Ermanaric


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Ermanaric

(ûrmăn`ərĭk), d. c.375, king of the Ostrogoths. He extended his power over other barbarian tribes and thus built up in eastern Europe an empire stretching from the Dneister River north to the Don and east to the headwaters of the Volga. He committed suicide as his empire was being overrun by the Huns. He was a legendary figure in medieval European literature, where his name appears variously as Ermenrichus and Hermeneric; in old Norse literature he was known as Jörmunrekkr.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ermanaric

 

(also Hermanarle). Died 375. King of the Ostrogoths; member of the Amal family.

Ermanaric was the leader of a vast tribal confederation, headed by the Ostrogoths, that formed in the second half of the fourth century in the region north of the Black Sea. Ermanaric committed suicide in 375 after suffering a defeat by the Huns.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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(5) The main allusion to Ermanaric comes in a twenty-line passage (88-108) that directly precedes this list of heroes.
As one can tell from the second simplex in her name, the Ealhhild of Widsith is almost certainly this poet's equivalent to the Sunilda of the Latin history of Jordanes and the Svanhildr of Scandinavian tradition, the hapless woman whom Ermanaric, the Iormunrekr of Norse sources, punishes for her supposed treachery or infidelity by having her trampled to death by horses.(58) Chambers reasonably concludes that it is with reference to this brutal act, which in the Scandinavian branch of the story involves breach of his marital vows, that the Eormanric of Widsith is called a wrap waerloga.(59) Unlike the more civilized Angles, the Goths are capable of terrifying violence.
By telling of an Anglian king, Eadwine, whose daughter and son are destined for greatness in northern and southern Europe, respectively, the Widsith poet projects ancestors of the English into each of two crucial events of late antiquity: the rise and fall of Ermanaric's Gothic empire, and the eventual fall of Rome itself.
Famous rulers from Alexander the Great to Eormanric/ Ermanaric and AElfwine/Alboin share the same space, and they all seem to rub shoulders with the wandering bard Widsith.
Brady, "The Eormanric of the Widsi??," University of California Publications in English, 3 (1937): 225-36, and The Legends of Ermanaric (U.
Malone, Widsith, 141, makes the alternative suggestion that Ealhhild was already Ermanaric's queen and that there was no wedding journey.