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Stratum Plus. 2000. № 4

V. V. Lavrov (St.-Petersburg, Russia)

The East Germans on the Northen Coasts of the Azov Sea in III-IV cc. AD

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Pages: 331-341

This article attempts to compare the facts of written records about the East Germanic tribes in Maeotis of III–IV centures A. D. with today’s archeological materials from excavations in Tanais and trade settlements of this agricultural district. The literary tradition of Gothic migration to Scythia ( Iordan’s «Getica») says that the first place of the Gothic settlement in Scythia was the Maeotis region. This Iordan’s evidence, to my mind, has no connection to the real Gothic history. The localisation of Goths near Maeotis is linked with falsification of Gothic history by Cassiodorus, who brought into the Gothic history subjects from  other nations’ histories, the Scythian in this case. Scythians living near Maeotis is the topos of the classical literary tradition. The written records about Gothic wars in 240 - 270 A. D. tell about a tribe of Heruli who lived at the time near Maeotis lake and took part in wars. Heruli lived near Maeotis in the IV c. A. D. before Hunns appeared in South Russia. Archeological materials from South Russia may tell about a change of ethnic situation in this region in the second half of III c. A. D. It was expressed in formation of Cherniakhov culture, the German origin of which is not doubted by researchers. In the works of today researchers of Cherniakhov culture, the region on the coasts of  Azov sea (in antiquity called Maeotis) does not include the  Cherniakhov cultural area. But excavations of Tanais yielded archeological artifacts, which may be connected with Cherniakhov culture. These are hand-made pottety, bone combs, fibulae. These artifacts are associated with the East Germanic tribe of Heruli living in Maeotis region.

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