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KOLLAPS – NEUORDNUNG – KONTINUITÄT

GEPIDEN NACH DEM UNTERGANG DES HUNNENREICHES

COLLAPSE – REORGANIZATION – CONTINUITY


GEPIDS AFTER THE FALL OF THE HUN EMPIRE
K OLLAPS – N EUORDNUNG – K ONTINUITÄT
G EPIDEN NACH DEM UNTERGANG DES HUNNENREICHES
Tagungsakten der Internationalen Konferenz
an der Eötvös Loránd Universität,
Budapest, 14. – 15. Dezember 2015

C OLLAPSE – REORGANIZATION – C ONTINUITY


G EPIDS AFTER THE FALL OF THE H UN EMPIRE
Proceedings of the International Conference
at Eötvös Loránd University,
Budapest, 14th–15th December 2015

Hrsg./Eds
Tivadar Vida – Dieter Quast – Zsófia Rácz – István Koncz

Institut für Archäologiewissenschaften, Eötvös Loránd Universität, Budapest


Institut für Archäologie des Forschungszentrums für Humanwissenschaften
der Ungarischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Budapest
Leibniz-Forschungsinstitut für Archäologie, Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, Mainz

Budapest 2019
Das Konferenzprojekt und dieser Band wurde mit dem Zuschuß
der Ungarischen Akademie der Wissenschaften,
der „Stiftung von Trefort Kert” der Eötvös Loránd Universität, Budapest,
des Leibniz-Forschungsinstituts für Archäologie, Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, Mainz,
des Instituts für Archäologiewissenschaften der Eötvös Loránd Universität, Budapest
des Instituts für Archäologie des Forschungszentrums für Humanwissenschaften
der Ungarischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Budapest
und der Deutsch-Ungarischen Gesellschaft e. V., Berlin
verwirklicht.

Foto auf der Vorderseite


Schnalle aus unbekanntem Fundort in Ungarn (© Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum)

Fotos auf der Rückseite


Anhänger mit Wildschweinkopf von Apahida und Dolchgriff von Oros
(beide © Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum); Solidus (av) des Anastasius I. von Tiszaug
(© Katona József Múzeum Kecskemét); Solidus (rv) des Iustinianus I. und Goldener Fingerring
mit architektonischem Aufbau von Gyula (beide © Erkel Ferenc Múzeum Gyula)

ISBN 978-615-5766-28-2

© Institut für Archäologiewissenschaften, Eötvös Loránd Universität, Budapest, 2019


© Stiftung Archaeolingua, 2019
© Autoren, 2019

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by
any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any other information storage
and retrieval system, without requesting prior permission in writing from the publisher.

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INHALT / CONTENTS

DIETER QUAST – TIVADAR VIDA


Die Aktualität der Gepidenforschung ............................................................................................... 7

G RUNDLAGEN / CONTEXTUAL STUDIES

ALEXANDER SARANTIS
The rise and fall of the Gepid Kingdom in Dacia and Pannonia, 453–567 .................................... 11
ÁGNES B. TÓTH
The Gepids after the battle of Nedao (454 A.D.):
A brief overview and prospects for the future research ................................................................... 29
WOLFGANG HAUBRICHS
Die germanischen Personennamen der Gepiden ............................................................................ 57

V OM RÖMISCHEN DAKIEN ZUM GEPIDISCHEN KÖNIGREICH /


F ROM ROMAN D ACIA TO THE G EPIDIC KINGDOM
VLAD-ANDREI LĂZĂRESCU
Debating the early phase of the Migration Period necropolis at Floreşti-Polus Center,
Cluj County, Romania .................................................................................................................... 81
ALPÁR DOBOS
On the edge of the Merovingian culture.
Row-grave cemeteries in the Transylvanian Basin in the 5th–7th centuries ................................. 111
IOAN STANCIU
Northwestern territory of Romania (Upper Tisza Basin)
in the last third of the 5th century and in the 6th century ............................................................. 143

DIE SIRMIENSIS / THE SIRMIENSIS

HRVOJE GRAČANIN – JANA ŠKRGULJA


The Gepids and Southern Pannonia in the age of Justinian I ....................................................... 185
IVAN BUGARSKI – VUJADIN IVANIŠEVIĆ
The Gepids in Serbian archaeology: Evidence and interpretations .............................................. 275
ANITA RAPAN PAPEŠA – DANIJELA ROKSANDIĆ
Cibalae as the most western point of Gepidic kingdom ................................................................ 307

