PEOPLE OF THE ANCIENT WORLD: Cniva (King of th…

PEOPLE OF THE ANCIENT WORLD: Cniva (King of the Goths) 

CNIVA (also given as Kniva, c. 250 CE to possibly 270 CE) was the king of the Goths who defeated Emperor Decius (249-251 CE) at the Battle of Abritus in 251 CE. Little is known of him other than his campaign in 251 CE, in which he successfully took Philipopolis, killing over 100,000 Roman citizens and enslaving survivors, lay siege to the city of Nicopolis, and defeated the Romans under Decius, killing both the emperor and his son.

Cniva may have learned strategic skills and tactics in the Roman army, as many Goth warriors were enlisted or served as mercenaries, or could have simply had a natural talent for warfare. Either way, he proved a formidable adversary to Rome and defeated their forces so completely that, after the death of Decius, the Romans had no choice but to allow him to safely depart their territory with all the booty and prisoners he had taken from Philipopolis.

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