The Ecclesiastical History Of Scholasticus by Socrates Scholasticus
Chapter XXXIII.--The Goths, under the Reign of Valens, embrace Christianity.
The barbarians, dwelling beyond the Danube, called the Goths, having engaged in a civil war among themselves, were divided into two parties, one of which was headed by Fritigernes, the other by Athanaric. When the latter had obtained an evident advantage over his rival, Fritigernes had recourse to the Romans, and implored their assistance against his adversary. This was reported to the Emperor Valens, and he ordered the troops which were garrisoned in Thrace to assist those barbarians who had appealed to him against their more powerful countrymen; and by means of this subsidy they won a complete victory over Athanaric beyond the Danube, totally routing the enemy. This became the occasion for the conversion of many of the barbarians to the Christian religion: for Fritigernes, to express his sense of the obligation the emperor had conferred upon him, embraced the religion of his benefactor, and urged those who were under his authority to do the same. Therefore it is that so many of the Goths are even to the present time infected with the errors of Arianism, they having on the occasion preferred to become adherents to that heresy on the emperor's account. Ulfilas, their bishop at that time, invented the Gothic letters, and translating the Sacred Scriptures into their own language, undertook to instruct these barbarians in the Divine oracles. And as Ulfilas did not restrict his labors to the subjects of Fritigernes, but extended them to those who acknowledged the sway of Athanaric also, Athanaric regarding this as a violation of the privileges of the religion of his ancestors, subjected those who professed Christianity to severe punishments; so that many of the Arian Goths of that period became martyrs. Arius indeed, failing in his attempt to refute the opinion of Sabellius the Libyan, fell from the true faith, and asserted the Son of God to be a new God': but the barbarians embracing Christianity with greater simplicity of mind despised the present life for the faith of Christ. With these remarks we shall close our notice of the Christianized Goths.