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Friday, 10 June 2011 14:06


The battle for Gotania

Legend has it that the ancestors of the Goths arrived in Gothiscandza centuries ago. Led by their king Berig, who ruled the Gothic Amali tribe from mythical Scandza, the Goths disembarked from their three ships at the mouth of the Viskla (Vistula) to find shelter and create a new homeland. Unfortunately, several generations later when king Filimer, son of Gadarig, ruled Gothiscandza, a violent, bloody conflict broke out. As a result, some Goths left the recently conquered lands and set off for Oium to give rise to another powerful barbaric kingdom. Some of them, however, secretly went to explore the lands in the far south. They sent their scouts to choose the best place for a new settlement. Right behind them another wave of military and cultural expansion set off. The members of the expedition reached unusually fertile land between two rivers. And here, halfway between the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, they set up a new country called Gotania. However, some of their brothers set off for a new region called Oium to build their kingdom in the neighbourhood of the ancient world...

...and here, part of the real history of the migration of the Goths to the Black Sea comes to an end... but history could have taken a different course...

Very quickly Gotania became a political and economic power, and the newly-built trading posts which acted as go-betweens in the trade of goods from the ancient world, made a fortune. Merchants, craftsmen and warriors looking for an easy profit arrived in Gotania. Closely guarded technologies and luxury goods stolen from the Mediterranean world were also brought here. The craving for wealth drove a few of them to forgery, grave robbing and even to murder of their brothers; however, it happened very rarely. Gotania became the place where Gothic, Vandal, Sarmatian and Roman elements were permanently linked. The land was also reached by the Sarmatians and Dacians. Some of the Germanic descendants of king Berig, in turn, decided to take part in wars fought on the so-called Roman Limes.

The increasing importance of the land situated far north of the border of Imperium Romanum started worrying Roman emperors. Experience of bloody wars with the Germanic tribes under the command of Ariovist, Marbod or Arminius increased their vigilance. The willingness to take over both the local riches and control over the Gothic trade sealed a unique decision by Rome. On the pretext of an annual business expedition three Roman units set off from the Roman Empire to the Gothic land. Their task was, using deceit and force, to occupy the land situated to the north of the Carpathians, gain control over the local barbarians and create a new province called ‘Gotania Inferior’, which would be totally dependent on the empire. However, the barbaric tribes were alert.

The end of this story will be told during the three-day Festival of Ancient Culture Gotania 2011, which will take place between July 29th and 31st in the Hrubieszów region, or today’s Gotania.

Not only will Gotania be visited by the Dacians armed with long hooked swords, the Vandals burning their fallen warriors with their weaponry at the funeral pile, and gifted Celts who will delight us with their craft, but also by many others ready, together with the Goths who have lived here for centuries, to face the threat of losing control over the land abundant in great riches.

Facing them will be Roman legionnaires from the First Thracian Cohort, Legio I Italica, Legio XIII Gemina (Thirteenth Twin Legion), Legio XIIII Gemina (Fourteenth Twin Legion) and the auxiliaries recruited among the conquered tribes. You will also have a chance to see gladiators showing their paces. The ancient fair will be filled with first-class Roman products, and one will have a chance to meet craftsmen, merchants as well as... slave hunters. Two large, historical camps will be built in which both parties to the conflict will be guarding their business and riches. However, peaceful ending of the conflict is not possible, and the war will not end after one battle.

Without a doubt, the battles will result in fatalities and you will have a chance to see unique funeral rituals. Each of the barbaric tribes will follow their own rules of treating the deceased, even though they live and fight in the same Gothic army.

The International Festival of Ancient Culture Gotania 2011 is the biggest ancient event organized in Poland this year. The festival will be based on the experience of archaeological feasts organised cyclically in Masłomęcz, near Hrubieszów, where archaeological research has been carried out for 25 years. The popularization of Hrubieszów archaeology initiated by Professor Andrzej Kokowski led to the creation of supraregional brand ‘Gotania’, and a series of events promoting the Lublin region was organized. A lot of reconstruction groups, craftsmen and artists from all over Poland and foreign countries were invited to participate in the festival. Numerous shows, vivid re-enactments of battles, gladiatorial combat, traditional crafts, pottery workshops, ancient cuisine and excellent music will be on offer. We hope it will give rise to a series of international archaeological events.

