A powerful tribe that was of East Germanic descent was the Heruli. During the 3rd century where they are located on the Bible Timeline with World History, these people left their land at Scandinavia to cross the Black Sea and settled in various places within the region. They were also known to be a significant part of incursions and raids that were initiated by Goths in Greece and the Balkans during 250 AD.
Features of the Heruli Culture
Based on historians, the Heruli was a tribe that followed polytheistic principles, which were known to practice the rites of making human sacrifices. Also, these people also believed in senicide or the act of assigning a non-family member to kill the elderly and sick individuals. After killing them, the bodies were to be burned on a wood pyre until it is barely recognizable. Moreover, women were ordered to hang themselves upon their husbands’ death.
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When Justinian assumed the throne, the Heruli was convinced to adopt Christian beliefs. They also practiced a gentler and more humane way of life.
As for their military skills, the Heruli barely carried any protective armor. They also had no thick jackets or shields. Slaves are also expected to accompany Heruli troops during a combat. However, Heruli slaves were not given a chance to don a shield unless they had already proven their bravery and skills on the battlefield.
Gaining Power and Control
Along with the Goths, the Heruli sacked Athens, Sparta, and Byzantium. However, the Romans defeated them in 269 AD during an encounter near Naissus, which is modern-day Serbia. In the 4th century, this tribe was dominated by the Ostrogoths and the Huns.
In the Battle of Nedao, the Heruli successfully defeated the Huns and formed an independent kingdom. They decided to join forces with Odoacer, who was in charge of the foederati troops that handled deposing Emperor Romulus Augustus during the year 476 AD. By 508 AD, the Lombards defeated the Heruli, which forced them to go back to their homeland in Scandinavia.
The Heruli was mentioned in numerous narrative accounts aside from their collaboration with the Goths during the ravage of the coastal areas of the Black Sea. The Heruls was also one of the raiders in Spain and Gaul, as well as other tribes that conquered these areas such as the Alamanni, Franks, and Saxons. They were also referred to as the Western Heruli because they frequently settled at the lower Rhine.
When the Hunnic kingdom reached its end in 454 AD, as well as the victorious battle for the Heruls at Nedao, these people decided to establish their own kingdom. They chose areas found near the Theiss and March rivers, which is considered as modern-day Slovakia. Eventually, the Heruli teamed up with Odoacer, and this started the solid relationship between the two forces.
Fall of the Herulian Kingdom
When the Lombards conquered the kingdom established by the Heruli, this signaled the end of their powerful reign. There were some Heruls, who decided to join the Lombards while some of them found refuge with other tribes such as the Gepids. There were also reports that the Romans permitted the Heruli to settle in less populated areas near Singidunum. Soon after, there were no further historical records that pertained to this federated kingdom by the Heruli.
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