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Thread: Invasion of the barbarians

  1. #1
    Humanist Senior Member Franconicus's Avatar
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    Default Invasion of the barbarians

    Let's prepare for the new addon. What do we know about the BI?

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    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invasion of the barbarians

    Well, the barbarians were the primitive armies of Europe... Even before the romans existed, barbarians like longobards and gauls were rulling in France, Italy.....

    After some times, the goths appeared and divided into: Ostrogoths( Eastern Goths) and Vizigoths(Western Goths). They constantly attacked the Byzantines and the Romans. In the meantime, the Goths turned to Christianity but Athanaric, King of the Romans, continued heavily the persecutions against Christians. This continued with the arrival of the Huns, in 375, which further pressed both roman people, which ended finally in 476, by the conquering of Rome by Odoacru, the king of the ostrogoths.

    This is only a very shortened history.....
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    Robber Baron Member Brutus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invasion of the barbarians

    Emperor Diocletian (284-305) split the Empire into two halves. He reformed the empire in many ways, soem of which strengtened the empire, others weakened it. These reforms and im particular the split would prove to be devastating mostly to the Western half, which was less densely populated and infinitely less wealthy then the east.
    Emperor Constantine I the Great (306-337) ruled most of the empire after he defeated his adversary Maximus at the Milvian Bridge (312) after which he legalised Christianity, which he himself adopted on his deathbed. After this most emperors were Christians, except for Julian the Apostate (361-363), a neo-platonist who renounced Christianity and briefly tried to reinstate paganism.
    Theodosius I the Great (378-395) made Christianity the state Religion of the Roman Empire. He was also the last emperor to rule a unified empire (392-395)

    Some decades before, the Huns had moved from the steppes and started the Great Migration, pushing the Ostrogoths and Avars before them, who subsequently pushed the Visigoths against the Danube, which they were permitted to cross. Outraged by the way they were treated by Roman officials, they rebelled and crushed an army under emperor Valens at Adrianople in 378. In 395 Alaric became king of the Visigoths they wandered the empire, sacking Rome (for the first time in 700 years) on 24 August 410.
    A few years before that, in 406, several Germanic tribes including the Vandals and the Suevi had crossed the frozen river Rhine into Gaul, and they were now migrating through Hispania and north Africa, were the Vandals eventually settled. Roman armies, often led by Germans themselves (like for example men like Stilicho or Arbogast), proved incapable of stopping the Germanic tribes. A province like Britannia, threatened by Saxon invaders, was abandoned by Roman forces. The huns invaded the west under their king Atilla, but were defeated at the Catalaunian Fields in 451 by Roman and Germanic allies under Aetius. Atilla died a few years later after he had stopped invading Italy. The Visigoths settled in Hispania, the Franks in northern Gaul, the Burgundians in Easter Gaul and the last Emperor of the West, (ironically called after Rome's founder and it's first emperor) Romulus Augustulus was dethroned by German general Odoacer who called himself king of Italy in 476. In 493 Odoacer was killed by the Ostrogoth king Theodoric, and theOstrogoths then ruled Italy until Eastern Roman general Belisarius (on order from emperor Justinian) recovered those lands along with North Africa since 535. Meanwhile, the Franks under their king Chlodovech (Clovis) became Catholic Christians (instead of Arians, like most other Germans), and became highly succesfull, conquering most of Gaul and lying the foundations for the later empires of Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire.

    Well, that's about it, but not completely, it's actually infinitely more complicated than this...

    Nice books include Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and The Histories of Gregorius of Tours.

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    Humanist Senior Member Franconicus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invasion of the barbarians

    Very good information! Do you know anything about the Germanian tribes, their composition, their culture, their weapons and their way to fight? What made them march?

    I once read that during their march they collected a lot of other people. They followed because of several reasons: some were adventureres looking for wealth, some were just hungry, others were suppressed. So the marching tribes were in fact a mixture of different origins. What they had in common was that they followed a leader. The German word for people (Volk) comes from 'to follow' (folgen), so just men and women that follow a leader. Quiet different from the Nazi definition.
    Last edited by Franconicus; 07-12-2005 at 15:08.