G EPIDEN IM K ONTEXT DES VÖLKERWANDERUNGSZEITLICHEN EUROPAS /


THE G EPIDS AND THE EARLY MEDIEVAL EUROPE
DIETER QUAST
Die nördliche Grenzzone des Oströmischen Reiches und
Skandinavien im 5. und 6. Jahrhundert ....................................................................................... 333
ATTILA P. KISS
Between Wotan and Christ? Deconstruction of the the Gepidic belief system based
on the written and archaeological sources .................................................................................... 369
ISTVÁN KONCZ
Action and interaction between the Gepids and the Langobards in the sixth century ................. 409
BENCE GULYÁS – ZSÓFIA RÁCZ – KATALIN BAJNOK – JOHN GAIT
A solitary 5th century burial from Szilvásvárad-Lovaspálya, North-East Hungary .................... 431
HALÛK ÇETINKAYA
Gepids at Constantinople .............................................................................................................. 459

F RIEDHÖFE ALS Q UELLEN SOZIALER O RDNUNGEN UND CHRONOLOGIE /


CEMETERIES AS SOURCES OF SOCIAL STRUCTURE AND CHRONOLOGY
ATTILA P. KISS
Waffengräber der Mitte und zweiten Hälfte des 6. Jahrhunderts im östlichen Karpatenbecken.
Die männliche Elite zwischen Gepidenkönig und Awarenkagan? ............................................... 471
TIVADAR VIDA
Survival of the Gepids in the Tisza region during the Avar period .............................................. 495
ANITA BENCSIK-VÁRI – ANDRÁS LISKA
Das Grab einer adeligen Frau mit byzantinischen Funden
aus dem 6. Jahrhundert in Gyula, Ungarn ................................................................................... 513
ANETT MIHÁCZI-PÁLFI
Die Rolle der künstlichen Schädeldeformation in den frühmittelalterlichen Gesellschaften
des östlichen Karpatenbeckens ...................................................................................................... 537

N UMISMATIK / N UMISMATICS
ISTVÁN A. VIDA – ALAIN GENNARI – ZOLTÁN FARKAS
Coin from the Gepidic period cemetery of Berettyóújfalu, Hungary.
The cross series of the Sirmium Group ........................................................................................ 589
PÉTER SOMOGYI
Spätrömisch-byzantinische Fundmünzen aus Gepidengräbern ................................................... 603

SIEDLUNGEN / SETTLEMENTS
RÓBERT GINDELE
Objekte und Struktur der gepidenzeitlichen Siedlung in Carei
(Großkarol, Nagykároly)-Bobald, Rumänien ................................................................................ 629
ZSÓFIA MASEK
Die Forschung zu gepidischen Siedlungen in Ungarn.
Spätantike Kontinuitätsmodelle im Kerngebiet des Hunnenreiches ............................................ 659
ESZTER SOÓS
Transformation der Siedlungen am Ende des 4. und im 5. Jahrhundert in Nordost-Ungarn ..... 697
DÓRA SZABÓ
Interpretation of a 5th- and 6th-century farm-like settlement.
The case study of Tiszabura-Nagy-Ganajos-hát, Hungary .......................................................... 753
BEÁTA TUGYA – KATALIN NÁFRÁDI – SÁNDOR GULYÁS – TÜNDE TÖRŐCSIK –
BALÁZS PÁL SÜMEGI – PÉTER POMÁZI – PÁL SÜMEGI
Environmental historical analysis of the Gepidic settlement of Rákóczifalva, Hungary ............. 771
GEPIDS AT CONSTANTINOPLE

Halûk Çetinkaya

Gepids were generally mistaken or confused among other Germanic-Gothic tribes. With the evidence
coming from the city walls of Constantinople their existence may be confirmed. Among other Gepids,
whom were mostly soldiers, a king named Thrasarich, whose epitaph was discovered and published
in 2009 at Istanbul is the most interesting and convincing piece of evidence.

