Thurisind, King of the Gepids

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Thurisind, König der Gepiden

Latin: Turisindus, König der Gepiden
Death: circa 560
Immediate Family:

Father of Turismod of the Gepids and Cunimund, King of the Gepids

Managed by: Alex Moes
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About Thurisind, King of the Gepids

Thurisind (Latin: Turisindus, died c. 560) was king of the Gepids, an East Germanic Gothic people, from c. 548 to 560. He was the penultimate Gepid king, and succeeded King Elemund by staging a coup d'état and forcing the king's son into exile. Thurisind's kingdom, known as Gepidia, was located in Central Europe and had its centre in Sirmium, a former Roman city on the Sava River (now the town of Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia).

His reign was marked by multiple wars with the Lombards, a Germanic people who had arrived in the former Roman province of Pannonia under the leadership of their king, Audoin. Thurisind also had to face the hostility of the Byzantine Empire, which was resentful of the Gepid takeover of Sirmium and anxious to diminish Gepid power in the Pannonian Basin, a plain covering most of modern Hungary and partly including the bordering states. The Byzantines' plans to reduce the Gepids' power took effect when Audoin decisively defeated Thurisind in 551 or 552. The Byzantine Emperor Justinian forced a peace accord on both leaders so that equilibrium in the Pannonian Basin could be sustained.

Thurisind lost his eldest son, Turismod, in the Battle of Asfeld, during which the prince was killed by Alboin, son of Audoin. In about 560, Thurisind died and was succeeded by his remaining son Cunimund, who was killed by Alboin in 567. Cunimund's death marked the end of the Gepid Kingdom and the beginning of the conquest of their territories by the Lombards' allies, the Avars, a nomadic people migrating from the Eurasian Steppe.

Book 1 Chapter 24 History of the Langobards by Paul the Deacon Translation and footnotes by William Foulke

Chapter XXIV When he heard these things from his father, Alboin, taking only forty young men with him, journeyed to Turisind, king of the Gepidae with whom he had before waged war, and intimated the cause in which he had come. And the king, receiving him kindly, invited him to his table and placed him on his right hand where Turismod, his former son had been wont to sit. In the meantime, while the various dishes were made ready, Turisind, reflecting that his son had sat there only a little while before, and recalling to mind the death of his child and beholding his slayer present and sitting in his place, drawing deep sighs, could not contain himself, but at last his grief broke forth in utterance. "This place," he says, " is dear to me, but the person who sits in it is grievous enough to my sight." Then another son of the king who was present, aroused by his father's speech, began to provoke the Langobards with insults declaring (because they wore white bandages from their calves down) that they were like mares with white feet up to the legs, saying: " The mares that you take after have white fetlocks." Then one of the Langobards thus answered these things: " Go to the field of Asfeld and there you can find by experience beyond a doubt how stoutly those you call mares succeed in kicking; there the bones of your brother are scattered in the midst of the meadows like those of a vile beast." When they heard these things, the Gepidae, unable to bear the tumult of their passions, are violently stirred in anger and strive to avenge the open insult. The Langobards on the other side, ready for the fray, all lay their hands on the hilts of their swords. The king leaping forth from the table thrust himself into their midst and restrained his people from anger and strife, threatening first to punish him who first engaged in fight, saying that it is a victory not pleasing to God when any one kills his guest in his own house. Thus at last the quarrel having been allayed, they now finished the banquet with joyful spirits. And Turisind, taking up the arms of Turismod his son, delivered them to Alboin and sent him back in peace and safety to his father's kingdom. Alboin having returned to his father, was made from that time his table companion. And when he joyfully partook with his father of the royal delicacies, he related in order all the things which had happened to him among the Gepidae in the palace of Turisind. Those who were present were astonished and applauded the boldness of Alboin nor did they less extol in their praises the most honorable behavior of Turisind.