Vinitharius "the Just", Warlord of the Ostrogoths

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Vinitharius "the Just"

Nicknames: "Vinitharius", "Vithimiris", "Winithar", "Winither", "Withémir", "Equitas", "Conqueror of the Antes", "Conqueror of the Venedi-Slavs"
Birthplace: Scythia (Present Ukraine)
Death: Died in Scythia (Present Ukraine), Hun Empire
Cause of death: Killed in battle at the "River Erac"
Immediate Family:

Son of Valaravans and (Generation 11)
Husband of (Generation 12)
Father of Vandalarius; Valia Tole and Amalaberge of the Ostrogoths
Brother of Daughter of Valaravans

Occupation: King of the Ostrogoths (372-376)
Managed by: Jocelynn Elaine Oakes
Last Updated:

About Vinitharius "the Just"

From the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy page on Hungary:

VALARAVANS (Ostrogoth Generation 11)

Iordanes names "Valaravans" as the son of Vultwulf[36].

VINITHARIUS (Ostrogoth Generation 12)

Iordanes names "Vinitharius" as the son of Valaravans[37].

VANDALARIUS (Ostrogoth Generation 13)

Iordanes names "Vandiliarum" as son of Vinitharius[38].


[36] Iordanes Getarum, MGH Auct. ant. V.1, p. 77.

[37] Iordanes Getarum, MGH Auct. ant. V.1, p. 77.

[38] Iordanes Getarum, MGH Auct. ant. V.1, p. 77.


From Getarum by Jordanes (maintained by Boudicca's Bard):

Ben M. Angel's summary: Vinitharius succeeds Hermanaric/Airmanareiks as King of the Ostrogoths. He didn't abide by the peace of the Hun Empire and carried out first a campaign against the "Antes" (an early Slavic tribe). At the start, the Ostrogoths suffer great setbacks, but recover and eventually Vinitharius captures and crucifies the Antes King Boz, along with his sons and 70 of his favorite nobles.

Hun Emperor Bulümar "Sheke," known to the author as Balamber (ruled c.360-378) responded in the following campaign season by offering Gesimund, son of Hunimund "The Great" (or "The Beautiful"), an alliance to take down Vinitharius, and carries out three great campaigns, the third of which succeeds in killing the rebellious Ostrogoth leader in a battle at the River Erac (uncertain of the modern name). According to legend, Bulümar shot the arrow that fatally wounded Vinitharius (it hit his head).

In order to secure peace with the surviving Ostrogoths, Emperor Bulümar "Sheke" (there will be three other Hun Emperors before the rise of Attila) marries what Jordanes calls "Vinitharius' granddaughter", Vadamerca (uncertain of the actual relationship, as Vinitharius couldn't have been old enough to be a grandfather). He also rewards Hunimund, who was cousin of Vinitharius' father, with the office of King of the Ostrogoths, succeeding Vinitharius. His great achievement was fending off the Suavi.

After Hunimund's death, his son Thorismund takes the throne as King of the Ostrogoths, but his rule is cut short when after a successful campaign against the Gepidae, he falls off his horse and is killed upon hitting the ground. According to Jordanes, the Ostrogoths were so moved by the death of Thorismund that they mourned his loss for 40 years, refusing to allow another to rule in his place. This leaves Beremud, his son, out of his chance to become King, and so he picks up and walks off to join the Visigoths (who likewise don't make him king, despite his personal expectations of such). Despite the fact that the Ostrogoths are described as leaderless for 40 years, Beremud's son Veteric/Wederic is sometimes described as succeeding Thorismund, as he apparently had a role in the Ostrogoth capture of Rome.

Jordanes, in his writings, then prepares to introduce Vinitharius' three grandsons, from whom it was Theodemir who fathered Theodoric the Great, the most famous Ostrogoth King.



(246) Since I have followed the stories of my ancestors and retold to the best of my ability the tale of the period when both tribes, Ostrogoths and Visigoths, were united, and then clearly treated of the Visigoths apart from the Ostrogoths, I must now return to those ancient Scythian abodes and set forth in like manner the ancestry and deeds of the Ostrogoths. It appears that at the death of their king, Hermanaric, they were made a separate people by the departure of the Visigoths, and remained in their country subject to the sway of the Huns; yet Vinitharius of the Amali retained the insignia of his rule.

