Barbarian Migrations and the Roman West, 376 - 568 (Cambridge Medieval Textbooks)
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This is a major survey of the barbarian migrations and their role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the creation of early medieval Europe, one of the key events in European history. Unlike previous studies it integrates historical and archaeological evidence and discusses Britain, Ireland, mainland Europe and North Africa, demonstrating that the Roman Empire and its neighbours were inextricably linked. A narrative account of the turbulent fifth and early sixth centuries is followed by a description of society and politics during the migration period and an analysis of the mechanisms of settlement and the changes of identity. Guy Halsall reveals that the creation and maintenance of kingdoms and empires was impossible without the active involvement of people in the communities of Europe and North Africa. He concludes that, contrary to most opinions, the fall of the Roman Empire produced the barbarian migrations, not vice versa.
This 38 39 40 For detailed description of the Tetrarchic reforms, see Barnes (1982). Williams, S. (1985) is accessible but not always up-to-date. Mode´ran (2003a), pp. 61–92. Collins (1999), p. 1. A succinct and useful summary of imperial administrative organisation may be found in Barnwell (1992), pp. 53–70. For more detail, see Jones, A. H. M. (1964), pp. 373–7; Barnes (1982); Corcoran (1996), pp. 75–94, 234–53. 75 The late Roman Empire in the west 2 5 3 1 4 7 9 11 13 10 17 25 30
Civil war broke out when a certain Gundovald sailed to Gaul from Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) and claimed to be a Merovingian.8 Duke Guntramn Boso, a leading figure at the Austrasian court, was with Gundovald when he originally arrived but by 583 circumstances had changed and Boso had deserted the ‘pretender’, taking with him the gold sent by the eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire to support the revolt. Gundovald fled to a Mediterranean island while Mummolus, a famous general who had defected
more complex, and one might even question whether there was much of a connection between regiment and tribal group. Classical ethnographic stereotyping dwelt heavily upon peoples’ military characteristics. The early Roman army recruited specialist troops from particular ethnic groups and these units seem to have retained their function and name whatever their subsequent recruiting history. This might well have led to ethnic names being given to troops of specific types, regardless of their
nineteenth-century French army’s Zouave regiments are perhaps an even better analogy. Deriving their name from the Algerian zaouia, but rapidly recruited entirely from Frenchmen, they wore a uniform which was a French version of North African dress. Both Zouaves and Highlanders derived a ferocious esprit de corps from the distinctiveness, which their ‘ethnic’ costume gave them. This is probably how we should view the ‘barbarism’ of the late imperial army. The provincial aristocracy continued to
provinces: the fortification of towns and the abandonment of villas. These assumptions, however, cannot be accepted at face value. The new city walls cannot be seen as products of haste.42 Furthermore, the ubiquity of the phenomenon in the west must make the construction of walls something other than an emergency response to particular attacks. Nonetheless, urban fortification surely reflects a perceived lack of security. Whether that was entirely the result of barbarian attacks is debatable.