Historical fiction… a paradox?
When reading historical ficiton, I always wonder what is true and what the author made up. So, here is the truth of my story. No spoilers here!
1. Alaric was a Goth, as was Fritigern.
But nobody knows his family. Some scholars actually think Athanaric was his father. But I preferred him as a villain. Elvira was completely made up. She’s a necessary part for the trilogy. Athwaulf historically is Alaric’s brother in-law…so this lets you predict what will happen.
2. The Huns drove the Goths from their homes.
This was before the time of Attila, so the Hunnic tribes were not united. These raiders from the east eventually would make their way into France, scaring every Roman citizen and earning Attila the name Scourge of God. Compared to him, the Goths seem rather civilized.
3. The Goths were Christians.
This is partially true. Many Goths followed a missionary named Ulfilas into the Roman Empire where they lived in relative peace before others like Fritigern and Alavivus crossed. On the other hand, some Goths like Athanaric remained enemies of Christianity their entire lives.
4. The Romans abused the Goths
As terrible as it sounds, the fact is that many Romans traded mangy dogs for Gothic children. Romans enslaved them so their parents could have a meal.
5. The Romans ate jellyfish
To the Roman elite, one aspect of life that could not be cheapened was food. Exotic foods (often the more disgusting became more appealing it seems) bragged of one’s social status.
6. Alavivus’ life changed at Marcianople (read the book to find out how)
This is more of an argument from silence, as nobody knows for sure exactly how this happened.
Check out other articles on the Goths:
Sack of Rome
Why didn’t the Goths take over the Roman Empire
Weapons and armor of the Goths
For more information on the Gothic quest for a home and freedom, check out “Alaric, Child of the Goths.”