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The mere mention of the Goths struck terror into the inhabitants of the Roman Empire. Migrate across thousands of miles and overwhelm your enemies with floods of infantry numerous as the grains of sand on a beach. Drive a once-great empire into anarchy, distribute plunder to your warbands, and establish your own kingdom where others once stood. Your Huskarls, pride of any chieftain or king, fear neither barbed arrow nor spear.

The Goths are a Central European civilization in Age of Empires II. They are based on the medieval Germanic Gothic tribes and kingdoms, primarily the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths. They focus on infantry.


Unique unit[]

HuskarlIcon-DE Huskarl: Archer-resistant infantry unit.

Unique technologies[]

Civilization bonuses[]

Team bonus[]

Barracks work 20% faster.


The Goths are one of the best infantry civilizations. Their main advantages are a faster creation speed and massive discount, which scales through the Ages. This grants them an effective infantry early on, as well as great infantry in the late game. Their unique unit, the Huskarl, is a mobile high-pierce armor anti-archer infantry unit with low base melee armor, reversing the traditional rock-papers-scissors concept that infantry has with archers and cavalry. It is arguably the best anti-archer unit in the entire game, despite being one of the most expensive infantry units by base costs. They are also boosted by Anarchy, which allows them to be created from Barracks. Combined with Perfusion, their late-game infantry is easily replenished while being effective.

The Goths also have an effective early-game economy as their hunters have extra carry capacity, extra anti-animal attack, and drop off extra food. They can also research Loom instantly, which gives a margin of error in the Dark Age while hunting, while letting them have one Villager advantage when other civilizations have to research Loom. The Gothic technology tree provides their infantry the bare minimum support in the forms of Hand Cannoneers to counter stronger infantry, Bombard Cannons to counter siege, and Skirmishers (to counter enemy Hand Cannoneers).

The Goths have several notable weak points, some of which impact their infantry. The lack of Gambesons and Plate Mail Armor means that their infantry on their own are statistically weak. Additionally, while their infantry are a notorious deathball, civilizations with melee counters to infantry (like the Teutonic Knight and Cataphract), gunpowder, or Siege Onagers can prove to be tough opponents.

Outside of their infantry, the Goths have limited options. The Goths have decent archers in the early game, though the lack of Arbalester and Thumb Ring upgrades makes it questionable past the Castle Age. However, they can fully upgrade their Hand Cannoneers and have solid Skirmishers. The cavalry branch is overall mediocre, featuring Bloodlines and Hussars, but lacking Plate Barding Armor and Paladins. This makes their cavalry usable in the Castle Age, and Hussars as an adequate option when needed. They have infamously poor defenses, lacking both Stone Walls and Guard Towers. The Siege Workshop is lackluster without Siege Rams, Siege Onagers, or Siege Engineers. Their navy is fairly usable, but Dry Dock is missing, so their ships lack speed. The Gothic Monks are way below average, missing four out of ten technologies (including the very important Redemption and Block Printing technologies).

The Goths are a straightforward and strong civilization to play. However, their options are limited and restricted.


AoE2-DLCicon-1 The Conquerors[]

  • Anarchy introduced.
  • Perfusion introduced.
  • Huskarls received numerous buffs:
    • Non-Elite Huskarls train much faster (26 → 16 seconds).
    • (Elite) Huskarls gain +2 base pierce armor (4 (6) → 6 (8)).
    • (Elite) Huskarls anti-archer attack increased (+3 (+4) → +6 (+10)).
    • Huskarls move faster (0.9 → 1.05).
  • Hunters' carry capacity increased (35 (standard) → 50).
  • Boars are given their separate armor class (previously shared it with siege weapons). This means that Villagers no longer deal extra damage to siege weapons.
  • With patch 1.0b, infantry discount increased (10% (Feudal Age)/15% (Castle Age)/25% (Imperial Age) → 35% (Feudal Age - Imperial Age)).

