Though written by a man who admits himself to be "unlearned," the Origin and Deeds of the Goths is a important as the earliest surviving work of a Gothic historian. Jordanes wrote in the mid-6th century and was believed to be a bishop of Gothic ethnicity residing in Constantinople--possibly an associate of Pope Vigilius. His work recounts the history of the Goths from their legendary origins in Scandinavia, to their invasion of Scythia and their mythical connections to the Amazons. While much of Jordanes's early history is fabulous, of much greater value is his chronicling of the movements and activities of the Gothic nations in the 4th through 6th centuries. Jordanes cut-and-pasted his history together based on the works of other more eminent ancient scholars, many of which are now lost. These include the works of Ablabius, the Gothic history of Cassiodorus, descriptions of the Huns by Priscus, and several others.
Jordanes wrote from a nakedly pro-Goth viewpoint, spending a great deal more time on the glory years of the 5th century when the Gothic nations were plundering and conquering the western Roman Empire, and considerably less on the subsequent downfall of the Ostrogoths at the hands of Justinian's armies during his own time. Of particular interest are the long passages detailing the ultimately triumphant Romano-Gothic struggle with the armies of Attila the Hun.
This new reprint has been digitally scanned from the 1915 edition and amended to include 17 corrections from an errata sheet that was supplied after the original publication. The book includes a thorough introduction and commentary by Charles Mierow.