Walter Goffart has written that "the one incontrovertible Germanic thing" in the Roman era was "the two Roman provinces of 'Germania,' on the middle and lower course of the Rhine river" and: "Whatever 'Germania' had meant to Tacitus, it had narrowed by the time of St Jerome to an archaic or poetic term for the land normally called Francia". [188] The Germanic peoples who overran the Western Roman Empire probably numbered less than 100,000 people per group, including approximately 15,000-20,000 warriors. Pomponius Mela, Description of the World: This page was last edited on 21 November 2020, at 22:38. Court factions and military leaders in the east and west attempted to control the situation. The ethnic military kingdoms which formed in the western Roman empire (see below) each developed their own legends about their ethnic origins, the so-called Origo gentis stories. [180] One of his first conflicts was with Boniface, a rebellious governor of the province of Africa in modern Tunisia and Libya. In the words of Walter Goffart: Between 401 and 411, four distinct groups of barbarians – different from Alaric's Goths – invaded Roman territory, all apparently on one-way journeys, in large-scale efforts to transpose themselves onto imperial soil and not just plunder and return home. Secondly, soon after the appearance of the Alamanni on the Upper Rhine, the Franks began to be mentioned as occupying the land at the bend of the lower Rhine. [125] These Bastarnae were described by Greek and Roman authors as living in the territory east of the Carpathian Mountains north of the Danube's delta at the Black Sea. [133], One classical source, Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus, mentions the northern Gauls somewhat later, associating them with eastern Europe, saying that both the Bastarae and the Cimbri were allies of Mithridates VI.[134]. [23], Roman writers who added to Caesar's theoretical description, especially Tacitus, also at least partly defined the Germani by non-geographic criteria such as their economy, religion, clothing, and language. [49], In this context, in the 19th century, the famous folklorist and linguist Jacob Grimm helped popularize the concept of Germanic languages as well as of Indo-european languages. [note 17]. Pytheas who travelled to Northern Europe some time in the late 4th century BCE was one of the only sources of information for later historians. Wolfram has proposed that this word was chosen not because of a comparison of languages, but because the Burgundians had come from the Rhine region, and even argued that the use of this word by Sidonius might be seen as evidence against Burgundians being speakers of East Germanic, given that the East Germanic-speaking Goths, also present in southern France at this time, were never described this way. For one thing, many of the tropes used, such as those concerning the red or blond hair, the blue eyes, and the undisciplined emotions of the Germanic peoples, were old ones that had long been used for any of the northern peoples such as Gauls. For example:[27]. While the eastern empire eventually recovered, the subsequent long-reigning western emperor Honorius (reigned 393-423) was unable to impose imperial authority over much of the empire for most of his reign. Of these, he discussed only the Suevi in detail, specifying that they were a very large grouping, with many peoples, with their own names. In 89 CE the Chatti were allies of Lucius Antonius Saturninus in his failed revolt. However the end result was similar, with a Germanic-speaking military class, the Anglo-Saxons, taking over administration of what remained of Roman society, and conflict between an unknown number of regional powers. Goffart's suggestion is that the example of the Goths, such as those led by Alaric, had set an example leading to a "common perception, however indistinct, that warriors could improve their condition by forcing their existence on the attention of the Empire, demanding to be dealt with, and exacting a part in the imperial enterprise."[174]. [191], In Eastern Europe the once relatively developed periphery of the Roman world collapsed culturally and economically, and this can be seen in the Germanic-associated archaeological evidence: in the area of today's southern Poland and Ukraine the collapse occurred not long after 400, and by 700 Germanic material culture was entirely west of the Elbe in the area where the Romans had been active since Caesar's time, and the Franks were now active.

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