Reiks (pronunciation /ri:ks/ ; Latinized as rix ) is a Gothic title for a tribal ruler, often translated as " king ". In the Gothic Bible, it translates to the Greek árchōn (ἄρχων). [2] It is presumably translated as basiliskos (βασιλίσκος "petty king") in the Passio of Sabbas the Goth. [3]

The Gothic Thervingi were divided into subdivisions of territory and people called kunja (singular kuni , cognate with English kin ), by a reiks . In times of a common threat, one of the reiks would be selected as a kindins , or head of the Empire (translated as "judge", Latin iudex , Greek δικαστής).

Herwig Wolfram suggested the position was different from the Roman definition of a rex ("king"), and is better described as that of a tribal chief (see Germanic king). [4] A reiks had a lower order of optimates or megistanes ​ (μεγιστάνες, presumably translating mahteigs ) beneath him, on whom he could call on for support.

The term reiks is the origin of the Celtic word adopted from the early Germanic peoples (as *rīks ; see also Reich ). Later also adapted into both Greek and Latin.

It also figures prominently as second element in Gothic names, Latinized as -rix , and often anglicized as -ric , e.g. in Theoderic ( Þiuda-reiks ). The use of the suffix extended into the Merovingian dynasty, with kings given names such as Childeric, [5] and it survives in modern German and Scandinavian names such as Ulrich , Erik , Dietrich , Heinrich , Richard , Friedrich .