Barbar Göçleri ve
Batı Roma

CKM 2018-20 / Aziz Yardımlı


Barbar Göçleri ve Batı Roma

  Migrations and invasions — Huns, Germans and Slavs
Migrations and invasions — Huns, Germans and Slavs
The west and the rise of the successor kingdoms


  The Fall of the Western Roman Empire

Harii (Suevi) (The History Files)

Harii (Suevi) (L)

In general terms, the Romans coined the name 'Gaul' to describe the Celtic tribes of what is now central, northern and eastern France. The Gauls were divided from the Belgae to the north by the Marne and the Seine, and from the Aquitani to the south by the River Garonne. They also extended eastwards, into the region that was becoming known as Germania. The Celts had ruled much of this in their heyday, but by the middle of the first century BC they were fragmented, and were either in the process of being expelled by the increasingly powerful Germanic tribes who were migrating southwards from Scandinavia and the Baltic coast, or they were being defeated and integrated into Germanic or other tribes. The Harii were located in the area which today roughly forms the meeting point between eastern Slovakia, southern Poland and western Ukraine, on the upper stretches of the Vistula. They were neighboured by the Helveconae, Manimi, Helisii, Lugii (perhaps the core of a confederation), Naharvali, Osi, and the Germanic Buri.

The Harii name is the German 'har' or 'her', with a Latin plural '-i' added. Remove that plural and the name translates as 'army'. Note that in Germanic language the initial 'h' would originally have been a 'k' sound (producing 'kar' or 'ker'), marking it as a variant of the word for a spear: 'ger'. This derives from one of many similar words for a spear, which can be interpreted as an indication that the root may predate proto-Indo-European, making it very old indeed. Pokorny shows that the 'h' came directly from a 'g' rather than a 'k', which is another indication of antiquity, predating the proto-German 'h' derived from 'k'.

Tacitus described the Harii as one of a number of tribes which together formed the federation of the Lugii, which itself was viewed as being part of the Suevi confederation. The Suevi were a confederation of (usually) Germanic peoples that came into existence by the first century AD, and perhaps earlier. It perhaps also included Celtic tribes that had remained in the region and which were largely absorbed by the later arrivals. The Suevi confederation included the tribes of the Alemanni,  Angles, Hermunduri,Langobards,  Marcomanni, Quadi, Semnones, and Warini, and perhaps also the Heruli too. None of these tribes were what could be considered 'front line' tribes, living along the border with the Roman empire. Instead they were arrayed behind a large number of other tribes which were better known and better attested by Roman writers. The Suebic tribes remained a little more obscure, at least until they came into direct contact with the empire, and many of the more minor tribes that made up the confederation were almost entirely unchronicled. The Helisii, Helveconae, Manimi, and Naharvali were also sometimes included in the Lugii federation

The Harii were superior in strength to their neighbours, and savage according to Tacitus, but they made 'the most of their natural ferocity by the help of art and opportunity'. They carried blackened shields and their bodies were dyed, presumably using woad. They chose dark nights for battle, and were able to strike terror into their foe thanks to their unnatural appearance, and perhaps also due to an element of psychological warfare to spook their opponents before they ever came to blows. Despite this apparent skill in battle, the tribe appears to have been absorbed, either into the Lugii confederation or by stronger Germanic tribes. Even the use of 'tribe' to describe them may be in error. They may instead have been a group of smaller units - a confederation of some kind - but they were too poorly documented for anything other than speculation on this point.

(Information by Peter Kessler and Edward Dawson, with additional information from The La Tene Celtic Belgae Tribes in England: Y-Chromosome Haplogroup R-U152 - Hypothesis C, David K Faux, from The Oxford History of England: Roman Britain, Peter Salway, from Complete Works of Tacitus, Alfred John Church, William Jackson Brodribb, & Lisa Cerrato, from Geography, Ptolemy, and from External LinksIndo-European Etymological Dictionary, J Pokorny, and Geography, Strabo (H C Hamilton & W Falconer, London, 1903, Perseus Online Edition).)

6th century BC

The Harii probably belong to the Hallstatt culture of Celts, along with the Bebryces, Boii, Cotini, Helisii, Helveconae, Manimi, Naharvali, Osi, and at least some elements of the later Lugii. They are to be found around the central German lands, and in Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, and the edges of Poland and Ukraine. Around this time a large-scale expansion begins that sees many Hallstatt Celts migrate outwards, towards northern Italy, Gaul, or Iberia. Many others remain, and control the region until pressure from newly-arriving Germanic tribes begins to erode their hold in the second and first centuries BC.


Hallstatt Culture face mask
Displayed here are a Hallstatt face and mask, from the culture of the same name which spanned the Old Iron Age period between 800-450 BC

AD 23

The first historical mention of the Lugii is by Strabo, who seems to place them as members of a tribal federation which includes the Butones (a questionable name, perhaps a misspelling of Gutones), Mugilones, Semnones, Sibini and Zumi. There is no mention of the Harii, Helisii, Helveconae, Manimi, and Naharvali at this time.


Writing in AD 98, Tacitus mentions the Lugii. He is of the opinion that they are a federation of the smaller Gaulish tribes, the Harii, Helisii, Helveconae, Manimi, and Naharvali. Tacitus also mentions the Buri but not as members of the Lugii. In his description of the Harii he says: '...not only are they superior in strength to the other peoples I have just mentioned, but they minister to their savage instincts by trickery and clever timing. They blacken their shields and dye their bodies, and choose pitch dark nights for their battles. The shadowy, awe-inspiring appearance of such a ghoulish army inspires mortal panic; for no enemy can endure a sight so strange and hellish. Defeat in battle starts always with the eyes.' The use of woad is very telling. This is specifically a Celtic practice.


Ptolemy breaks the Lugii down into Lugi Buri, Lugi Diduni, and Lugi Omani. It seems plausible that the Manimi of AD 98 have some relationship to the Omani, based on the similar names, but of the Harii, Helisii, Helveconae, and Naharvali there is no sign once again. Have they been absorbed into the larger Lugii collective, or have they drifted off elsewhere, never to be recorded again by history?


By this time, the Suevi have formed a wide-ranging confederation of tribes that are all known individually but which are counted as being Suevi. The vast number of tribes included in the confederation include the Aestii, Angles, Aviones, Buri, Cotini, Eudoses, Gutones (Cotini again), Hermunduri (who have virtually ceased to exist as a recognisable independent people), Langobards, Lugii (a name applied to several tribes: the Harii, Helisii, Helveconae, Manimi, and Naharvali, although these are not mentioned at this time), Marcomanni, Marsigni, Naristi, Nuitones, Osi, Quadi, Reudigni, Semnones, Sitones, Suardones, Suiones (Swedes), and the Warini.



Fall of the Western Roman Empire

Fall of the Western Roman Empire (W)

The Fall of the Western Roman Empire (also called Fall of the Roman Empire {?} or Fall of Rome{?}) was the process of decline in the Western Roman Empire in which the Empire failed to enforce its rule, and its vast territory was divided into several successor polities.

The Roman Empire lost the strengths that had allowed it to exercise effective control over its Western provinces; modern historians mention factors including

  • the effectiveness and numbers of the army,
  • the health and numbers of the Roman population,
  • the strength of the economy,
  • the competence of the Emperors,
  • the internal struggles for power,
  • the religious changes of the period, and
  • the efficiency of the civil administration.

Increasing pressure from invading barbarians outside Roman culture also contributed {?} greatly to the collapse. The reasons for the collapse are major subjects of the historiography of the ancient world and they inform much modern discourse on state failure.

Relevant dates include 117 CE, when the Empire was at its greatest territorial extent, and the accession of Diocletian in 284. Irreversible major territorial loss, however, began in 376 with a large-scale irruption of Goths and others.

In 395, after winning two destructive civil wars, Theodosius I died, leaving a collapsing field army and the Empire, still plagued by Goths, divided between the warring ministers of his two incapable sons. Further barbarian groups crossed the Rhine and other frontiers, and like the Goths were not exterminated, expelled or subjugated. The armed forces of the Western Empire became few and ineffective, and despite brief recoveries under able leaders, central rule was never effectively consolidated.

By 476 when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustulus, the Western Roman Emperor wielded negligible military, political, or financial power and had no effective control over the scattered Western domains that could still be described as Roman.

Barbarian kingdoms had established their own power in much of the area of the Western Empire. While its legitimacy lasted for centuries longer and its cultural influence remains today, the Western Empire never had the strength to rise again.

The Eastern Empire survived, and though lessened in strength remained for centuries an effective power of the Eastern Mediterranean.

While the loss of political unity and military control is universally acknowledged, the Fall is not the only unifying concept for these events; the period described as Late Antiquity emphasizes the cultural continuities throughout and beyond the political collapse.



🛑 Cumhuriyetten İmparatorluğa


  • Cumhuriyetin dağılması ve imparatorluğun kurulması Roma için bir talihsizlik değil, bir zorunluk idi.
  • Cumhuriyeti sonlandıran yüz yıllık bir iç savaş dönemini Octavius’un egemenliğini kabul ettirmesinden Marcus Aurelius’un ölümüne (İS 180) dek süren iki yüz yıllık barış ve dinginlik dönemi izledi.
  • Bu dönemde yalnızca Tiberius, Nero ve Domitian tiranlar olarak bilinir ve bunların acımasızlıkları aşağı yukarı bütünüyle Roma kentine ve kişisel düşmanlarına sınırlı idi.
  • Politik istenç konusunda son sözü çoğunlukla politik bir güç gibi davranan ordu söylüyordu.
  • Marcus Aurelius’un ölümünden Diocletian’ın egemenliğine dek yüz dört yıl süren ‘askeri despotizm’ döneminde (180-284) imparatorluk istenci askerler tarafından seçilen ve yine onlar tarafından indirilen 29 ayrı egemen tarafından üstlenildi.
  • Marcus’un oğlu Commodus’un hükümranlığından sonra askerler Roma’nın asıl egemenleri oldular.
  • Septimus Severus (193-211) ordunun nüfuzunu daha da arttıracak düzenlemeler yaptı.
  • Caracalla Roma dünyasında yaşayan tüm özgür insanlara seçme hakkını tanıyan yasayı çıkardı.
  • Alexander Severus bozulmuş bir kültürde dürüst bir yönetim sürdürmeyi başardı.


  • Doğuda Sassanidler, kuzeyde Franklar adı altında birleşen Germanik barbarlar, Allemanni (‘all men’) adı altında toplanan çeşitli kabileler, Kara Deniz’de doğru Gotlar Roma için ciddi düşmanlar olarak algılanmaya başladı; Roma hükümranlıkları kısa süren güçsüz imparatorlar altında savunma savaşlarına ve varoluş kavgasına girişti.
  • Gotlar Tuna’yı geçerek Roma topraklarına girdiler ve imparatorluğu haraca bağladılar; aynı Germenler Küçük Asya’ya girerek kentleri kuşattılar ve yağmaladılar, Efes’teki Diana Tapınağını yok ettiler.
  • Batıda Franklar Pireneleri geçerek İspanya’ya girdiler ve kentleri yağmaladılar; Allemani İtalya’ya girdi ve Ravenna duvarlarına dek ilerledi.
  • Doğuda Pesler Suriye, Kilikya ve Kappadokya illerini ele geçirdiler, Antakya ve başka kıyı kentleri yağmalandı ve yok edildi, İmparator Valerian tutsak alındı. (Pers tekerki ne zaman atına binecek olsa bunu Roma imparatorunun boynuna basarak yaptı).
  • Gallienus’ın egemenliği “Otuz Tiran” zamanı ile çakıştı ve buna açlık ve ayrıca imparatorluğun her ilini vuran veba salgını eklendi.


  • Seksen yıl kadar süren bir çözülme evresinin arkasından II. Claudius, Aurelian, Tacitus, Probus, ve Carus gibi beş yetenekli imparator ile birlikte Roma tini dayanıklılık ve yürekliliğini bir kez daha tanıtladı, batıda iki yüz yıl ve doğuda bin yıldan daha uzun bir süre varlığını sürdürdü.
LINK: Outlines of Roman History


🛑 4 ve 5’inci Yüzyıllar

“Batı Roma İmparatorluğunun çöküşü” uygunsuz bir anlatımdır, çünkü gerçekte yer alan şey ‘ayrı’ bir İmparatorluğun çöküşü değil, bir ve aynı İmparatorluğun batı bölümünün yağma ve yıkıma uğramasıdır.
4’üncü yüzyıl

  • Konstantin I (306-337) İmparatorluğun yeni başkenti olarak Konstantinopolis’i kurdu ve Hıristiyanlığa döndü (Konstantin’den sonra Julian dışında tüm Roma İmparatorları Hıristiyan idiler).
  • Hunlardan kaçan Vizigotlar ile Edirne Savaşında (378) büyük bir Roma ordusu yenildi ve İmparator Valens (328-378) öldürüldü.
  • Theodosius I (379-395) İmparatorluğun Doğu ve Batı bölümlerini yeniden birleştirdi ve Hıristiyanlığı devlet dini yaptı.

5’inci yüzyıl

  • 406’da Vandallar, Suebi ve Alanlar Ren nehrini geçerek Galya’yı yağmalamaya başladılar; barbarların bir bölümü Hispania ve Afrika’ya geçti.
  • Alaric önderliğindeki Vizigotlar ile ikinci savaşta Gotlar Yunanistan’a yönelik saldırılarının arkasından İtalya’yı ele geçirildiler ve Roma’yı yağmaladılar (410); sonra İtalya’dan çekilerek Güney Galya ve Hispania’da Vizigot Krallığını kurdular.
  • Attila altında Hun İmparatorluğu (434-455) doğdu; Balkanlar, Galya ve İtalya yağmalandı, hem Konstantinopolis hem de Roma barbar gözdağı altına düştü.
  • Roma ikinci kez Vandallar tarafından yağmalandı (455).
  • Afrika’yı yeniden kazanmak için Vandallara karşı düzenlenen deniz seferleri (461-468) Roma kuvvetlerinin yenilgisi ile sonuçlandı.
  • Batıda Romulus Augustus 476’da Odoacer tarafından tahttan indirildi; Odoacer İtalya’nın egemeni oldu ve İmparator Zeno tarafından vekil olarak tanındı.
  • 493’te İtalya’da Theodoric altında Ostrogot Krallığı kuruldu ve bununla Roma İmparatorluğu bütün Batı bölümünü yitirmiş oldu.

Roma, Forum.

View of the Roman Forum, 1735. (Giovanni Paolo Panini, Italian, 1691-1765.)

Germenlerden sonra Colesseum. Germanik feodal dönemde Klasik dünyanın sanat ve yazın yapıtları, felsefesi, matematiği aynı yazgıya uğradı.

View of the Colosseum, 1735 (Giovanni Paolo Panini, Italian, 1691-1765.)


🛑 Roma İmparatorluğu ve Hıristiyanlık

Hıristiyanlık ve İmparatorluk

  • İmparatorluk ve Hıristiyanlık bağdaşmaz.
  İmparatorluk evrensel insan eşitliğini tanımaz ve hakkı tekerkte yoğunlaştırır. Hıristiyan Üçlülük öğretisi tüm insanları özgür ve eşit sayar. “Roma Katolik Kilisesi” ne genel olarak Din kavramına, ne de Hıristiyanlığa uygundur. Dünyasal bir güçtür ve dinsel görünüşü yalnızca yalan ve kitlesel duyunçsuzluk üzerine dayanır. Katolik Kilisesi birçok devlet kurmasına karşın, Avrupa monarşlarını salt monarşlar ya da tekerkler oldukları için papalığın egemenliği gibi birşeyi tanımadılar.
  • Konstantin dördüncü yüzyılda Hıristiyanlığa döndü.
  • Roma İmparatorluğu dördüncü yüzyıl sonunda Hıristiyanlığı devlet dini olarak kabul etti (Theodosius).
  • Roma İmparatorluğunda Hıristiyanlık yeni bir paganizm türünden daha çoğu değildi.
  • Hıristiyanlık Üçlülük öğretisine bağlı evrensel eşitlik ve özgürlük ilkesinden ötürü politik olarak İmparatorluk biçimi ile bağdaşmaz.
  • Sonuç İmparatorluğun Hıristiyanlığa uyarlanmasından çok Hıristiyanlığın İmparatorluğa uyarlanması oldu. (Justinian bir tekerk olarak davrandı ve Hıristiyan Kiliseyi devlet denetimi altına aldı.)
  • Ne Katolik Hıristiyanlık ne de Ortodoks Hıristiyanlık biçimleri Din Kavramına uygundur.
  • Hıristiyanlık ne Roma bölümünde, ne de Konstantinopolis bölümünde doğrudan doğruya özsel karakterini kazandı (Reformasyon Hıristiyanlığın doğuşundan 1500 yıl sonra geldi).

Parthenon (İÖ 432) Germanik tin tarafından 2000 yıl sonra keşfedildi.


🛑 Yiten Roma ve Yitmeyen Roma

Batı Avrupa’da Orta Çağların Başlangıcı

  • Batıda barbar Germanik kabileler Klasik Helen-Roma Tinini ortadan kaldırdılar.
  • Yalnızca Vandallar vandal değildir; vandalizm Germanik barbarlara özünlüdür.
  • Roma İmparatorluğu Batıda kent yaşamını bütünüyle yitirdi; yalnızca tecim, ulaşım, üretim, yasa düzeni değil, Latince dilinin kendisi de ortadan kalktı.
  • Batıda “Katolik Kilisesi,“ “Feodalizm,” “Orta Çağlar” (ya da, Petrarch ile birlikte, “Karanlık Çağlar”) ve “Kutsal Roma İmparatorluğu” gibi terimler ile tanımlanan döneme geçildi.


İki Roma İmparatorluğu

  • Hiçbir politik kültürü olmayan Germanik halklar Avrupa’nın yeni dünyasal ‘krallıklarını’ kurmakla yetinmediler ve ek olarak bir de kutsal ‘imparatorluk’ kurdular.
  • Modern etnik tarihçiler ‘İki Roma İmparatorluğu’ terminolojisinden kaçınmak için, ‘Bizans İmparatorluğu’ terimini türettiler.


Batı bölümünün yitirilişinden sonra Roma İmparatorluğu

  • Roma İmparatorluğu Batı bölümünün yitirilişi ile İmparatorluk karakterini yitirmedi.
  • Roma İmparatorluğu batısında barbar göçlerine bir sınır çekerken, doğuda Sasani ve Arap İmparatorluklarının saldırılarını püskürtmeyi başardı.
  • Ortodoks Hıristiyanlık her zaman İmparatorluk gücüne altgüdümlü kaldı.
  • Katolik Hıristiyanlık Germanik krallıklar ile güç ilişkisi ve kavgası içinde şekillendi.
  • “Bizans” terimi “Roma” karakterini temsil etmez.
  • Ne Romalılar, ne Selçuklular, ne de Osmanlılar “Bizans İmparatorluğu” terimini biliyordu.

