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Fritigern (played by Steve Waddington)

Well-built and extremely tall, these Nordic warriors wield huge axes to terrify the enemy.

Tribe: Goths
Region: Eastern Europe

The Goth peoples originated in Germania, but by the 4th century inhabited Scythia (modern Romania). They were culturally diverse, sharing some traits with the Huns and other eastern peoples.

Fritigern’s tribe were recent converts to Christianity, but they were enemies of Rome and frequently clashed with imperial armies and raided the fringes of the empire. But when the Hun menace put their survival at risk, Fritigern asked his fellow Christian, the Roman emperor Valens, to grant his people asylum within the empire and in exchange promised to provide soldiers to fight in the Roman army. Valens allowed Fritigern’s Goths to cross the Danube and settle in Thrace.

His general, Lupicinus, was tasked with disarming the Goths and feeding them. But Lupicinus was corrupt and cruel, and happy to profit from the Goths’ misfortune by selling them meagre rations at inflated prices. The Goths became restless and angry. Lupicinus, alarmed by the angry masses, invited their leaders, including Fritigern, to feast at the Roman camp. Once inside, the bodyguards of the Goth leaders were slaughtered. The capture of the chieftains drove the Goths wild with fury. Fritigern negotiated his own release by vowing to calm the Gothic horde. But instead he plotted his revenge.