Migration Period

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This is an article on European migrations in the early part of the first millennium AD. For a discussion of prehistoric migrations, see Human migration.

The Migration Period (or Barbarian Invasions or Völkerwanderung ) is a name given by historians to a human migration which occurred within the period of roughly AD 300–700 in Europe<ref>Precise dates given may vary; often cited is 410, the sack of Rome by Alaric I and 751, the accession of Pippin the Short and the establishment of the Carolingian Dynasty.</ref>, marking the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages.

The migration included the Goths, Vandals, and Franks, among other Germanic and Slavic tribes. The migration may have been triggered by the incursions of the Huns, in turn connected to the Turkic migration in Central Asia, population pressures, or climate changes.

Contents

[edit] The modern account

The migration movement may be divided into two phases; the first phase, between AD 300 and 500, largely seen from the Mediterranean perspective, put Germanic peoples in control of most areas of the former Western Roman Empire. (See also: Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Burgundians, Alans, Langobards, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Suebi, Alamanni). The first to formally enter Roman territory were the Visigoths who ended the Late Roman Empire. They were first called by the Roman Empire to defend its boundaries in exchange for fees, but they later occupied it. They were soon followed by the Ostrogoths led by Theodoric the Great.

The second phase, between AD 500 and 700, saw Slavic tribes settling in Eastern Europe and gradually making it predominantly Slavic. The Bulgars, who were present in Europe since the second century, in the seventh century expanded their kingdom to eastern Balkan territory of the Byzantine Empire.

The Arabs tried to invade Europe via Asia Minor and Thrace in the second half of the seventh century and the early eight century, but were eventually defeated by the joint forces of Byzantium and Bulgaria in 717-18; as a result they re-routed their invasion by way of the Iberian Peninsula.

During the eighth to tenth centuries, not usually counted as part of the Migrations Period but still within the Early Middle Ages, new waves of migration, first of the Magyars and later of the Turkic peoples, as well as Viking expansion from Scandinavia threatened the newly established order of the Frankish Empire in Central Europe.

[edit] The romantic vision: Völkerwanderung vs. Barbarian Invasions

The German term Völkerwanderung [ˈfœlkɐˌvandəʁʊŋ] ("migration of nations"), is still used as an alternative label for the Migration Period in English-language historiography.<ref>"Jene Epoche, in der sich der Übergang von der Spätantike zum Frühmittelalter vollzog, wird in der deutschen Wissenschaftssprache traditionell als "Völkerwanderungszeit" bezeichnet." Manuel Koch, "Das Reich der Vandalen und seine Vorgeschichte(n)" (on-line)</ref>.

However, the term Völkerwanderung is also strongly associated with a certain romantic historical style which has strong roots in the German-speaking world of the 19th century, perhaps associated with the same cultural process which included the music of Wagner and the writings of Nietzsche and Goethe.

The Völkerwanderung, the forceful expansion of the Germanic tribes into France, England, Northern Italy and Iberia, is seen an indication of the energy and dynamism. This analysis became associated with nineteenth century German Romantic nationalism and the eastern expansion of Germany (Drang nach Osten, the urge to move East). Such an analysis may have contributed to the Nazi folk ideology of Lebensraum, or "living space", the theory that the Germans had a mission to expand their population beyond the national borders of Germany.

Even the term "barbarian invasion" is still in use in some English works;<ref>"Barbarian Invasions" is still a commonly used and accepted term for this period. See for example Katherine Fischer Drew, "Barbarians, Invasions Of" in Dictionary of the Middle Ages, edited by Joseph Strayer, Vol.2 1983</ref> It has his roots in the latin point of view about the migration period: if Germans and Slavic peoples use the term "migration" (Völkerwanderung in German, Stěhování národů in Czech, etc.), in cultures that are heirs to Latin language (French, Italians, Spanish, etc.), these migrations are called "barbarian invasions" (e.g. the Italian term "Invasioni Barbariche"). barbarian historically has the neutral meaning of "foreigner", but it also has a pejorative meaning of "uncivilized" and "cruel", making it problematic as a neutral historical descriptor.
Even the old romantic vision of the Migration age is different between different cultures: on one side the 'Völkerwanderung': the myth of young and vigorous people, that succeeded the old and decadent Roman society; on the other side there is the stereotype of uncivilized and savage 'barbarians', which destroyed the highly developed Roman Civilization, starting a Dark Age of disorder and violence.
Today the "invasions" of pre-Romantic-generation historians have given way, too: scholars today hold that a great deal of the migration did not represent hostile invasion, but rather tribes taking the opportunity to enter and settle lands already thinly populated and weakly held by a divided Roman state whose economy was shrinking at a time that the climate was cooling. The term 'barbarian invasion' is still used by Italian work, but with a totally neutral meaning.

[edit] Migration period

In reaction to the above, twentieth-century English-language historiography largely abandoned the German and Latin terms, replacing them with the more neutral "Migration Period", as in the series Studies in Historical Archaeoethnology or Gyula László's The Art of the Migration Period.


[edit] Timeline

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[edit] Notes

<references/>

[edit] See also

[edit] References

<span class="FA" id="pl" style="display:none;" /> ar:عصر الهجرات bg:Велико преселение на народите cs:Stěhování národů da:Folkevandringstiden de:Völkerwanderung es:Periodo de las grandes migraciones eu:Migrazio Garaia fo:Fólkaflytingatíðin fr:Grandes invasions he:נדידת העמים it:Invasioni barbariche ja:民族移動時代 nl:Grote volksverhuizing no:Folkevandringstiden pl: Wielka wędrówka ludów pt:Invasões bárbaras ru:Великое переселение народов fi:Kansainvaellusaika sv:Folkvandringstiden uk:Велике переселення народів

Migration Period

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