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    Default Re: Invasion of the barbarians

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus
    Some decades before, the Huns had moved from the steppes and started the Great Migration, pushing the Ostrogoths and Avars before them.
    The Avars arrived in the area much later around the 8th C. Substitute Alans and some Sarmatians instead of Avars and you are more or less back on track

    ........Orda

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    Robber Baron Member Brutus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invasion of the barbarians

    Quote Originally Posted by Orda Khan
    The Avars arrived in the area much later around the 8th C. Substitute Alans and some Sarmatians instead of Avars and you are more or less back on track

    ........Orda
    Oops, yeah, you're quite right, the many "a's" got me confused...

    By the way, I'll check if I can find some of the defenitions concerning "Gefolgschaft" and "Chieftan" again in my books (haven't been studying the period much since my first year in university), but those will more or less cover the organisational structure of those tribes. Also, Gregory of Tours gives some very nice examples in his work; I'll try to post some soon.
    For weapons and armour and stuff, check Osprey's Warrior 17, Germanic Warrior AD 236-568 by Simon McDowall. It has nice illustrations by Angus McBride.
    Last edited by Brutus; 07-12-2005 at 16:13.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Invasion of the barbarians

    MY post should have read 6th - 8th Centuries, since it was around the end of the 8th C that Charlemagne defeated the Avar Kingdom

    ..........Orda

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    Robber Baron Member Brutus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invasion of the barbarians

    The relationship between a leader (Chieftan) and his followers (gefolgschaft) seems to be one of consent by the followers that the chief should indeed be the leader. He should therefore be succefull both in battle and (subsequently) in rewarding his warriors for their services. The relationship between leader and follower is therefore one of gift-giving (I know, it sounds weird, but it's official scientific theory), in which both are supposed to either equal the other's gift or exceed it. Therefore, if a follower presents a gift to his leader (by fighting for him, for example) and the leader will not give the follower a share of the loot deemed appropriate, the follower is essentially allowed to either do something about that or search for another leader. Their relationship is therefore circular: in order to have followers, a leader needs loot, so he and his men fight, the leader gives his men their share of the loot, and they are therefore obliged to fight for him again, beginning the circle over again. (If anyone is really interested, start with reading Marcel Mauss, The Gift)
    Now, St. Gregory of Tours (538-594), bishop of Tours wrote in his Histories this interesting example:

    Quote Originally Posted by Gregory of Tours
    In that time many churches were plundered by Clovis' army, because he still was of a pagan conviction. Thus troops had taken from a church, besides other valuable objects used during sermon, a remarkably large and beautiful vaze. The bishop of this church sent a messenger to the king (Clovis) to ask, when the church couldn't get the other holy objects back, if at least the vaze could come back in place. When the king heard this, he said to the messenger: "Follow us to Soissons, because there all the loot will be divided. And if I by fate get the possesion of this vaze, I will immediately comply with the bishop's request." So he went to Soissons, where all the loot was displayed. And the king said: "I ask you, very brave warriors, to allow me this extra favour, so that I will have beside my usual share also this vaze." Then he pointed at the said vaze. On hearing the words of the king those who had a clear sense of judgement said: "All that lies here before us, lustrous king, belongs to you, and also we are subject to your authority. Do now what you deem fit; nobody can resist your power." They hadn't even finished saying this, when one of them, a wanton, jealous and unmindful person, heaved his battle-axe and hit the vaze, shouting: "You will not have more then what fate will give to you." All were struck dumb at those words, but the king remained calm and patient and didn't show his disagreement. He took the vaze and gave it to the messenger of the church. But in his hart stayed the pain that was caused to him.
    A year later he had all his soldiers come to the paradeground fully armed to inspect the state of their weapons. While he was inspecting them all one at a time, he reached the one who had broken the vaze and he said to him: "Nobody's arms are as badly taken care of as yours; your lance is in a miserable state, just as your sword and battle-axe." And he took the axe from the soldier and threw it on the ground. When the soldier bent over to pick it up, the king heaved his own battle-axe and hit it on the head of the soldier. "Thus," he said, "have you done in Soissons to the vaze." The king let the others march off when the soldier had died. A great fear of what he had done came over all of them.

    Historiae, book II, chapter 27 (my translation from the Dutch version by F.J.A.M. Meijer)
    Last edited by Brutus; 07-14-2005 at 18:06.

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