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Great Invasions, map showing origins of

Migration A–Z

G

  1. Walter Goffart

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm351

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Goffart, W. 2013. Great Invasions, map showing origins of. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

Abstract

Since the 16th century and even before, the invasions of the late Roman empire by mainly Germanic barbarians, from the 4th to the 6th century ce, have been perceived as a pivotal historical event, shattering the ancient world and initiating the “middle ages” out of which, in more than a millennium, the modern European order emerged: “an incalculable crowd of barbarians spread over the Roman Empire, ruined it from the ground up, and established on its rubble the main states that share Europe today” (1772). Current specialists are less categorical on this subject; many are less catastrophic. But popular accounts of the transition from ancient to medieval times tend still to subscribe to the simple formulation just quoted. Their narratives are often accompanied by a map with the title “the barbarian invasions” or a variant wording. This map, dramatic in its serpentine lines and arrows, graces historical atlases, textbooks of Western civilization, general histories of the Middle Ages, and similar works. Many people are exposed to it, however briefly.

Keywords:

  • empire;
  • war;
  • geopolitics;
  • archaeology;
  • antiquity