Keywords: Gepids; Later Roman Empire; Constantinople; cross formed epitaphs

NAMES AND IDENTITY


One of the least studied subjects of history and archaeology is ethnicities and their impact on
neighboring cultures. When studied, Gepids were either mistaken or considered under one group,
most of the time Goths. Presence of Gepids in the east was studied even less. This article aims at
providing some information about the presence of Gepids in Constantinople.
To identify a group or a certain individual is a difficult tusk, given several variables. Most
commonly, name of the individual is taken as his origin. Although it is tempting to accept it as
a solid source, one has to consider near history. Jews in 19th Ottoman empire were naming their
children with French names. Same applies to the citizens of Cuba, who under the influence of
the Soviet Union, named their children with traditional Russian names. It is clear that dominant
culture or social pressure shapes the decision of families in naming their children. Everincreasing
number of barbarians in the Roman empire provides us with similar examples. Since different
groups intermingled it is common to have foreign names adapted by non-Roman tribes. It is hard
to follow family history, hence the origin by simply using the names given. Germanic names can be
identified but difficulty arises when it comes to which group. It is nearly impossible to identify a
certain group or tribe unless their names were mentioned together with their origin in documents
or inscriptions. In this paper it will be argued that some of the Germanic names appear on the
epitaphs found at Constantinople belong to the Gepids including the king Thrasarich, whose name
and Gepidic origin was written in his epitaph (Figs 1–4, 6).
[+ Ἐνθ]άδε κατάκιτα[ι ὁ τῆς]
[εὐκλ]ε(οῦς) μνήμης Θρά[σαριχ]
[κόμ](ης) δομ(εστίκων) ῥὲξ Γηπ[αίδων]
[υἱὸς ?] Θραυστίλα τῆς [εὐκλε(οῦς) ?]
[μνήμης ὅ]στις ἔζησε[ν ἔτη]
[- - - - - - - - - - - -]τη ϛ [- - -]
“Here lies Thrasarich of (glorious) memory, count of the domestici, king of the Gepids, (son of?)
Thraustila of (glorious?) memory, who lived (…) (years) (…) sixth (…).” 1

1
A broken piece of white marble with a carved inscription was found among the scattered stones in the
courtyard of a djami (Vefa kilise camii that had been transformed from a Komnenos-period (12th-century)
church on the border of the former 7th and 10th districts of Constantinople, within the city walls, not far
from the Valens aqueduct (Fig. 6). The fragment clearly came from a 6th-century church in this area of the
city. ÇETINKAYA 2009, 225–229. ÇETINKAYA 2016, 98.
460 Halûk Çetinkaya

Fig. 1. View of Vefa Kilise Cami from east (photo: Halûk Çetinkaya)

Fig. 2. Memoria of Thrasarich in the garden of Fig. 3. Memoria of Thrasarich in the garden of
Vefa Kilise camii at Istanbul Vefa Kilise camii at Istanbul
(photo: Halûk Çetinkaya) (photo: Halûk Çetinkaya)
Gepids at Constantinople 461

Fig. 4. Drawing of the inscription on the epitaph (drawn: Halûk Çetinkaya)

GEPIDS AS FOEDERATES
According to Iordanes, Gepids were of the same origin with Goths.2 Gepids were settled north of
Carpathian mountains in mid 3rd century3 and were believed to be part of the barbarian coalition
which mostly consisted of Germanic tribes in 269 during the reign of Claudius II.4 Later, Goths
were given the status of foederati and Constantine I asked them to help building his new capital,
which they replied with forty thousand men.5
Recent archaeological studies proved that prior to 370 Goths, and most probably Gepids, were
living in the Northeastern part of the Black Sea in the area corresponding to Černjachov culture.6
In 376 the Huns pushed Alans and later some of the Goths westward and they crossed Danube to
settle with the permission of Roman emperor Valens.7 During the reign of Theodosius I, Athanaric,
king of Goths, was welcomed at Constantinople with his men. Though he died during the visit,
his men accepted to serve Romans in 381.8 It is clear that some of the Goths were permitted to
live during or after this incident in Constantinople. Patriarch John Chyrostom, who was not fond
of barbarians, appreciated them openly for their contribution in spreading Christianity.9 Altough
it may be an attempt to convert them from Arianism to orthodoxy, it seems to be part of policy
of the empire. Things changed with an unexpected revolt led by Gainas. In 400 Gainas placed
all of his men to different parts of the city with the intention of capturing it easily. These areas
were most probably where fellow Goths already have been living. Citizens were alarmed by the
motions of barbarian soldiers and defended their city. Seven thousand of these Goths were burnt

2
Iordanes, Romana et Getica XVII. 94: ed. MOMMSEN 1882.
3
STANCIU 2008, 416.
4
SCHMIDT 1907, 306.
5
Iordanes, Romana et Getica XXI. 111–112: ed. MOMMSEN 1882.
6
HEATHER 1997, 490.
7
Ammianus Marcellinus, The Roman History XXXI.3–4: tr. ROLFE 1986.
8
Isidore of Seville, History of the Goths 11: tr. DONINI–FORD 1970.
9
DE WET 2012, 5–6.
462 Halûk Çetinkaya

