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Western division of the Goths. Separated from the Ostrogoths (Eastern Goths) in the 4th century AD, the Visigoths were driven from Dacia by the Huns (376) and crossed the Danube into the Roman empire. Oppressed by Roman taxation, they revolted and plundered the Balkan provinces, defeating Valens and his army at the Battle of Adrianople (378). Theodosius I settled them in Moesia (382) to defend the frontier. Converted to Arian Christianity, they left Moesia in 395 under Alaric and invaded Greece and Italy, sacking Rome (410) and settling in southern Gaul and Spain (415). Recalled from Spain by Constantius III, they lost their first king, Theodoric I, in a battle against Attila (451). They were federates of Rome until King Euric declared independence (475). He extended their kingdom from the Loire to the Pyrenees and the lower Rhône, including most of Spain. In 507 they were defeated by the Franks under Clovis; retaining only Septimania (a strip from the Pyrenees to the Rhône), they held it and much of Spain until defeated by the Muslims in 711.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Visigoth, visit Britannica.com.