AIBABIN A.I. Crimean Gothia in the First Half of the 13th Century


Aleksandr I. Aibabin

Doctor of Sciences (History), Professor, Chief Researcher,

Institute of Archaeology of Crimea of the Russian Academy of Sciences,

Prosp. Akademika V.I. Vernadskogo, 2, 295007 Simferopol, Russian Federation

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Abstract. Introduction. The toponym Gothia in written sources from the 8th century was used to designate the territory of the Mountain Crimea inhabited by the Alans and the Goths between Inkerman and the north-eastern suburb of Alushta. The same region was called the Klimata of Cherson and the Klimata of Gothia.

Methods. Fragmentary information about Gothia is contained in the “Synopsis of St. Eugenios” compiled by John Lazaropoulos until 1364 and in the “Alanian Epistle” by the bishop Theodore. These works describe the same period in the history of the Gothic Klimata, 1223–1227 and 1223, respectively.

Analysis. The considered evidence confirms the entry of Cherson and its subordinate Klimata of Gothia into the empire of Trebizond, at least in the first half of the 13th century. It is methodically incorrect to judge the situation in the Klimata in the first half of the 13th century from the descriptions contained in later sources of what happened in the 14th–15th centuries. The “Epistle” says about the flight of bishop Theodore to an Alanian village neighboring to Cherson. Supporters of identifying the village with the Qırq-Yer fortress remote from the city on the Chufut-Kale plateau ignore geographical and historical realities.

Results. There is no evidence of the existence of single-ethnic Gothic and Alanian regions in the mountains and on the southern coast in written sources. In Sudak, Guillaume de Rubrouck was talked about speakers of Teutonic and other languages in the mountains of Crimea. Historian’s allegations about the division of Gothia into two principalities are disproved by the results of archaeological excavations in the territory of Klimata of Gothia. The toponym Klimata is not mentioned in the descriptions of events that occurred after the middle 13th century. However, archaeological excavations of cities on the Inner Ridge revealed the preservation of active and diverse life activities of the population of the region until the end of the 13th century. Probably, the history of the administrative formation of the Klimata of Gothia was interrupted in 1298/99, when Nogai’s troops destroyed Cherson, cities on the Eski-Kermen plateau, Bakla and others.

Key words: Crimea, Gothia, Alans, Klimata, Cherson, empire of Trebizond, bishop Theodore, Synopsis, Qırq-Yer.

Citation. Aibabin A.I. Crimean Gothia in the First Half of the 13th Century. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2020, vol. 25, no. 6, pp. 56-68. (in Russian). DOI:

Лицензия Creative Commons

Crimean Gothia in the First Half of the 13th Century by Aibabin A.I. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Download this file (1_Aibabin.pmd.pdf) 1_Aibabin.pmd.pdf