In addition, Rome increasingly used foreign mercenaries to defend itself. That "barbarisation" parallelled changes within barbaricum. For example, the Roman Empire played a vital role in building up barbarian groups along its frontier. Propped up with imperial support and gifts, the armies of allied barbarian chieftains served as buffers against other, hostile, barbarian groups. The disintegration of Roman economic power weakened groups that had come to depend on Roman gifts for the maintenance of their own power. The arrival of the Huns helped prompt many groups to invade the provinces for economic reasons.
The nature of the barbarian takeover of former Roman provinces varied from region to region. For example, in Aquitaine , the provincial administration was largely self-reliant.
Halsall has argued that local rulers simply "handed over" military rule to the Ostrogoths , acquiring the identity of the newcomers. In Spain , local aristocrats maintained independent rule for some time, raising their own armies against the Vandals. Meanwhile, the Roman withdrawal from Lowland England resulted in conflict between Saxons and the Brythonic chieftains whose centres of power retreated westward as a result.
The Eastern Roman Empire attempted to maintain control of the Balkan provinces despite a thinly-spread imperial army relying mainly on local militias and an extensive effort to refortify the Danubian limes. The ambitious fortification efforts collapsed, worsening the impoverished conditions of the local populace and resulting in colonization by Slavic warriors and their families. Halsall and Noble have argued that such changes stemmed from the breakdown in Roman political control, which exposed the weakness of local Roman rule. Instead of large-scale migrations, there were military takeovers by small groups of warriors and their families, who usually numbered only in the tens of thousands.
The process involved active, conscious decision-making by Roman provincial populations. The collapse of centralized control severely weakened the sense of Roman identity in the provinces, which may explain why the provinces then underwent dramatic cultural changes even though few barbarians settled in them.
Ultimately, the Germanic groups in the Western Roman Empire were accommodated without "dispossessing or overturning indigenous society", and they maintained a structured and hierarchical but attenuated form of Roman administration. Ironically, they lost their unique identity as a result of such an accommodation and were absorbed into Latinhood.
In contrast, in the east, Slavic tribes maintained a more "spartan and egalitarian"  existence bound to the land "even in times when they took their part in plundering Roman provinces".
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Thus they arguably had a greater effect on their region than the Goths, the Franks or the Saxons had on theirs. Influenced by constructionism , process-driven archaeologists rejected the Culture-Historical doctrine  and marginalized the discussion of ethnicity altogether and focused on the intragroup dynamics that generated such material remains. Moreover, they argued that adoption of new cultures could occur through trade or internal political developments rather than only military takeovers.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about European migrations during the first millennium AD. For prehistoric migrations, see History of human migration.
Series: The Peoples of Europe
For the Canadian film, see The Barbarian Invasions. For seasonal periods of animal migrations, see animal migration. For seasonal periods of human migrations, see seasonal human migration.
Further information: Early Slavs. Main article: Extreme weather events of — Main article: Barbarians. Ancient Germanic culture portal. In: Klio 82, , S.
The Early Germans
In: Byzantinische Zeitschrift 92, , S. Barbarian migrations and the Roman West, — Cambridge University Press, Retrieved The Slavs in Paul Fouracre. The New Cambridge Medieval History pp.
Dunlap, tr. Can we envisage Roman-Slavic relations in a similar way?
Early History of Germany – German Culture
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Views Read Edit View history. Trying to correct that problem, I read The Early Germans. Malcolm Todd delivers a serviceable overview of the barbarians who inherited the mighty Roman Empire. The written record of the Germanic tribes is far from substantial, and it is viewed from the eyes of Roman writers who had their own agendas. It is left largely to archaeology to elucidate these nebulous peoples.
The work he has assembled is twelve chapters long, divided evenly between a general overview of Germanic culture, and a more detailed look at the history of specific tribes. The book thoughtfully contains footnotes, an index, a bibliography, and a few maps and illustrations. It is written in a generally readable style.
The ancient Germans don't lend themselves well to study. They appear in the historical record only in the 1st century BCE. Before that, the written record did not distinguish them between Celts, Scythians and other various barbarians. That Celtic material culture blended into the Germanic realm probably had something to do with the confusion. Naturally, we know most about the western Germanic tribes who migrated into Celtic lands and crossed swords with the Romans. The extent of eastern Germanic tribes on the far reaches of the classical world is more shrouded.
The Germans, much like the Celts, had no concept of overall unity, and thought of themselves in terms of tribes - a group of people exercising dominion of resources over a certain section of land. These tribes were unstable affairs, and tribes could split apart or combine with others according to a variety of circumstances. The most indivisible unit of Germanic society was the household. A few closely related households could call each other kin; it was the kin that imposed cultural mores on its members.
Feuds between rival kins probably defined German identity more than affiliation with a tribe. What passed for German government was divided between kings and warlords. Those that outside observers called kings originated from noble families. The warlords - duces , in Latin - were military commanders who were selected from proven valor in battle. They led a retinue of the tribe's leading warriors called the comitatus. The duces quite often enhanced their martial valor by serving in the Roman legion. By the late Roman Empire it was the duces who were the real powers of the Germanic tribes, often doubling as generals in the Roman army and as tribal leaders.
There was also a tribal assembly composed of freeborn males, but Todd is doubtful they did anything but rubber stamp the decisions of the leaders. Finally, slavery existed to some degree. The German economy revolved around agriculture and animal husbandry. The archaeological record confirms that Roman goods were pouring into Germania - fair quality bronze vessels for the poorer sort, and high quality silver goods for their leaders.
Exports to Rome probably amounted to no more than some slaves and animal goods rather ironic considering modern day Germany is Europe's leading exporter. Roman society also followed a shrewd policy of propping up friendly local elites with choice goods; it is sometimes difficult to tell where free trade ends and diplomatic bribery begins.