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  1. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    I'm a bit disappointed that no actual threads on history have been started.

    Some intersting periods to discuss would be the 3rd, 4th & 5th centuries with the barbarian invasions that helped to bring down the Roman Empire. We have the Visigoths, Ostrogoths, the Vandals, Sueves and Alans. Britain fell to the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, then there were the Franks & Burgundians in Gaul.

    Which brings us to one of my favorite periods, the Dark Ages (early Middle Ages). The Anglo-Saxon Bretwaldas - Aelle of Sussex, Ceawlin, Aethelberht, Raedwald.

    It's my nap time, but I'l post more later. Anyone interested in these time periods?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. arildno

    arildno 12,015
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    I'm definitely interested!
    I read some time ago a book which concerned the time period 300-700 in the western part of the Roman Empire, and that had as its focus the elements of continuity in life there during and beyond the breakdown of the Empire and the establishment of Germanic kingdoms.
    Quite an interesting book..
     
  4. Evo

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    Super! After my nap I will hopefully have some memory restored.

    Do you remember the name of the book?
     
  5. arildno

    arildno 12,015
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    I'll have it by tomorrow; it was by some Australian historian, I think.
     
  6. EnumaElish

    EnumaElish 2,483
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    Is the Dark Ages your favorite period because it was a transition between the slave society of the Roman Empire and the feudal states of Europe, or for some other reason? (Am I oversimplifying?) Was it when Rome was divided into a Western Empire and an Eastern Empire, or was that even before the D.A.?
     
  7. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    The sacking of Rome by King Alaric of the Visigoths is a good story by Procopius of Caesarea. The Visigoths had the city of Rome surrounded, the inhabitants of Rome were cut off, but after a long and fruitless seige Alaric realized it was going to take too long and be too difficult to capture the city so he made a plan. He decided on what basically amounted to a human "trojan horse"

    He told the Romans that he gave up and would be moving out. He chose 300 of his youngest warriors to present to the Roman nobles as slaves, of course buttering the Romans up and telling them how great they were (the Romans of course believed this :rolleyes: ).

    Alaric instructed the Visigoth youth that they were to obey their new masters without argument and serve them eagerly to gain their new master's trust. On a predetermined day, at noon, (a time when Roman Nobles normally napped), they were to head to the Solarian gate, kill the guards and open the gates so that Alaric's men could invade the city.

    The plan went off without a hitch and Rome was sacked.

    The Emperor at the time, Honorius, having heard of the barbarians initial approach on Rome, fled to the city of Ravenia. When Rome was destroyed by Alaric, a servant handed him a message stating that "Rome (Roma) was dead". The Emperor cried out "but I just fed him"! (the Emperor had a pet chicken named Rome) The servant realizing the emperor's mistake advised him that it was the city of Rome, not his pet chicken that had died. The emperor was greatly relieved saying "Oh, I thought it was my pet chicken Roma that had perished". :uhh:
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2005
  8. EnumaElish

    EnumaElish 2,483
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    Interesting, to say the least! I'd never heard this story.
     
  9. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    That's what makes learning history so much fun. I'm hoping we can bring some fun, interesting historical information and discuss the accuracy of what the historical writer wrote.

    What makes the era appealing is the lack of information about the period, although a lot more information has surfaced in recent years.

    I'm interested in how civilization spiraled downward so quickly and so much culture and knowledge was lost for so long. It's also a time of myth and legend, King Arthur and Camelot for instance. It was a time of viking raids. :devil:
     
  10. EnumaElish

    EnumaElish 2,483
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    Some questions that I wish I had the answers for:

    -- Had Rome become Christian by the the 3rd, 4th & 5th centuries?
    -- Were all the barbarians non-Christian?
    -- If Rome was Christian, then the barbarians were probably anti-Christian. Is that right?
    -- Was there an Eastern Roman Empire in Constantinople at that point?
    -- What about Germans (Teutons)? Didn't they have a hand in defeating Rome? Remember General Maximus "Gladiator" Meridius, commander of the Felix Legion, "General of the West" (?), who was defeated in a forest in Germania, as depicted by the first scene of the movie? See also:
     
  11. selfAdjoint

    selfAdjoint 8,147
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    Probably a majority were Christians by the 4th. Constantine converted then.

    The Goths were converted to Arian Christianity, in which Jesus is divine, but not God the Son.

    No. See above. And it wasn'nt mostly about religion at that point anyway.

    Constantine built a new capital on the Bosporus, called, natch, Constantinople. He appointed his two sons to be Caesars at Rome and Constantinople and divided the administrations into an Eastern and Western section of the Empire. Subsequent emperors continued this, and their came to be co-emperors ruling in the two cities. When the last western emperor, Honorius, was overthrown by Theoderic and his Ostrogoths, only the Eatern empire remained, and it evolved on its own thereafter. Italy was periodically reconquered by the Eastern empire and then lost again.

