Heruli

The Heruli (or Herules) were an early Germanic people. Possibly originating in Scandinavia, the Heruli are first mentioned by Roman authors as one of several "Scythian" groups raiding Roman provinces in the Balkans and the Aegean Sea, attacking by land, and notably also by sea. During this time they reportedly lived near the Sea of Azov.

Map of the Roman empire and contemporary indigenous Europe in AD 125, showing a proposed location of Heruli on the Danish islands.

From the late 4th century AD the Heruli were one of the peoples dominated by the empire of Attila the Hun. By 454, after the death of Attila, they established their own kingdom on the Middle Danube, and Heruli also participated in successive conquests of Italy by Odoacer, Theoderic the Great, Narses and probably also the Lombards. However, their independent kingdom was destroyed by the Lombards by the early 6th century AD. A part of this population subsequently became established inside the Roman empire near Belgrade, and continued contributing fighting men to the Eastern Roman empire, and participating in Balkan and Italian conflicts.

With their last kingdom eventually dominated by Rome, and smaller groups integrated into larger political entities, the Heruli disappeared from history around the time of the conquest of Italy by the Lombards.