The Onomastics of the Gothic language (Gothic personal names) are an important source not only for the history of the Goths themselves, but for Germanic onomastics in general and the linguistic and cultural history of the Germanic Heroic Age of c. the 3rd to 6th centuries. Gothic names can be found in Roman records as far back as the 4th century AD. After the Muslim invasion of Hispania and the fall of the Visigothic kingdom in the early 8th century, the Gothic tradition was largely interrupted, although Gothic or pseudo-Gothic names continued to be given in the Kingdom of Asturias in the 9th and 10th centuries.
The names of the Goths themselves have been traced to their 3rd century settlement in Scythia. The names Tervingi and Greuthungi have been interpreted as meaning "forest-dwellers" and "steppe-dwellers", respectively. Later on, the terms Ostrogothi and Visigothi have also been understood to mean "Eastern Goths" and "Western Goths", although all four etymologies are not without detractors.
Jordanes gives partly mythological genealogies leading up to historical 4th to 5th century rulers:
Another important source of early Gothic names are the accounts (hagiography) surrounding the persecution of Gothic Christians in the second half of the 4th century. Many of the Gothic saints mentioned in these sources bear resemblance to Syrian, Cappadocian and Phrygian names, following in the baptismal tradition of that time.
Even though the Muslim invasion of Hispania (715 AD) and subsequent fall of the Visigothic kingdom in the early 8th century caused most Gothic naming traditions to be lost, a type of Gothic or pseudo-Gothic naming tradition continued in the Kingdom of Asturias, which by that time had become the central driving force behind the Christian reconquest of Andalusia. Thus, Alfonso I of Asturias was originally given the Gothic name *Adafuns or Adalfuns, becoming one of the most popular names in the medieval Iberian kingdoms.
In France, where remnants of the old Visigothic Kingdom still remained (Gothic March),Gothic names continued to be common up until the 12th century.
Gothic names of the 4th to 6th centuries include:
|recorded name||Gothic form
|Ariaricus||fl. 330s||Balthi Therving king|
|Aoricus||fl. 340s||Therving king|
|At(h)alaricus||Aþalareiks||aþal(a) "noble" + reiks "ruler"||d. 534||king of the Ostrogoths|
|Athanaricus||Aþanareiks||aþni "year" + reiks "ruler"||fl. 369, d. 381||Therving king|
|Ermanaricus||Airmanareiks||Ermana "all men" + reiks "kingdom"||c.f. Arminius, Herman, Manrique||Amali king of the Greuthungi|
|Odotheus/Alatheus||Audaþius or Alaþius||auda- "wealth", or ala- "all"(?) plus þius "servant"||fl. 380s||king of the Greuthungi|
|Alaricus||Alareiks||ala "all"(?) + reiks||fl. 395–410||Visigothic king|
|Fritigernus||Friþugairns||friþus "peace" + gairns "desiring"||fl. 370s||Therving leader|
|Friþareikeis||Friþareiks||friþa "peace" + reiks "ruler" (i.e. Frederick)||d. 370s||martyr|
|Wingourichos, Jungericus||Wingureiks||fl. 370s||Therving official|
|Gainas||fl. 390s||Gothic Magister militum|
|Sigericus||sigu "victory" + reiks "ruler"||d. 415||Amali king of the Visigoths|
|At(h)aulphus||Aþaulf or Ataulf||aþa(l) "noble" or ata "father" + ulf "wolf"||r. 410–415||Balthi king of the Visigoths|
|Theodericus||Þiudareiks||þiuda "people" + reiks "ruler" (see Theodoric)||r. 418–451||Balthi king of the Visigoths|
|Ragnaris||Raginariþ||ragina (c.f. Vandalic Raginari ) and riþ, both meaning "counsel"||d. 555||A Hunnic leader allied with the Ostrogoths|