers of North-West [15] Germany .. The Getae of the Balkans are said by Herodotus to be the bravest and most just of the Thracians." [16]

H. G. Keene,[17] writes that, "There is also a thriving little principality — that of Dholpur — between Agra and Gwalior, under a descendant of the Jat Rana of Gohad, so often met with in the history of the times we are now reviewing (v. inf. p. 128.) It is interesting to note further, that some ethnologists have regarded this fine people (Jats) as of kin to the ancient Get, and to the Goths of Europe, by whom not only Jutland, but parts of the south-east of England and Spain were overrun, and to some extent peopled. It is, therefore, possible that the yeomen of Kent and Hampshire have blood relations in the natives of Bharatpur and the Panjab."

Mahabharata Shalya Parva section 45

Kartikeya (कार्तिकेय) was son of Shiva and the brother of Ganesha. He is also known as Skanda. Skanda is believed to give name to Scandinavia. Mahabharata Shalya Parva section 45 describes about all the gods and combatants who came to the ceremony for investing Kartikeya with the status of generalissimo. This list includes not only Jat god but also number of combatants of various Jat clans. [18] This has been illustrated in following shlokas in the online edition of Mahabharata in Sanskrit alongwith Devanagari as under:

अक्षसंतर्जनॊ राजन कुनदीकस तमॊ ऽभरकृत akṣasaṃtarjano rājan kunadīkas tamo 'bhrakṛt [19]
एकाक्षॊ द्वादशाक्षश च तदैवैक जटः परभुः ekākṣo dvādaśākṣaś ca tathaivaika jaṭaḥ prabhuḥ [20]

Translation- O Rajan! Akshaḥ, santarjana, kundīka, tamonnakrata, ekāksha, dwādashāksha and a 'Jat' the chief lord offered to Swami Kartikeya.

Historical facts

According to Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria)[21], It may not be out of place to mention here, as confirmed by N.S. Chaudhary[22] on the authority of Shiva-Stotra, one of the generals of Kartikeya (Skanda) carried name "Jata (जट)". It is well known fact that in the Deva-Asura war Kartikeya (Skanda) commanded the forces of the former, and it is quite plausible to believe that the warriors (later known to Panini as Ayuddhajivi ganas), led by general called Jata, became famous as Jat in history. We have also reason to believe that Panini, when used the phrase 'Jata jhata sanghate' (denoting union or federation or confederation or binding together, etc.), took his clue from the Jata general's role in fomenting unity in the warriors against Asuras. Jata general is also believed to give name Jutland.

According to Jat historians Bhim Singh Dahiya and Thakur Deshraj, the Goths are none other than the Jats.

Thakur Deshraj writes in his book on History of Jats “Jat Itihas” (Hindi) that the country Assyria gets its name from Asiagh gotra Jats. The origin of word Asiagh is from Sanskrit word ‘Asi’ meaning sword. According to Kautilya the people who depended on ‘Asi’ (sword) for their living were known as Asiagh. The Asiaghs moved from Asirgarh in Malwa to Europe. Those who settled in Jangladesh were called Asiagh and those who moved to Scandinavia were known as Asi. Jats entered Scandinavia around 500 BCE and their leader was Odin. James Tod considers Odin to be derived from Buddha or Bodan. The Asi Jats founded Jutland as their homeland in Scandinavia. The religious book of Scandinavia ‘Edda’ mentions that the ancient inhabitants of Scandinavia were Jats or Jits who were Aryans known as Asi people and came to this land from Asirgarh. Asirgarh is a site of an ancient fort situated in Burhanpur district of Malwa region in Madhya Pradesh, India. Thakur Deshraj further quotes Scandinavian writer Mr Count Johnsturn who says that Scandinavians came from India. According to James Tod Scandinavia is derived from Sanskrit word ‘Skandhnabh’. Chaudhary Dhanraj published an article in 'Maharathi' (January 1926) that son of Banasur, Skandh, was defeated by Krishna who moved to Skandnabh.