Fig. 5. Graveston of Estotzas is in Istanbul Archaeological Museums (inventory number 93.27 T)


(photo: Halûk Çetinkaya)
Gepids at Constantinople 463

Fig. 6. Church-Mosque of Vefa (Turcic: Vefa Kilise Camii). The mosque viewed from the southeast in a drawing
of 1877, from A.G. Paspates’ Byzantine topographical studies (Paspatēs, Alexandros Geōrgiou Byzantinai
meletai topographikai (1877) https://archive.org/details/vyzantinaimelet00unkngoog
Digitizing sponsor: Google Book contributor: Oxford University Collection: europeanlibraries)
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church-Mosque_of_Vefa#/media/File:Hagios_Theodoros_tou_Tironos.jpg)

alive in the church they took refuge,10 most probably to avenge emperor Valens’ death, who was
killed same way by them. Column of Arcadius, of which a few fragmentary pieces and its base
survived, claimed to have had scenes of Goths leaving Constantinople after their revolt in 400.11
It is interesting to note that Patriarch John of Rome, upon request of king Theoderic, was sent to
Constantinople in 525 “to fetch fellow Arians”12 which is a clear indicator of the increased number
of Goths and other Germanic people. Aspar, a Goth, positioned as consul in 43413 indicate changing
Roman politicy towards non-Romans out of necessity. In the following years Germanic people as
foederati or bucellarii were employed in the Roman empire.
Information about Gepids in Constantinople were obtained through construction activites
along the city walls. One of the most difficult issues on a modern city is to excavate underneath
the streets or buildings. Due to this, buildings of Constantinople, mentioned in sources, cannot be
located easily. Recent infrastructural projects and restorations permitted new discoveries in the
city. But vital sections of the history of the city, such as pavillions of the Great palace, or military
barracks are still unknown. On the other hand discoveries made on the city walls both in 19th and
20th centuries provided us with some inscriptions which are extremely helpful on our article. In
1868 in order to obtain construction material, one of the towers on the city walls was pulled down,
which had tombstones with the names of the foederati. Names were Walderich, Sephnas, Bertilas
and Epoktorik.14 It is interesting to note that all of the epitaphs of foederati found in Constantinople
were from the area of land walls. This was taken as an indication of an army cemetery.15 Epitaphs
concentrate around the 5th military gate, which was guarded by the Goths at first and in later
centuries by the corps of army including Scandinavian and Angl-Saxons.16

10
Zosimus, New History V. 19: tr. RIDLEY 2006.
11
LIEBESCHUETZ 1990, 277.
12
Marcellinus, The Chronicle of Marcellinus: tr. CROKE 1995, 42.
13
Chronicon Paschale, Olympiad 303–434.
14
MILLINGEN 1899, 85.
15
KALKAN–ŞAHIN 1995, 147.
16
ÖZTÜRK 2017, 15.
464 Halûk Çetinkaya

