Ardaric, king of the Gepids

public profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Related Projects

Ardaric

Also Known As: "Ardarik des Gepidae", "des Gépides"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Germany
Death: circa 460 (26-43)
Germany
Immediate Family:

Son of X des Gépides and X Amales
Husband of Escama of the Huns
Father of Gunderith, king of the Gepids and Trafstila / Thorswind of the Gepids

Occupation: King of the Gepids, Gepid chief, ally of Attila, 447/451
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Ardaric, king of the Gepids

Ardaric (died around 460) was the most renowned king of the Gepids. He was "famed for his loyalty and wisdom", one of the most trusted adherents of Attila the Hun, who "prized him above all the other chieftains". After Attila's death, Ardaric led the rebellion against Attila's sons and routed them in the Battle of Nedao, thus ending the Huns' supremacy in Eastern Europe.

He is sometimes said to have married a daughter or granddaughter of Attila (sometimes called Escam) by whom he was the father of Elemund, a later king of the Gepids. It is possible that he married Attila's daughter, but there is no evidence. They cannot have been parents of Elemund.

Background: the Gepids

Nothing is known of Ardaric’s early life. Presumably he was a member of the nobility among the Gepids. The Gepids were an East European tribe that first appears in historical record in the sixth century in Jordanes’s Origins and Deeds of the Goths. They first settled along the Vistula River between the first and third centuries A.D. In the fourth century they moved closer to the Eastern Roman Empire, and converted to Arian Christianity, as did their neighbours the Goths. This southward shift is demonstrated by archaeology; Gepids buried their dead with swords, spears, or shields, which their Gothic neighbours did not.

Gepidic society was divided by wealth. From burial grounds found scattered throughout the Carpathian Basin and Hungarian Plain, archaeologists can divide Gepidic sites into two distinct groups. Large burial grounds indicate villages of common people with no significant wealth, and small burial grounds of larger houses which often have weapons, jewelry, and religious icons, wealth far greater than the goods found in the mass gravesites of the larger and poorer villages.

Under Attila

Attila had unified the Eastern European tribes outside the Roman Empire’s border and attacked the Western Roman Empire, in 451 CE facing a coalition put together by Flavius Aëtius in northern Gaul. Ardaric is first mentioned by Jordanes as Attila's most prized vassal at the battle of the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains. "The renowned king of the Gepidae, Ardaric, was there also with a countless host, and because of his great loyalty to Attila, he shared his plans. For Attila, comparing them in his wisdom, prized him and Valamir, king of the Ostrogoths, above all the other chieftains."

The battle ended with the retreat of Attila's forces. However, the Gepids and Ardaric still remained loyal to their Hunnish overlord. When Attila made another attempt to penetrate Italy, he and his armies were successful in capturing Aquileia, Pavia, and Milan. But disease struck the Hun forces, forcing Attila to retreat once again back to the Hungarian plain. Here Attila died in 453 CE.

After Attila

After Attila’s burial, his eldest son Ellak rose to power. Supported by Attila’s chief lieutenant, Onegesius, he wanted to assert the absolute control with which Attila had ruled. However, Attila’s other two sons, Dengizik and Ernak, objected to the idea of their brother being the sole ruler. They claimed kingship over smaller subject tribes. In 454 CE, Ardaric led his Gepid and Ostrogothic forces against Attila’s son Ellak and his Hunnish army. The Battle of Nedao was a bloody but decisive victory for Ardaric, in which Ellak was killed.

Jordanes' account of the Battle of Nedao

When Ardaric, king of the Gepidae, learned this [about the strife between Attila's sons], he became enraged because so many nations were being treated like slaves of the basest condition, and was the first to rise against the sons of Attila. Good fortune attended him, and he effaced the disgrace of servitude that rested upon him. For by his revolt he freed not only his own tribe, but all the others who were equally oppressed; since all readily strive for that which is sought for the general advantage. They took up arms against the destruction that menaced all and joined battle with the Huns in Pannonia, near a river called Nedao.