    You can't depend on movie history, that was fictional. The Romans did lose a legion at the Teutoberger Wald, but that was very early; centuries of successful empire followed it. The tribes that overthrew the western empire and then fought among themselves were the Goths (east and west), Franks, and Vandals, all germanic in the broad sense but not teutons. The Visigoths wound up in Spain, the Vandals in North Africa, and the Ostrogoths and Franks duked it out with each other and the Eastern empire in Italy.
     
  12. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Yeah, the dark ages are fun - plagues, Catholicism, feudalism, no science to speak of. Fun!

    I am a big fan of the Renaissance, though....
    Was there any "civilization" to speak of, prior to the Middle Ages in northern europe, besides when Rome had some control?
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2005
  13. Of course there was. :rofl:
     
  14. arildno

    arildno 12,015
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    Evo:
    The book I was talking about is "The Roman Empire Divided, 400-700" by John Moorhead.
    Here's a link:
    http://www.ablongman.com/catalog/academic/product/0,1144,0582251117,00.html

    SelfAdjoint:
    It is very improbable that the majority of the population was Christianized at the time of Constantine the Great.
    Throughout his reign, he sacrificed to Jupiter in front of his army (a VERY important symbolic function); the simplest explanation is that he catered to the ordinary soldier's piety, even though Constantine himself was Christian.

    The sway of Christianity increased through the 4th century, and by the latter half of the century, a significant enough proportion of the population was Christianized so that Theodosius could declare Christianity as state religion in 395 AD.
    Considerable portions of the citizenry remained heathen, however, and the ultimate victory of Christianity should not be placed before the middle 5th century.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2005
  15. matthyaouw

    matthyaouw 1,216
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    It always seems strange to me that everyone assumes that after the roman empire, all trace of culture, civilisation, art, and skill were lost. Just because the people did't make anything quite as obvious and lasting as say an amphitheatre, doesn't mean they were all savages.
    Just take a look at some of the treasures found at Sutton Hoo and see how much skill and workmanship went into them: http://www.wuffings.co.uk/MySHPages/SHPage.html
    Or how about the Lindisfarne Gospels: http://www.durham.anglican.org/reference/lindisfarne/johninitial.jpg

    These things are works of art that to me rival anything the Romans made.
    I'm not claiming that various things weren't lost with the fall of Rome, but I don't think the dark ages were quite as dark as people make out.
     
  16. arildno

    arildno 12,015
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    They definitely were not, and most professional historians would agree with you.
     
  17. Evo

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    It was the quality of life that took a huge step backwards in the Dark Ages. That's what is so interesting. They lost a lot of things like running water, indoor plumbing, bath houses, all of the social refinements and advanced feats of engineering that the Romans had brought with them.

    It is believed that this was the tomb of Raedwald.

    The Dark Ages is a very interesting period. Yes, they still had art mainly in the form of metal work, and many other things, a lot which I mentioned earlier, have just been discovered in recent years. There were no refined sculptures as was seen in Roman or Greek cultures though.
     
  18. EnumaElish

    EnumaElish 2,483
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    What does everyone think was the problem with Germanic tribes, in the broadest sense? Why couldn't they play peacefully among themselves or read and translate books, instead of starting a trail of fire and blood of historic proportions? (This happened more than once, you know?)
     
  19. arildno

    arildno 12,015
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    The barbarian invasions during the 4th and 5th centuries was propelled by the Huns coming chasing after them. Effectively, the Germanic tribes fled and fought their way into Roman territory..
     
  20. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Initially, it was the Huns that migrated into the Visigoth lands (present day Romania) that forced the Visigoths in the 4th century to flee into the eastern Roman Empire. Then in the 5th century Attila's forces made things much worse, and they also invaded Roman territory.

    It was the shifting of Roman troops from Britain to defend Italy's borders that allowed the Angles, Saxons & Jutes to take over Britain in 407. It also left a large area of the western Roman frontier poorly defended which allowed Germanic tribes to easily overrun the western provinces.

    edit:I see Arildno beat me to it. That's what I get for stopping to eat breakfast during my post. :tongue:
     
  21. arildno

    arildno 12,015
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    It should, however, be pointed out, that a very common, and SUCCESSFUL policy of the Roman Empire during the 4th century was to allow barbarian tribes to settle in border districts (often with low-quality arable lands) in return for military services rendered.
    That is, most of the Roman troops that valiantly (and often successfully) fought against new barbarian invaders, was recently integrated "barbarians" (laeti).
    Effectively, therefore, barbarians cherished inclusion in a FUNCTIONAL empire because of the benefits in terms of lands and trade that this gave them.

    The disintegration of distinctly Roman rule cannot be solely be placed on the heads of Germanic tribes, but equally much on the Roman nobility who no longer bothered taking an active part in ruling the empire, but withdrew to their huge estates, latifundia, and sought to make themselves local overlords there, at the EXPENSE of the central, imperial authority.
     
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