It is interesting to note, in Icelandic Saga, ancient Teutons separated Asia from Europe by the river Tanakvisl (or Vanakvisl), which flows into the Black Sea. Eastward across the River (in Asia), so legend tells, was a land known as Asaheim or Asaland, where dwelt Odin, chief god, in his citadel named Asgard.[23] However, Aesir and all its forms are related to Sanskrit Asura and Avestan Ahura. This confirms the theory of Thakur Deshraj that the country Assyria gets its name from Asiagh gotra Jats who came from Asirgarh.

Alexander Cunningham considers Jats of India, Goths of Europe and Yuezhi of China as the same people.

Arnold Joseph Toynbee has also advocated that Jats of India, and Goths of Europe are the same people.[24]

Sir Richard Francis Burton has also identified the Jats, the Massagetaeans, and the Goths as the same people.[25]

Linguistic connections

According to at least one theory, there are closer linguistic connections between Gothic and Old Norse than between Gothic and the West Germanic languages (see East Germanic languages and Gothic). Moreover, there were two tribes that probably are closely related to the Goths and remained in Scandinavia, the Gotlanders and the Geats, and these tribes were considered to be Goths by Jordanes (see Scandza).

The names Geats, Goths and Gutar (Gotlanders) are three versions of the same tribal name. Geat was originally Proto-Germanic *Gautoz (plural *Gautaz) and Goths and Gutar were *Gutaniz. *Gautoz and *Gutaniz are two ablaut grades of a Proto-Germanic word (*geutan) with the meaning "to pour" (modern Swedish gjuta, modern German giessen, Gothic giutan) designating the tribes as "pourers of semen", i.e. "men, people".[18] Gapt, the earliest Gothic hero, recorded by Jordanes, is generally regarded as a corruption of Gaut.

Goths & Gutians

The author Samar Abbas of the article The glorious Gutians [26] says that so self-evident are the connections between the Goths and Gutians that the very person who discovered the existence of the Gutian Dynasty, Prof. Scheil, noted this remarkable fact:

"This national or tribal name of Guti, the name of "The Guti Troops (who) carried off the royalty" of the Mesopotamian empire by their conquest of Erech the imperial capital about 2495 BC, was recognized as obviously suggesting 'Goths' by Prof. Scheil, when he announced in 1911 his discovery of the Guti Dynasty in Mesopotamia, and at the same time remarked that "nothing yet proves that they were the ancestors of the Goths. (Academie des Inscript. et Belles Lettres, Comptes Rendus, Paris, , 1911, p.327)" (Waddell 1929, p.358)

The learned Prof. Oppert has also identified the Gutians with the Goths:

"While Prof. Hilprecht has classed them with the Semites, Oppert has suggested, not without some show of reason, that the name "Guti' has an Aryan sound, like Gothi, the Goths, and therefore that the tribe itself may have been of this blood. * [ * ftn. Revue Archaeologique, 1893, p.363] (Brinton 1895, p.94)

Prof. Waddell agrees, and furthermore, identifies the Gutians as members of the dolichocephalic Nordic race:

"The 'Sumerian' ruling people were of the same racial physical type, with the same culture, traditions, religion, writing and language as the Early Aryans, who were of the Aryan, Gothic or Nordic race, and they were identical with the leading stock of the latter. And (p.468) the Early Sumerian kings sometimes called themselves in their monuments in Mesopotamia and in their Indus Colony Gut or Got; whilst one of the leading Sumerian dynasties in Mesopotamia called themselves Guti, Goti or "Goths"." (Waddell 1929, p.467-468)

When one considers that the Iranians are often classed together with Nordics into the "Nordic-Iranian" racial grouping, it becomes clear that the Gutians were of Nordic-Iranian affinities.