Avrupa, yklş. 650 (L).
Roma’nın ötesindeki Romalar

  • Roma İmparatorluğunun “Batı” bölümünün yıkılışının “Roma İmparatorluğunun Yıkılışı” olarak görülmesi iki ayrı imparatorluk sayıltısı üzerine dayanır.
  • Roma görkemi ve büyüklüğü yalnızca Roma ve İtalya ile sınırlı değildi — tıpkı Helenistik uygarlığın Orta Asya’ya dek uzanması ve ulaşması gibi.
  • Orta Doğu ve Kuzey Afrika da Roma uygarlığının İtalya’da olanlar ile eşit ölçüde parlak ve sık sık daha da parlak kültürü ile dolup taşıyordu.

  • Jerash (Ürdün),
    Kartaca (Tunus),
    Baalbek (Lübnan),
    Leptis Magna (Libya),
    Tire (Lübnan), Volubilis (Fas),
    Palmyra (Suriye),
    Timgad (Cezayir),
    Qalaat Faqra (Lübnan),
    Apamea (Suriye),
    Amman (Ürdün) — tümü de Roma kültürünün parçaları oldular.

Jerash - XIII: Cardo Maximus. (Virtual tour)
Still paved with the original stones, the 800 m “Cardo Maximus”, connecting the elliptic square to the northern city gate, was the architectural spine and focal point of Gerasa. Its direction is slightly different from the foreseen direction N-S.
The colonnated street was remodeled in the late 2nd century AD, probably after 170 AD, and more elaborate Corinthian columns replaced the 500 Ionic ones.
The column heights are variable according to the dimensions of the buildings in front of which they stand up.
According to the architectural style in fashion in the rich regions of the Eastern part of the Roman empire, two Tetrapyla set the crossroad between the Cardo Maximus and the southern and northern Decumanus
On either side, a broad sidewalk with shops which can still be clearly seen. An underground sewage system ran the full length of the Cardo, and the regular holes at the sides of the street drained rainwater into the sewers.

Elliptical Plaza
Approx. I century AD
Gerasa, Jordan.

The Roman city of Gerasa and the modern Jerash (in the background)
The Oval forum and the Cardo maximus of Jerash seen from the South theater, Jordan (LINK)
Most of the ancient city of Gerasa was destroyed in an earthquake
in 749 AD, leading to comparisons to another great Roman city: Pompeii. The ruins were re-discovered in 1806 by German explorer Ulrich Jasper Seetzen.





"A noble wreck in ruinous perfection."—Byron.

The vast amphitheatre erected in the centre of ancient Rome by Vespasian was known to the ancient Romans as the Flavian Amphitheatre. It was begun by the Flavian emperors A.D. 72, and dedicated A.D. 80. It is 157 feet high, and is 1900 feet in circumference, and was built by the captive Jews after the fall of Jerusalem. Originally the upper story was of wood, but this was burned down, and it was rebuilt with travertine stone like the rest of the edifice. Martial tells us that its site was formerly occupied by the artificial lakes of Nero; and Marcellinus (xvi. x. 14) says, "The vast masses of the amphitheatre so solidly erected of Tiburtine stone, to the top of which human vision can scarcely reach." All the brickwork we now see are repairs at various dates after the dedication; but there is enough travertine left at different points to show that it was originally built of this stone, as recorded by the historian. For nearly five hundred years it was the popular resort of the Roman populace and their betters. There were eighty arches of entrance, and it held one hundred thousand people, and could be emptied in ten minutes; such were the order kept and regulations observed that there was no confusion. It was devoted to the exhibition of wild beasts, their fighting together, gladiators fighting together, or with beasts, and naval fights. On these latter displays the stage or arena was moved, water let in, and naval fights represented in real earnest.

Suetonius ("Vespasian," vii.), says, "He began an amphitheatre in the middle of the city, upon finding that Augustus had projected such a work." Ibid. ("Titus," vi.): "He entertained the people with most magnificent spectacles, and in one day brought into the amphitheatre five thousand wild beasts of all kinds."

The last display was given by Theodoric in 523; and in 555 the lower part was destroyed by a flood from the Tiber, when the whole of Rome was under water for seven days. From then we must date the ruin of the Flavian Amphitheatre—the Romans themselves hastening on the work, using the material for building purposes.

"Which on its public shows unpeopled Rome,
And held uncrowded nations in its womb."—Juvenal.

It is held by the Roman Church, on the authority of an inscription found in the Catacombs, that the architect of the Colosseum was one Gaudentius; but that inscription only says that he was employed there. We believe the architect to have been Aterius, whose monument is now in the Lateran, and upon which several buildings are represented of which he was no doubt the architect, also the machine used to raise the stones into their places. He flourished at the end of the first century, and, no doubt, these buildings shown in relief upon his tomb were erected by him, the dates agreeing; for if not, why should they be there represented?

First, we have an arch which says on it, "Arcus ad Isis." Now if we compare this with the Arch of Constantine, we find it is the same without the attic. Then we have the amphitheatre without the upper story; then an arch (query, Arch of Domitian?). Then another arch with the words, "Arcus in Sacra Via Summa:" compare this with the Arch of Titus, and, minus the restorations, it will be found to be the same. Then there is a temple agreeing with the descriptions of that of Jupiter Stator upon the Palatine. All these buildings were erected or rebuilt about this time, and from being recorded on this monument of the Aterii, tend to show that Aterius was the architect of them.

When perfect, the Colosseum consisted of four stories—the lowest, of the Doric order, 30 feet high; the second, Ionic, 38 feet high; the third, Corinthian, about the same height; and the fourth, also Corinthian, 44 feet high. The holes in the cornice with the corbels below them were to receive the masts that supported the velaria on the outside.

The numerous holes in the stone were made in the middle ages for the purpose of extracting the iron cramps that kept the stones from shifting. The long diameter is 658 feet, the shorter 558 feet; the arena is 298 feet by 177 in its widest part.

The last performance was a bull-fight, held at the expense of the Roman nobles, in the year 1332. Many martyrs are said to have perished in the Colosseum during the persecutions of the early Christians, and among others S. Ignatius, who was brought from Antioch to be devoured by wild beasts. Benedict XIV. consecrated the building to the Christian martyrs, A.D. 1750.

In excavating the Basilica of S. Clement, the Rev. Father Mullooly found (1870) the remains of S. Ignatius, and had them carried with great ceremony over the scene on the anniversary of his martyrdom.

At the present day there remains sufficient to indicate the construction of the building, though but a small portion of the immense outer shell, which originally both adorned and formed an impenetrable girdle round the whole, has been preserved. In the interior, a great deal of rebuilding has been necessary for its preservation.

Vast as the building is, its construction is easily understood; a simple segment of the whole serving to show how all the others succeed one another like the cells of a bee-hive.


The Project Gutenberg
Rambles in Rome, by S. Russell Forbes (1887)


📹 Fall of the Roman Empire / Khan Academy (VİDEO)

Fall of the Roman Empire / Khan Academy (LINK)

From the 3rd to the 5th centuries, the Roman Empire gets divided and less stable. The Western Roman Empire considered to end in 476 with control of Italy by Odoacer.


📹 The Fall of Rome Explained In 13 Minutes (VİDEO)

The Fall of Rome Explained In 13 Minutes (LINK)

The Fall of Rome/Fall of the Roman Empire marked a pivotal point in human history and ended Roman power in the west 1,000 years after the city’s foundation. The Roman empire, towards the end of its lifetime, could not stop the relentless barbarian attacks that chipped away at its borders until, by the time of Romulus, there was little more than Italy left. While the Eastern half of the empire, known as the Byzantine Empire, survived until 1453, the Western Roman Empire crumbled in the 5th century, never to be seen again.


Historiography of the fall of the Western Roman Empire

Historiography of the fall of the Western Roman Empire (W)

The causes and mechanisms of the Fall of the Western Roman Empire are a historical theme that was introduced by historian Edward Gibbon in his 1776 book The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. He started an ongoing historiographical discussion about what caused the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, and the reduced power of the remaining Eastern Empire, in the 4th-5th centuries.

Gibbon was not the first to speculate on why the Empire collapsed, but he was the first to give a well-researched and well-referenced account. Many theories of causality have been explored. In 1984, Alexander Demandt enumerated 210 different theories on why Rome fell, and new theories emerged thereafter. Gibbon himself explored ideas of

"From the eighteenth century onward," historian Glen Bowersock wrote, "we have been obsessed with the fall: it has been valued as an archetype for every perceived decline, and, hence, as a symbol for our own fears."

Overview of historiography

Historiographically, the primary issue historians have looked at when analyzing any theory is the continued existence of the Eastern Empire or Byzantine Empire, which lasted almost a thousand years after the fall of the West. For example, Gibbon implicates Christianity in the fall of the Western Empire, yet the eastern half of the Empire, which was even more Christian than the west in geographic extent, fervor, penetration and vast numbers continued on for a thousand years afterwards (although Gibbon did not consider the Eastern Empire to be much of a success). As another example, environmental or weather changes affected the east as much as the west, yet the east did not "fall."

Theories will sometimes reflect the particular concerns that historians might have on cultural, political, or economic trends in their own times. Gibbon’s criticism of Christianity reflects the values of the Enlightenment; his ideas on the decline in martial vigor could have been interpreted by some as a warning to the growing British Empire.

In the 19th century socialist and anti-socialist theorists tended to blame decadence and other political problems. More recently, environmental concerns have become popular, with deforestation and soil erosion proposed as major factors, and destabilizing population decreases due to epidemics such as early cases of bubonic plague and malaria also cited. Global climate changes of 535-536, perhaps caused by the possible eruption of Krakatoa in 535, as mentioned by David Keys and others, is another example.

Ideas about transformation with no distinct fall mirror the rise of the postmodern tradition, which rejects periodization concepts (see metanarrative). What is not new are attempts to diagnose Rome's particular problems, with Satire X, written by Juvenal in the early 2nd century at the height of Roman power, criticizing the peoples' obsession with "bread and circuses" and rulers seeking only to gratify these obsessions.

One of the primary reasons for the vast number of theories is the notable lack of surviving evidence from the 4th and 5th centuries. For example, there are so few records of an economic nature it is difficult to arrive at even a generalization of the economic conditions. Thus, historians must quickly depart from available evidence and comment based on how things ought to have worked, or based on evidence from previous and later periods, on inductive reasoning. As in any field where available evidence is sparse, the historian's ability to imagine the 4th and 5th centuries will play as important a part in shaping our understanding as the available evidence, and thus be open for endless interpretation.

The end of the Western Roman Empire traditionally has been seen by historians to mark the end of the Ancient Era and beginning of the Middle Ages. More recent schools of history, such as Late Antiquity, offer a more nuanced view from the traditional historical narrative.

There is no consensus on a date for the start of the Decline. Gibbon started his account in 98. The year 376 is taken as pivotal by many modern historians. In that year there was an unmanageable influx of Goths and other Barbarians into the Balkan provinces, and the situation of the Western Empire generally worsened thereafter, with recoveries being incomplete and temporary.

Significant events include the Battle of Adrianople in 378, the death of Theodosius I in 395 (the last time the Roman Empire was politically unified), the crossing of the Rhine in 406 by Germanic tribes, the execution of Stilicho in 408, the sack of Rome in 410, the death of Constantius III in 421, the death of Aetius in 454, and the second sack of Rome in 455, with the death of Majorian in 461 marking the end of the last opportunity for recovery.

Gibbon took September 4, 476 as a convenient marker for the final dissolution of the Western Roman Empire, when Romulus Augustus, the last Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, was deposed by Odoacer, a Germanic chieftain.

Some modern historians question the significance of the year 476 for its end. Julius Nepos, the Western emperor recognized by the Eastern Roman Empire, continued to rule in Dalmatia, until he was assassinated in 480. The Ostrogothic rulers of Italia considered themselves upholders of the direct line of Roman tradition, and the Eastern emperors considered themselves the sole rightful Roman rulers of a united empire. Roman cultural traditions continued throughout the territory of the Western Empire, and a recent school of interpretation argues that the great political changes can more accurately be described as a complex cultural transformation, rather than a fall.

Overview of events

The decline of the Roman Empire is one of the traditional markers of the end of Classical Antiquity and the beginning of the European Middle Ages. Throughout the 5th century, the Empire's territories in western Europe and northwestern Africa, including Italy, fell to various invading or indigenous peoples in what is sometimes called the Migration period. Although the eastern half still survived with borders essentially intact for several centuries (until the Muslim conquests), the Empire as a whole had initiated major cultural and political transformations since the Crisis of the Third Century, with the shift towards a more openly autocratic and ritualized form of government, the adoption of Christianity as the state religion, and a general rejection of the traditions and values of Classical Antiquity. While traditional historiography emphasized this break with Antiquity by using the term “Byzantine Empire” instead of Roman Empire, recent schools of history offer a more nuanced view, seeing mostly continuity rather than a sharp break. The Empire of Late Antiquity already looked very different from classical Rome.

The Roman Empire emerged from the Roman Republic when Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar transformed it from a republic into a monarchy. Rome reached its zenith in the 2nd century, then fortunes slowly declined (with many revivals and restorations along the way). The reasons for the decline of the Empire are still debated today, and are likely multiple. Historians infer that the population appears to have diminished in many provinces — especially western Europe — from the diminishing size of fortifications built to protect the cities from barbarian incursions from the 3rd century on. Some historians even have suggested that parts of the periphery were no longer inhabited because these fortifications were restricted to the center of the city only. Tree rings suggest "distinct drying" beginning in 250.

By the late 3rd century, the city of Rome no longer served as an effective capital for the Emperor and various cities were used as new administrative capitals. Successive emperors, starting with Constantine, privileged the eastern city of Byzantium, which he had entirely rebuilt after a siege. Later renamed Constantinople, and protected by formidable walls in the late 4th and early 5th centuries, it was to become the largest and most powerful city of Christian Europe in the Early Middle Ages. Since the Crisis of the Third Century, the Empire was intermittently ruled by more than one emperor at once (usually two), presiding over different regions. At first a haphazard form of power sharing, this eventually settled on an east–west administrative division between the Western Roman Empire (centered on Rome, but now usually presided from other seats of power such as Trier, Milan, and especially Ravenna), and the Eastern Roman Empire (with its capital initially in Nicomedia, and later Constantinople). The Latin-speaking west, under dreadful demographic crisis, and the wealthier Greek-speaking east, also began to diverge politically and culturally. Although this was a gradual process, still incomplete when Italy came under the rule of barbarian chieftains in the last quarter of the 5th century, it deepened further afterward, and had lasting consequences for the medieval history of Europe.

Throughout the 5th century, Western emperors were usually figureheads, while the Eastern emperors maintained more independence. For most of the time, the actual rulers in the West were military strongmen who took the titles of magister militum, patrician, or both, such as Stilicho, Aetius, and Ricimer. Although Rome was no longer the capital in the West, it remained the West's largest city and its economic center. But the city was sacked by rebellious Visigoths in 410 and by the Vandals in 455, events that shocked contemporaries and signaled the disintegration of Roman authority. Saint Augustine wrote The City of God partly as an answer to critics who blamed the sack of Rome by the Visigoths on the abandonment of the traditional pagan religions.

In June 474, Julius Nepos became Western Emperor but in the next year the magister militum Orestes revolted and made his son Romulus Augustus emperor. Romulus, however, was not recognized by the Eastern Emperor Zeno and so was technically an usurper, Nepos still being the legal Western Emperor. Nevertheless, Romulus Augustus is often known as the last Western Roman Emperor. In 476, after being refused lands in Italy, Orestes' Germanic mercenaries under the leadership of the chieftain Odoacer captured and executed Orestes and took Ravenna, the Western Roman capital at the time, deposing Romulus Augustus. The whole of Italy was quickly conquered, and Odoacer was granted the title of patrician by Zeno, effectively recognizing his rule in the name of the Eastern Empire. Odoacer returned the Imperial insignia to Constantinople and ruled as King in Italy. Following Nepos' death Theodoric the Great, King of the Ostrogoths, conquered Italy with Zeno's approval.

Meanwhile, much of the rest of the Western provinces were conquered by waves of Germanic invasions, most of them being disconnected politically from the East altogether and continuing a slow decline. Although Roman political authority in the West was lost, Roman culture would last in most parts of the former Western provinces into the 6th century and beyond.

The first invasions disrupted the West to some degree, but it was the Gothic War launched by the Eastern Emperor Justinian in the 6th century, and meant to reunite the Empire, that eventually caused the most damage to Italy, as well as straining the Eastern Empire militarily. Following these wars, Rome and other Italian cities would fall into severe decline (Rome itself was almost completely abandoned). Another blow came with the Persian invasion of the East in the 7th century, immediately followed by the Muslim conquests, especially of Egypt, which curtailed much of the key trade in the Mediterranean on which Europe depended.

The Empire was to live on in the East for many centuries, and enjoy periods of recovery and cultural brilliance, but its size would remain a fraction of what it had been in classical times. It became an essentially regional power, centered on Greece and Anatolia. Modern historians tend to prefer the term Byzantine Empire for the eastern, medieval stage of the Roman Empire.


Crisis of the Third Century AD 235-284

Crisis of the Third Century

Crisis of the Third Century (AD 235-284) (W)

The Crisis of the Third Century, also known as Military Anarchy or the Imperial Crisis (AD 235-284), was a period in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed under the combined pressures of

The crisis began with the assassination of Emperor Severus Alexander by his own troops in 235. This initiated a 50-year period during which there were at least 26 claimants to the title of emperor, mostly prominent Roman army generals, who assumed imperial power over all or part of the Empire. The same number of men became accepted by the Roman Senate as emperor during this period and so became legitimate emperors.

By 268, the empire had split into three competing states:

The Roman, Gallic and Palmyrene Empires in 271 AD.

Later, Aurelian (270-275) reunited the empire; the crisis ended with the ascension and reforms of Diocletian in 284.

The crisis resulted in such profound changes in the empire's institutions, society, economic life and, eventually, religion, that it is increasingly seen by most historians as defining the transition between the historical periods of classical antiquity and late antiquity.


After the Roman Empire had been stabilized, once again, after the turmoil of the Year of the Five Emperors (193) in the reign of Septimius Severus, the later Severan dynasty lost more and more control.

The army required larger and larger bribes to remain loyal. Septimius Severus raised the pay of legionaries, and gave substantial donativum to the troops. The large and ongoing increase in military expenditure caused problems for all of his successors. His son Caracalla raised the annual pay and lavished many benefits on the army in accordance with the advice of his father to keep their loyalty, and considered dividing the Empire into eastern and western sectors with his brother Geta to reduce the conflict in their co-rule.