EPITAPHS OF GEPIDIC PERSONS


Among these epitaphs some contain names which were considered as Gothic but most probably
Gepidic.
Epitaph of Epoktorik, dated to 568 is an interesting example. In the inscription grandfather of
Epoktorik was called Bertilas, whereas his father a foederatus, was called Petros.17 It is interesting
to note that Germanic name Bertilas was followed in the next generation with a Greek one, Petros,
and another generation later another Germanic name, Epoktorik surfaced.
Another name is Valdarikh. His epitaph was dated to 543 and in the inscription he was
mentioned as also foederatus.18 Estotzas provides us with another foederatus (Fig. 5).
Two other possible Gepidic gravestones were discovered in 1917 and both were in cross form.
First one was for Ulifrida, wife of Thiudas; the second belong to Anilas. The former was dated to
531.19 There were several forms of epitaphs, mostly flat but some in the form of a cross. There are
around twenty cross formed gravestones found in and in the vicinity of Constantinople dated to
6th-8th centuries and most of them belong to non-Romans.20
It is surprising that the Germanic-Gepidic names were all dated to 6th century. During the reign
of Justinian I, two important Gepids were on stage namely, Mundo and Thrasarich. Mundo, the
rightful claimant of the Gepid kingdom, was stripped off his royal titles by Thraustila with the
excuse of immature age for ruling. Thraustila kept the throne for himself only to be handed over to
his son Thrasarich later. Mundo fought for Theodoric in Italy, upon his death offered his services to
the Byzantine empire in 529.21 He was busy controlling Balkans and even participated to suppress
Nika riot in 532.22
The other Gepid was king Thrasarich. Upon his defeat at Sirmium in 504 he must have left in
panic leaving his mother behind.23 His later life was unknown until his epitaph was discovered
in 2006 at Istanbul.24 It is apparent that he took refuge at Byzantine empire and was given the
title comes domesticorum. He must have been overshadowed by his cousin Mundo, who had a very
high position, and did not want to keep him in his sight. Probably because of that he was sent
to a fort named after him as Thrasarichu. This fort was mentioned by Procopius.25 It was located
accros fort Daphne built by Constantine I. Modern Greek village with the name of Daphne is by
the promontory of Ebros and fort Thrasarichu might be either on the other side of this promontory,
which does not make sense since it was not that much of importance comparing to the river itself,
or by the Turkish side of the river Ebros (Modern Meriç in Turkish-Maritsa in Bulgarian) which
is the border between Greece and Turkey. In this case fort Thrasarichu must be located around the
township of Uzunköprü. Since Thrasarich was not mentioned by any of the contemporary historians
this theory may seem plausible. Due to illness or old age, Thrasarich was in Constantinople where
he died and was given a very modest epitaph (Figs 2–4). It is clear that when Thrasarich took refuge
at the Byzantine empire he was not alone. Some of his men might have been given tasks to protect
the borders in Thrace together with their former king. Another group which include Walderich,
Sephnas, Bertilas, Epoktorik and Estotzas where employed together with Goths in the defence of
the city walls of Constantinople. These names can be multiplied with the help of new on going
projects held by the city walls. One of the most difficult part of Gepid history is the chronology of

17
ÖZTÜRK 2017, 8.
18
ÖZTÜRK 2017, 14.
19
SCHNEIDER 1937, 176–177.
20
KALKAN–ŞAHIN 1995, 147.
21
Ioannes Malalas, Chronography: ed. THURN 2000, 378.
22
CROKE 1982, 125–135.
23
Iordanes, Romana et Getica LVIII. 300: ed. MOMMSEN 1882.
24
ÇETINKAYA 2009, 225–229.
25
Procopius, De Aedificiis IV. xii.11: tr. DEWING 1954.
Gepids at Constantinople 465

kings. It is not clear when Thrasarich died, alas his epitaph is broken, hence no certain date can be
obtained.
Sources between 506–536 are silent about Gepids26 it is not certain who replaced Thrasarich as
king or was there any. Only one source mentions Gepidicus among titles of Justinian I.27 Although
Byzantines did not face Gepids directly it is strange to have this title. On the other hand, it may
be taken that there was uncertainty among Gepid rulers due to Byzantine policy, hence, they were
subjugated. Probably Gepids regained their power and were considered as a threat that is why they
were attacked by the Byzantine army under the leadership of Calluc. He succeeded in defeating
them at first but in the second encounter was defeated and killed in the year 539.28 It is strange not
to mention the name of the Gepid king in the war though. It may be taken as a sign that Gepids
were in a federation of different groups without a king. Loss of Sirmium under Thrasarich was a
fresh memory and it is nearly impossible to have him accepted as king by all of Gepids. Otherwise
he would have led his people instead of serving the Byzantine empire. When his father Thraustila
died in 488 he must have been in his early twenties and most probably died in 530’s. His name
surfaced in an epitaph found in Rome dated to 589. In the epitaph of Wiliarich, name Thrasarich
was mentioned as magister militum and he must be the grandson of the former king.29
Details of Gepidic history was obtained from Lombards. During the reign of Lombard king
Audoin 546–56530 Gepid king was Thurisind. He was succeeded by the last Gepid king Cunimund,
who was killed in the battle during which Gepids were nearly annihilated by Lombards in two
consecutive battles in 566 and 567 with the help of Avars31 32 Gepids continued their existence in a
different geography even as late as 9th century.33

REFERENCES

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26
DICULESCU 1922, 116.
27
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28
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29
ROSSI 1857–1861, no. 1126 and 516.
30
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31
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32
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33
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Halûk Çetinkaya
Mimar Sinan Güzel Sanatlar Üniversitesi /
Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University / Istanbul
TR - 34427 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Pürtelaş Hasan Efendi Mahallesi, Meclis-i Mebusan Cd. No:24,
halukcet@gmail.com