(247) He rivaled the valor of his grandfather Vultuulf, although he had not the good fortune of Hermanaric. But disliking to remain under the rule of the Huns, he withdrew a little from them and strove to show his courage by moving his forces against the country of the Antes. When he attacked them, he was beaten in the first encounter. Thereafter he did valiantly and, as a terrible example, crucified their king, named Boz, together with his sons and 70 nobles, and left their bodies hanging there to double the fear of those who had surrendered.

(248) When he had ruled with such license for barely a year, Balamber, king of the Huns, would no longer endure it, but sent for Gesimund, son of Hunimund the Great. Now Gesimund, together with a great part of the Goths, remained under the rule of the Huns, being mindful of his oath of fidelity. Balamber renewed his alliance with him and led his army up against Vinitharius. After a long contest, Vinitharius prevailed in the first and in the second conflict, nor can any say how great a slaughter he made of the army of the Huns.

(249) But in the third battle, when they met each other unexpectedly at the river named Erac, Balamber shot an arrow and wounded Vinitharius in the head, so that he died. Then Balamber took to himself in marriage Vadamerca, the grand-daughter of Vinitharius, and finally ruled all the people of the Goths as his peaceful subjects, but in such a way that one ruler of their own number always held the power over the Gothic race, though subject to the Huns.

(250) And later, after the death of Vinitharius, Hunimund ruled them, the son of Hermanaric, a mighty king of yore; a man fierce in war and of famous personal beauty, who afterwards fought successfully against the race of the Suavi. And when he died, his son Thorismud succeeded him, in the very bloom of youth. In the second year of his rule he moved an army against the Gepidae and won a great victory over them, but is said to have been killed by falling from his horse.

(251) When he was dead, the Ostrogoths mourned for him so deeply that for forty years no other king succeeded in his place, and during all this time they had ever on their lips the tale of his memory. Now as time went on, Valamir grew to man's estate. He was the son of Thorismud's cousin Vandalarius. For his son Beremud, as we have said before, at last grew to despise the race of the Ostrogoths because of the overlordship of the Huns, and so had followed the tribe of the Visigoths to the western country, and it was from him Veteric was descended. Veteric also had a son Eutharic, who married Amalasuentha, the daughter of Theodoric, thus uniting again the stock of the Amali which had divided long ago. Eutharic begat Athalaric and Mathesuentha. But since Athalaric died in the years of his boyhood, Mathesuentha was taken to Constantinople by her second husband, namely Germanus, a cousin of the Emperor Justinian, and bore a posthumous son, whom she named Germanus.


Cassiodorus, Secretary of Ostrogoth King Theodoric the Great, gave Vinitharius the epithet of "The Just" rather than "The Conqueror". Source:


From the Wikipedia page on the Antes:


Procopius and Jordanes mention the Antes as one of three major groups of Slavic people, who inhabited the left (north) bank of the lower Danube. They remarked that they looked and sounded 'identical' (i.e. very similar) to the Sclavanoi, who dwelt along the middle Danube.

The word Antes, meaning "armies" in Ugric, is considered by some linguists to be an Iranic name. They suggest that the Antes were one of the Sarmato-Alanic tribes that in the 4th century inhabited the region between the Caucasus and Ukrainian steppes, perhaps between the Prut and lower Dneister rivers [1] in what is now modern Moldova and southwestern Ukraine.

With time, their center of power shifted northward into what is now western and central Ukraine. In the fifth and sixth centuries they settled in Volhynia and subsequently in the middle Dnieper region near the present-day city of Kiev.[1] As they moved north from the open steppe to the forest steppe, they encountered Slavic tribes. They organised the Slavic tribes under their control and the name Antes came to be used for the mixed Slavo-Alanic body. Eventually they were completely absorbed by the Slavs, but the name was preserved.

A comparable theory exists for other Slavic tribes, namely Serbs and Croats.