Jat clans related with Goths

Gathchal (गथचाल) and Ganthawara (गन्थवारा) gotra of Jats originated from Goths, who came from Rome and west Italy to India. [27]

Delu Jat clan: The people in Rome who settled around Denube river were called Delu. [28]

Thedkar Jat clan: Thedkar originated from Theoderik of Estonia (थियोडेरिक), the Jat chieftain in Rome country. [29]

Malan Jat clan: Malan gotra originated after city Milan of Roman Empire. [30]

Malen Jat clan: Malen gotra is said to be originated after city Milan of Roman Empire. [31]

Utar Jat clan: B S Dahiya[32] writes: Utar are mentioned by Herodotus as Utians, along with the Sarangians (Saramgha) and the Pactyans [33]. In the Puranas they are mentioned as Uttara. Mahabharata mentions them along with the Lohans, Rishikas and Kambojas. [34] In the Sixth century A.D. they were fighting the Holy Roman Empire, along with the Bals and the Kulars. There they are named as Utargari, meaning the caravan of the Utar. The word Gari has given the Indian name Gari (wagon) According to Cambridge Ancient History, Sargon , king of Agade (2371-2316 B.C.), hears some complaints from the merchants of the city of Purushkhand, near Kayesri in Cappadocia and goes to battle against “ the land of Uta-rapashtum.” [35] Cambridge Ancient History is not sure of this name, [36] because of the wrong bifurcation. The correct bifurcation should be Utara-Pashtum, i.e. the land of the Utaras and the Pashtuns.

Ghalyan (घाल्याण) Gahlan (गहलान) Ghalan (घालान) Gallan (गाल्लान) Galan (गाल्लान) Gala (गाला) gotra of Jats found in Distt Panipat in Haryana are mentioned in the Markandeya Purana as Galava (गालव). The original name is Gall and the suffix ‘an’ or ‘va’ is added to it. The Gauls of Europe are their brothers. [37] The Gauls, the old name of the French is the same as the Gallan of India, the suffix 'an', added to clan name under Panini's rule.[38] Galava Roman Fort, which stands at Borrans Head, Waterhead, Ambleside, was was built around 79 A.D., as one of a series of fortified structures constructed to defend Roman trade routes across Cumbria. The fort stands on land owned by the National Trust and is maintained by English Heritage.

Achra Jat clan - Achra are said to have got this name from Anglo people of Roma who came to India from Europe.[39]

Antil (अंतिल) - from Attila ?