The situation of the Roman Empire became dire in 235. Many Roman legions had been defeated during a previous campaign against Germanic peoples raiding across the borders, while the emperor Severus Alexander had been focused primarily on the dangers from the Sassanid Empire. Leading his troops personally, the emperor resorted to diplomacy and accepting tribute to pacify the Germanic chieftains quickly, rather than military conquest. According to Herodian this cost Severus Alexander the respect of his troops, who may have felt that more severe punishment was required for the tribes that had intruded on Rome's territory. The troops assassinated Severus Alexander and proclaimed the new emperor to be Maximinus Thrax, commander of one of the legions present.

Maximinus was the first of the barracks emperors – rulers who were elevated by the troops without having any political experience, a supporting faction, distinguished ancestors, or a legitimate claim to the imperial throne. As their rule rested on military might and generalship, they operated as warlords reliant on the army to maintain power. Maximinus continued the campaigns in Germania but struggled to exert his authority over the whole empire. The Senate was displeased at having to accept a peasant as Emperor. This precipitated the chaotic Year of the Six Emperors during which all of the original claimants were killed: in 238 a revolt broke out in Africa led by Gordian I and Gordian II, which was soon supported by the Roman Senate, but this was quickly defeated with Gordian II killed and Gordian I committing suicide. The Senate, fearing Imperial wrath, raised two of their own as co-Emperors, Pupienus and Balbinus with Gordian I's grandson Gordian III as Caesar. Maximinus marched on Rome but was assassinated by his Legio II Parthica, and subsequently Pupienus and Balbinus were murdered by the Praetorian Guard.

In the following years, numerous generals of the Roman army fought each other for control of the empire and neglected their duties of defending it from invasion. There were frequent raids across the Rhine and Danube frontier by foreign tribes, including the Carpians, Goths, Vandals, and Alamanni, and attacks from Sassanids in the east. Climate changes and a sea level rise disrupted the agriculture of what is now the Low Countries, forcing tribes residing in the region to migrate into Roman lands. Further disruption arose in 251, when the Plague of Cyprian (possibly smallpox) broke out. This plague caused large-scale death, severely weakening the empire. The situation was worsened in 260 when the emperor Valerian was captured in battle by the Sassanids (he later died in captivity).

Throughout the period, numerous usurpers claimed the imperial throne. In the absence of a strong central authority, the empire broke into three competing states. The Roman provinces of Gaul, Britain, and Hispaniabroke off to form the Gallic Empire in 260. The eastern provinces of Syria, Palestine, and Aegyptus also became independent as the Palmyrene Empire in 267. The remaining provinces, centered on Italy, stayed under a single ruler but now faced threats on every side.

An invasion of Macedonia and Greece by Goths, who had been displaced from their lands on the Black Sea, was defeated by emperor Claudius II Gothicus at the Battle of Naissus in 268 or 269. Historians see this victory as the turning point of the crisis. In its aftermath, a series of tough, energetic barracks emperors were able to reassert central authority. Further victories by Claudius Gothicus drove back the Alamanni and recovered Hispania from the Gallic Empire. He died of the plague in 270 and was succeeded by Aurelian, who had commanded the cavalry at Naissus. Aurelian reigned (270-275) through the worst of the crisis, gradually restoring the empire. He defeated the Vandals, Visigoths, Palmyrene Empire, and finally the remainder of the Gallic Empire. By late 274, the Roman Empire had been reunited into a single entity. However, Aurelian was assassinated in 275, sparking a further series of competing emperors with short reigns. The situation didn't stabilize until Diocletian, himself a barracks emperor, took power in 284.

More than a century would pass before Rome again lost military ascendancy over its external enemies. However, dozens of formerly thriving cities, especially in the Western Empire, had been ruined. Their populations were dead or dispersed and could not be rebuilt, due to the economic breakdown caused by constant warfare. The economy had been ruined by the breakdown in trading networks and the debasement of the currency. Major cities and towns, including Rome itself, had not needed fortifications for many centuries, but now surrounded themselves with thick walls.

Fundamental problems with the empire still remained. The right of imperial succession had never been clearly defined, which was a factor in the continuous civil wars as competing factions in the military, Senate, and other parties put forward their favored candidate for emperor. The sheer size of the empire, which had been an issue since the late Roman Republic three centuries earlier, continued to make it difficult for a single ruler to effectively counter multiple threats at the same time. These continuing problems were addressed by the radical reforms of Diocletian, who broke the cycle of usurpation. He began by sharing his rule with a colleague, then formally established the Tetrarchy of four co-emperors in 293. Historians regard this as the end of the crisis period, which had lasted 58 years. However the trend of civil war would continue after the abdication of Diocletian in the Civil wars of the Tetrarchy (306-324) until the rise of Constantine the Great as sole Emperor. The empire survived until 476 in the West and until 1453 in the East.

Causes (W)

The problem of succession and civil war
Unlike other countries which have clearly defined rules for succession to the throne (e.g. the British line of succession), the Roman Empire had no clear process for becoming emperor. Because the empire maintained the facade of a republic for much of the Principate, the ability to become emperor was never limited to one family. A combination of appeasement of the army, Senatorial consent, and general approval by the populace allowed the emperors of the Antonine dynasty to hold on to power. When Septimius Severus seized the imperial throne after battling various rival claimants, the truth of succession became obvious. Septimius Severus was not related to the Antonine emperors and only managed to secure the throne by defeating his competitors in war. This brought to light the fact that whoever controlled the armies had the ability to become emperor. For the rest of the 3rd Century, Rome would be ruled by a series of generals, coming into power through frequent civil wars which devastated the empire.

Natural disasters
The first and most immediately disastrous of the natural disasters that the Roman Empire faced during the Third Century was the plague. The Antonine Plague that preceded the Crisis of the Third Century sapped manpower from Roman armies and proved disastrous for the Roman economy. From 249 AD to 262 AD, the Cyprian Plague devastated the Roman Empire so much so that some cities, such as the city of Alexandria, experienced a 62% decline in population. These plagues greatly hindered the Roman Empire's ability to ward off barbarian invasions but also factored into problems such as famine, with many farms becoming abandoned and unproductive.

A second and longer-term natural disaster that took place during the Third Century was the increased variability of weather. Drier summers meant less agricultural productivity and more extreme weather events led to agricultural instability. This could also have contributed to the increased barbarian pressure on Roman borders, as they too would have experienced the detrimental effects of climate change and sought to push inward to more productive regions of the Mediterranean.

Foreign invasions
Barbarian invasions came in the wake of civil war, plague, and famine. Pressures from climate change forced various barbarian tribes to push into Roman territory. Other tribes coalesced into more formidable entities (notably the Alamanni and Franks), or were pushed out of their former territories by more dangerous peoples such as the Huns. Eventually, the frontiers would be stabilized by the Illyrian Emperors. However, barbarian migrations into the empire would continue in greater and greater numbers. Though these migrants would initially be closely monitored and assimilated, later tribes would eventually enter the Roman Empire en masse with their weapons, giving only token recognition of Roman authority.

The defensive battles that Rome had to endure on the Danube since the 230s, however, paled in comparison to the threat the empire faced in the East. There, Sassanid Persia represented a far greater danger to Rome than the isolated attacks of Germanic tribes. The Sassanids had in 224 and 226 overthrown the Parthian Arsacids, and the Persian King Ardashir I, who also wanted to prove his legitimacy through military successes, had already penetrated into Roman territory at the time of Severus Alexander, probably taking the strategically important cities of Nisibis and Carrhae.

Severan dynasty (193-235) (W)

The Severan dynasty was a Roman imperial dynasty, which ruled the Roman Empire between 193 and 235. The dynasty was founded by the general Septimius Severus, who rose to power as the victor of the Civil War of 193-197.

Although Septimius Severus successfully restored peace following the upheaval of the late 2nd century, the dynasty was disturbed by highly unstable family relationships, as well as constant political turmoil foreshadowing the imminent Crisis of the Third Century. It was one of the last lineages of the Principate founded by Augustus.

Year of the Five Emperors (AD 193) (W)

The Year of the Five Emperors refers to the year 193 AD, in which the five claimants for the title of Roman Emperor were: Pertinax, Didius Julianus, Pescennius Niger, Clodius Albinus, and Septimius Severus. This year started a period of civil war when multiple rulers vied for the chance to become Caesar.

The political unrest began with the murder of Emperor Commodus on New Year's Eve 192 AD. Once Commodus was assassinated, Pertinax was named emperor, but immediately aroused opposition in the Praetorian Guardwhen he attempted to initiate reforms. They then plotted his assassination, and Pertinax was killed while trying to reason with the mutineers. He had only been emperor for three months. Didius Julianus, who purchased the title from the Praetorian Guard, succeeded Pertinax, but was ousted by Septimius Severus and executed on June 1. Severus was declared Caesar by the Senate, but Pescennius Niger was hostile when he declared himself emperor. This started the civil war between Niger and Severus; both gathered troops and fought throughout the territory of the empire. Due to this war, Severus allowed Clodius Albinus, whom he suspected of being a threat, to be co-Caesar so that Severus did not have to preoccupy himself with imperial governance. This move allowed him to concentrate on waging the war against Niger. Most historians count Severus and Albinus as two emperors, though they ruled simultaneously. The Severan dynasty was created out of the chaos of 193 AD.

Nerva-Antonine dynasty (96-192) (W)

The Nerva-Antonine dynasty was a dynasty of seven Roman Emperors who ruled over the Roman Empire from 96 CE to 192 CE. These Emperors are Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Lucius Verus, Marcus Aurelius, and Commodus.

The first five of the six successions within this dynasty were notable in that the reigning Emperor adopted the candidate of his choice to be his successor. Under Roman law, an adoption established a bond legally as strong as that of kinship. Because of this, all but the first and last of the Nerva-Antonine emperors are called Adoptive Emperors.

The importance of official adoption in Roman society has often been considered as a conscious repudiation of the principle of dynastic inheritance and has been deemed one of the factors of the period's prosperity. However, this was not a new practice. It was common for patrician families to adopt, and Roman emperors had adopted heirs in the past: the Emperor Augustus had adopted Tiberius and the Emperor Claudius had adopted Nero, Julius Caesar, dictator perpetuo and considered to be instrumental in the transition from Republic to Empire, adopted Gaius Octavius, who would become Augustus, Rome's first emperor. Moreover, there was a family connection as Trajan adopted his first cousin once removed and great-nephew by marriage Hadrian, and Hadrian made his half-nephew by marriage and heir Antoninus Pius adopt both Hadrian's second cousin three times removed and half-great-nephew by marriage Marcus Aurelius, also Antoninus' nephew by marriage, and the son of his original planned successor, Lucius Verus. The naming by Marcus Aurelius of his son Commodus was considered to be an unfortunate choice and the beginning of the Empire's decline.

With Commodus' murder in 192, the Nerva-Antonine dynasty came to an end; it was followed by a period of turbulence known as the Year of the Five Emperors.

Flavian dynasty (69-96) (W)

The Flavian dynasty was a Roman imperial dynasty, which ruled the Roman Empire between 69 AD and 96 AD, encompassing the reigns of Vespasian (69-79), and his two sons Titus (79-81) and Domitian (81-96). The Flavians rose to power during the civil war of 69, known as the Year of the Four Emperors. After Galba and Otho died in quick succession, Vitellius became emperor in mid 69. His claim to the throne was quickly challenged by legions stationed in the Eastern provinces, who declared their commander Vespasian emperor in his place. The Second Battle of Bedriacum tilted the balance decisively in favour of the Flavian forces, who entered Rome on December 20. The following day, the Roman Senate officially declared Vespasian emperor of the Roman Empire, thus commencing the Flavian dynasty. Although the dynasty proved to be short-lived, several significant historic, economic and military events took place during their reign.

The reign of Titus was struck by multiple natural disasters, the most severe of which was the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79. The surrounding cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were completely buried under ash and lava. One year later, Rome was struck by fire and a plague. On the military front, the Flavian dynasty witnessed the siege and destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 70, following the failed Jewish rebellion of 66. Substantial conquests were made in Great Britain under command of Gnaeus Julius Agricola between 77 and 83, while Domitian was unable to procure a decisive victory against King Decebalus in the war against the Dacians. In addition, the Empire strengthened its border defenses by expanding the fortifications along the Limes Germanicus.

The Flavians also initiated economic and cultural reforms. Under Vespasian, new taxes were devised to restore the Empire's finances, while Domitian revalued the Roman coinage by increasing its silver content. A massive building programme was enacted by Titus, to celebrate the ascent of the Flavian dynasty, leaving multiple enduring landmarks in the city of Rome, the most spectacular of which was the Flavian Amphitheatre, better known as the Colosseum.

Flavian rule came to an end on September 18, 96, when Domitian was assassinated. He was succeeded by the longtime Flavian supporter and advisor Marcus Cocceius Nerva, who founded the long-lived Nerva-Antonine dynasty.

The Flavian dynasty was unique among the four dynasties of the Principate Era, in that it was only one man and his two sons, without any extended or adopted family.

Year of the Four Emperors (W)

The Year of the Four Emperors, 69 AD, was a year in the history of the Roman Empire in which four emperors ruled in succession: Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian.

The suicide of the emperor Nero in 68 was followed by a brief period of civil war, the first Roman civil war since Mark Antony's death in 30 BC. Between June of 68 and December of 69 Galba, Otho, and Vitellius successively rose and fell, the latter overlapping with the July 69 accession of Vespasian, who founded the Flavian dynasty. The social, military and political upheavals of the period had Empire-wide repercussions, which included the outbreak of the Revolt of the Batavi.

Julio-Claudian dynasty (27 BC-AD 68) (W)

The Julio-Claudian dynasty was the first Roman imperial dynasty, consisting of the first five emperors Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero or the family to which they belonged. They ruled the Roman Empire from its formation under Augustus in 27 BC until AD 68, when the last of the line, Nero, committed suicide. The name "Julio-Claudian dynasty" is a historiographical term derived from the two main branches of the imperial family: the gens Julia (Julii Caesares) and gens Claudia (Claudii Nerones).

Primogeniture is notably absent in the history of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Neither Augustus, Caligula, nor Nero fathered a natural and legitimate son. Tiberius' own son, Drusus predeceased him. Only Claudius was outlived by his son, Britannicus, although he opted to promote his adopted son Nero as his successor to the throne. Adoption ultimately became a tool that most Julio-Claudian emperors utilized in order to promote their chosen heir to the front of the succession. Augustus—himself an adopted son of his great-uncle, the Roman dictator Julius Caesar—adopted his stepson Tiberius as his son and heir. Tiberius was, in turn, required to adopt his nephew Germanicus, the father of Caligula and brother of Claudius. Caligula adopted his cousin Tiberius Gemellus (grandson of the emperor Tiberius) shortly before executing him. Claudius adopted his great-nephew and stepson Nero, who, lacking a natural or adopted son of his own, ended the reign of the Julio-Claudian dynasty with his fall from power and subsequent suicide.

The ancient historians who dealt with the Julio-Claudian period — chiefly Suetonius (c. 69 – after 122 AD) and Tacitus (c. 56 – after AD 117) — write in generally negative terms about their reign. In Tacitus's historiography of the Julio-Claudian emperors, he states:

But the successes and reverses of the old Roman people have been recorded by famous historians; and fine intellects were not wanting to describe the times of Augustus, till growing sycophancy scared them away. The histories of Tiberius, Gaius, Claudius, and Nero, while they were in power, were falsified through terror, and after their death were written under the irritation of a recent hatred.

Crisis of the Third Century
Reign of Maximinus Thrax (235-238)

Year of the Six Emperors

Reign of Gordian III

Reign of Philip the Arab (244-249)

Reign of Decius and Herennius Etruscus (249-251)

Reign of Trebonianus Gallus (251-253)

Reign of Aemilianus (253)

Reign of Valerian and Gallienus (253-260)

Reign of Gallienus (260-268)

Reign of Claudius
II (268-270)

Reign of Aurelian

Roman imperial dynasties
Crisis of the Third Century
Barracks Emperors 235284
Gordian dynasty 238244
Valerian dynasty 253261
Gallic Emperors 260274
Illyrian Emperors 268284
Caran dynasty 282285
Britannic Emperors 286297
Preceded by
Severan dynasty
Followed by
Diocletian and the Tetrarchy


🎨 Sack of Rome

Sack of Rome (W)

Historical events involving the city of Rome

Sack of Rome

"Brennus and His Share of the Spoils", also known as: "Spoils of the Battle"
Battle of the Allia (W). The Battle of the Allia was fought between the Senones (one of the Gallic tribes which had invaded northern Italy) and the Roman Republic.

The Sack of Rome by the Barbarians in 410 by Joseph-Noël Sylvestre.
The Sack of Rome occurred on 24 August 410 AD. The city was attacked by the Visigoths led by King Alaric.

Genseric sacking Rome, by Karl Briullov.
The sack of 455 was the third of four ancient sacks of Rome; it was conducted by the Vandals, who were then at war with the usurping Western Roman Emperor Petronius Maximus.


📹 Crisis of the Third Century of the Roman Empire (VİDEO)

📹 Crisis of the Third Century of the Roman Empire (LINK)

The Crisis of the Third Century was one of the events that brought the Roman empire to the brink of collapse: Economic crisis, internal strifes and foreign incursions continued for decades, while around 50 emperors and pretenders competed for the throne. A number of political and military leaders, among them Odaenathus, Aurelian, and Diocletian attempted to keep the territory of the Empire intact, while a number of Germanic tribes and the newly formed Sassanid Empire attacked it relentlessly. New states called the Palmyran Empire, and Gallic empire wer founded and the Roman Empire was truly divided.


📹 Emperor Aurelian / In Five Minutes (VİDEO)

📹 Emperor Aurelian / In Five Minutes (LINK)

The Roman Emperor Aurelian, who ruled briefly from 270 C.E. to 275 C.E., was among the most successful Roman Emperors of the Third Century. During his brief reign, he threw back multiple barbarian incursions and reconquered the breakaway Gallic and Palmyrene Empires. Known for the imposing walls he built around the city of Rome - which still stand today - Aurelian was tragically assassinated in 275 C.E. while preparing to campaign against the Sasanian Empire, Rome's arch nemesis to the east.


