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(East Goths), division of the Goths, one of the most important groups of the Germans. According to their own unproven tradition, the ancestors of the Goths were the Gotar of S Sweden. By the 3d cent. A.D., the Goths settled in the region N of the Black Sea.
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(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.
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eastern Germanic tribes linguistically related to the northern Germanic tribes. At the beginning of the first millennium A.D ., the Goths lived on the southern shores of the Baltic Sea and along the lower Vistula. Moving southeast in the late second century, they reached the northern Black Sea region in the first half of the third century.
The development of the Gothic tribes was influenced by the more highly cultured Scythian and Sarmatian tribes and the cities of the northern and western Black Sea regions, which were seized by the Goths in around 260. The Goths and other tribes allied with them mounted a devastating violation of the borders of the Roman Empire, which was forced to cede Dacia to them. In the fourth century the Goths accepted Christianity in the form of Arianism, as advocated by Ulfilas. The Goths were divided into the Ostrogoths (or East Goths, who lived in the lower reaches of the Dnieper) and the Visigoths (or West Goths, who inhabited the lower reaches of the Dnestr), who were finally separated after the Huns destroyed the tribal alliance led by the Ostrogoth king Er-manaric in 375.