AoE2-DLCicon-2 The Forgotten[]

AoE2-DLCicon-3 The African Kingdoms[]

AoEIIDE icon Definitive Edition[]

  • With update 35584, infantry discount applies in the Dark Age.
  • With update 36202:
    • The civilization bonus affecting the cost of infantry units has now been staggered per Age (35% (all) → 20% (Dark Age)/25% (Feudal Age)/30% (Castle Age)/35% (Imperial Age)).
    • They no longer have access to the Arson technology. Instead, their civilization bonus boosting infantry attack vs. buildings now increments by +1 attack per Age (starting in the Feudal Age).
  • With update 36906, they get free Loom as a civilization bonus.
  • With update 42848, Loom is no longer free or automatic, but it can be researched instantly.

AoE2Icon-DynastiesIndia Dynasties of India[]

  • With update 81058, they gain a new civilization bonus: food from hunt lasts 20% longer.

AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Return of Rome[]

Campaign appearances[]

The Goths have a campaign devoted to their civilization: Alaric. They are also playable in the Gaiseric scenario from Victors and Vanquished.

They are playable as the second player in the Co-op version of the Alaric campaign in all except the first scenario. They are also playable as Ostrogoths in the fifth scenario of the co-op version of the Attila the Hun campaign.

Originally, they featured in various campaigns representing different unrelated peoples, particularly Slavs. After the introduction of the Slavs, the Goths have served to primarily represent Germanic peoples of the Migration Period and Early Medieval Period, like the Langobards and the Saxons.

They appear as allies or enemies in:

Toggle campaign appearance list

CampaignIcon-KhanDE Genghis Khan[]

CampaignIcon-BarbarossaDE Barbarossa[]

CampaignIcon-AttilaDE Attila the Hun[]

Battles of the Conquerors Icon Battles of the Conquerors[]

  • Scn 03 hastings normal Hastings
    • Harold's Raiders - Enemy
    • Harold the Saxon - Enemy
    • Saxon Navy - Enemy

CampaignIcon-AlaricDE Alaric[]

This campaign is played as the Goths.

In the HD Edition
In the Definitive Edition

CampaignIcon-BariDE Bari[]

In the HD Edition
In the Definitive Edition

Battles of the Forgotten Icon Battles of the Forgotten[]

  • Scn 11 york normal York
    • Wessex - Enemy

CampaignIcon-TariqIbnZiyadDE Tariq ibn Ziyad[]

VictorsAndVanquished Campaign Icon Victors and Vanquished[]

CampaignIcon-TheArtOfWar The Art of War[]

Barbarossa Brawl[]

  • Austria - Enemy

In-game dialogue language[]

In-game, Gothic units speak classical Old or Middle High German, which is also spoken by the Teutons. Historically, however, they spoke their very own Gothic language, which was related to Old Norse as much as to Old High German, and became extinct in the 8th or 9th century. A closely related language called Crimean Gothic possibly survived until the 18th century.


AI player names[]

When playing a random map game against the computer, the player may encounter any of the following Gothic AI characters:[note 1]

