The Barbarian Invasions of the Roman Empire were marked by large-scale migrations and subsequent settlements of its former territories by various Barbarian tribes, and the establishment of the post-Roman kingdoms. The various tribes invaded and then settled in dozens of different locations of the Empire: these tribes included the Franks, Goths, Alemanni, Alans, Huns, early Slavs, Pannonian Avars, Magyars, and Bulgars. The period is traditionally taken to have begun in AD 375 (possibly as early as 300) and ended in 568. Historians differ as to the dates for the beginning and ending of the invasion period. The beginning of the period is widely regarded as the invasion of Europe by the Huns from Asia in about 375 and the ending with the conquest of Italy by the Lombards in 568.
Gregory of Tours (born Georgius Florentius; (538 – 1594 AD) was a Gallo-Roman historian and Bishop of Tours during the Merovingian period and is known as the "father of French history." He was a prelate in the Merovingian kingdom, encompassing Gaul's historic region. Gregory's most notable work is the Decem Libri Historiarum (Ten Books of Histories), also known as the Historia Francorum (History of the Franks). Decem Libri Historiarum is considered a primary source for the study of Merovingian history and chronicles the accounts of the Franks during the period. Gregory is also known for documenting accounts of religious figures, notably that of Martin of Tours. It is believed that the Tomb of St. Martin became a Christian pilgrimage site in the 6th century due in part to Gregory's writings.
Gregory of Tours,
A History of the Franks,
Lewis Thorpe (translator),
This history of the Franks is the best document we have with which to study the story of this one barbarian tribe that had huge success taking over most of Roman Gaul. They went on to build the new state of the Franks and his new kingdom was the single greatest success of all the Barbarian invader tribal states. The Franks built a solid, enduring, state that went on to become France. The Gothic state in Italy fell apart. And he Visigothic state in Spain was vanquished by the Islamic invaders in 711.
Although they exerted a profound, far-reaching influence on Continental geopolitics, the historical Goths (as opposed to contemporary fans of the Cure and Bauhaus) are little known. Peter Heather provides a readable precis of the Goths' role in ancient and medieval European history, examining the murky origins of various Gothic-speaking groups in the Vistula River region of northern Poland, from which they spread out eastward and southward. Pressured by the expanding Roman empire on one side and migrating Hunnish peoples from Central Asia on the other, the Goths aggressively defended their territory and eventually attacked westward, contributing to the collapse of Rome and establishing Gothic empires in Italy, Spain, and North Africa. Heather's useful book ends with the fall of these governments in the 7th century. --Gregory McNamee
"...a volume of central importance on the place of the Goths in early European history and a fine contribution to the study of the transformation of Europe after Rome." Times Literary Supplement, January 1998.
"... an excellent introduction to the student" Archaeological Review from Cambridge
Between the first and seventh centuries AD, Gothic groups moved thousands of miles across the map of Europe, from the fringes of the Baltic to the shores of the Atlantic ocean. In the process, they transformed themselves from an insignificant people on the outskirts of the known world into highly militarized forces, capable of carving out successor states for themselves from the body politic of the Roman Empire. This book draws on all the available literary and archaeological evidence, much of the latter never before discussed in English, to reconstruct the Goths' dramatic history, and to explore the meaning of Gothic identity at different moments and in different contexts. The volume is divided into three parts, corresponding to the three main phases in Gothic history: their early history down to the fourth century, the revolution in Gothic society set in motion by the arrival of the Huns, and the history of the Gothic successor states to the western Roman Empire.
From the Back Cover
Between the first and seventh centuries AD, Gothic groups moved thousands of miles across the map of Europe, from the fringes of the Baltic to the shores of the Atlantic ocean. In the process, they transformed themselves from an insignificant people on the outskirts of the known world into highly militarized forces, capable of carving out successor states for themselves from the body politic of the Roman Empire.
About the Author
Peter Heather was born in Northern Ireland and educated at Maidstone Grammar School and New College, Oxford. He briefly joined HM Treasury before being awarded the Murray Fellowship in History at Worcester College, Oxford. His previous books include Goths and Romans, 332-489 (1991) and The Goths in the Fourth Century (1991).
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