The Break-up of Mediterranean Unity 
Slavs and Visigoths

Where did the Slavs and Visigoths originate?

The Visigoths

The Visigoths were one of two main branches of the Goths, an East Germanic tribe (the Ostrogoths being the other). After the collapse of the western Roman Empire the Visigoths played a major role in western European affairs for another two and a half centuries.

Visigoth migrations

With the fail of the Roman Empire, the Visigoths, one of the Germanic peoples, created a new kingdom. The first capital was established in Toulouse (France). It was later moved to Toledo. The Visigoths were one of the most romanised German peoples, although they practised a different religion, Arianism.

The Visigothic kingdom reached its greatest splendour in the second half of the 6th century and the first half of the 7th century. King Leovigild consolidated royal authority. He transformed the Suevi kingdom, in the north of the Iberian Peninsula, into a Visigothic province and passed new laws. His son, Reccared promoted religious unification when he converted to Catholic Christianity.

The number of Visigoths who settled in Hispania almost certainly did not exceed one hundred thousand. It was, thus, a very small number against the five or six million Hispano-Romans. This disproportion explains why the Visigoths adopted the Hispano Roman language, culture and religion.

The Slavs

The origin of the Slavs

Nowadays, it is estimated that the Slavs number over 300 million in the world. They are usually classified in three main divisions. The West Slavs include the Poles, the Czechs, and the Slovaks. The South Slavs include the Serbs, the Croats, the Slovenes, the Macedonians, the Montenegrins, the Bosniaks, and the Bulgars. The East Slavs, the largest group, include the Russians, Ukrainians, and Belorussians (or White Russians).

There are several theories about the original land of the Slavs. The map above shows the most accepted theory. From this area, Slavs expanded westwards and southwards. By the 6th century Slavs had settled in Germany East of the Elbe River. In the Balkan Peninsula they invaded the Byzantine Empire in the 6th and again in the 8th century.

Germanic peoples                                                                                  Islam