The Antes had evolved into a powerful tribal unit. The 6th century Byzantine historian Jordanes described them as the “bravest of these people dwelling in the curve of the Sea of Pontus (Black Sea), spread from the Dniester to the Dnieper”. An Antean "King" called Boz is mentioned.

The Antes were involved in conflicts with the Goths, who had migrated to the Ukrainian steppe from Scandinavia. Possibly subject to the Goths, they provided the Slavic elements found in the multi-ethnic Chernyakhov culture.

The apogee of Antean power occurred in the 5th century. As the Goths were defeated by the Huns, and the Huns subsequently shifted to the Pannonian basin, the Antes filled the resulting power vacuum.

Some scholars, such as Francis Dvornik, suggest that the Antean tribal league evolved into the first Slavic state; or even an empire stretching from to the Oder river in the west to the Donets in the east. On the western extent of the Antean territory, they mingled with the Romanized autochthons on the Danube and Prut basins (in southern and eastern Romania and northern Bulgaria), forming the Ipoteşti-Cândeşti culture characterized by a fusion of Slavic and Byzantine elements.

The first documented raid on Byzantine territory was in 518 AD. From then on, the Byzantines engaged the Antes as allies (foederati), paying them stipends and even giving them an abandoned imperial city called Turris somewhere north of the Ister (Danube).

A detachment of Antean soldiers fought for the Byzantines in Italy against the Ostrogoths. Engaged in conflicts with Cutrigurs and other Sclavenes, their territory was then 'devastated' by Avar attacks in the 590s. They were last mentioned in 602 AD, after which the Antean union disappears from history.

It is likely that many Anteans were subjugated by the Avars and served as soldiers for the qagan, whilst others fled across the Danube into imperial Moesia. Both, independently and under Avar control, the people of the 'Antean nation' became dispersed throughout much of central and southeastern Europe. Bulgarian scholar Vasil Zlatarski theorizes that the Severians, Teverians and Ulichians are 'successor' polities.[2] Thus the Antes are often held to be the linguistic ancestors of the Bulgarians and Macedonians, as well as East Slavs.


1. ^ Paul Robert Magosci. (1996). A History of Ukraine. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, pp. 42

2. ^ The Making of the Slavs. Florin Curta


Magosci, Paul Robert (1996). A History of Ukraine. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-7820-6.

Curta, Florin (2006). Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500-1250.. Cambridge Medieval Textbooks. ISBN 0-521-81539-8.


From a Dutch page on the Ostrogoths, related to Vinitharius (Vithimiris) - note, the author apparently separates Vithimiris from Vinitharius, even though almost all other sources treat them as different variations on the name of the same person:

Vithimiris (375 - 376)

Vithimiris wist het Ostrogotische Rijk nog korte tijd in stand te houden. Uiteindelijk moest ook hij een groot aantal nederlagen incasseren tegen de Hunnen. In 376 leden de Ostrogoten een verpletterende nederlaag, waarbij Vithimiris sneuvelde. Volgens Jordanes namen de twee ervaren legerleiders Alatheus en Safrax, het regentschap op zich voor zijn nog minderjarige zoon Videricius.

Na de nederlaag trok een gedeelte van het Ostrogotische volk in de richting van de Djepnr, en later in de richting van de Donau onder leiding van Alatheus en Safrax. Er was ook een kleine groep die een toevlucht zocht in de Krim. De rest van het volk onderwierp zich aan de Hunnen.

Al spoedig sloten de Ostrogoten zich aan bij hun stamverwanten de Visigoten (Thervingi) die geleid werden door Fritigern en Alavius. Gezamenlijk trokken zij tegen de Romeinen ten strijde die zij tegemoet traden in de slag bij Salices, aan de Beneden-Donau in 377, die onbeslist eindigde. Na de veldslag ontweek Alatheus zo veel mogelijk het Romeinse leger en trok brandstichtend en rovend door Thracië en Moesia. Toen Fritigern en de Visigoten aangevallen werden door keizer Valens bij Adrianopel schoten Alatheus en Safrax deze te hulp. Deze veldslag tegen de Romeinen eindigde mede dankzij de inzet van Alatheus voor de Visigoten en Ostrogoten in een grote overwinning. Na deze veldslag ging Alatheus weer over tot het begaan van rooftochten in Thracië en het noorden van Griekenland. Uiteindelijk werd hij verslagen door keizer Theodosius I, die hem dwong zich ten noorden van de Donau te vestigen. In 387 keerde Alatheus terug op Romeins grondgebied, maar werd verslagen en gedood in een veldslag tegen Promotus.