  • Athaulf (𐌰𐌸𐌰𐍅𐌿𐌻𐍆𐍃; c. 310-415; reigned 411-415): King of the Visigoths from 411 to his death. Led his people from southern Italy to Gaul and Spain, where he established the Visigothic Kingdom. Successor and brother-in-law of Alaric I.
  • Athanaric (𐌰𐌸𐌰𐌽𐌰𐍂𐌴𐌹𐌺𐍃; Latin: Athanaricus; reigned 369-381): King of several branches of the Thervingian Goths from 369, who were forerunners to the Visigoths.
  • Alaric the Visigoth (𐌰𐌻𐌰𐍂𐌴𐌹𐌺𐍃; c. 370-410; reigned 395-410): First king of the Visigoths, from 395. Invaded the Balkans and Italy, culminating with the Sack of Rome in 410 which is considered a major landmark in the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
  • Ermanaric the Amal (𐌰𐌹𐍂𐌼𐌰𐌽𐌰𐍂𐌴𐌹𐌺𐍃; c.291-376; reigned 296-376): Greuthungian Gothic king ruling a large part of modern Ukraine at the time it was first invaded by the Huns, when he died (by suicide or murdered by other Goths, according to different sources).
  • Fritigern (𐍆𐍂𐌹𐌸𐌿𐌲𐌰𐌹𐍂𐌽𐍃; fl. 370s): Thervingian Gothic chieftain, rival of Athanaric, who first led the Goths across the Danube and decisively defeated the Eastern Roman Empire at the Battle of Adrianople (378), killing Emperor Valens and beginning the chain of events that led to the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
  • General Theodemir (𐌸𐌹𐌿𐌳𐌰𐌼𐌴𐍂𐍃): Probably the Visigothic noble Theodemir or Theudimer (d. 743), ruler of a large fief around the modern Spanish provinces of Murcia and Alicante. After fighting invasions by the Byzantines c. 700 and Arabs in 713, he was allowed by the latter to remain in control of his lands in return for submitting to them. This area was henceforth called the "Kura (Province) of Tudmir". There was also an Ostrogothic ruler named Theodemir (reigned 469-475), who was a vassal king under Attila the Hun and the father of Theodoric the Great.
  • King Euric the Visigoth (𐌰𐌹𐍅𐌰𐍂𐌴𐌹𐌺𐍃; c. 420-484 reigned 466-484): King of the Visigoths from 466. Expanded the Visigothic Kingdom to the Loira and most of Spain, defeated the Britons at the Battle of Déols (c. 469) and the Romans at the Battle of Arles (471), after which he became the first Visigothic king to be recognized as an independent ruler by the Romans.
  • King Leovigild (𐌻𐌹𐌿𐌱𐌰𐌲𐌹𐌻𐌳; c. 519-586; reigned 568-586): King of the Visigoths from 568. Restored the Visigothic monarchy's power after the chaos that followed the defeat at Vouillé and expanded the Visigothic Kingdom to almost all of Iberia, conquering the Suebi, Cantabrian coast, and most Byzantine territories in the south outside of the coast. He also defeated his son and presumed heir Hermenegild in a civil war after the latter converted to Orthodox Christianity.
  • King Wallia (𐍅𐌰𐌻𐌾𐌰; c. 385-418; reigned 415-418): King of the Visigoths from 415. Formed an alliance with the Roman Emperor Honorius which allowed the Visigoths to settle in Aquitaine in exchange for serving the Romans in war, helping them recover Spain from the Vandals and Alans in 416-418.
  • Radagaisus (𐍂𐌰𐌳𐌰𐌲𐌰𐌹𐍃𐌿𐍃; d. 406): Gothic king who led an invasion of Roman Italy in 405, but was defeated and killed by Roman-Vandal general Stilicho.
  • Teias the Ostrogoth (𐍄𐌴𐌹𐌰𐍃; d. 552/553): Last Ostrogothic king in Italy, defeated and killed by the Byzantines at the Battle of Mons Lactarius.
  • Theodoric the Goth (𐌸𐌹𐌿𐌳𐌰𐍂𐌴𐌹𐌺𐍃): Name of three Visigothic kings, one of whom (390-451, reigned 418-451) died fighting Attila at The Catalaunian Fields in 451; his son also named Theodoric II (c.426-466; reigned 453-466) who expanded the Visigothic kingdom into Provence and Spain; and one Ostrogothic king (454-526, reigned 475-526) who conquered Italy and Illyria in the 480s, nicknamed "The Great".
  • Totila the Ostrogoth (𐍄𐍉𐍄𐌹𐌻𐌰; reign: 441-552, d. 552): Penultimate King of the Ostrogoths, reigning from 541. Reversed the tide of the Gothic War of 535-554, recovering almost all territories in Italy before his death at the Battle of Taginae in 552.
  • Sarus the Goth (𐍃𐌰𐍂𐌿𐍃; d. 413): Gothic chieftain and commander for Roman Emperor Honorius, known for his hostility to Alaric I and Ataulf. His brother Sigeric ruled the Visigoths briefly after Ataulf's assassination in 415.