📹 Zenobia — The Warrior Queen of Palmyra (VİDEO)

📹 Zenobia—The Warrior Queen of Palmyra (LINK)


  Barbar Göçleri (Völkerwanderung)

🛑 İmparatorluk Geçicidir

  • Doğusunda bulunan Helenik ve Helenistik uygarlıkların ardılı olarak, “Roma” dünyasının Batı sınırları bir barbarlar ve yarı-barbarlar dünyası tarafından çiziliyordu.
  • Barbar Göçleri yaklaşık olarak 300 gibi erken bir tarihte başladı ve 6’ncı yüzyıl (ve belki de 7’nci yüzyıl) boyunca sürdü.
  • Büyük çoğunluğu Germanik boylardan oluşan göç dalgaları Roma İmparatorluğu tarafından assimile edilemeyecek denli büyüktü (yaklaşık olarak 1 milyonluk bir nüfus).
  • Tarihsel olguların ortaya çıkışını tek bir neden ile açıklamak yerine, tüm koşulları bulunduğunda olgu ortaya çıkar demek daha iyidir.
  • Roma İmparatorluğunun Batı bölümünün çöküşü çok nedenlidir.


  • Roma İmparatorluğu geçici idi, çünkü insan doğasına (hak, ahlak ve etik kavramlarına) bütünüyle uygun düşmüyordu.
  • İmparatorlukta halk istençsizdir ve egemenlik tek bir bireyin istencinde toplanır; hak ve özgürlük yalnızca onun istenci tarafından belirlenir.


  • Bütününde İmparatorluk oluş sürecinde olan bir etik yapıdır, kendi ortadan kalkışına doğru gelişir, ve tekerklik biçimi en sonunda özgür ulusların gelişimi tarafından ortadan kaldırılır.
  • Ulus bilincinin doğuşu evrensel özgürlük bilincinin doğuşunun bir sonucudur.
  • Kültürün süredurumu imparatorluğun sürekliliğini sağlar. (İmparatorların sözde “başlangıç, gelişim ve çöküş dönemleri” kuramı için kanıt yalnızca ressamların tablolarıdır. Çin ve Hint kültürleri ve başka birçokları modern dönemde kendilerinden daha güçlü imparatorluklar ile karşılaşıncaya dek varlıklarını sürdürdü.)
  • Tikel imparatorluklar başka tikel imparatorluklar tarafından ortadan kaldırılır.
  • Roma İmparatorluğunun ortadan kalkışı Batı bölgesinin barbarlar tarafından istila edilmesi ile başladı ve Konstantinopolis’in Osmanlılar tarafından alınması ile tamamlandı.
  • Roma İmparatorluğunun batı yarısı İS 476’da batıdaki son Roma imparatoru Romulus Augustulus’un Odoacer tarafından tahttan indirilmesinden sonra estetik, etik ve entellektüel bir düzen olarak bütünüyle ortadan kalktı.

📹 Die Völkerwanderung (VİDEO)

Die Völkerwanderung (LINK)

Was war die Völkerwanderung und wer wanderte eigentlich wohin dabei? Das erklären wir dir hier!

Vor einigen Jahrhunderten gab es richtig viel Bewegung in Europa, denn als das römische Reich langsam zu Ende ging begannen viele verschiedene Volksstämme umherzuwandern und nach einem besseren Leben zu suchen. Das nennen wir die Völkerwanderung.

Mit der Völkerwanderung sind vor allem die Wanderungen der Hunnen und der germanischen Stämme in die Gebiete des römischen Reiches gemeint. Das fand ungefähr zwischen 375 und 568 nach Christus statt.

Zum einen lag das daran, dass sie selbst von anderen Stämmen aus ihrer Heimat vertrieben worden waren.
Zum anderen gab es Klimaschwankungen und Missernten, die zu Kälte und Hunger führten.
Darum wanderten die Menschen meist in Richtung Süden ab.

Die Völkerwanderung begann mit den Hunnen. Die vertrieben 375 nach Christus zunächst die Goten, die am Schwarzen Meer ansässig waren.

Die vertriebenen Goten baten nun um Aufnahme in das Römische Reich. Sie boten den Römern im Gegenzug militärische Hilfe an. Doch die Aufnahme und Integration der Goten funktionierte nicht besonders gut und deswegen kam es zu einer Schlacht, die die Goten gegen die Römer gewannen.

Nun siedelten sich die Goten im Römischen Reich an und das kam Rom letztlich zu Gute, denn 451 kämpften die Westgoten zusammen mit den Römern gemeinsam gegen die Hunnen. Diese Schlacht ist als „Die Schlacht auf den katalaunischen Feldern“ bekannt geworden.

Doch Rom kam einfach nicht zur Ruhe. 455 nach Christus fielen die germanischen Vandalen in Rom ein. Sie kamen von Nordafrika her, eroberten Rom und plünderten es.

Der letzte weströmische Kaiser, Romulus Augustus, wurde dann von dem germanischen Truppenführer, Odoaker, abgesetzt.

Doch seine Macht war nicht sehr lang, weil der ostgotische König Theoderich Krieg gegen Odoaker führte und ihn schließlich umbrachte. Damit war Theoderich Herrscher über Italien.

Die Völkerwanderung endete mit dem germanischen Stamm der Langobarden. Sie kamen 568 nach Christus über die Alpen und eroberten Norditalien.

Zusammengefasst: Die Völkerwanderung begann mit dem Einfall der Hunnen nach Europa um 375, und als Ende gilt die Eroberung Norditaliens durch die Langobarden 568.



Odoacer, the first barbarian king of Italy, meets Severin.

  • 376’da Gotlar Tuna Nehri cephesinde göründüler; Roma topraklarına hem barışçıl olarak hem de zor yoluyla girdiler.

Danube basin.

  • Göçmen nüfus sayıları 10.000 ile 20.000 arasında değişen gruplardan oluşuyordu ve ilk 10 yıl içinde sayıları 1.000.000’a yaklaştı.
  • Germenler göçebe Parsilerin, Dorların, Arapların, Türklerin ya da giderek Moğolların bile yaptığı şeyi yapamadılar ve yüksek kültürü bütünüyle yadsıdılar.
  • Avrupa’da Katolik Kilise ve Germanik Göçler birlikte duran fenomenlerdir.
  • Germenler Avrupa’da yeni bir dönem, Karanlık Orta Çağlar dönemini başlattılar.
  • Uygarlıktan bütünüyle yalıtılmış bir kültür olarak Vandallar salt etnik bir karakter sergilediler.

Genseric’s Vandals in Italy.
  • Gotik kabileler ilk olarak kuzey Polonya’dan geldiler (Romalıların sandığı gibi İskandinavya’dan değil).
  • Batı Roma barbarlar ile birlikte varolmaya çabalarken, Doğu Roma barbar göçlerinden daha az etkilendi.
  • Roma İmparatorluğu doğuda Persler, Araplar ve Türkler ile komşu idi.
  • Roma topraklarının batısında İmparatorluğun yeri Barbar Krallıklar tarafından dolduruldu (Gotlar, Lombardlar).
  • Roma toprakları Asya’da önce Araplar, sonra Selçuklular, ve sonra Osmanlılar tarafından ele geçirildi.


🗺 German migrations, 150-1066

German migrations, 150-1066


📹 Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (VİDEO)

Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (LINK)

The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest took place in the Teutoburg Forest in 9 CE, when an alliance of Germanic tribes ambushed and decisively destroyed three Roman legions and their auxiliaries, led by Publius Quinctilius Varus. The anti-Roman alliance was led by Arminius, who had acquired Roman citizenship and received a Roman military education, thus enabling him to personally deceive the Roman commander and foresee the Roman army's tactical responses.



Born into a noble family of the Germanic Cherusci tribe around 18 B.C., Arminius (known in Germany as Hermann) was plucked from his home by the Romans as a boy and served in the Roman army. In 9 A.D., his Cherusci forces ambushed and massacred three Roman legions under Publius Quinctilius Varus, governor of the province of Germania, in Teutoburg Forest. In the wake of the humiliating defeat — after which a crushed Varus fell on his own sword — the Romans withdrew behind the Rhine, and did not attempt any further invasions.

Though Arminius would be hailed as a nationalist hero during the unification of Germany in the late 19th century, his reputation suffered in the wake of World War II, when modern Germans associated his historic exploits with the militant nationalism of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. (L)



Barbarian (W)

A barbarian is a human who is perceived to be either uncivilized or primitive. The designation is usually applied as generalization based on a popular stereotype; barbarians can be any member of a nation judged by some to be less civilized or orderly (such as a tribal society), but may also be part of a certain "primitive" cultural group (such as nomads) or social class (such as bandits) both within and outside one's own nation. Alternatively, they may instead be admired and romanticised as noble savages. In idiomatic or figurative usage, a "barbarian" may also be an individual reference to a brutal, cruel, warlike, and insensitive person.

Germanic warriors as depicted in Philipp Clüver's Germania Antiqua (1616).


The term originates from the Greek: βάρβαρος (barbaros pl. βάρβαροι barbaroi). In Ancient Greece, the Greeks used the term towards those who did not speak Greek and follow classical Greek customs.

In Ancient Rome, the Romans used the term towards tribal non-Romans such as the Germanics, Celts, Gauls, Iberians, Thracians, Illyrians, Berbers, Parthians, and Sarmatians. In the early modern period and sometimes later, the Byzantine Greeks used it for the Turks, in a clearly pejorative manner.


The Ancient Greek name βάρβαρος (barbaros), "barbarian", was an antonym for πολίτης (politēs), “citizen” (from πόλις – polis, “city-state”). The earliest attested form of the word is the Mycenaean Greek 𐀞𐀞𐀫, pa-pa-ro, written in Linear B syllabic script.

The Greeks used the term barbarian for all non-Greek-speaking peoples, including the Egyptians, Persians, Medes and Phoenicians, emphasizing their otherness. According to Greek writers, this was because the language they spoke sounded to Greeks like gibberish represented by the sounds “bar ... bar ...;” the alleged root of the word βάρβαρος, which is an echomimetic or onomatopoeic word. However, in various occasions, the term was also used by Greeks, especially the Athenians, to deride other Greek tribes and states (such as Epirotes, Eleans, Macedonians, Boeotians and Aeolic-speakers) but also fellow Athenians, in a pejorative and politically motivated manner. Of course, the term also carried a cultural dimension to its dual meaning. The verb βαρβαρίζω (barbarízō) in ancient Greek meant to behave or talk like a barbarian, or to hold with the barbarians.

Plato (Statesman 262de) rejected the Greek-barbarian dichotomy as a logical absurdity on just such grounds: dividing the world into Greeks and non-Greeks told one nothing about the second group, yet Plato used the term barbarian frequently in his seventh letter. In Homer's works, the term appeared only once (Iliad 2.867), in the form βαρβαρόφωνος (barbarophonos) ("of incomprehensible speech"), used of the Carians fighting for Troy during the Trojan War. In general, the concept of barbaros did not figure largely in archaic literature before the 5th century BC.[15] It has been suggested that the "barbarophonoi" in the Iliad signifies not those who spoke a non-Greek language but simply those who spoke Greek badly.

A change occurred in the connotations of the word after the Greco-Persian Wars in the first half of the 5th century BC. Here a hasty coalition of Greeks defeated the vast Persian Empire. Indeed, in the Greek of this period 'barbarian' is often used expressly to refer to Persians, who were enemies of the Greeks in this war.

The Romans used the term barbarus for uncivilised people, opposite to Greek or Roman, and in fact, it became a common term to refer to all foreigners among Romans after Augustus age (as, among the Greeks, after the Persian wars, the Persians), including the Germanic peoples, Persians, Gauls, Phoenicians and Carthaginians.


Migration Period

Migration Period (375 AD-538 AD) (W)

Invasions of the Roman Empire, 100-500 CE.


The Migration Period was a period that lasted from 375 AD (possibly as early as 300 AD) to 538 AD, during which there were widespread migrations of peoples within or into Europe, during and after the decline of the Western Roman Empire, mostly into Roman territory, notably the Germanic tribes and the Huns. This period has also been termed in English by the German loanword Völkerwanderung and — from the Roman and Greek perspective — the Barbarian Invasions. Many of the migrations were movements of Germanic, Hunnic, Slavic and other peoples into the territory of the then declining Roman Empire, with or without accompanying invasions or war.

Historians give differing dates regarding the duration of this period, but the Migration Period is typically regarded as beginning with the invasion of Europe by the Huns from Asia in 375 and ending either with the conquest of Italy by the Lombards in 568, or at some point between 700 and 800.

Various factors contributed to this phenomenon, and the role and significance of each one is still very much discussed among experts on the subject. Starting in 382, the Roman Empire and individual tribes made treaties regarding their settlement in its territory. The Franks, a Germanic tribe that would later found Francia — a predecessor of modern France and Germany — settled in the Roman Empire and were given a task of securing the northeastern Gaul border. Western Roman rule was first violated with the Crossing of the Rhine and the following invasions of the Vandals and Suebi. With wars ensuing between various tribes, as well as local populations in the Western Roman Empire, more and more power was transferred to Germanic and Roman militaries.

There are contradicting opinions whether the fall of the Western Roman Empire was a result or a cause of these migrations, or both.

The Eastern Roman Empire was less affected by migrations and survived until the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453.

In the modern period, the Migration Period was increasingly described with a rather negative connotation, and seen more as contributing to the fall of the empire. In place of the fallen Western Rome, Barbarian kingdoms arose in the 5th and 6th centuries and decisively shaped the European Early Middle Ages.

The migrants comprised war bands or tribes of 10,000 to 20,000 people, but in the course of 100 years they numbered not more than 750,000 in total, compared to an average 39.9 million population of the Roman Empire at that time.

Although immigration was common throughout the time of the Roman Empire, the period in question was, in the 19th century, often defined as running from about the 5th to 8th centuries AD. The first migrations of peoples were made by Germanic tribes such as the

the Goths (including the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths),

they were later pushed westward by

19th century portrayal of the Huns as barbarians. (W)


Later invasions — such as the Viking, the Norman, the Varangian, the Hungarian, the Moorish, the Turkic and the Mongol— also had significant effects (especially in North Africa, the Iberian Peninsula, Anatolia and Central and Eastern Europe); however, they are usually considered outside the scope of the Migration Period.


“Invasion of the Barbarians” or “The Huns approaching Rome,” by Ulpiano Checa.

This fresco depicts the meeting between the Pope Leo I and Attila the Hun, and includes the images of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the sky bearing swords. Fresco was painted in 1514 by Raffael.



📕 Ammianus Marcellinus, The Movement Of The Huns And Goths Into The Roman Empire, Late 4th Century

Ammianus Marcellinus, The Movement Of The Huns And Goths Into The Roman Empire, Late 4th Century (W)

Ammianus Marcellinus (c.325-c.391) was a Roman historian who wrote a history of the Roman world from 96 to 378. In this passage he describes the Huns and the passage of the Goths into the Empire around the year 376.

“Attila” — Eugene Ferdinand Victor Delacroix, fragment.

The people called Huns, barely mentioned in ancient records, live beyond the sea of Azof, on the border of the Frozen Ocean, and are a race savage beyond all parallel. At the very moment of birth the cheeks of their infant children are deeply marked by an iron, in order that the hair instead of growing at the proper season on their faces, may be hindered by the scars; accordingly the Huns grow up without beards, and without any beauty. They all have closely knit and strong limbs and plump necks; they are of great size, and low-legged, so that you might fancy them two-legged beasts, or the stout figures which are hewn out in a rude manner with an ax on the posts at the end of bridges.

They are certainly in the shape of men, however uncouth, and are so hardy that they neither require fire nor well flavored food, but live on the roots of such herbs as they get in the fields, or on the half-raw flesh of any animal, which they merely warm rapidly by placing it between their own thighs and the backs of their horses.

They never shelter themselves under roofed houses, but avoid them, as people ordinarily avoid sepulchers as things not fit for common use. Nor is there even to be found among them a cabin thatched with reeds; but they wander about, roaming over the mountains and the woods, and accustom themselves to bear frost and hunger and thirst from their very cradles. . . .

There is not a person in the whole nation who cannot remain on his horse day and night. On horseback they buy and sell, they take their meat and drink, and there they recline on the narrow neck of their steed, and yield to sleep so deep as to indulge in every variety of dream.

And when any deliberation is to take place on any weighty matter, they all hold their common council on horseback. They are not under kingly authority, but are contented with the irregular government of their chiefs, and under their lead they force their way through all obstacles. . . .

None of them plow, or even touch a plow handle, for they have no settled abode, but are homeless and lawless, perpetually wandering with their wagons, which they make their homes; in fact, they seem to be people always in flight. . . .

This active and indomitable race, being excited by an unrestrained desire of plundering the possessions of others, went on ravaging and slaughtering all the nations in their neighborhood till they reached the Alani. . . .

[After having harassed the territory of the Alani and having slain many of them and acquired much plunder, the Huns made a treaty of friendship and alliance with those who survived. The allies then attacked the German peoples to the west.] In the meantime a report spread far and wide through the nations of the Goths, that a race of men, hitherto unknown, had suddenly descended like a whirlwind from the lofty mountains, as if they had risen from some secret recess of the earth, and were ravaging and destroying everything which came in their way.

And then the greater part of the population resolved to flee and to seek a home remote from all knowledge of the new barbarians; and after long deliberation as to where to fix their abode, they resolved that a retreat into Thrace was the most suitable for these two reasons: first of all, because it is a district most fertile in grass; and secondly, because, owing to the great breadth of the Danube, it is wholly separated from the districts exposed to the impending attacks of the invaders.

Accordingly, under the command of their leader Alavivus, they occupied the banks of the Danube, and sent ambassadors to the emperor Valens, humbly entreating to be received by him as his subjects. They promised to live quietly, and to furnish a body of auxiliary troops if necessary.

While these events were taking place abroad, the terrifying rumor reached us that the tribes of the north were planning new and unprecedented attacks upon us; and that over the whole region which extends from the country of the Marcomanni and Quadi to Pontus, hosts of barbarians composed of various nations, which had suddenly been driven by force from their own countries, were now, with all their families, wandering about in different directions on the banks of the river Danube.

At first this intelligence was lightly treated by our people, because they were not in the habit of hearing of any wars in those remote districts till they were terminated either by victory or by treaty.

But presently the belief in these occurrences grew stronger and was confirmed by the arrival of ambassadors, who, with prayers and earnest entreaties, begged that their people, thus driven from their homes and now encamped on the other side of the river, might be kindly received by us.

The affair now seemed a cause of joy rather than of fear, according to the skillful flatterers who were always extolling and exaggerating the good fortune of the emperor. They congratulated him that an embassy had come from the farthest corners of the earth, unexpectedly offering him a large body of recruits; and that, by combining the strength of his own people with these foreign forces, he would have an army absolutely invincible. They observed further that the payment for military reinforcements, which came in every year from the provinces, might now be saved and accumulated in his coffers and form a vast treasure of gold.