There an encounter took place between the various nations Attila had held under his sway. Kingdoms with their peoples were divided, and out of one body were made many members not responding to a common impulse. Being deprived of their head, they madly strove against each other. They never found their equals ranged against them without harming each other by wounds mutually given. And so the bravest nations tore themselves to pieces. For then, I think, must have occurred a most remarkable spectacle, where one might see the Goths fighting with pikes, the Gepidae raging with the sword, the Rugi breaking off the spears in their own wounds, the Suavi fighting on foot, the Huns with bows, the Alani drawing up a battle-line of heavy-armed and the Heruli of light-armed warriors.

The cause of Ardaric, king of the Gepidae, was fortunate for the various nations who were unwillingly subject to the rule of the Huns, for it raised their long downcast spirits to the glad hope of freedom... Finally, after many bitter conflicts, victory fell unexpectedly to the Gepidae. For the sword and conspiracy of Ardaric destroyed almost thirty thousand men, Huns as well as those of the other nations who brought them aid.

Aftermath of the battle

"But the Gepidae by their own might won for themselves the territory of the Huns and ruled as victors over the extent of all Dacia, demanding of the Roman Empire nothing more than peace and an annual gift as a pledge of their friendly alliance. This the Emperor freely granted at the time, and to this day that race receives its customary gifts from the Roman Emperor."

Death

Nothing is known about Ardaric after the battle of the Nedao. He may have died shortly afterwards.

Analysis

Ardaric’s most immediate achievement was the establishment of his people in Dacia. His defeat of the Huns at the River Nedao not only banished and dispersed the Huns, but cut the thread that strung the Eastern European tribes together. With the divisions between these formerly federated tribes, the Eastern Roman Empire had less fear of barbarian invasion. While the Western Roman Empire lay in ruins after 476 CE, the Eastern Roman Empire was allowed to continue on for almost one thousand years. This is due in great part to Ardaric.

Ardaric (died around 460) was the most renowned king of the Gepids.

He was one of the most trusted adherents of Attila the Hun, who "prized him above all the other chieftains" and was "famed for his loyalty and wisdom".

After Attila's death, Ardaric led the rebellion against Attila's sons and routed them in the Battle of Nedao, thus ending the Huns's supremacy in Eastern Europe.

According to Jordanes' account:

When Ardaric, king of the Gepidae, learned this [about the strife between Attila's sons], he became enraged because so many nations were being treated like slaves of the basest condition, and was the first to rise against the sons of Attila. Good fortune attended him, and he effaced the disgrace of servitude that rested upon him. For by his revolt he freed not only his own tribe, but all the others who were equally oppressed; since all readily strive for that which is sought for the general advantage. They took up arms against the destruction that menaced all and joined battle with the Huns in Pannonia, near a river called Nedao.

There an encounter took place between the various nations Attila had held under his sway. Kingdoms with their peoples were divided, and out of one body were made many members not responding to a common impulse. Being deprived of their head, they madly strove against each other. They never found their equals ranged against them without harming each other by wounds mutually given. And so the bravest nations tore themselves to pieces. For then, I think, must have occurred a most remarkable spectacle, where one might see the Goths fighting with pikes, the Gepidae raging with the sword, the Rugi breaking off the spears in their own wounds, the Suavi fighting on foot, the Huns with bows, the Alani drawing up a battle-line of heavy-armed and the Heruli of light-armed warriors.

The cause of Ardaric, king of the Gepidae, was fortunate for the various nations who were unwillingly subject to the rule of the Huns, for it raised their long downcast spirits to the glad hope of freedom... Finally, after many bitter conflicts, victory fell unexpectedly to the Gepidae. For the sword and conspiracy of Ardaric destroyed almost thirty thousand men, Huns as well as those of the other nations who brought them aid.