The following AI players are only present before the Definitive Edition:

  • King Alaric II (𐌰𐌻𐌰𐍂𐌴𐌹𐌺𐍃; c. 458/466-507; reigned 484-507): King of the Visigoths from 484. Defeated by the Franks under Clovis at the Battle of Vouillé, killed in the fighting, allegedly by Clovis himself.


The Goths were a Germanic tribe on the Danube River frontier known to the Romans from the first century AD. Pressured and then displaced when the Huns moved west out of Central Asia, the Goths moved west into Europe and over the Danube River to escape the oncoming hordes. After taking part in the fall of Rome, they vied with other barbarians for the leavings of the Western Roman Empire during the Early Middle Ages.

The Goths originated on the island of Gotland in the Baltic, to the best of our knowledge, and split into two groups as they migrated south across Central Europe. The Visigoths, or West Goths, settled in modern Romania during the second century. The Ostrogoths, or East Goths, settled farther to the east on the northwest coast of the Black Sea. In 376 AD the Visigoths were driven from modern Romania by the Huns and moved south across the Danube. Their strength was estimated at 60,000 men, women, and children. They defeated a Roman army from Constantinople, settled briefly south of the Danube, and then pushed into Italy. In 409 they sacked Rome under their king Alaric and then moved north into Gaul. The Romans gave them southwestern Gaul. From there they eventually extended their rule into all of modern Spain and Portugal.

The Ostrogoths broke away from Hunnish rule and followed their cousins into Italy late in the fifth century. They were encouraged to invade by the Eastern emperor, who wanted deposed the barbarian then ruling as viceroy. Under Theodric, king of modern Switzerland and the Balkans already, the Goths entered Italy in 488, completing its conquest in 493.

Theodric's kingdom did not last long following his death in 526. Using a struggle for succession as an excuse, the Byzantines sent an army to Italy in 536 led by their great general Belisarius. The Byzantines hoped to regain Italy and restore the old Roman Empire in the West. The war dragged on, devastating the countryside in conjunction with plague and famine. In 552 the Ostrogoths were finally defeated in Italy. They ceased to exist as a separate group by the late sixth century when northern Italy was invaded by a new group of barbarians called the Lombards.

The Visigoth kingdom lasted somewhat longer. In the late fifth century Clovis of the Franks pushed the Visigoths out of France and over the Pyrenees Mountains. Following the death of Clovis his kingdom fragmented and the Visigoths were temporarily left alone. In 711 a new threat appeared from the south. Islamic armies crossed over from North Africa and destroyed the last Gothic kingdom in four years.

The Goths are remembered for being the first to sack Rome and thereby beginning the final collapse of the ancient world order in Europe. Their admiration for Rome and attempts to preserve it, however, allowed much of the Roman culture to survive. For example, the modern languages of Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and Romania are derived from Latin influenced by later settlers. They are not variations of German, as was the case in England.[1]
—In-game history section

The Goths were a collection of Eastern Germanic tribes that constantly warred with the Roman Empire during its later years, known for bringing Rome to its knees and traveling all over Europe, bringing devastation with them. Following the fall of the Empire, the Goths divided into the Ostrogoths (East Goths) who settled in Italy, and the Visigoths (West Goths[note 2]) who settled in the region that would later become Portugal and Spain.


