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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Jordanes (जोरडेंज) was a Roman citizen living in Constantinople but described himself as being of Gothic descent. His Getica, written in 551 AD, gives a history of the Goths, beginning in Scandza from where they later migrated to Gothiscandza, near the mouth of the Vistula River. The Swedish archaeologist Göran Burenhult describes this account as a unique glimpse into the tribes of Scandinavia in the 6th century.[1]

Jordanes was a 6th-century Roman bureaucrat of Gothic origin who later turned his hand to history, both the new king and his people decided "rather to seek new kingdoms by their own work, than to slumber in peaceful subjection to the rule of others."


Author of Getica

While Jordanes also wrote Romana about the history of Rome, his best-known work is his Getica, written in Constantinople[2] about AD 551.[3] It is the only extant ancient work dealing with the early history of the Goths.

Jordanes was asked by a friend to write this book as a summary of a multi-volume history of the Goths (now lost) by the statesman Cassiodorus. He was selected for his known interest in history (he was working on Rome's), his ability to write succinctly, and because of his own Gothic background. He had been a high-level notarius, or secretary, of a small client state on the Roman frontier in Scythia Minor, modern south-eastern Romania and north-eastern Bulgaria.[4]

Other writers, e.g. Procopius, wrote works which are extant on the later history of the Goths. As the only surviving work on Gothic origins, the Getica has been the object of much critical review. Jordanes wrote in Late Latin rather than the classical Ciceronian Latin. According to his own introduction, he had only three days to review what Cassiodorus had written, meaning that he must also have relied on his own knowledge. Some of his statements are laconic.

His life

Jordanes writes about himself almost in passing:[5][6]

The Sciri, moreover, and the Sadagarii and certain of the Alani with their leader, Candac by name, received Scythia Minor and Lower Moesia. Paria, the father of my father Alanoviiamuth (that is to say, my grandfather), was secretary to this Candac as long as he lived. To his sister's son Gunthigis, also called Baza, the Master of the Soldiery, who was the son of Andag the son of Andela, who was descended from the stock of the Amali, I also, Jordanes, although an unlearned man before my conversion, was secretary.

Already in the Mommsen text edition of 1882 it was suggested that the very long name of Jordanes' father should be split into two parts: Alanovii Amuthis, both genitive forms. Jordanes' father's name would then be Amuth. The preceding word should then belong to Candac, signifying that he was an Alan. Mommsen, however, dismissed suggestions to emend a corrupt text.[7]

Paria was Jordanes' paternal grandfather. Jordanes writes that he was secretary to Candac, dux Alanorum, an otherwise unknown leader of the Alans.

Jordanes was notarius, or secretary to Gunthigis Baza, a magister militum, nephew of Candac, of the leading Ostrogoth clan of the Amali.

This was ante conversionem meam ("before my conversion"). The nature and details of the conversion remain obscure. The Goths had been converted with the assistance of Ulfilas (a Goth), made bishop on that account. However, the Goths had adopted Arianism. Jordanes' conversion may have been a conversion to the trinitarian Nicene creed, which may be expressed in anti-Arianism in certain passages in Getica.[8] In the letter to Vigilius he mentions that he was awakened vestris interrogationibus - "by your questioning".

Alternatively, Jordanes' conversio may mean that he had become a monk, or a religiosus, or a member of the clergy. Some manuscripts say that he was a bishop, some even say bishop of Ravenna, but the name Jordanes is not known in the lists of bishops of Ravenna.

His Works

Jordanes wrote his Romana at the behest of a certain Vigilius. Although some scholars have identified this person with pope Vigilius, there is nothing else to support the identification besides the name. The form of address that Jordanes uses and his admonition that Vigilius "turn to God" would seem to rule out this identification.[9]James J. O'Donnell (1982), "The Aims of Jordanes", Historia 31: 223–240

In the preface to his Getica, Jordanes writes that he is interrupting his work on the Romana at the behest of a brother Castalius, who apparently knew that Jordanes had had the twelve volumes of the History of the Goths by Cassiodorus at home. Castalius would like a short book about the subject, and Jordanes obliges with an excerpt based on memory, possibly supplemented with other material he had access to. The Getica sets off with a geography/ethnography of the North, especially of Scandza (16-24). He lets the history of the Goths commence with the emigration of Berig with three ships from Scandza to Gothiscandza (25, 94), in a distant past. In the pen of Jordanes, Herodotus' Getian demi-god Zalmoxis becomes a king of the Goths (39). Jordanes tells how the Goths sacked "Troy and Ilium" just after they had recovered somewhat from the war with Agamemnon (108). They are also said to have encountered the Egyptian pharaoh Vesosis (47). The less fictional part of Jordanes' work begins when the Goths encounter Roman military forces in the third century AD. The work concludes with the defeat of the Goths by the Byzantine general Belisarius. Jordanes concludes the work by stating that he writes to honour those who were victorious over the Goths after a history of 2030 years.

Clan of Jordanes

According to Prof. B.S. Dhillon[10] 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 [11] 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 [12], the Swedish Chronicles points, the origin of the Swedes in Central Asia. Furthermore, Dr. Kephart [13] 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 [14] entitled, "History of the Goths, Vandals, and Suevl", 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 [15] 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 [16], 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 [17] 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”.

जोरडेंज एक जाट था

दलीप सिंह अहलावत[18] का मानना है कि जोरडेंज एक जाट था जिसने सन् 551 ई० में अपने देश (इटली) का इतिहास लिखा, जिसका आधार केसीओडोरस के प्राचीन इतिहास पर था जो कि 520 ई० में लिखा गया था।


  1. Burenhult, Göran (1996) Människans historia, VI.p.94
  2. "Constantinople is "our city" (Getica 38).
  3. He mentions the great plague of 542 as having occurred "nine years ago" (Getica 104). Still, there are some modern scholars who opt for a later date, see Peter Heather, Goths and Romans 332-489, Oxford 1991, pp. 47-49 (year 552), Walter Goffart, The Narrators of Barbarian History, Princeton 1988, p. 98 (year 554).
  4. Croke 1987.
  5. Jordanes, Mierow, ed., Getica 266
  6. Jordanes, De origine actibusque Getarum L
  7. Arne Søby Christensen (2002), Cassiodorus, Jordanes, and the History of the Goths. Studies in a Migration Myth, ISBN 978-87-7289-710-3
  8. Getica 132, 133, 138, noted by Croke 1987:125
  9. Arne Søby Christensen (2002), Cassiodorus, Jordanes, and the History of the Goths. Studies in a Migration Myth, ISBN 978-87-7289-710-3
  10. History and study of the Jats/Chapter 6,p.96
  11. Wolfram. H., History of the Goths, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1988, pp. 39-40.
  12. Tod. J. (Lt. Col.). Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan. Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd.. London. 1972. pp. 51. 89. first published in 1829.
  13. Kephart, C., Races of Mankind, Peter Owen Limited, London, 1960, pp. 463, 493,354,426, 512, 50
  14. Isidore of Seville, History of the Goths, Vandals, and Suevl, translated by Donlnl, G., and Ford, G.B., E.J. Brill, Lelden, 1970, pp. 3,30.
  15. Jordanes. The Gothic History (Getica), translated by Mierow, C.C, Barnes and Noble, Inc.. New York, 1966. pp. 67-68.
  16. Herodotus. The Histories, Penguin Books, Inc., London, 1988. pp. 272-273, 122-128.
  17. 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).
  18. Jat History Dalip Singh Ahlawat/Chapter IV, p.392

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