The Origin and Meaning

The History and Origin of the Taifalos name


The origin of the Taifalos name can be traced back over a thousand years to an ancient people group of Europeans who were considered to be barbarians. They lived a nomadic way of life never settling in any specific region but experienced an unsettled and fragmented history. Mostly in association with various Gothic peoples, they alternately fought with or against the Romans. The Taifals or Taifali (also referred to as: Taifalos, Taifalae, Thaifali) were first historically documented north of the lower Danube river in Dacia during the mid-third century. It is not known from which ethnic origin they belonged to as there are differing opinions from historians and archaeologists. Some experts believe that were from a Germanic background while others believe that they were Sarmatian. While not widely believed, it may be feasible to consider the possibility that they were native to the Dacian land from which they were first recorded inhabitants. The Taifali tribe had strong connections with various Gothic and Sarmatian groups which makes it difficult to determine the exact ethnicity of the tribe. One of the earliest mentions of the Taifals puts them in the following time of the Gothic king Cniva when he campaigned in Dacia and Moesia in 250 and the years following. In 328 AD Constantine the Great conquered Oltenia and the Taifals, probably taking this opportunity to resettle a large number in Phrygia, in the diocese of Nicholas of Myra. In the centuries following the Taifali eventually became incorporated into the Roman Empire and supplied mounted cavalry units to various regions of the Empire. In the late fourth century some Taifali were settled within the Roman Empire, notably in western Gaul in the modern province of Poitou. They subsequently supplied mounted units to the Roman army and continued to be a significant source of cavalry for early Merovingian armies. By the sixth century their region of western Gaul had acquired a distinct identity as Thifalia.

 

Some sources place the Taifali in Northern Europe around 10 AD as seen in the map below - authenticity of map is unknown

 

 

Written sources can be found that refer to the Taifali people in many accounts as the Taifalos

Ambrose: The prologue of De Spiritu Sancto (On the Holy Ghost) makes passing reference to Athanaric's royal titles before 376. Comment on Saint Luke: "Chuni in Halanos, Halani in Gothos, Gothi in Taifalos et Sarmatas insurexerunt"