Full of this hope, he sent forth several officers to bring this ferocious people and their carts into our territory. And as such great pains were taken to gratify this nation which was destined to overthrow the Empire of Rome, that not one was left behind, not even of those who were stricken with mortal disease. Moreover, so soon as they had obtained permission of the emperor to cross the Danube and to cultivate some districts in Thrace, they poured across the stream day and night, without ceasing, embarking in troops on board ships and rafts and on canoes made of the hollow trunks of trees. . . .

In this way, through the turbulent zeal of violent people, the ruin of the Roman Empire was brought about. This, at all events, is neither obscure nor uncertain, that the unhappy officers who were intrusted with the charge of conducting the multitude of the barbarians across the river, though they repeatedly endeavored to calculate their numbers, at last abandoned the attempt as hopeless. The man who would wish to ascertain the number might as well (as the most illustrious of poets says) attempt to count the waves in the African sea, or the grains of sand tossed about by the zephyrs. . . .

At that period, moreover, the defenses of our provinces were much exposed, and the armies of barbarians spread over them like the lava of Mount Etna. The imminence of our danger manifestly called for generals already illustrious for their past achievements in war; but nevertheless, as if some unpropitious deity had made the selection, the men who were sought out for the chief military appointments were of tainted character. The chief among them were Lupicinus and Maximus, — the one being count of Thrace, the other a leader notoriously wicked, — both men of great ignorance and rashness.

And their treacherous covetousness was the cause of all our disasters. . . . For when the barbarians who had been conducted across the river were in great distress from want of provisions, those detested generals conceived the idea of a most disgraceful traffic; and having collected dogs from all quarters with the most insatiable rapacity, they exchanged them for an equal number of slaves, among whom were several sons of men of noble birth. . . .

So now, with rage flashing in their eyes, the barbarians pursued our men, who were in a state of torpor, the warmth of their veins having deserted them. Many were slain without knowing who smote them; some were overwhelmed by the mere weight of the crowd which pressed upon them; and some died of wounds inflicted by their own comrades. The barbarians spared neither those who yielded nor those who resisted. . . .

Just when it first became dark, the emperor, being among a crowd of common soldiers as it was believed, — for no one said either that he had seen him or been near him, — was mortally wounded with an arrow, and, very shortly after, died, though his body was never found. For as some of the enemy loitered for a long time about the field in order to plunder the dead, none of the defeated army or of the inhabitants ventured to go to them.

Ammianus includes some autobiographical references in his Book of Deeds (Rerum Gestarum Libri, or Res Gestae Libri). From these references, it has been deduced that he was born probably between 325 and 330 to an educated family of Greek descent, possibly in Antioch. This probability hinges on whether he was the recipient of a surviving letter to a Marcellinus from a contemporary, Libanius. The date of his death is unknown, but he must have lived until 391, as he mentions Aurelius Victor as the city prefect for that year.


Europe & the Roman Empire, 525-565 CE

📹 The Kingdom of the Vandals (VİDEO)

📹 The Kingdom of the Vandals (LINK)

In this video, I look at the history of the Vandals from about 400 until the conquest of Vandal Africa in 533 CE. I focus on Vandal migrations, their impact on the politics of their era, and the nature of their relationship with the local Roman population in Africa.




Goths (W)


Götaland, south Sweden, with the island of Gotland in the east, a possible origin of the Goths; the southernmost and westernmost parts, Scania, Halland, Blekinge and Bohuslän, were originally not a part of Götaland, but were Dano-Norwegian territory until 1658.


The Goths (Gothic: Gut-þiuda; Latin: Gothi) were an East Germanic people, two of whose branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Western Roman Empire through the long series of Gothic Wars and in the emergence of Medieval Europe. The Goths dominated a vast area, which at its peak under the Germanic king Ermanaric and his sub-king Athanaric possibly extended all the way from the Danube to the Don, and from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.

The Goths spoke the Gothic language, one of the extinct East Germanic languages.


In 376 AD the Goths appeared on the lower Danube frontier of the Roman Empire. They came as a whole tribe, with warriors, women and children. They came on foot, on horseback, and in lumbering ox-drawn wagons, refugees on the retreat from a foe even fiercer than themselves. They came knocking on the Roman door. (LINK)

📹 Siege of Rome 537-538 — Roman-Gothic War (VİDEO)

Siege of Rome 537-538 — Roman-Gothic War (LINK)

During the Vandalic War, the best general of Emperor Justinian — Belisarius — reconquered the province of Africa from the Vandals of Gelimer at the battles of Ad Decimum and Tricamarum. The province was back under the imperial control, but it was just the beginning, as taking Italy and Rome from the Ostrogoths was the real goal. Belisarius entered Rome with ease but had to defend it against the king Vitiges in 537-538. The Gothic War was just starting.



The expansion of the Germanic tribes 750 BC – AD 1 (after the
Penguin Atlas of World History1988):

Settlements before 750 BC
New settlements by 500 BC
New settlements by 250 BC
New settlements by AD 1

The exact origin of the ancient Goths remains unknown. Evidence of them before they interacted with the Romans is limited. The traditional account of the Goths' early history depends on the Ostrogoth Jordanes’ Getica written c.551 AD. Jordanes states that the earliest migrating Goths sailed from what is now Sweden to what is now Poland. If this is accurate, then they may have been the people responsible for the Wielbark archaeological complex. Modern academics have generally abandoned this theory. Today, the Wielbark culture is thought to have developed from earlier cultures in the same area. Archaeological finds show close contacts between southern Sweden and the Baltic coastal area on the continent, and further towards the south-east, evidenced by pottery, house types and graves. Rather than a massive migration, similarities in the material cultures may be products of long-term regular contacts. However, the archaeological record could indicate that while his work is thought to be unreliable, Jordanes' story was based on an oral tradition with some basis in fact.

Sometime around the 1st century AD, Germanic peoples may have migrated from Scandinavia to Gothiscandza, in present-day Poland. Early archaeological evidence in the traditional Swedish province of Östergötland suggests a general depopulation during this period. However, there is no archaeological evidence for a substantial emigration from Scandinavia and they may have originated in continental Europe.

Upon their arrival on the Pontic Steppe, the Germanic tribes adopted the ways of the Eurasian nomads. The first Greek references to the Goths call them Scythians, since this area along the Black Sea historically had been occupied by an unrelated people of that name. The application of that designation to the Goths appears to be not ethnological but rather geographical and cultural — Greeks regarded both the ethnic Scythians and the Goths as barbarians.

The earliest known material culture associated with the Goths on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea is the Wielbark culture, centered on the modern region of Pomerania in northern Poland. This culture replaced the local Oxhöft or Oksywie culture in the 1st century AD, when a Scandinavian settlement developed in a buffer zone between the Oksywie culture and the Przeworsk culture.

The culture of this area was influenced by southern Scandinavian culture beginning as early as the late Nordic Bronze Age and early Pre-Roman Iron Age (c. 1300 – c. 300 BC). In fact, the Scandinavian influence on Pomerania and today's northern Poland from c. 1300 BC (period III) and onwards was so considerable that some see the culture of the region as part of the Nordic Bronze Age culture. In Eastern Europe the Goths formed part of the Chernyakhov culture of the 2nd to 5th centuries AD.

Migrations and contact with Rome (W)

Around 160 AD, in Central Europe, the first movements of the Migration Period were occurring, as Germanic tribes began moving south-east from their ancestral lands at the mouth of River Vistula, putting pressure on the Germanic tribes from the north and east. As a result, in episodes of Gothic and Vandal warfare Germanic tribes (Rugii, Goths, Gepids, Vandals, Burgundians, and others) crossed either the lower Danube or the Black Sea, and led to the Marcomannic Wars, which resulted in widespread destruction and the first invasion of what is now Italy in the Roman Empire period. It has been suggested that the Goths maintained contact with southern Sweden during their migration. Goths also served in the Roman military and played a limited role, e.g. Gainas.

Battle of Adrianople (378) (W)

The Battle of Adrianople (9 August 378), sometimes known as the Battle of Hadrianopolis, was fought between an Eastern Roman army led by the Eastern Roman Emperor Valens and Gothic rebels (largely Thervings as well as Greutungs, non-Gothic Alans, and various local rebels) led by Fritigern. The battle took place in the vicinity of Adrianople, in the Roman province of Thracia (modern Edirne in European Turkey). It ended with an overwhelming victory for the Goths and the death of Emperor Valens.

Part of the Gothic War (376–382), the battle is often considered the start of the process which led to the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century.

A detailed account for the leadup to the battle from the Roman perspective is from Ammianus Marcellinus and forms the culminating point at the end of his history.


Visigoths and Ostrogoths

By the 4th century, the Goths had captured Roman Dacia which Aurelian had evacuated in 274 and divided into at least two distinct groups separated by the Dniester River: the Thervingi (led by the Balti dynasty) and the Greuthungi (led by the Amali dynasty). The Goths separated into two main branches,

Vizigotlar ve Ostrogotlar.


The Goths remained divided – as Visigoths and Ostrogoths – during the 5th Century. These two tribes were among the Germanic peoples who clashed with the late Roman Empire during the Migration Period. The Visigoths were settled south of the Danube in 376. They kept to the treaty of 382 as federates of the Romans and sent troops to fight for Theodosius I during the civil war of 394 in which Eugenius and Arbogast, usurpers in the West were defeated. Alaric and his Goths ravaged Greece in the years 395-97. They moved west into Italy in 402. They were held in check but in led by Alaric I sacked Rome in 410. Honorius granted the Visigoths lands in Aquitania after they savaged the Sueves, Alans and Vandals in 417. The Visigoths had taken over the south of France and most of Spain in the 470s.



The Visigoths, after the Sack of Rome (410) under Alaric I, were settled by the Romans in Aquitaine in 418 as foederati. Periodically they marched on Arles, the seat of the praetorian prefect but were always pushed back. In 437 they signed a treaty with the Romans which they kept. In 451 they provided one-third of the army of other tribes and Romans which defeated the Huns confederation of Eastern peoples led under Attila at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains.

They were led by their king Theodoric I in 451. They became independent of the Empire under his son, Euric who extended their territory over most of the Iberian peninsula and Gaul in the 460s and 470s.

Alaric’s Goth army storms the streets of Rome during a brutal sacking of the city that would last for three days. The worst offenders would be the mercenary Huns.

In 507, the Visigoths were pushed into Hispania by the Frankish Kingdom
following the Battle of Vouillé in which the combined forces of Franks and Burgundians fell on them. They were able to retain Narbonensis and Provence after the timely arrival of an Ostrogoth detachment sent by Theodoric the Great.

By the late 6th century, the Visigoths had converted to Catholicism. Their kingdom fell and was progressively conquered from 711 when the Muslim Moors defeated their last kings Roderic and Ardo (ruling until 724 over Catalonia and Narbonne) during the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. Some nobles found refuge in the mountain areas of the East Pyrenees and Cantabrian West and founded different autonomous realms, as Gothia, Pamplona and the Kingdom of Asturias in 718, they all began later to regain control under the leadership of the Visigothic nobleman Pelagius of Asturias, whose victory at the Battle of Covadonga (c. 722) it is taken to be the earliest at the centuries-long Reconquista. It was from the Asturian kingdom that some parts of modern Spain and Portugal evolved.

These Goths never became completely Romanized, as they became rather ‘Hispanicized’ and further became widespread over a large territory and body of population. They progressively adopted a new culture, retaining little of their original culture except for practical military customs, some artistic modalities, family traditions such as heroic songs and folklore, as well as select conventions to include Germanic names still in use in present-day Spain. It is these artifacts of the original Visigothic culture that give ample evidence of its contributing foundation for the present regional culture.

In the late 6th Century Goths settled as foederati in parts of Asia Minor. Their descendants, who formed the elite Optimatoi regiment, still lived there in the early 8th Century. While they were largely assimilated, their Gothic origin was still well-known: the chronicler Theophanes the Confessor calls them Gothograeci.


Theodoric the Great

Christopher I. Beckwith suggests that the entire Hunnic thrust into Europe and the Roman Empire was an attempt to subdue independent Goths in the west. It is possible that the Hunnic attack came as a response to the Gothic eastwards expansion.

In the 4th century, the Greuthungian king Ermanaric became the most powerful Gothic ruler, coming to dominate a vast area of the Pontic Steppe which possibly stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea as far eastwards as the Ural Mountains. Emanaric's dominance of the Volga-Don trade routes made historian Gottfried Schramm consider his realm as a forerunner of the Viking founded state of Kievan Rus. Ermanaric later committed suicide, and the Greuthungi fell under Hunnic dominance.

In 454 AD, the Ostrogoths successfully revolted against the Huns at the Battle of Nedao and their leader Theoderic the Great invaded what is now Italy in 488 and settled his people there, founding an Ostrogothic Kingdom which eventually gained control of the whole Italian peninsula.

Under Theodemir, the Ostrogoths broke away from Hunnic rule following the Battle of Nedao in 454, and decisively defeated the Huns again under Valamir at Bassianae in 468. At the request of emperor Zeno, Theoderic conquered all of Italy from the Scirian Odoacer beginning in 488.

The Goths were briefly reunited under one crown in the early 6th century under Theoderic, who became regent of the Visigothic kingdom following the death of Alaric II at the Battle of Vouillé in 507. Procopius interpreted the name Visigoth as "western Goths" and the name Ostrogoth as "eastern Goth", reflecting the geographic distribution of the Gothic realms at that time.

The Ostrogothic kingdom persisted until 553 under Teia, when Italy returned briefly to Byzantine control. This restoration of imperial rule was reversed by the conquest of the Lombards in 568. Shortly after Theoderic's death, the country was conquered by the Byzantine Empire in the Gothic War (535–554) that devastated and depopulated the peninsula.

In 552, after their leader Totila was killed at the Battle of Taginae (552), effective Ostrogothic resistance ended, and the remaining Goths in Italy were assimilated by the Lombards, another Germanic tribe, who invaded Italy and founded the Kingdom of the Lombards in 567 AD.

In the late 18th century, Gothic tribes who remained in the lands around the Black Sea, especially in Crimea — then known as Crimean Goths — were still mentioned as existing in the region and speaking a Crimean Gothic dialect, making them the last true Goths. The language is believed to have been spoken until as late as 1945. They are believed to have been assimilated by the Crimean Tatars.

Alaric (370?-410?) in Athens by Ludwig Thiersch, 1894.
Invasions of the Roman Empire

Time c. 375–568 AD or later
Place Europe and the Mediterranean Region
Event Tribes invading the declining Roman Empire

Empire of Attila the Hun, 450 AD.

Spread of Slavic tribes from the 7th to 9th centuries AD in Europe.

Old Great Bulgaria and migration of Bulgarians, 7th century.

Lenguas eslavas orientales; East Slavic languages.

Lenguas eslavasoccidentales; West Slavic languages.

Invasions and Rebellions, AD 250-71.

The Risa of Constantine, AD 306-24.

The Empire divided, c. AD 400.


Gothic Christianity

Gothic Christianity (W)

Gothic Christianity refers to the Christian religion of the Goths and sometimes the Gepids, Vandals, and Burgundians, who may have used the translation of the Bible into the Gothic language and shared common doctrines and practices.

The Gothic tribes converted to Christianity sometime between 376 and 390 AD, around the time of the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Gothic Christianity is the earliest instance of the Christianization of a Germanic people, completed more than a century before the baptism of Frankish king Clovis I.

The Gothic Christians were followers of Arianism. Many church members, from simple believers, priests, and monks to bishops, emperors, and members of Rome's imperial family followed this doctrine, as did two Roman emperors, Constantius II and Valens.

After their sack of Rome, the Visigoths moved on to occupy Spain and southern France. Having been driven out of France, the Spanish Goths formally embraced Nicene Christianity at the Third Council of Toledo in 589.


Gothic paganism

Gothic paganism (W)

Gothic paganism was the original religion of the Goths.


The Goths first appear in historical record in the early 3rd century, and they were Christianized in the 4th and 5th centuries. Information on the form of the Germanic paganism practiced by the Goths before Christianization is thus limited to a comparably narrow and sparsely documented time-window in the 3rd and 4th centuries.

The center of the Gothic pagan cult was the village or clan (kuni), and the ritual sacrificial meal held by the villagers under the leadership of the reiks. The reiks saw themselves as the guardians of ethnic tradition. This was expressed starkly in the Gothic persecution of Christians in the 370s, when the reiks Athanaric saw this privilege threatened by the new religion, responding by the persecution of converted Goths (but not of Christian foreigners): according to the Passio of Sabas the Goth, Sabas was executed for professing Christianity (or rather for refusing to sacrifice to the tribal gods), while his companion, the priest Sansalas, was let go because he was a foreigner.

After the Goths had settled in Scythia in the 2nd century, it is probable that a process of ethnogenesis was set in motion, and that most of the "Goths" of the 3rd and 4th century were not in fact descended from Scandinavia but (much as was the case with the “Huns” in the following century) consisted of a heterogeneous population which was united under the name of "Goths" by virtue of having submitted to the elite formed by the ruling dynasties of the reiks.

Gothic paganism was thus a purely tribal religion, in which polytheism and ancestor worship were one and the same. We know that the Amali dynasty deified their ancestors, the Ansis (Aesir), and that the Tervingi opened battle with songs of praise for their ancestors.

The gradual Christianisation of parts of the Gothic population came to a turning-point in the 370s. A civil strife between the Christian reiks Fritigern and the pagan reiks Athanaric prompted Roman military intervention on the side of the Christian party, leading to the Gothic War (376-382). In 376, the Romans allowed a number of ostensibly Christian Goths, including bishops and priests, to cross the Danube, but these "looked like clowns to the pagan Romans, and utterly scandalized the Roman Christians", supposing that they were in fact pagan Goths who had dressed up as Christian clerics in order to be granted asylum by the Romans.


Religious practices

The word god itself is cognate with the Gothic word guth for a pagan idol (presumably a wooden statue of the kind paraded by Winguric on a chariot when he challenged the Gothic Christians to worship the tribal gods, executing them after they refused). It became the word for the Christian God in the Gothic Bible, changing its grammatical gender from neuter to masculine in this new sense only. The name of the Goths themselves is presumably related, meaning "those who libate" (while guth "idol" is the object of the act of libation). The words for "to sacrifice" and for "sacrificer" were blotan and blostreis, used in Biblical Gothic in the sense of "Christian worship" and "Christian priest".

One peculiarity which separates the Gothic pagan period from all other forms of Germanic paganism is the absence of weapons as grave goods. While pagan warrior graves in Scandinavia, England and Germany almost invariably contain weapons, and the practice is discontinued with Christianization, the pagan Goths do not seem to have felt the need to bury their dead with weapons. This may arrise from the fact that weapon burials begin to become prominent among pagan peoples in the 5th and 6th centuries, possibly as a method of permanently establishing prestige upon certain families through burial ritual in a period of a heightened economy and increased inter-group competition, thus well after the Christianization of the Goths.

