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Fritigern (frĭtˈĭgûrn) [key], 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. Fleeing the invading Huns, Fritigern was given permission (376) by Valens to cross the Danube and enter Roman territory. After being badly mistreated, the Goths rebelled and in 378 Fritigern defeated and killed Valens at the battle of Adrianople. The Goths subsequently ravaged the Balkan Peninsula until the Roman general Theodosius (later Theodosius I) restored peace. Fritigern is also known as Fridigern.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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