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Barbarian Tides: The Migration Age and the Later Roman Empire
The Migration Age is still envisioned as an onrush of expansionary "Germans" pouring unwanted into the Roman Empire and subjecting it to pressures so great that its western parts collapsed under the weight. Further developing the themes set forth in his classic Barbarians and Romans, Walter Goffart dismantles this grand narrative, shaking the barbarians of late antiquity o ...more
Hardcover, 372 pages
Published June 16th 2006 by University of Pennsylvania Press
(first published June 1st 2006)
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Oct 29, 2008 Terence rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Serious students of Late Antiquity; general readers be warned
In the final volume of Glen Cook's Black Company series, Soldiers Live, Croaker, the Company's physician, annalist and ultimately Captain, becomes a near omniscient being capable of observing events in both the past and the present. A dream come true for Croaker, and one I'd love to emulate; I dare say, an existence any historian must envy because we must know the whats, whys and wherefors of human experience. And where we can't know, we speculate. Speculate and present our ruminations as "facts ...more
I'm not qualified to judge whether Goffart is right, particularly about hospitalitas and the settlement of barbarians in Roman provinces, but I enjoyed his detailed engagement with the primary sources. It's striking how little we actually know from primary sources, and how much imagination earlier generations of historians brought to the problem. Wickham, for one, is skeptical of Goffart's theory of tax allotments given to barbarians. On the face of it, it seemed a neat solution to the problem a ...more
When Goffart wrote his first book on this twenty years ago, he mentioned in passing that it would be instructive to examine events without the baggage of all the Volkerwanderung and the writing of many "the Germans are coming!" histories of the Fall of Rome in the late 1930s. This book is the corrective, largely historiography (I don't think Goffart has ever forgotten or forgiven anyone who wrote him a bad book review) but also an attempt to tease out of monastic chronicles and political account ...more