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Odotheus[1] was a Greuthungi king who in 386 led an incursion into the Roman Empire. He was defeated and killed by the Roman general Promotus.[2] His surviving people settled in Phrygia.

Invasion of Roman Empire[]

After the major Gothic entry into the Roman Empire in 376, there still remained substantial numbers of Goths in several kingdoms north and east of the lower Danube.[3] In the year 386 the king Odotheus led his people into the Empire, possibly fleeing Hunnic hegemony.[4] Odotheus was brought to battle and killed by the general Promotus.[5] The survivors of his people were settled in Phrygia; some were drafted into the Army and some became agricultural labourers.[6]

Fate of Odotheus' People[]

In 399, Tribigild, a Gothic commander in Roman service who led a unit of these Phrygian survivors of Odotheus' kingdom,[7] rose in revolt. Gainas, another Gothic general sent to suppress him, suborned Tribigild's revolt for his own purposes. After some initial successes, Gainas was suppressed and fled north of the Danube, only to be killed by the Hunnic chieftain Uldin.[8] Thus perished many of Odotheus' remaining people; the fate of the rest in Phrygia is unknown.


  1. Latinized form, probably from Gothic Audaþius ("Fortunate servant").
  2. Zosimus, V.36 seems to put this before the death of Gratian in 383, but in IV.39 he tells of Theodosius recruiting the survivors for the coming campaign against Magnus Maximus, and Claudian Cos. Hon IV 633–37 dates the victory over Odotheus by Honorius’ first consulship, i.e. 386
  3. Heather (1996), 56
  4. Heather (1996), 103, disputes this.
  5. Zosimus gives two versions, generally thought to be of the same story: IV.35 and 38-9; the second version calls them Grothingi [sic] and speaks of a betrayal (or entrapment) by Promotus
  6. Heather (1996), n. 10 to p. 138. "Zosimus 4.35, 38-9, Cons. Const. s.a. 386 (= CM 1, 244). captivi: Claudian In Eut. 2.582. coloni: ibid. 205".
  7. Heather (1996), 144; cf Kulkiowski (2007), 154, who suggests the Goths of Tribigild were in fact survivors of the massacres in Asia Minor of 378-9 (after the Battle of Adrianople)
  8. Zosimus V.21-22


Heather, Peter (1996). The Goths. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. ISBN 0-631-16536-3. 
Kulikowski, Michael (2007). Rome's Gothic Wars: from the Third century to Alaric. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-60868-8. 
Zosimus, Novae Historiae bk 4, bk 5

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