The Visigoths were the western tribe of the Goths (a Germanic people) who settled west of the Black Sea sometime in the 3rd century CE. According to the scholar Herwig Wolfram, the Roman writer Cassiodorus (c. 485-585 CE) coined the term Visigothi to mean 'Western Goths' as he understood the term Ostrogothi to mean 'Eastern Goths'. Cassiodorus was simply trying to coin a name to differentiate the two extant tribes of the Gothic people in his time who clearly differed from each other; these tribes did not originally refer to themselves by these names. The Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus (4th century CE) refers to the Visigoths as the Tervingi (also given as Thervingi), which may have been their original name. The designation Visigothi seems to have appealed to the Visigoths themselves, however, and in time they came to apply it to themselves.

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  • 238 CE
    First Gothic invasion of Rome.
  • 251 CE
    Visigoth king Cniva defeats Roman emperor Decius at the Battle of Abritus.
  • 257 CE
    Visigoths attack Trapezus.
  • 286 CE
    Theodosius I settles Visigoths in Phrygia.
  • 376 CE
    The Visigoths are fleeing the Huns, entering the Eastern Roman Empire.
  • 378 CE
    Fritigern defeats Roman emperor Valens at the Battle of Adrianople.
  • 395 CE
    Argos is definitively destroyed by the Visigoth invasion.
  • 395 CE
    Eleusis is detroyed in the Visigoth invasion.
  • 396 CE
    Sparta is sacked by the Visigoths led by Alaric.
  • c. 396 CE
    Corinth burned by the Visigoths under Alaric.
  • 408 CE
    Alaric I the Visigoth besieges Rome. As ransom, Rome pays 5,000 pounds of gold, 30,000 pounds of silver, 4,000 silken tunics, 3,000 hides dyed scarlet, and 3,000 pounds of pepper.
  • 410 CE
    Alaric of the Visigoths sacks Rome.
  • 418 CE
    Visigoths settle in Aquitaine.
  • 451 CE
    Aetius defeats Attila of the Huns at the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields, together with Rome's allies.
  • 462 CE
    Visigoths expand into Spain.
  • 507 CE
    Clovis defeats the Visigoths and drives them into the Iberian peninsula.
  • 535 CE - 554 CE
    The Gothic War launched by Emperor Justinian I, aimed at reconquering Italy from the Goths.
  • 536 CE - 562 CE
    The Byzantine Empire conquers Italy.
  • 571 CE
    Visigoths conquer Cordoba.
  • 642 CE - 643 CE
    Visigothic Law Code enacted in Spain.