Winithar (Withimir of Vinitarius) van het Oostgotische geslacht van de Amalen (kleinzoon van Vultwulf en zoon van Valaravbaus) overwon de Vanadi-Slaven en volgde Winithar Hunimund op als koning van de Ostrogoten. Hij bouwde een groot rijk op in het huidige Europese Rusland. Rond 370 werd zijn rijk aangevallen door de Hunnen onder Balamir, nadat deze de Alanen omstreeks 355 had overwonnen.

De Ostrogoten vochten wanhopig, maar Ostrogotische cavalerie was niet opgewassen tegen de snel bewegende Hunnen boogschutters te paard. Na deze nederlaag moesten de Ostrogoten de Hunnen als hun nieuwe heersers naar het westen volgen. Enkelen ontkwamen naar de Krim, waar hun nakomelingen nog tot in de achttiende eeuw hebben geleefd. Toen dwong keizerin Catharina hen weg te trekken en de laatste Ostrogoten gingen op in het Russische volk.

380 Na de slag bij Adrianopel (378) vestigden de Ostrogoten zich samen met de eveneens door de Hunnen verdreven Alanen en een detachement Hunnen in Pannonië.


In English:

Vithimiris (Vinitharius) 375-376

Vithimiris would be at the helm of the Ostrogoth Empire for only a short time. He would eventually suffer many defeats fighting against the Huns. In 376, the Ostrogoths were crushed, with Vithimiris killed in battle. According to Jordanes, two experienced military leaders - Alatheus and Safrax - took on the regency of his still-underaged son Videricus (Wideric).

After the defeat, a portion of the Ostrogoths settled toward the Dnieper River, while another went in the direction of the Danube under Alatheus and Safrax. There was also a small group that sought refuge in the Crimea. The rest of the people (among the Greuthungi) became subjects of the Huns.

The Ostrogoths (under Alatheus and Safrax) soon joined their kinsmen, the Visigoths (formerly Thervingi) led by Fritigern and Alavius. Together, they went to war against the Romans in response to the Battle of Salices (Battle of the Willows) on the lower Danube in 377, which ended indecisively. After the battle, Alatheus eluded the Roman army and scorched the earth in Thrace and Moesia. When the Romans under Emperor Valens attacked Fritigern in the Battle of Adrianople, Alatheus and Safrax came to the rescue. Because of the two Ostrogoth military leaders, the Goths came away with a great victory. After the battle, Alatheus continued to raid Thrace and northern Greece. Eventually, he was defeated by Emperor Theodosius I, who forced terms on him to settle north of the Danube. In 387, Alatheus returned to Roman territory, but was slain in battle by Promotus.


Winithar (Withimir or Vinitarius) of the Ostrogoth House of Amal (grandson of Vultwulf and son of Varavbaus - Valaravans) conquered the Vanadi Slavs. Winithar was followed by Hunimund as King of the Ostrogoths. He built a great empire in current European Russia. Around 370, his kingdom was attacked by the Huns under Balamir, after the Alans fell in 355.

The Ostrogoths fought desperately, but Ostrogoth cavalry were no match for the fast moving Hun horse archers. After their defeat to the Huns, some Ostrogoths followed the Visigoth leadership, while some escaped to the Crimea, where their descendants lived under the 18th century. Empress Catherine then forcibly removed them (they had been supporters of the pro-Turkish Tatar rulers based in Bakhchiserai), and the last of the Ostrogoths integrated with the Russians.

After the Battle of Adrianople (378), the Ostrogoths in 380 settled alongside the Alans, who were likewise driven away by the Huns, to Pannonia. (Pannonia was actually settled by arrangement between the Romans and Attila in 449.)