Lamboria/Lamba - Lombards

Gothic rulers


  1. Common Origin of Croats, Serbs and Jats
  2. Lozinksi 1964: "The Name Slav" by B. Philip Lozinski (Essays in Russian History, Archon Books,1964)
  3. Vernadsky 1952: "Der sarmatische Hintergrund der germanischen Voelkerwanderung," (Sarmatian background of the Germanic Migrations), G. Vernadsky, Saeculum, II (1952), 340-347.
  4. Iranic Identity of Mauryas
  5. History and study of the Jats/Chapter 6,p.96
  6. Wolfram. H., History of the Goths, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1988, pp. 39-40.
  7. Tod. J. (Lt. Col.). Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan. Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd.. London. 1972. pp. 51. 89. first published in 1829.
  8. Kephart, C., Races of Mankind, Peter Owen Limited, London, 1960, pp. 463, 493,354,426, 512, 50
  9. Isidore of Seville, History of the Goths, Vandals, and Suevi, translated by Donlnl, G., and Ford, G.B., E.J. Brill, Lelden, 1970, pp. 3,30.
  10. Jordanes. The Gothic History (Getica), translated by Mierow, C.C, Barnes and Noble, Inc.. New York, 1966. pp. 67-68.
  11. Herodotus. The Histories, Penguin Books, Inc., London, 1988. pp. 272-273, 122-128.
  12. Waddell. L.A.. The Makers of Civilization in Race and History. reprinted by S. Chand & Co.. New Deihl. India, 1968, first published in 1929, (See Preface).
  13. Dr Mahendra Singh Arya, Dharmpal Singh Dudee, Kishan Singh Faujdar & Vijendra Singh Narwar: Ādhunik Jat Itihas (The modern history of Jats), Agra 1998 p. 236
  14. Toynbee, Arnold Joseph (1939). A Study of History. Volume 2. London: Oxford University Press. p. 435.
  15. Hewitt 1894, p. 482
  16. Hewitt, James Francis (1894). The Ruling Races of Prehistoric Times in India, South-Western Asia and Southern Europe. London: Archibald Constable & Co. p. 481-482.
  17. H. G. Keene: The Fall of the Moghul Empire of Hindustan, September, 1998. CHAPTER II. A.D. 1765-71.
  18. Mahabharata Shalya Parva section 45
  19. Mahabharata in Sanskrit Ch-44/53
  20. Mahabharata in Sanskrit Ch-44/54
  21. Hukum Singh Panwar:The Jats - Their Origin, Antiquity & Migrations, Rohtak, 1993, p. 342 ISBN 81-85235-22-8
  22. Niranjan Singh Chaudhary, Jat Prasanottari (Hindi), Jat Hitkari Prakashan, Vrindavan, New Delhi, p. 14
  23. Rydberg, Viktor. Teutonic Mythology: Gods and Goddesses of the Northland, London: Norroena Society, 1907. pp.33-34
  24. Toynbee, Arnold Joseph (1939). A Study of History. Volume 2. London: Oxford University Press. p. 435.
  25. Burton, Richard Francis (Sir) (2008). The Book of the Sword. Cosimo, Inc. p. 90. ISBN 1605204366, 9781605204369.
  26. The glorious Gutians
  27. Dr Mahendra Singh Arya, Dharmpal Singh Dudee, Kishan Singh Faujdar & Vijendra Singh Narwar: Ādhunik Jat Itihasa (The modern history of Jats), Agra 1998 p. 236
  28. Mahendra Singh Arya et al: Adhunik Jat Itihas, p. 250
  29. Mahendra Singh Arya et al: Adhunik Jat Itihas, p. 254
  30. Mahendra Singh Arya et al.: Ādhunik Jat Itihas, Agra, 1998, p. 275
  31. Mahendra Singh Arya et al.: Ādhunik Jat Itihas, Agra, 1998, p. 275
  32. Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/Jat Clan in India,p. 276-277
  33. Book VII , ch. 68)( Pakhtoons)
  34. op.cit,II , 27. 22-26
  35. Vol-I,pt. II, p.426 ff.
  36. ibid . p. 428 note 3
  37. Bhim Singh Dahiya : Jats the Ancient Rulers ( A clan study), 1980, Sterling Publishers New Delhi, p. 282
  38. Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/Porus and the Mauryas,p.154
  39. Mahendra Singh Arya et al.: Ādhunik Jat Itihas, p. 222

See also

Further reading

  • Thakur Deshraj: Jat Itihas (Hindi), Maharaja Suraj Mal Smarak Shiksha Sansthan, Delhi, 1934, 2nd edition 1992.
  • Dr Natthan Singh: Jat - Itihas (Hindi), Jat Samaj Kalyan Parishad Gwalior, 2004
  • Bhim Singh Dahiya : Jats the Ancient Rulers, Dahinam Publishers, Sonepat, Haryana
  • E.g. Microsoft Encarta (on Swedish history), translations from Old Norse, Anglo-Saxon or Latin and the Primary Chronicle and modern scholarly works on Germanic tribes
  • Hermannus Contractus, quoting Eusebius, has "263: Macedonia, Graecia, Pontus, Asia et aliae provinciae depopulantur per Gothos".
  • Natural History, Book 4, Chapter 28
  • Op. Cit. Book 37, Chapter 11
  • Geography, Book 7, Chapter 1, Section 3
  • attested as Boutonas in the accusative case, and Latinized to Butones
  • Andersson (1996).

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