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Stratum Plus. 1997

O.Sharov (St.-Petersburg, Russia)

The Ruin of Hermanarich: History and Epos

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Pages: 95-106

The data of the written sources and epic stories about the gothic king Hermanarich are collected and analysed in this essay. The subject of the author’s analysis is the description of the great king’s death’ given in the works by Ammianus Marcellinus, Iordan and in numerous epic works. The hypothesis, that this event is more truly narrated by Iordan than by Ammianus Marcellinus, is moved, because Iordan’s narration coincides with the German folklore tradition. This tradition is reviewed structurally. The sources of the contradictory ideas of Hermanarich, represented either as a helpless old man or as a wise and cruel ruler, have been revealed. The discovered Iordan’s information parallels about the death of the 110-aged Hermanarich (who had not been able to stand the sufferings, caused by his wounds and the Huns’ invasion), that stick to the biblical tradition, is of a great interest. It allowed the author to suggest that a particular form for a literary arrangement of the subject, fulfilled in the spirit of the Christian epoch, but not the historical facts are hidden behind this information.

Information about author:

Oleg Sharov
(St.-Petersburg, Russia). Doctor of historical sciences. Institute for the History of Material Culture, Russian Academy of Sciences.
E-mail: [email protected]

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