Translated by Elżbieta Zabłocka



- Hellas et Roma

- Terra Ferrata

- GRH Barbari

- Ludus Lupus - szkoła gladiatorów

- Barbaricum

- Stowarzyszenie "ProAntica" - Legio XIIII GMV

- Celtica

- Terra Dacica Aeterna

- Legio I Italica and I Cohors Thracum

- Teatr Ognia 'Draco'

Music bands:

- Żywiołak

- Shannon

- Percival

Participants and organizers:

- Masłomęckie Stowarzyszenie "Wioska Gotów"

("Goth's Village" Association)

The Festival of Ancient Culture – Gotania 2011 is the continuation of the so-called archaeological feasts organized in Masłomęcz for many years.

This year, the range of the event is wider, both in terms of time and territory. The festival will take place in the last weekend of July in Hrubieszów and Masłomęcz. Below, you will find the programme of the festival, yet it may alter at short notice.

Admission to all events is free

Programme of the Festival:


July 29th (Friday)

Venue: Hrubieszów – town centre: the vicinity of Hrubieszowski Dom Kultury (Hrubieszów Community Centre) and Muzeum im. ks. Stanisława Staszica (the Reverend Stanisław Staszic Museum)

5 p.m. – 6 p.m. – preparation for the opening parade

6 p.m. - Official Opening Ceremony of the International Festival of Ancient Culture – Gotania 2011

6.15 p.m. ceremonial parade of the participants of the festival: Polish and foreign reconstruction groups presenting costumes, customs, traditions, crafts and weaponry of barbaric tribes and Roman legionnaires; presentation of the groups

7.00 p.m - official address of the organizers, handing over the symbol of the authority over Gotania to the senior of the Goths, presentation of the programme

7.30 p.m. - Gladiatoral combats – Ludus Lupus and Hellas et Roma Association

8.00 p.m. – The end of the ceremony. Back to historical camp in Maslomecz near Hrubieszow. Closed meeting only for re-enactors.

July 30th (Saturday)


Venue: Masłomęcz (the Hrubieszów Commune, in between Hrubieszów and Mircze)

12 a.m. – 8 p.m. - Historical Camp open to visitors

ancient market, presentation of crafts, gladiatorial combat, slave market, lectures, fights and battles, workshops: potters, blacksmiths, goldsmiths, weavers; wood tar collection, ancient cuisine tasting, horse-riding show, games for children (archery),  barbarian rituals, folk bands and much more…

2.30 p.m. – 3 p.m.Barbarian attacks

3.00 p.m. - 3.30 p.m. – Presentation of barbarian burial on funeral pyre (Vandali)

3.30 p.m. – 4.00 p.m. – Presentation of Roman Legionnaires (Legio XIIII GMV)

4.00 p.m. - 4.30 p.m. - A performance of the Legio I Italica and Prima Cohors Thracum -  battle between Roman and Thracian soldiers

5.00 p.m. preparations for the great battle between the allied barbaric tribes and Roman legionnaires for the rule over Gotania

5.30 p.m.Great battle, parades.

7.00 p.m.Concerts: Shannon and Żywiołak

July 31st (Sunday)

Venue: Hrubieszów – HOSiR (Hrubieszów Sport and Recreation Centre),

1.00 p.m. – 3.00 p.m. Conference ‘Od zasobów historycznych do zrównoważonej gospodarki turystycznej i do nowych technologii’ (‘From historical resources to the well-balanced tourist economy and new technologies’) – HDK (Hrubieszów Community Centre)

2.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m. Preparation for the great battle – practising in Maslomecz - open for visitors

4.30 p.m. – Arrival of all participants at the centre of Hrubieszow.

5.00 p.m. – 6.00 p.m. – Short parade of all re-enactors, preparation for battle

6.00 p.m.Great final battle for Gotania

7.00 p.m. – Concert: Percival

8.00 p.m. – 8.30 p.m. – Festival closing ceremony, dances with fire (Fire Theatre Draco)




Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 July 2011 18:15

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