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Adrianople, Battle of

The Battle of Adrianople (otherwise referred to as the Battle of Hadrianopolis)occurred in 378 AD where it is recorded on the Biblical Timeline With World History. It was the battle between the Gothic rebels and the Roman army. This gruesome battle took place in the northern part of Adrianople, which is in modern-day European Turkey. The battle was a victorious one for the Goths, and Emperor Valens of the Roman army died.

Based on historians, this battle signalled the start of the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. It was also noted as a part of the Gothic War that was fought between 376 to 382 AD. The Battle of Adrianople included an army coming from the eastern portion of the Roman Empire, and it outlasted the empire’s west by about 1000 years.

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Background of the Battlefield

After the defeat of the Goths in 376 AD, they were allowed to enter and remain in the Roman Empire. At that time, Emperor Valens was the ruler of the empire, and he hoped the Goths, under the leadership of Fritigern and Alavivus, would become soldiers and farmers. Hence, Valens gave the Goths a chance to become the Empire’s allies or a ‘foederati’.

Battle_of_Adrianople_Goths_vs_Romans
‘The 3rd-century Great Ludovisi sarcophagus depicts a battle between Goths and Romans.’

Unfortunately, Maximus and Lupinicus, provincial commanders of the Roman Empire, convinced the Goths to revolt against Valens. This occurred once the newcomers crossed the Danube. As a result, Valens asked Gratian, his nephew and Emperor from the West for help to fight these rebel Goths. So he gave Valens reinforcements, including Richomeres the head of Gratian’s guards. For two years, there were battles that had started even before the Battle of Adrianople. In 378, Emperor Valens decided to leave Antioch and headed towards Constantinople. He ordered his general Sebastianus to reorganize the army of the Roman Empire that was situated in Thrace. With 2000 soldiers, Sebastianus went to Adrianople and ambushed a small group of Goths. Meanwhile, Fritigern formed the Gothic army at Beroe and Nicropolis, so they can fight the Romans. On August 8, 378 AD, Fritigern wanted to propose peace and to form an alliance in exchange for some territories of the Roman Empire. Valens did not agree with his proposals, although he was unaware that there was a group of Goths foraging further away, which meant he did not have any numerical superiority against their opponents.

The next day, Valens left his administration and imperial treasury at Adrianople under the care of his guard of legions. He received a warning that the Gothic camp was located in the northern part of the city. Hence, he arrived at the said location after bearing the difficulty of marching over the rough terrain for 7 hours.

When the Roman troops came at the site where the Goth had built their camp, they were left exhausted and in disorder. The Goths held the stronger position throughout the battle and this led to the defeat of the Romans. The Emperor was believed to have died during this battle, although there was still some uncertainty as to the cause of his death.

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1 thought on “Adrianople, Battle of

  1. Your article is a bit misleading in that it misrepresents the reasons the Goths rebelled against the Romans. All the Goths ever wanted was to provide much needed soldiers to man the Roman border, and in exchange be allowed to become farmers in a land safe from the Hun.

    Your Wikipedia source rightly states:
    “the dishonesty of the provincial commanders Lupicinus and Maximus led the newcomers to revolt after suffering many hardships”

    The Goths rebelled after being confined to a prison camp where Lupinicus and Maximus forced them to sell their children in exchange for dog meat. (The Goths did not eat dogs any more than we do, and did not willingly sell their children to anyone, certainly to Roman slavers).

    This is a big part of their story and is worth being told. Also interesting is that the Goth (many of whom were already Christians) agreed to convert as an entire nation as part of their understanding with Emperor Valens.

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