A pagan Gothic belief in witches is attested with the story of the haliurun(n)ae (c.f. Anglo-Saxon hellrúne) who were expelled from the tribe by king Filimer, after which they mated with evil spirits and gave birth to the Huns, who eventually destroyed the Gothic empire. Wolfram compares the rejection of necromancy or witchcraft by the Goths with the pagan Scandinavian rejection of the seiðr of Finnic sorcerers or shamans.




📹 A brief history of goths — Dan Adams (VİDEO)

A brief history of goths — Dan Adams (LINK)


  Odoacer (c. 433-493 AD)
  Batı Roma’nın sonunun başlangıcı; İtalya’nın ilk barbar Germanik kralı (476); Doğu Roma İmparatoru Zeno’yu tanımadı ve kendi krallığını kurdu; sonunda Hunlardan kaçan Ostrogotların (sayıları 100.000 kadar) kralı olan Theodoric’e yenildi ve onun tarafından bir komplo sonucunda öldürüldü.


  • Bir Arian Hıristiyan olan Odoacer tarihin dramatik bir dönüm noktasında anlamasının olanaksız olduğu bir rolü oynadı.
  • Germanik barbarlık Roma uygarlığını hiç olmazsa bir bölümünde yerle bir etti, ve tarih-öncesine ait bir etnik kültür tarihin o güne dek bildiği en büyük gücü hiç olmazsa bir bölümünde dize getirdi.
  • Ne Cengiz Han’ın Moğolları ne de Timur’un acımasız güçleri Doğuda böylesine geri alınamaz bir yıkıma yol açabildi.
  • Roma İmparatorluğundan “Kutsal Roma İmparatorluğu”na geçiş ya da Avrupa’da Karanlık Orta Çağların ve feodalizmin başlangıcı Odoacer’in krallığı üzerinde düğümlenir (476).
  • Odoacer’in krallığı Batı Roma için bütünsel çöküşün başlangıcı oldu ve sonunda İtalya yalnızca mimarisini, kentlerini, ekonomisini değil, iki bin yıllık dilini, Latince’yi de yitirdi.
  • Germanik Ostrogotlar, Lombardlar, Normanlar uygarlaşması olanaksız bir barbarlık kültüründe Roma imparatorluğunun Klasik tinini yok ettiler.
  • Tarih-öncesi Germanik barbarlık homo sapiensin Sümerler ile başlayan uygarlaşma döneminin kabaca üç bin yıllık birikimini özümseyebilmek için bin yıllık bir Karanlık Orta Çağ döneminin yeterli olmadığını gösterdi.
  • Avrupa ancak ussal kökenleri bütünüyle Avrupa’nın dışında yatan Reformasyon ile karabasandan çıkmayı başardı ve Roma Katolik Kilisesinin köleliğinden özgürleşerek bireysel yaratıcılığı sınırsızca etkinleştirmeye başladı.
  • Batı Roma’da yaygın ve derin etik bozulma kendini Hıristiyanlık ile bir ilgisi olmayan Roma Katolik Kilisesi olarak, manastırlar ve keşiş düzenleri olarak, Haçlı Seferleri ve Engizisyon olarak, bütününde yasasız ve türesiz feodalizm olarak sergiledi.
  • Germanik barbar kabileler moral gelişimden bütünüyle yoksun idiler ve yayıldıkları tüm Roma İmparatorluk alanında moral ve etik bozulmaya yol açtılar.
  • Avrupa bugüne dek bu 1000 yıllık barbarlık döneminin yol açtığı moral yıkımın üstesinden gelebilmeyi başaramadı ve barbar Germanik tin (ve etnik olarak yakın akrabası olan Slavik tin) 20’nci yüzyılda Avrupa’da henüz çiçeklenme aşamasında olan demokrasi bilincini bütünüyle silme gözdağını verdi.


  • “Orta Çağlar” denilen ve zaman zaman haksız olarak tarihin bütününün 1000 yılına yüklenen bir karanlık çağdan modern Avrupa’nın doğabilmiş olduğu düşüncesi yerellik yüklü bir bakış açısından doğar.
  • “Kutsal Roma İmparatorluğu” ve Karanlık Orta Çağlar Roma İmparatorluğun kendisi ile, Arap İmparatorlukları ile, Anadolu Roma-Selçuklu Sultanlığı ile ve sonunda Osmanlı İmparatorluğu ile eşzamanlı olarak ortaya çıkan fenomenlerdir.


🗺️ Historical Map of Europe in the time of Odoacer, 476-493

Historical Map of Europe in the time of Odoacer, 476-493 (L)



Odoacer (c. 433-493 AD) (W)

Romulus Augustulus resigns the Roman crown to and Odoacer.

Flavius Odoacer
(c. 433-493 AD), also known as Flavius Odovacer or Odovacar (Latin: Odoacer, Odoacar, Odovacar, Odovacris), was a barbarian statesman who in 476 became the first King of Italy (476-493). His reign is commonly seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire. Odoacer is the earliest ruler of Italy for whom an autograph of any of his legal acts has survived to the current day.

Though the real power in Italy was in his hands, he represented himself as the client of the emperor in Constantinople.

Odoacer generally used the Roman honorific patrician, granted by the emperor Zeno, but is referred to as a king (Latin: rex) in many documents. He himself used it in the only surviving official document that emanated from his chancery, and it was also used by the consul Basilius.

Odoacer introduced few important changes into the administrative system of Italy. He had the support of the Roman Senate and was able to distribute land to his followers without much opposition. Unrest among his warriors led to violence in 477-478, but no such disturbances occurred during the later period of his reign. Although Odoacer was an Arian Christian, he rarely intervened in the affairs of Trinitarian state church of the Roman Empire.

Of East Germanic descent, according to most opinions, Odoacer was a military leader in Italy who led the revolt of Herulian, Rugian, and Scirian soldiers that deposed Romulus Augustulus on 4 September AD 476. Augustulus had been declared Western Roman Emperor by his father, the rebellious general of the army in Italy, less than a year before, but had been unable to gain allegiance or recognition beyond central Italy. With the backing of the Roman Senate, Odoacer thenceforth ruled Italy autonomously, paying lip service to the authority of Julius Nepos, the previous Western emperor, and Zeno, the emperor of the East. Upon Nepos's murder in 480 Odoacer invaded Dalmatia, to punish the murderers. He did so, executing the conspirators, but within two years also conquered the region and incorporated it into his domain.

When Illus, master of soldiers of the Eastern Empire, asked for Odoacer's help in 484 in his struggle to depose Zeno, Odoacer invaded Zeno's westernmost provinces. The emperor responded first by inciting the Rugii of present-day Austria to attack Italy. During the winter of 487-488 Odoacer crossed the Danube and defeated the Rugii in their own territory. Zeno also appointed the Ostrogoth Theoderic the Great who was menacing the borders of the Eastern Empire, to be king of Italy, turning one troublesome, nominal vassal against another. Theoderic invaded Italy in 489 and by August 490 had captured almost the entire peninsula, forcing Odoacer to take refuge in Ravenna. The city surrendered on 5 March 493; Theoderic invited Odoacer to a banquet of reconciliation and there killed him.


Except for the fact that he was not considered Roman, Odoacer’s precise ethnic origins are not known. Most opinions consider him to be of Germanic descent, from one of several East Germanic tribes such as the Turcilingi, Scirii, Heruli, Rugii and Gothi, or possibly also of partial Thuringii descent; while a minority opinion holds that he was a Hun.

Both the Anonymus Valesianus and John of Antioch state his father's name was Edeko (Edika). However, it is unclear whether this Edeko is identical to one—or both—men of the same name who lived at this time: one was an ambassador of Attila to the court in Constantinople, and escorted Priscus and other Imperial dignitaries back to Attila's camp; the other, according to Jordanes, is mentioned with Hunulfus as chieftains of the Scirii, who were soundly defeated by the Ostrogoths at the Battle of Bolia in Pannonia about 469. Since Sebastian Tillemont in the 17th century, all three have been considered to be the same person. In his Getica, Jordanes describes Odoacer as king of the Turcilingi (Turc-ilingi or Torcilingorum rex). However, in his Romana, the same author defines him as a member of the Rugii (Odoacer genere Rogus). The Consularia Italica calls him king of the Heruli, while Theophanes appears to be guessing when he calls him a Goth. The sixth-century chronicler, Marcellinus Comes, calls him "the king of the Goths" (Odoacer rex Gothorum).

Reynolds and Lopez explored the possibility that Odoacer was not Germanic in their 1946 paper published by The American Historical Review, making several arguments that his ethnic background might lie elsewhere. One of these is that his name, “Odoacer,” for which an etymology in Germanic languages had not been convincingly found, could be a form of the Turkish “Ot-toghar” (“grass-born” or “fire-born”), or the shorter form “Ot-ghar” (“herder”).*!

*Reynolds, Robert L.; Lopez, Robert S. (1946). "Odoacer: German or Hun?". The American Historical Review. 52 (1): 36-53, page 45. doi:10.1086/ahr/52.1.36. JSTOR 1845067.


Other sources believe the name Odoacer is derived from the Germanic Audawakrs, from aud- "wealth" and wakr- "vigilant". This form finds a cognate in another Germanic language, the titular Eadwacer of the Old English poem Wulf and Eadwacer (where Old English renders the earlier Germanic sound au- as ea-).

Odoacer’s identity as a Hun was then accepted by a number of authorities, such as E. A. Thompson and J. M. Wallace-Hadrill — despite Otto J. Maenchen-Helfen's objection that personal names were not an infallible guide to ethnicity. Subsequently, while reviewing the primary sources in 1983, Bruce Macbain proposed that while his mother might have been Scirian and his father Thuringian, in any case he was not a Hun.



Odoacer, KING OF ITALY (B)

Odoacer, also called Odovacar, or Odovakar, (born c. 433—died March 15, 493, Ravenna), first barbarian king of Italy. The date on which he assumed power, 476, is traditionally considered the end of the Western Roman Empire.

Odoacer was a German warrior, the son of Idico (Edeco) and probably a member of the Sciri tribe. About 470 he entered Italy with the Sciri; he joined the Roman army and rose to a position of command. After the overthrow of the Western emperor Julius Nepos by the Roman general Orestes(475), Odoacer led his tribesmen in a revolt against Orestes, who had reneged on his promise to give the tribal leaders land in Italy. On Aug. 23, 476, Odoacer was proclaimed king by his troops, and five days later Orestes was captured and executed in Placentia (now Piacenza), Italy. Odoacer then deposed and exiled Orestes’ young son, the emperor Romulus Augustulus.

Odoacer’s aim was to keep the administration of Italy in his own hands while recognizing the overlordship of the Eastern emperor, Zeno. Zeno granted him the rank of patrician, but Odoacer styled himself “King.” He refused to acknowledge Julius Nepos, Zeno’s candidate, as Western emperor.

Odoacer introduced few important changes into the administrative system of Italy. He had the support of the Senate at Rome and, apparently without serious opposition from the Romans, was able to distribute land to his followers. Unrest among the German tribesmen led to violence in 477-478, but evidently no such disturbances occurred during the later period of his reign. Although Odoacer was an Arian Christian, he rarely intervened in the affairs of the Roman Catholic church.

In 480 Odoacer invaded Dalmatia (in present Croatia) and within two years conquered the region. When Illus, master of soldiers of the Eastern Empire, begged Odoacer’s help (484) in his struggle to depose Zeno, Odoacer attacked Zeno’s westernmost provinces. The emperor responded by inciting the Rugi (of present Austria) to attack Italy. During the winter of 487-488 Odoacer crossed the Danube and defeated the Rugi in their own territory. Although he lost some land to the Visigothic king Euric, who overran northwest Italy, Odoacer recovered Sicily (apart from Lilybaeum) from the Vandals. Nevertheless, he proved to be no match for the Ostrogothic king Theodoric, who was appointed king of Italy by Zeno in 488 in order to prevent the Ostrogoths from raiding in the Eastern Empire. Theodoric invaded Italy in 489 and by August 490 had captured almost the entire peninsula, forcing Odoacer to take refuge in Ravenna. The city surrendered on March 5, 493; Theodoric invited Odoacer to a banquet and there killed him.


📹 Ostrogothic Italy (VİDEO)

📹 Ostrogothic Italy (LINK)

In this video, I explore the history of Ostrogothic Italy from its foundation by Theoderic the Great to its brutal conquest at the hands of the Byzantines.




  • “Vandalizm” tüm barbar Germanik kabilelere ortaktır.
  • İsim babalığının Vandallara düşmesi bir haksızlıktır ve amaçsız yoketme eylemi için pekala “Gothizm,” “Frankizm,” “Saxonizm,” “Alamannizm” vb. de uygundur.
  • Barbar etnik kültür uygarlığın karşıtıdır, onda kendi yitişini görür.
  Ve gene de, bir Wikipedia makalesine göre: “Modern historians tend to regard the Vandals during the transitional period from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages as perpetuators, not destroyers, of Roman culture.”

Kimi tarihçilerin etnik bakış açıları ussal ve nesnel olarak düşünmelerini engeller ve açıkça barbarlığı uygarlıktan ayırdetme yeteneklerini köreltir. Moral, etik ve estetik duyarsızlıkları ile uyum içinde, bunlar barbarlara ve vandallara şefkatle bakarlar.

Vandallar 4’üncü yüzyıl sonlarında Hunlardan kaçmak için batıya doğru göçe başlayan çok sayıda Germanik kabile gruplarından biri idi. Ama barbar Hunların barbar Germenleri göç için tetiklemesi sonucunu çıkarmak doğru görünebilse de, Germanik kabilelerin kuzeyden güneye inmeye başlamak için Hunları beklemeleri gerekli değildi.

Vandallar Ren nehrini geçtikten sonra durmadılar ve 406'da Roma Galyasına (bugünkü Fransa) girdiler. Ama orada durmadılar ve Pireneleri aşarak Roma İspanyasına yerleştiler. Burada da durmadılar ve kralları Genseric altında Roma Kuzey Afrikasına geçerek Kartaca da aralarında olmak üzere çok sayıda Roma kentini ele geçirdiler. Yağmaları arasında bulunan yaklaşık 800 ya da 1000 kadar Roma savaş gemisini kullanarak Genseric Sicilya, Sardunya ve Korsika adalarını ve ayrıca Balear adalarını denetimi altına aldı. 455’te bir Vandal filosu İtalya’ya ulaştı ve Germenler Roma üzerine yürümeye başladılar. Uygarlığın doruğu olan kenti 14 gün boyunca yağmaladılar ve yontu, tapınak ve başka sanat yapıtlarını yok ettiler (buna karşı kentin Vizigotlar tarafından 410 yılında yağmalanması yalnızca 3 gün sürmüştü).

Vandal Göçleri.

“Genseric sacking Rome,” 455, by Karl Briullov.
The sack of 455 was the third of four ancient sacks of Rome; it was conducted by the Vandals, who were then at war with the usurping Western Roman Emperor Petronius Maximus.

Paul Jamin, “Le Brenn et sa part de butin,” 1893 (“"Brennus and His Share of the Spoils,” also known as: “Spoils of the Battle.”

Sack of Rome by the Visigoths on 24 August 410, by JN Sylvestre, 1890.



Vandals (W)

Tribes of Central Europe in the mid-1st century AD. The Vandals/Lugii are depicted in green, in the area of modern Poland

Sack of Rome 455 by Karl Bryullov.

The Vandals were a large East Germanic tribe or group of tribes that first appear in history inhabiting present-day southern Poland. Some later moved in large numbers, including most notably the group which successively established kingdoms in the Iberian Peninsula and then North Africa in the 5th century.

The traditional view has been that the Vandals migrated from southern Scandinavia to the area between the lower Oder and Vistula rivers during the 2nd century BC and settled in Silesia from around 120 BC. They are associated with the Przeworsk culture and were possibly the same people as the Lugii. Expanding into Dacia during the Marcomannic Wars and to Pannonia during the Crisis of the Third Century, the Vandals were confined to Pannonia by the Goths around 330 AD, where they received permission to settle from Constantine the Great. Around 400, raids by the Huns forced many Germanic tribes to migrate into the territory of the Roman Empire, and fearing that they might be targeted next the Vandals were pushed westwards, crossing the Rhine into Gaul along with other tribes in 406. In 409 the Vandals crossed the Pyrenees into the Iberian Peninsula, where their main groups, the Hasdingi and the Silingi, settled in Gallaecia (northwest Iberia) and Baetica (south-central Iberia) respectively.

After the Visigoths invaded Iberia in 418, the Iranian Alans and Silingi Vandals voluntarily subjected themselves to the rule of Hasdingian leader Gunderic, who was pushed from Gallaecia to Baetica by a Roman-Suebi coalition in 419. In 429, under king Genseric (reigned 428-477), the Vandals entered North Africa. By 439 they established a kingdom which included the Roman province of Africa as well as Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, Malta and the Balearic Islands. They fended off several Roman attempts to recapture the African province, and sacked the city of Rome in 455. Their kingdom collapsed in the Vandalic War of 533-4, in which Emperor Justinian I’s forces reconquered the province for the Eastern Roman Empire.

Renaissance and early-modern writers characterized the Vandals as barbarians, “sacking and looting” Rome. This led to the use of the term "vandalism" to describe any pointless destruction, particularly the "barbarian" defacing of artwork. However, modern historians tend to regard the Vandals during the transitional period from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages as perpetuators, not destroyers, of Roman culture.


  🎨 Empire After the Goths

Empire After the Goths

“ElColiseo de Roma,” by (Hubert Robert.

“Ruins with an obelisk in the distance,” Hubert Robert,1775.

“Lanscape with temple ruin,” by Hubert Robert.

“Ruins of a Roman Bath with Washerwomen,” by Hubert Robert.

  Battle of Adrianople, 378

Battle of Adrianople

Battle of Adrianople, 378 (W)

The Battle of Adrianople (9 August 378), sometimes known as the Battle of Hadrianopolis, was fought between an Eastern Roman army led by the Eastern Roman Emperor Valens and Gothic rebels (largely Thervings as well as Greutungs, non-Gothic Alans, and various local rebels) led by Fritigern. The battle took place in the vicinity of Adrianople, in the Roman province of Thracia (modern Edirne in European Turkey). It ended with an overwhelming victory for the Goths and the death of Emperor Valens.

Part of the Gothic War (376–382), the battle is often considered the start of the process which led to the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century.

A detailed account for the leadup to the battle from the Roman perspective is from Ammianus Marcellinus and forms the culminating point at the end of his history.