The names of the Hun Emperors during this period come from a research thread presented by followers of the video game Total War. From research by user "Borztogai Khan" (includes a lengthy list of sources at the end of his posting):

1. Gazan (c.320-c.343)

2. Djilka (c.343-363)

3. Bulümar (Balamber) "Sheke" (c.360-378)

4. Alyp-bi (Uldin) "Alp-abai" or "Arbat" (378-390)

5. Aybat (Mundzuk or Charaton) (390-434) with subordinates Octar, Roila, and Ruga.

6. Bleda Khan (434-445) with subordinate Attila.

7. Attila (Avitohol) Khan (445-453) with

8. Ellac Khan (453-c.455)

9. Tengiz (Dengizich) Khan (453-469) with subordinate Tuldila c.457-469.


From the Wikipedia page on the Huns:



By 139 AD, the European geographer Ptolemy writes that the "Huni" (Χοῦνοι or Χουνοἰ) are between the Bastarnae and the Roxolani in the Pontic area under the rule of Suni. He lists the beginning of the second century, although it is not known for certain if these people were the Huns. It is possible that the similarity between the names "Huni" (Χοῦνοι) and "Hunnoi" (Ουννοι) is only a coincidence considering that while the West Romans often wrote Chunni or Chuni, the East Romans never used the guttural Χ at the beginning of the name.[8]

The 5th century Armenian historian Moses of Khorene, in his "History of Armenia," introduces the Hunni near the Sarmatians and describes their capture of the city of Balkh ("Kush" in Armenian) sometime between 194 and 214, which explains why the Greeks call that city Hunuk.

The Huns first appeared in Europe in the 4th century. They show up north of the Black Sea around 370. The Huns crossed the Volga river and attacked the Alans, who were then subjugated.

Jordanes reports that the Huns were led at this time by Balamber while modern historians question his existence, seeing instead an invention by the Goths to explain who defeated them.[8]

The Huns and Alans started plundering Greuthungic settlements.[8] The Greuthungic king, Ermanaric, committed suicide and his great-nephew, Vithimiris (Vinitharius), took over. Vithimiris was killed during a battle against the Alans and Huns in 376. This resulted in the subjugation of most of the Ostrogoths.[8]

Vithimiris' son, Viderichus, was only a child so command of the remaining Ostrogothic refugee army fell to Alatheus and Saphrax. The refugees streamed into Thervingic territory, west of the Dniester.

(This is in error - Viderichus or Wideric was grandson of Vinitharius' second cousin, Thorismund. The origin of the error is probably from Thomas Hodgkin, who makes the same error in his lineage of the Ostrogoth leadership.)

With a part of the Ostrogoths on the run, the Huns next came to the territory of the Visigoths, led by Athanaric. Athanaric, not to be caught off guard, sent an expeditionary force beyond the Dniester. The Huns avoided this small force and attacked Athanaric directly. The Goths retreated into the Carpathians. Support for the Gothic chieftains diminished as refugees headed into Thrace and towards the safety of the Roman garrisons.

In 395 the Huns began their first large-scale assault on the East Roman Empire.[8] Huns attacked in Thrace, overran Armenia, and pillaged Cappadocia. They entered parts of Syria, threatened Antioch, and swarmed through the province of Euphratesia.

Emperor Theodosius left his armies in the West so the Huns stood unopposed until the end of 398 when the eunuch Eutropius gathered together a force composed of Romans and Goths and succeeded in restoring peace.


The timeline presented on the Wikipedia page for Ukrainian Rulers appears somewhat off from the previous two sources:


The Amali dynasty, Amals, Amaler, or Amalings of the Greuthungi ("steppe dwellers" or "people of the pebbly coasts"), called later the Ostrogothi.

Winithar (Vinitharius), Conqueror of the Venedi-Slavs (Antes), born fl. 345 or ca. 353 in Ukraine, the last independent king of the Ostrogoths (376-380)


Ben M. Angel notes: In order to compensate, I've simply shifted the start and end years back by four years. Likely, his rule didn't last longer than a couple years, as the Hun invasion couldn't have started sooner than 375 (they were still absorbing the Alans before that time).


