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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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