  • The Goths' civilization icon is a round shield typically used in Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, with an eagle symbol modeled on Ostrogothic and Visigothic fibulae.
  • The Gothic user interface image in the Definitive Edition is a Spangenhelm, an Iranian nomadic (Scythian and Sarmatian) helmet in origin which arrived in Western Europe during their migrations, and by the 6th century became the most widely used helmet among the Germanic peoples such as Goths and Franks. Before the Definitive Edition, the artwork depicted the King's model from the Lewis chessmen, which is odd, as those chess pieces were found in Scotland.
  • The Goths' portrayal as a heavy-infantry-rush civilization Age of Empires II is somewhat historically accurate; however, contemporary authors also recognized the supportive role of Gothic heavy, light, and missile cavalry.
  • The Goths have among the weakest defenses in the game; they lack all tower upgrades, the Bombard Tower, and until the introduction of the Cumans in the Definitive Edition, they were the only civilization unable to build Stone Walls and Gates.
    • According to the fifth Design Document of Ensemble Studios (dated 17 July 1998), the inspiration for the Goths lacking any Stone Walls is the strategy followed by Totila in the Gothic War, in which he would tear down the walls of the cities he captured as a way to avoid fighting sieges (as the Byzantines had better siege weapons) and force the Byzantines to fight battles on open ground (where the Goths had the numerical advantage); this strategy was also followed by the Goths' Vandal relatives in the earlier Vandalic War. Naturally, the Goths could actually build walls otherwise; the Visigoths were even the only people to build new (walled) cities in Western Europe between the 5th and 8th centuries.
  • In The Conquerors, the Goths are the only civilization with two unique technologies. As a side effect, they were the only civilization to not receive a new unique technology in The Forgotten.
  • In the The Conquerors instruction booklet, the Goths are represented by a Hussar, as opposed to the other civilizations, which are represented by their unique unit(s). This is probably a mistake, as "Huskarl" and "Hussar" sound similar and follow each other alphabetically.
  • Since update 36202, the Goths are the only civilization that lacks Arson, which was done to adjust their civilization bonus of attack bonus vs buildings.
  • Before update 37650, the Goths were the only civilization that lacked Supplies, which was likely because they already had a stronger discount for their infantry as a civilization bonus.
  • The Goths' free Loom bonus was originally given to the Aztecs in patch 1.0b of The Conquerors. In The Forgotten, the Aztec bonus was changed to +50 gold at the start of the game.
  • The following heroes available in the Scenario Editor are themed on the Goths: Theodoric the Goth, Alaric the Goth, and Ataulf.
  • It is a common joke among fans that complaints about historical accuracy in the game are moot when the Goths have access to most gunpowder units (Hand Cannoneer, Bombard Cannon, and Cannon Galleon before it was replaced by the Dromon in Return of Rome), because both the Ostrogothic and Visigothic kingdoms fell centuries before the invention of gunpowder. However, it is also a common rationalization (though not official) that the Goths are forerunners of the Portuguese, Spanish, and Italians, all of which used gunpowder extensively but weren't included in Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. Another is to point that the Crimean Goths only lost their independence to the Turks in 1475, when gunpowder was common.
  • The Goths and Teutons were the only civilizations with shared voiced lines in The Age of Kings. The Conquerors later introduced the Huns with the same lines as the Mongols, and The Forgotten introduced the Italians with the same lines as the Byzantines.
  • The Goths are viewed as one of the most controversially handled civilization, possibly due to the several changes that they received through the updates of the Definitive edition, because of being very predictable and one-dimensional, thus being considered as mediocre in the competitive scene (with infantry as their only option to go). Their former big discount in the Dark Age made their Militia rush very annoying to all players, their modified bonus against buildings and the loss of Arson only affected them in the Castle Age, and their Militia rush was severely weakened. Their new bonus of free Loom allowed them to gain an economic advantage, but also gained a reputation of various commentators and expert players as the "Laming civilization" (stealing or killing the enemy herdable animals, Deer, and Wild Boars) due to the free protection of their Villagers in the Dark Age and the extra attack against Boars. In addition, it gave a very big advantage on Nomad maps for Villager fights early, eventually ending in the Loom technology researched instantly rather than free. This still gives an extra Villager before aging up, but restricts their Drushing potential. Eventually, their hunting bonus also gave them longer-lasting food from hunted animals. This greatly improved their offensive potential, to the point where they are now considered a viable pick at high level play, but are still limited by their predictability.
  • The Goths have the second fewest fully–upgraded units, only ahead of the Gurjaras; only their Hand Cannoneers can be fully upgraded.
  • The Huns and Goths share similarities in both bonuses and themes. Historically, both groups were involved in the downfall of the Western Roman Empire. In-game, the unique units of both civilizations have high pierce armor and excel at razing buildings, they have a bonus each which discounts a core unit (Cavalry Archers for Huns and infantry for Goths), a bonus benefiting their population capacity, a team bonus that make their Stables and Barracks, respectively, work 20% faster, and furthermore, have unique technologies (Marauders and Anarchy) that allow the creation of their unique units in these buildings. They also lack a common building each (Houses and Stone Walls, respectively) which affects their ability to wall, and have poor defenses overall, as they lack all tower upgrades and Hoardings.