Date 9 August 378
Location Near Adrianople
Result Decisive Gothic victory

Eastern Roman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Emperor Valens †
12,000–15,000 or 20,000 15,000–20,000 or 25,000–30,000
Casualties and losses
Unknown 10,000–15,000 or 20,000 (roughly two-thirds of the Roman force) killed

Map of the battle, according to the History Department of the US Military Academy



In AD 376, displaced by the invasions of the Huns, the Goths, led by Alavivus and Fritigern, asked to be allowed to settle in the Eastern Roman Empire. Hoping that they would become farmers and soldiers, the Eastern Roman emperor Valens allowed them to establish themselves in the Empire as allies (foederati). However, once across the Danube (and in Roman territory), the dishonesty of the provincial commanders Lupicinus and Maximus led the newcomers to revolt after suffering many hardships. Valens (of the Eastern Empire) then asked Gratian, the western emperor, for reinforcements to fight the Goths. Gratian sent the general Frigeridus with reinforcements, as well as the leader of his guards, Richomeres. For the next two years preceding the battle of Adrianople there were a series of running battles with no clear victories for either side.

In 378, Valens decided to take control himself. Valens would bring more troops from Syria and Gratian would bring more troops from Gaul.

📹 Battle of Adrianople, 378 (Part 1/4) (VİDEO)

Battle of Adrianople, 378 (Part 1/4) (LINK)

Long gone are the days of Augustus and with them the security and stability of the early Roman empire. Chaos now plagues internal affairs while enemies batter down the walls. We shall now look at the nature of the late empire and its inherent fragility.


📹 Battle of Adrianople, 378 (Part 2/4) (VİDEO)

Battle of Adrianople, 378 (Part 2/4) (LINK)

The tenuous situation along the border spirals out of control.With the barbarian pressure mounting, the emperor Valens now makes it his immediate goal to bring a decisive and swift end to this crisis.


📹 Battle of Adrianople, 378 (Part 3/4) (VİDEO)

Battle of Adrianople, 378 (Part 3/4) (LINK)

Valens has forced the Goths to seek refuge atop a hill in their wagon laager fort. The legions however are tired of waiting in the hot sun while the barbarians sit behind their barricades and launch a preemptive attack.


📹 Battle of Adrianople, 378 (Part 4/4) (VİDEO)

Battle of Adrianople, 378 (Part 4/4) (LINK)

The plan for a quick and decisive victory has been abandoned. Now matters dictate that Valens and the remaining romans fight for the very survival of the eastern army.


📹 The Battle of Adrianople 378 AD (VİDEO)

The Battle of Adrianople 378 AD (LINK)




Lombards (W)

Migration of Lombards from Scania to Italy, I century BC-VI century AD. According to Lidia Capo (ed.) Paulus Diaconus' Historia Langobardorum, Mondadori 1992, map 1. (W)

The Lombards or Longobards (Latin: Langobardi; Italian: Longobardi were a Germanic people who ruled most of the Italian Peninsula from 568 to 774.

The Lombard historian Paul the Deacon wrote in the Historia Langobardorum that the Lombards descended from a small tribe called the Winnili, who dwelt in southern Scandinavia (Scadanan) before migrating to seek new lands. In the 1st century AD, they formed part of the Suebi, in north-western Germany. By the end of the 5th century, they had moved into the area roughly coinciding with modern Austria and Slovakia north of the Danube river, where they subdued the Heruls and later fought frequent wars with the Gepids. The Lombard king Audoin defeated the Gepid leader Thurisind in 551 or 552; his successor Alboin eventually destroyed the Gepids in 567.

Following this victory, Alboin decided to lead his people to Italy, which had become severely depopulated and devastated after the long Gothic War (535-554) between the Byzantine Empire and the Ostrogothic Kingdom there.

In contrast with the Goths and the Vandals, the Lombards left Scandinavia and descended due south through Germany, Austria and Slovenia, only leaving Germanic territory a few decades before reaching Italy. The Lombards would have consequently remained a predominantly Germanic tribe by the time they invaded Italy. The Lombards were joined by numerous Saxons, Heruls, Gepids, Bulgars, Thuringians, and Ostrogoths, and their invasion of Italy was almost unopposed. By late 569 they had conquered all of northern Italy and the principal cities north of the Po River except Pavia, which fell in 572. At the same time, they occupied areas in central Italy and southern Italy. They established a Lombard Kingdom in north and central Italy, later named Regnum Italicum (“Kingdom of Italy”), which reached its zenith under the 8th-century ruler Liutprand.

In 774, the Kingdom was conquered by the Frankish King Charlemagne and integrated into his Empire. However, Lombard nobles continued to rule southern parts of the Italian peninsula, well into the 11th century when they were conquered by the Normans and added to their County of Sicily. In this period, the southern part of Italy still under Longobardic domination was known to the foreigners, by the name Langbarðaland (Land of the Lombards), in the Norse runestones. Their legacy is also apparent in the regional name Lombardy (in the north of Italy).

Lombard invasion of the Roman Empire, 6th century.

Kingdom of the Lombards (568-774) (W)

The Kingdom of the Lombards (Latin: Regnum Langobardorum) also known as the Lombard Kingdom; later the Kingdom of (all) Italy (Latin: Regnum totius Italiae), was an early medieval state established by the Lombards, a Germanic people, on the Italian Peninsula in the latter part of the 6th century. The king was traditionally elected by the highest-ranking aristocrats, the dukes, as several attempts to establish a hereditary dynasty failed. The kingdom was subdivided into a varying number of duchies, ruled by semi-autonomous dukes, which were in turn subdivided into gastaldates at the municipal level. The capital of the kingdom and the center of its political life was Pavia in the modern northern Italian region of Lombardy.

The Lombard invasion of Italy was opposed by the Byzantine Empire, which retained control of much of the peninsula until the mid-8th century. For most of the kingdom's history, the Byzantine-ruled Exarchate of Ravenna and Duchy of Rome separated the northern Lombard duchies, collectively known as Langobardia Maior, from the two large southern duchies of Spoleto and Benevento, which constituted Langobardia Minor. Because of this division, the southern duchies were considerably more autonomous than the smaller northern duchies.

Over time, the Lombards gradually adopted Roman titles, names, and traditions. By the time Paul the Deacon was writing in the late 8th century, the Lombardic language, dress and hairstyles had all disappeared. Initially the Lombards were Arian Christians or pagans, which put them at odds with the Roman population as well as the Byzantine Empire and the Pope. However, by the end of the 7th century, their conversion to Catholicism was all but complete. Nevertheless, their conflict with the Pope continued and was responsible for their gradual loss of power to the Franks, who conquered the kingdom in 774. Charlemagne, the king of the Franks, adopted the title “King of the Lombards,” although he never managed to gain control of Benevento, the southernmost Lombard duchy. The Kingdom of the Lombards at the time of its demise was the last minor Germanic kingdom in Europe, aside from the Frankish Empire.

Any genetic legacy of the Lombards was quickly diluted into the Italian population owing to their relatively small number and their geographic dispersal in order to rule and administer their kingdom. Some regions were never under Lombard domination, including Sardinia, Sicily, Calabria, southern Apulia, Naples and the Latium. In all these regions the Byzantines brought more Greco-Anatolian lineages, which were already the dominant lineages from the Magna Graecia period.

A reduced Regnum Italiae, a heritage of the Lombards, continued to exist for centuries as one of the constituent kingdoms of the Holy Roman Empire, roughly corresponding to the territory of the former Langobardia Maior. The so-called Iron Crown of Lombardy, one of the oldest surviving royal insignias of Christendom, may have originated in Lombard Italy as early as the 7th century and continued to be used to crown Kings of Italy until Napoleon Bonaparte in the early 19th century.

The Lombard Kingdom (blue) at its greatest extent, under King Aistulf (749-756).

Lombard rule at the death of Alboin (572).
Lombardy (W)

Lombardy (Lombardia)

Lombardy is one of the twenty administrative regions of Italy, in the northwest of the country, with an area of 23,844 square kilometres (9,206 sq mi). About 10 million people, forming one-sixth of Italy’s population, live in Lombardy and about a fifth of Italy’s GDP is produced in the region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest regions in Europe. Milan, Lombardy’s capital, is the second-largest city and the largest metropolitan area in Italy.

The word Lombardy comes from Lombard, which in turn is derived from Late Latin Longobardus, Langobardus ("a Lombard"), derived from the Proto-Germanic elements *langaz + *bardaz; equivalent to long beard. Some sources derive the second element instead from Proto-Germanic *bardǭ, *barduz ("axe"), related to German Barte ("axe").

During the early Middle Ages "Lombardy" referred to the Kingdom of the Lombards (Latin: Regnum Langobardorum), a kingdom ruled by the Germanic Lombards who had controlled most of Italy since their invasion of Byzantine Italy in 568. As such "Lombardy" and "Italy" were almost interchangeable; by the mid-8th century the Lombards ruled everywhere except the Papal possessions around Rome (roughly modern Lazio and northern Umbria), Venice and some Byzantine possessions in the south (southern Apulia and Calabria; some coastal settlements including Amalfi. Gaeta, Naples and Sorrento; Sicily and Sardinia). The Kingdom was divided between Longobardia Major in the north and Langobardia Minor in the south, which were until the 8th century separated by the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna (roughly Romagna and northern Marche, and initially also Emilia and Liguria) and the Papacy (which was initially part of the Exarchate). During the late Middle Ages, after the fall of the northern part of the Kingdom to Charlemagne, the term shifted to mean Northern Italy. (See: Kingdom of Italy (Holy Roman Empire)). The term was also used until around 965 in the form Λογγοβαρδία (Longobardia) as the name for the territory roughly covering modern Apulia which the Byzantines had recovered from the Lombard rump Duchy of Benevento


📹 History of the Lombards, 568-774 (VİDEO)

📹 History of the Lombards, 568-774 (LINK)

In this video, I look at the history of Lombard Italy from the invasion of Italy by Alboin to the conquest of the Lombard kingdom by the Franks under Charlemagne.


  📹 Barbarians Rising (No Subtitles)

Barbarians Rising

📹 Barbarians Rising / Alaric and the Sack of Rome (VİDEO)

Barbarians Rising / Alaric and the Sack of Rome (LINK)

A Gothic military commander is determined to restore his people's honor with an unprecedented assault against Rome.

Jesus the fanbase for this series is so snobby... it's a totally free miniseries on YouTube, I doubt they're working with the Game of Thrones budget to tell the entire saga of multiple centuries of fighting and hit every single figure and create exact replicas of every era of armor and weaponry along the way. These are made to get people who have a casual to no interest in history and get them interested in the history of the world. All of these trivial details people are complaining about are things that other viewers can discover for themselves further down the road. I've also read several criticisms on this series that were commented on as if they were fact, but when you actually look it up, it's disputed. So really, a lot of this is people spouting off on their opinions or personal conclusions on incomplete evidence.


📹 Barbarians Rising / Arminius, the Stolen Son (VİDEO)

Barbarians Rising / Arminius, the Stolen Son (LINK)

As a boy, Arminius is kidnapped from Germania and raised to be a Roman soldier; years later, he must choose between the Empire and the land he calls home.



📹 Barbarians Rising — Attila, King of the Huns (VİDEO)

Barbarians Rising — Attila, King of the Huns (LINK)

Attila leads the Hunnic army on a bloody rampage across the Roman Empire, sealing his legacy as one of historys most ruthless military commanders.


📹 Barbarians Rising / Fritigern and the Battle of Adrianople (VİDEO)

Barbarians Rising / Fritigern and the Battle of Adrianople (LINK)

Fritigern leads the Goths in a pivotal face-off against Rome on its own soil.


📹 Barbarians Rising / Boudica, Warrior Queen (VİDEO)

Barbarians Rising / Boudica, Warrior Queen (LINK)

Celtic queen Boudica avenges her brutal humiliation at the hands of the Romans with a merciless campaign of fire and blood.


📹 Barbarians Rising / Viriatus Guerilla Warrior (VİDEO)

Barbarians Rising / Viriatus Guerilla Warrior (LINK)

As Rome embarks on its bloody conquest of Spain, a Lusitanian shepherd leads a resistance with a signature strategy that devastates the Roman Army.


📹 Barbarians Rising / Spartacus and the Slave Rebellion (VİDEO)

Barbarians Rising / Spartacus and the Slave Rebellion (LINK)

Forced to entertain bloodthirsty Roman audiences as a gladiator, Spartacus plots an escape that inspires a massive slave uprising.



📹 Barbarians Rising / Rise and Fall of an Empire (VİDEO)

Barbarians Rising / Rise and Fall of an Empire (LINK)

Rome was the world's greatest superpower for centuries until a series of events led to its spectacular collapse.




  Roman-Germanic Wars (113 BC-596 AD)

Roman-Germanic Wars

Roman-Germanic Wars (W)

"Germanic Wars" is a name given to a series of wars between the Romans and various Germanic tribes between 113 BC and 596 AD. The nature of these wars varied through time between Roman conquest, Germanic uprisings and later Germanic invasions in the Roman Empire that started in the late 2nd century BC. The series of conflicts, which began in the 5th century under the Western Roman Emperor Honorius, led (along with internal strife) to the ultimate downfall of the Western Roman Empire.

“The Varus Battle” by Otto Albert Koch, 1909. (Otto Albert Koch: Varusschlacht, 1909 (Lippisches Landesmuseum Detmold))

Rome against the Anglo-Saxons

Rome against the Alemanni and the Juthungi

Rome against the Goths
Rome against the Vandals

Rome against the Visigoths

Roman–Germanic Wars
Cimbrian War (113 BC – 101 BC) Gallic Wars (58 BC – 57 BC) Clades Lolliana (16 BC) Early Imperial campaigns in Germania (12 BC – AD 16) Marcomannic Wars (166–180)(participating Roman units) Gothic invasion of the Balkans (250–251) Gothic invasion of the Balkans (254) Heruli invasion of the Balkans (267–268) Roman–Alemannic Wars Gothic War (376–382) Visigothic Wars Vandalic Wars Anglo-Saxon Wars Vandalic War (533–534) Gothic War (535–554)


📹 Teutoburg Forest 9 AD — Roman-Germanic Wars (VİDEO)

Teutoburg Forest 9 AD — Roman-Germanic Wars (LINK)

In our previous historical animated documentaries we have covered the Cimbrian War, and although the Roman empire was a clear victor, the conflicts between the Romans and the Germanic tribes continued well into the imperial era. During the reign of Augustus, the Romans expanded beyond the Rhine river and that led to one of the most iconic battles in history — the battle of the Teutoburg Forest


📹 Idistaviso 16 AD — Roman-Germanic Wars (VİDEO)

Idistaviso 16 AD — Roman-Germanic Wars (LINK)

In our previous animated historical documentary series on the Roman history, the Empire was defeated for the first time at the battle of the Teutoburg Forest by the German tribes under Arminus. But the Emperor Augusts, his successor Tiberius and the best Roman general of the time Germanicus were not planning to leave this without a response. These new campaigns culminated at the Battles of Idistaviso and the Angrivarian Wall of 16 AD.


  Edward Gibbon (1737-94)
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (L)
  Consisting of 71 chapters, 2136 paragraphs, some one million and a half words, and close to 8000 footnotes, the Decline and Fall encompasses a millennium and a half of history.


  “The history of empires is the history of human misery.” (L)
  An Essay on the Study of Literature (1761)

Gibbon doğallıkla göreli bakış açısından yazar, nesnellik ile kaygılanmaz, ve kendi tarihsel kültürünün tikel kategorilerini Roma İmparatorluğuna ve genel olarak İmparatorluk fenomenine yükler. Onun için tarih aşağı yukarı boşuna yapılan bir iş, salt bir eziyettir, ve onda insan büyüklüğünün hiçbir izini, hiçbir estetik gelişme, hiçbir moral büyüme ve hiçbir etik ilerleme göremez. Yalnızca “insanlığın suçlarını, aptallıklarını ve talihsizliklerini" görür. Gibbon’un bakış açısından Klasiğe yaklaşmak ideal olana kendi ham imgelerini ve tasarımlarını yüklemekten oluşur.

Gibbon Hıristiyanlığın İmparatorluğun yıkımında birincil etmenlerden biri olduğunu ileri sürdü (ikinci ana etmen barbarlar idi). Gibbon Roma İmparatorluğu konusunda yaratılan yalanın en etkili öncüleri arasındadır. Bir olgu olarak, Roma İmparatorluğu 1453’e dek sürdü ve Romalılar egemenliklerinden sonuna dek vazgeçmediler ve umutsuzluğa kapılmadan Osmanlılara karşı son kentlerini savunmada direttiler. Hıristiyanlık İmparatorluk ile bağdaşmaz. Ama Roma İmparatorluğu son anlarında bile Hıristiyan olmaktan önce bir İmparatorluk idi, ve Romalılar sonuna dek tekerkliğin saltık gücünü tanımayı sürdürdüler.

Gibbon’un Hıristiyanlığın "yıkıcı etkileri" olarak gördüğü "moral bozulma," "lüks," "tembelleşme " vb. gerçekte Katolik Kilisesini tanımlayan olgulardır. Hıristiyanlık İmparatorluk ile bağdaşmasa da, Katolik Kilisesisin Hıristiyanlığı açık bir yalan idi ve kurumsal Kilisenin yol açtığı yaygın kültürel bozulma Orta ya da Karanlık Çağları tanımlayan durumdur.

Batı Roma barbarların ezici gücü karşısında dayanması olanaksız olduğu için aşamalı olarak çözüldü ve Batı Roma’nın çöküşü kaba kuvvetin yüksek uygarlıkları yok etmesinin biricik örneği değildir.


Gibbon imparatorluk kavramının ne olduğu gibi ince noktalar ile ilgilenmez ve kısaca onun bir sefillik ve talihsizlik olduğunu düşünür.

İmparator tek-erk, ve halk istençsizdir. Bir imparatorluk istenci altında, tüm kavgacı etnik gruplar disiplin altına alınır, ve tikel hak istemlerinden ötürü birbiri ile her zaman didişmeye ve savaşmaya hazır olan bu gruplar için barış ancak imparatorluğun yasa egemenliği altında sağlanır. İmparatorluk tinin tarihsel bir kaprisi değil, tersine özgürlük bilinci ve istenci evrensel gücün kendisi oluncaya dek, istençsiz halklar egemen uluslar oluncaya dek uygarlığın biricik olanağıdır. İmparatorluklar çökmek zorundadır. Ama gereksiz ve başarısız oldukları için değil, tam tersine sonunda evrensel özgürlük bilincine erişecek bilincin doğması için zemini hazırladıkları için.