Rey de los Godos entre el 376 y el 380

Fue muerto por Balamber, Rey de los Hunos, que rechazó su reclamo de Independencia. Fue proclamado Rey de los Godos bajo el control de los Hunos a la muerte de Ermerac, el ultimo Rey Independiente.

Conquistador de Venedi-Slavs (aequitas).


Events in the life of Vinitharius Amali

birth: ABT 0353.

event 1: AFT 0400. defeated and killed by Balamber, the Hunnic King, who rejected his claim of independence

event 1: a subordinate of the Hunnic King Balamber, but rejected Hunnic control

event: ABT 0376. became king of the Goths under Hunnic control following the death of Ermenaric, the last independent king

event 1: ·"Conqueror of the Venedi-Slavs"


Los ostrogodos fueron un pueblo germánico procedente de la división que sufrieron los godos a raíz de las invasiones de los hunos, hacia el 370.

Los ostrogodos constituyeron un vasto reino al este del río Dniéster, en las tierras alrededor del mar Negro (lo que hoy es parte de la actual Ucrania y Bielorrusia). Los visigodos fueron los godos del occidente, cuyo dominio territorial se extendía desde el Dniéster hasta el Danubio.

Los ostrogodos estuvieron sometidos a los hunos desde 375, en que vencen al rey Germánico, hasta la muerte de Atila, ocurrida en 453, cuando recobraron su independencia y se establecieron como un pueblo federado de Roma. Posteriormente se les unieron otros godos que habían huido de sus tierras a la llegada de los hunos. En el 474 fue elegido rey Teodorico, el más conocido de los monarcas ostrogodos. Hubo varios períodos de guerras y treguas entre él y el emperador bizantino Zenón. En 488 Teodorico invadió Italia y en 493 derrotó y dio muerte en Adda a Odoacro, rey de los hérulos.

Tras su muerte en el 526, la situación se volvió tan violenta que en el 535 el emperador bizantino Justiniano I envió a su general Belisario en contra de los ejércitos ostrogodos en Italia. La superioridad del ejército bizantino fue la clave para el exterminio y el aplastamiento de la resistencia ostrogoda.

Este pueblo fue finalmente asimilado en forma gradual por otras tribus germánicas, tales como los vándalos y los francos.


Stories: Conqueror of the Vanadi-Slavs, succeeded Hunimund as King of the Ostrogoths A.D. 400. He was conquered by the Huns under Balamir. His son was Wandalar.


Apparently historical drama imaginatively describing what would be Vinitharius' life (some chronology problems - Gesalic of the Vandals, c400-477, wasn't likely born yet when Vinitharius' rebellion against the Huns would have taken place):

When the winter of 378 came, the Emperor's Legion was at last ordered to march...

The Goths moved on the Second legion immediately after the New Year. The Gothic Chieften Vinithar personally led the attack.

The Second Legion used massed archers, rushed to the area by the commander of the Sirmium garrison, to drive off the enemy attackers. Vinithar himself was slain as he ran like a coward from the fight. As at the eastern crossing though, the Legion suffered losses. A full 300 men, nearly a quarter of the strength of the Legion, fell at their posts

In a cruel re-enactment of the assault on the First Legion, another full Gothic army assaulted the Second Legion before it could reorganize and refit.

Let by the heir of Vinithar, the new King Gesalic, the Goths contributed to what was now the seasonal flood of corpses down the Danube. This King’s reign lasted mere days and his army was massacred by the Roman bows, swords and spears. The Second Legion again suffered the loss of a quarter of its force, further diminishing its strength and provoking consternation amongst its men, who feared they would meet the same fate as the First Legion.

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Vinitharius "the Just", Warlord of the Ostrogoths's Timeline

Scythia (Present Ukraine)
Age 39
Scythia (Present Ukraine), Hun Empire
- 376
Age 47
Age 55
Tolles, France
Age 73
Reino Ostrogodo, , ,
Age 75
Scythia (Present Ukraine), Hun Empire