  1. Few documents in Gothic have survived to nowadays. Thus for names did not appear in primary resources, we implement word reconstruction to make a possible form in Gothic alphabet. For unreconstructed names, we do the simple Latin-Gothic alphabet transliteration, without considering linguistic morphology.
  2. The exact meaning of prefix "Visi-" is still argued; some contemporary scholars believe it means "good" or "educated" (link: Etymology of Visigoths)


Civilizations in Age of Empires II
Categorised by architecture sets
AfricanEthiopians AoE2 Ethiopians · Malians AoE2 Malians
Central AsianCumans AoE2 Cumans · Tatars AoE2 Tatars
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East AsianChinese AoE2 Chinese · Japanese AoE2 Japanese · Koreans AoE2 Koreans · Mongols AoE2 Mongols · Vietnamese AoE2 Vietnamese
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Native AmericanAztecs AoE2 Aztecs · Incas AoE2 Incas · Mayans AoE2 Mayans
South Asian/IndianBengalis AoE2 Bengalis · Dravidians AoE2 Dravidians · Gurjaras AoE2 Gurjaras · Hindustanis AoE2 Hindustanis · Indians AoE2 Indians (removed)
Southeast AsianBurmese AoE2 Burmese · Khmer AoE2 Khmer · Malay AoE2 Malay
Western EuropeanBritons AoE2 Britons · Burgundians AoE2 Burgundians · Celts AoE2 Celts · Franks AoE2 Franks
Categorised by expansions
AoE2-DLCicon-0 The Age of KingsBritons AoE2 Britons · Byzantines AoE2 Byzantines · Celts AoE2 Celts · Chinese AoE2 Chinese · Franks AoE2 Franks · Goths AoE2 Goths · Japanese AoE2 Japanese · Mongols AoE2 Mongols · Persians AoE2 Persians · Saracens AoE2 Saracens · Teutons AoE2 Teutons · Turks AoE2 Turks · Vikings AoE2 Vikings
AoE2-DLCicon-1 The ConquerorsAztecs AoE2 Aztecs · Huns AoE2 Huns · Koreans AoE2 Koreans · Mayans AoE2 Mayans · Spanish AoE2 Spanish
AoE2-DLCicon-2 The ForgottenIncas AoE2 Incas · Indians AoE2 Indians (removed) · Italians AoE2 Italians · Magyars AoE2 Magyars · Slavs AoE2 Slavs
AoE2-DLCicon-3 The African KingdomsBerbers AoE2 Berbers · Ethiopians AoE2 Ethiopians · Malians AoE2 Malians · Portuguese AoE2 Portuguese
AoE2-DLCicon-4 Rise of the RajasBurmese AoE2 Burmese · Khmer AoE2 Khmer · Malay AoE2 Malay · Vietnamese AoE2 Vietnamese
AoE2-DLCicon-5 The Last KhansBulgarians AoE2 Bulgarians · Cumans AoE2 Cumans · Lithuanians AoE2 Lithuanians · Tatars AoE2 Tatars
AoE2Icon-LordsWest Lords of the WestBurgundians AoE2 Burgundians · Sicilians AoE2 Sicilians
Dawn of the Dukes icon Dawn of the DukesBohemians AoE2 Bohemians · Poles AoE2 Poles
AoE2Icon-DynastiesIndia Dynasties of IndiaBengalis AoE2 Bengalis · Dravidians AoE2 Dravidians · Gurjaras AoE2 Gurjaras · Hindustanis AoE2 Hindustanis
AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Return of RomeRomans AoE2 Romans
AoE2Icon-MountainRoyals The Mountain RoyalsArmenians AoE2 Armenians · Georgians AoE2 Georgians