Jordanes' Origin and Deeds of the Goths

Amid them was conspicuous the army of the Ostrogoths under the leadership of the brothers Valamir, Thiudimer and Vidimer, nobler even than the king they served, for the might of the family of the Amali rendered them glorious. The renowned king of the Gepidae, Ardaric, was there also with a countless host, and because of his great loyalty to Attila, he shared his plans. For Attila, comparing them in his wisdom, prized him and Valamir, king of the Ostrogoths, above all the other chieftains. Valamir was a good keeper of secrets, bland of speech and skilled in wiles, and Ardaric, as we have said, was famed for his loyalty and wisdom. (Jordanes, XXXVIII)

After they had fulfilled these rites, a contest for the highest place arose among Attila's successors,--for the minds of young men are wont to be inflamed by ambition for power,--and in their rash eagerness to rule they all alike destroyed his empire. Thus kingdoms are often weighed down by a superfluity rather than by a lack of successors. For the sons of Attila, who through the license of his lust formed almost a people of themselves, were clamoring that the nations should be divided among them equally and that warlike kings with their peoples should be apportioned to them by lot like a family estate. When Ardaric, king of the Gepidae, learned this, he became enraged because so many nations were being treated like slaves of the basest condition, and was the first to rise against the sons of Attila. Good fortune attended him, and he effaced the disgrace of servitude that rested upon him. For by his revolt he freed not only his own tribe, but all the others who were equally oppressed; since all readily strive for that which is sought for the general advantage. They took up arms against the destruction that menaced all and joined battle with the Huns in Pannonia, near a river called Nedao. There an encounter took place between the various nations Attila had held under his sway. Kingdoms with their peoples were divided, and out of one body were made many members not responding to a common impulse. Being deprived of their head, they madly strove against each other. They never found their equals ranged against them without harming each other by wounds mutually given. And so the bravest nations tore themselves to pieces. For then, I think, must have occurred a most remarkable spectacle, where one might see the Goths fighting with pikes, the Gepidae raging with the sword, the Rugi breaking off the spears in their own wounds, the Suavi fighting on foot, the Huns with bows, the Alani drawing up a battle-line of heavy-armed and the Heruli of light-armed warriors.

     

Finally, after many bitter conflicts, victory fell unexpectedly to the Gepidae. For the sword and conspiracy of Ardaric destroyed almost thirty thousand men, Huns as well as those of the other nations who brought them aid. In this battle fell Ellac, the elder son of Attila, whom his father is said to have loved so much more than all the rest that he preferred him to any child or even to all the children of his kingdom. But fortune was not in accord with his father's wish. For after slaying many of the foe, it appears that he met his death so bravely that, if his father had lived, he would have rejoiced at his glorious end. When Ellac was slain, his remaining brothers were put to flight near the shore of the Sea of Pontus, where we have said the Goths first settled. Thus did the Huns give way, a race to which men thought the whole world must yield. So baneful a thing is division, that they who used to inspire terror when their strength was united, were overthrown separately. The cause of Ardaric, king of the Gepidae, was fortunate for the various nations who were unwillingly subject to the rule of the Huns, for it raised their long downcast spirits to the glad hope of freedom. Many sent ambassadors to the Roman territory, where they were most graciously received by Marcian, who was then emperor, and took the abodes allotted them to dwell in. But the Gepidae by their own might won for themselves the territory of the Huns and ruled as victors over the extent of all Dacia, demanding of the Roman Empire nothing more than peace and an annual gift as a pledge of their friendly alliance. This the Emperor freely granted at the time, and to this day that race receives its customary gifts from the Roman Emperor. (Jordanes, L)


Ardaric

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ardaric (died around 460) was the most renowned king of the Gepids.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ardaric


Príncipe gépido. Aliado de Atila I (447-451) en su marcha desde Transilvania hacia el oeste, lidera la revuelta contra los hunos desde 455.

Gépidos

De Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

Pueblo germano procedente del bajo Vístula, que se asentó en Transilvania.

Fueron dominados por los hunos, combatieron junto a Atila en la batalla de los Campos Cataláunicos.

Tras la muerte de Atila, los gépidos al mando de su rey Ardarico se rebelaron contra los hunos y se aliaron a los ostrogodos y hérulos para derrotar a los hijos de Atila a orillas del río Nedao.

En el año 565 estalló la guerra entre lombardos y gépidos, que ante la superioridad de los lombardos buscaron ayuda del emperador Justino II prometiendo entregar a cambio la ciudad de Sirmio.

Los lombardos fueron derrotados y el rey gépido Cunimundo no cumplió su promesa y retuvo Sirmio, Los lombardos entonces se aliaron a los ávaros y derrotaron totalmente a los gépidos, matando a su rey y repartiéndose todos sus territorios con los ávaros.