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Athanaric(əthăn`ərĭk), d. 381, Visigothic chieftain. He led the VisigothsVisigoths
(West Goths), division of the Goths, one of the most important groups of Germans. Having settled in the region W of the Black Sea in the 3d cent. A.D., the Goths soon split into two divisions, the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths.
..... Click the link for more information. against Emperor ValensValens
, c.328–378, Roman emperor of the East (364–78). Brother and coregent of Valentinian I, Valens followed in most respects his brother's policies but, unlike him, embraced Arian Christianity (see Arianism).
..... Click the link for more information. and negotiated a favorable peace in 369. A pagan, he persecuted the Christians, and, possibly for that reason, he was involved in a civil war with FritigernFritigern
, d. 380, Visigothic chieftain. An intermittent rival of Athanaric for leadership of the Visigoths, he adopted Arian Christianity (see Arianism) and thus gained the support of Emperor Valens.
..... Click the link for more information. . Defeated by the Huns in 376, he fled to Transylvania and later (381) to Constantinople. There he was received with royal honors by Theodosius I, but he died two weeks later.