Barbar göçlerin ağırlığı altında, Roma İmparatorluğu Batıda dağıldı ve yeri her biri boşluğu doldurmak üzere öne atılan krallıklar tarafından dolduruldu. Barbarların sözde krallıklarından — “barbar krallıklar”dan — “Kutsal Roma İmparatorluğu” gibi sanal bir yapıya dek sayısız aday her biri kendi tarzında Roma kalıtını üstlenmek için çabaladı. Ve aralarında feodal bir federasyondan daha çoğu olmayan “Kutsal Roma İmparatorluğu” da bulunuyordu. Roma İmparatorluğu Doğuda bin yıl daha sürdü ve kültürel kalıtı onun toprakları üzerinde büyüyen ve onu kendi tarzında dönüştürerek üstlenen Osmanlı İmparatorluğunun temeli oldu.

“Üçüncü” Roma olması gereken Kiev ile Rus Çarlığı, ya da Kayzeri ile Almanya İmparatorluğu da yine kendi tazrlarında yorumladıkları Roma’yı yeniden tarihe döndürmeyi ya da bir bakıma sürdürmeyi isteyen güçler olarak ortaya çıktılar. Ama tarihsellikleri içinde, Roma’nın gerçek kalıtını anlamaları olanaksızdı. Tüm bu imparatorlukları da yıkan ve tarihten silen eşitlik ve özgürlük bilinci Roma İmparatorluğunun başka herşey arasında tüm tarihe ve insanlığa bıraktığı birincil kalıt idi.

  “... history; which is, indeed, little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.” (L)
  The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-1788)
  Gibbon’un yöntemi karşılaştırmalı ya da göreli yöntemdir; gerecine saltık ya da kavramsal bakış açısından yaklaşmaya çalışmaz; yalnızca gerecin kendi tininden ayrı bir tin ile, kendi deist bakış açısı ile yaklaşır. Tarihte anlamlı ve ussal hiçbirşey, hiçbir ilerleme ve gelişme bulamaz, çünkü aramaz, çünkü kuşkucu bilinçte bir anlam ve ussallık bulunmaz. Deist uslamlamanın yürütülmesinin vargısı nihilizmdir.

“Good historians,” wrote Horace Walpole, “are the most scarce of all writers, and no wonder! A good style is not very common; thorough information is still rare; and if these meet, what a chance that impartiality should be added to them!”

Bu tür "tarih" anlayışları hiçbir zaman öznelliğin ötesine, anlam, ussallık kavramlarına dokunmaz. Ve "yansızlık" söylendiği gibi bir şans sorunudur ve "nesnellik" kavramı henüz dikkate alınmaz. "İyi tarihçi" için iyi bir biçem ve olgular ile iyi bir tanışıklık yeterlidir. Tarihte olmayan anlamı tarihçi kendi öznelliğinden türetmelidir ve sonuçta Tarih nesnel olmamalı, öznel olmalıdır. Bu bakış açısının tarih kavramı ile bir ilgisi yoktur.

Tarihe nesnel bir devlet ve yasa, duyunç ve ahlak, hak ve etik kavramları olmaksızın yaklaşan tarihçinin nasıl bir "tarih" yazacağını önceden görmek güç değildir. Bu bakış açılarında, tarih için insanın tüzel, moral ve etik gelişimi gibi bir sorun yoktur. Tarih bir gelişim olmadığına göre, bir yineleme ya da insan tininin şu ya da bu yönde başı boş bir türlülük görünüşü üretmesidir. Saltık bir moral kriter olmadığına göre, her moral durum başka her moral durum kadar iyidir.

Giderek Gibbon’un Romalısı moral karakterden bile yoksundur, çünkü Gibbon materyal ilerlemeyi moral bozulma kaynağı olarak görür ve moral karakterin tam olarak dışsal dürtü ve eğilimlere kölece boyun eğmemekten, duyunç özgürlüğünden oluştuğunu bilmez (“Prosperity ripened the principle of decay” (Ch. 38). Böyle bozulan insan özgür değildir, istençsizdir, ve yalnızca çevresi tarafından belirlenir. Gibbon hiç düşünmeden moral olarak yeni büyümekte olan Germanik Avrupa kültürünün durumunu ve kategorilerini Romaˆya yansıtır. Çünkü kuşkucu insan tasarımına moral karakter yüklemek anlamsızdır.

“... wars, and the administration of public affairs, are the principal subjects of history” (Ch. 9).
  “The great Gibbon had branded the successors of Justinian and Heraclius as a series of vicious weaklings, and for several generations no one dared to contradict him.”



  • Gibbon kuşkucu David Hume’un saygı duyduğu bir Aydınlanma düşünürü idi.


Anglikan rahipler tarafından yetiştirilen kuşkucu eğilimli Gibbon kolayca Katolikliğe döndü çünkü Anglikanizm Protestan değil yarı-Protestan, aslında birincil olarak Katoliktir. Gibbon daha sonra Calvinist bir revizyondan geçirildi ve yeniden Anglikanizme kazanıldı. Uzun süre kaldığı İsviçre’de (Lousanne) Fransız rasyonalizmi ve Voltaire ile tanıştı.

Gibbon birincil olarak bir deist olarak kalmış görünür ve Roma Tarihine kendisi tarihsel-kültürel bir bakış açısından yaklaştı. Gibbon tarihin bu en büyük fenomenini göreli bir bakış açısına uyarladı.

Deist ateist değildir ve bir Tanrının varlığını doğrular, ama evrensel bir Us kavramını yadsır. Gene de Aydınlanma döneminde yalnızca Katolik Kilisenin boşinançlarına karşı çıkmak “rasyonalizm” olarak görülüyordu. Ama görgücü Aydınlanma gerçekte Doğa yasalarını bile doğrulamayı başaramıyordu, çünkü görgül yönteme göre deneyimlerden yapılan genellemeler ne olursa olsun bir yasanın evrenselliğine ulaşamıyordu. Hume, Locke, Newton gibi Aydınlanma düşünürleri için gerçeklik olasılıktan daha iyi değildi ve bu deistik olası-rasyonalizm düzleminde değil ussal düşünmeyi başarmak, tansıkları yadsımak bile olanaksızdır. Aydınlanma boşinanca yalnızca karşı çıkar ve onu çürütemez, çünkü kendini görgül düzleme sınırlamada direten düşünce boşinancı çürütecek bir bilgi yeteneğini kazanamaz. Bilgi evrenseldir. Görgücülük için evrensel yoktur.

Aydınlanmaya özgü deistik düşünce "Tanrı = Tanrı" özdeşliğini ileri sürer, ve Üçlülük kavramını yadsır. Tanrının yaratısında kendini olumsuzlamadığını, sınırlanmadığını ve sonlulaşmadığını düşünmek için imgesel düşünce Doğanın özeti ve doruğu olarak İsa tasarımını üretir. Homoousias Baba ve Oğul karşıtlığını olumsuzlar ve karşıtların gerçekte bir ve aynı olduğu mantığına tasarım düzleminde öykünür. Deistik düşünce böyle bir düşünmeye yönelme külfetinden kaçınır. Onun için karşıtlar karşıt, ve özdeşler özdeştir, ve özdeşliğin kendisinin karşıtlık kıpısını kapsadığını düşünmez.

  • Anglikan Gibbon Katolikliğe döndü, ama babasının mirastan yoksun bırakma gözdağı üzerine yeniden Anglikan oldu.
  • Gibbon kendi zamanında gelişmekte olan demokratik devimleri ve evrensel insan haklarını reddetti.

Yaygın önyargı Aydınlanmanın demokratik ve haktanır olduğu biçimindedir. Gerçekte tam tersi doğrudur. Aydınlanma politik olarak Aydın Despotizmini savundu ve bununla tutarlı olarak "evrensel insan haklarını" reddetti. Aydınlanmanın görgücülüğüne göre varolan hak ve yasa egemenin buyruğu olarak pozitif olgulardır ve varolmayan, salt bir ideal olan “evrensel insan hakları” yoktur, salt varolmadığı, bir olgu olmadığı için bir deneyim nesnesi de değildir ve bilişsel olamaz.

  • Gibbon Roma İmparatorluğunun çöküşünün başlıca nedeninin Hıristiyanlık olduğunu ileri sürdü.

Gibbon dinsel kurumlar için yapılan harcamaların imparatorluğu güçsüzleştirdiğini düşünüyordu. Ama pagan Roma’nın aynı konuda daha da çok harcama yapmış olabileceğini düşünmedi.

  • Gbbion Sık sık yedi yıllık çalışmasının ürünü olan ünlü kitabı çöpe atmayı düşündü.

Gibbon kavramsal bilgi ile herhangi bir ilgisi olmayan bir kuşkucu idi, ve haklı olarak kuşkuculuğun nesnel bir bakış açısı olduğunu ileri sürmedi. Deistik bakış açısından, Gibbon “tansıklara” inanmayan özgür bir düşünür olduğunu düşünüyordu. Ama kuşkucu bakış açısı determinizmi yadsımasında kendisi tansık olanağını yadsıyamaz.


Edward Gibbon

Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) (W)

Edward Gibbon FRS (8 May 1737-16 January 1794) was an English historian, writer and Member of Parliament. His most important work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788 and is known for the quality and irony of its prose, its use of primary sources, and its polemical criticism of organised religion.

Early years (1737-1752)

Edward Gibbon was born in 1737, the son of Edward and Judith Gibbon at Lime Grove, in the town of Putney, Surrey. He had six siblings: five brothers and one sister, all of whom died in infancy. His grandfather, also named Edward, had lost all of his assets as a result of the South Sea Bubble stock market collapse in 1720, but eventually regained much of his wealth. Gibbon's father was thus able to inherit a substantial estate. One of his grandparents, Catherine Acton, descended from Sir Walter Acton, 2nd Baronet.

As a youth, Gibbon's health was under constant threat. He described himself as "a puny child, neglected by my Mother, starved by my nurse". At age nine, he was sent to Dr. Woddeson's school at Kingston upon Thames (now Kingston Grammar School), shortly after which his mother died. He then took up residence in the Westminster School boarding house, owned by his adored "Aunt Kitty", Catherine Porten. Soon after she died in 1786, he remembered her as rescuing him from his mother's disdain, and imparting "the first rudiments of knowledge, the first exercise of reason, and a taste for books which is still the pleasure and glory of my life". By 1751, Gibbon’s reading was already extensive and certainly pointed toward his future pursuits: Laurence Echard's Roman History (1713), William Howel(l)'s An Institution of General History (1680-85), and several of the 65 volumes of the acclaimed Universal History from the Earliest Account of Time (1747-1768).

Oxford, Lausanne, and a religious journey: 1752-1758 (W)

Following a stay at Bath in 1752 to improve his health, at the age of 15 Gibbon was sent by his father to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was enrolled as a gentleman-commoner. He was ill-suited, however, to the college atmosphere and later rued his 14 months there as the "most idle and unprofitable" of his life. Because he himself says so in his autobiography, it used to be thought that his penchant for "theological controversy" (his aunt's influence) fully bloomed when he came under the spell of the deist or rationalist theologian Conyers Middleton (1683-1750), the author of Free Inquiry into the Miraculous Powers (1749). In that tract, Middleton denied the validity of such powers; Gibbon promptly objected, or so the argument used to run. The product of that disagreement, with some assistance from the work of Catholic Bishop Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (1627-1704), and that of the Elizabethan Jesuit Robert Parsons (1546-1610), yielded the most memorable event of his time at Oxford: his conversion to Roman Catholicism on 8 June 1753. He was further “corrupted” by the ‘free thinking’ deism of the playwright/poet couple David and Lucy Mallet; and finally Gibbon's father, already "in despair," had had enough. David Womersley has shown, however, that Gibbon's claim to having been converted by a reading of Middleton is very unlikely, and was introduced only into the final draft of the "Memoirs" in 1792-93. Bowersock suggests that Gibbon fabricated the Middleton story retrospectively in his anxiety about the impact of the French Revolution and Edmund Burke’s claim that it was provoked by the French philosophes, so influential on Gibbon.

Within weeks of his conversion, the adolescent was removed from Oxford and sent to live under the care and tutelage of Daniel Pavillard, Reformed pastor of Lausanne, Switzerland. It was here that he made one of his life's two great friendships, that of Jacques Georges Deyverdun (the French-language translator of Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther), and that of John Baker Holroyd (later Lord Sheffield). Just a year and a half later, after his father threatened to disinherit him, on Christmas Day, 1754, he reconverted to Protestantism. "The various articles of the Romish creed," he wrote, "disappeared like a dream". He remained in Lausanne for five intellectually productive years, a period that greatly enriched Gibbon's already immense aptitude for scholarship and erudition: he read Latin literature; travelled throughout Switzerland studying its cantons' constitutions; and studied the works of Hugo Grotius, Samuel von Pufendorf, John Locke, Pierre Bayle, and Blaise Pascal.

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: 1776-1788 (W)

After several rewrites, with Gibbon “often tempted to throw away the labours of seven years,” the first volume of what was to become his life's major achievement, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published on 17 February 1776. Through 1777, the reading public eagerly consumed three editions, for which Gibbon was rewarded handsomely: two-thirds of the profits, amounting to approximately £1,000. Biographer Leslie Stephen wrote that thereafter, "His fame was as rapid as it has been lasting." And as regards this first volume, "Some warm praise from David Hume overpaid the labour of ten years."

Volumes II and III appeared on 1 March 1781, eventually rising "to a level with the previous volume in general esteem." Volume IV was finished in June 1784; the final two were completed during a second Lausanne sojourn (September 1783 to August 1787) where Gibbon reunited with his friend Deyverdun in leisurely comfort. By early 1787, he was "straining for the goal" and with great relief the project was finished in June. Gibbon later wrote:

“It was on the day, or rather the night, of 27 June 1787, between the hours of eleven and twelve, that I wrote the last lines of the last page in a summer-house in my garden...I will not dissemble the first emotions of joy on the recovery of my freedom, and perhaps the establishment of my fame. But my pride was soon humbled, and a sober melancholy was spread over my mind by the idea that I had taken my everlasting leave of an old and agreeable companion, and that, whatsoever might be the future date of my history, the life of the historian must be short and precarious.’

Volumes IV, V, and VI finally reached the press in May 1788, their publication having been delayed since March so it could coincide with a dinner party celebrating Gibbon's 51st birthday (the 8th). Mounting a bandwagon of praise for the later volumes were such contemporary luminaries as Adam Smith, William Robertson, Adam Ferguson, Lord Camden, and Horace Walpole. Smith remarked that Gibbon's triumph had positioned him "at the very head of [Europe's] literary tribe."

In November of that year, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, the main proposer being his good friend Lord Sheffield.

Legacy (W)

Edward Gibbon’s central thesis in his explanation of how the Roman empire fell, that it was due to embracing Christianity, is not accepted by mainstream scholars today. Gibbon argued that with the empire's new Christian character, large sums of wealth that would have otherwise been used in the secular affairs in promoting the state were transferred to promoting the activities of the Church. However the pre-Christian empire also spent large financial sums on religious affairs and it is unclear whether or not the change of religion increased the amount of resources the empire spent on religion. Gibbon further argued that new attitudes in Christianity caused many Christians of significant wealth to renounce their lifestyles and enter a monastic lifestyle, and so stop participating in the support of the empire, however, while many Christians of wealth did become monastics, this paled in comparison to the participants in the imperial bureaucracy. While Gibbon further pointed out the importance Christianity placed on peace caused a decline in the number of people serving the military, the decline was so small as to be negligible in the army's effectivity.

Gibbon's work has been criticised for its scathing view of Christianity as laid down in chapters XV and XVI, a situation which resulted in the banning of the book in several countries. Gibbon's alleged crime was disrespecting, and none too lightly, the character of sacred Christian doctrine, by "treat[ing] the Christian church as a phenomenon of general history, not a special case admitting supernatural explanations and disallowing criticism of its adherents". More specifically, the chapters excoriated the church for "supplanting in an unnecessarily destructive way the great culture that preceded it" and for "the outrage of [practising] religious intolerance and warfare".

Gibbon, in letters to Holroyd and others, expected some type of church-inspired backlash, but the utter harshness of the ensuing torrents far exceeded anything he or his friends could possibly have anticipated. Contemporary detractors such as Joseph Priestley and Richard Watson stoked the nascent fire, but the most severe of these attacks was an "acrimonious" piece by the young cleric, Henry Edwards Davis. Gibbon subsequently published his Vindication in 1779, in which he categorically denied Davis' "criminal accusations", branding him a purveyor of "servile plagiarism." Davis followed Gibbon's Vindication with yet another reply (1779).

Gibbon's apparent antagonism to Christian doctrine spilled over into the Jewish faith, leading to charges of anti-Semitism. For example, he wrote:

“From the reign of Nero to that of Antoninus Pius, the Jews discovered a fierce impatience of the dominion of Rome, which repeatedly broke out in the most furious massacres and insurrections. Humanity is shocked at the recital of the horrid cruelties which they committed in the cities of Egypt, of Cyprus, and of Cyrene, where they dwelt in treacherous friendship with the unsuspecting natives; and we are tempted to applaud the severe retaliation which was exercised by the arms of legions against a race of fanatics, whose dire and credulous superstition seemed to render them the implacable enemies not only of the Roman government, but also of humankind.

Gibbon is considered to be a son of the Enlightenment and this is reflected in his famous verdict on the history of the Middle Ages: "I have described the triumph of barbarism and religion." However, politically, he aligned himself with the conservative Edmund Burke’s rejection of the democratic movements of the time as well as with Burke’s dismissal of the “rights of man.”

Gibbon's work has been praised for its style, his piquant epigrams and its effective irony. Winston Churchill memorably noted, "I set out upon...Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire [and] was immediately dominated both by the story and the style. ...I devoured Gibbon. I rode triumphantly through it from end to end and enjoyed it all." Churchill modelled much of his own literary style on Gibbon's. Like Gibbon, he dedicated himself to producing a "vivid historical narrative, ranging widely over period and place and enriched by analysis and reflection."

Unusually for the 18th century, Gibbon was never content with secondhand accounts when the primary sources were accessible (though most of these were drawn from well-known printed editions). "I have always endeavoured," he says, "to draw from the fountain-head; that my curiosity, as well as a sense of duty, has always urged me to study the originals; and that, if they have sometimes eluded my search, I have carefully marked the secondary evidence, on whose faith a passage or a fact were reduced to depend." In this insistence upon the importance of primary sources, Gibbon is considered by many to be one of the first modern historians:

“In accuracy, thoroughness, lucidity, and comprehensive grasp of a vast subject, the 'History' is unsurpassable. It is the one English history which may be regarded as definitive...Whatever its shortcomings the book is artistically imposing as well as historically unimpeachable as a vast panorama of a great period.”

The subject of Gibbon's writing, as well as his ideas and style, have influenced other writers. Besides his influence on Churchill, Gibbon was also a model for Isaac Asimov in his writing of The Foundation Trilogy, which he said involved "a little bit of cribbin' from the works of Edward Gibbon".

Evelyn Waugh admired Gibbon's style, but not his secular viewpoint. In Waugh's 1950 novel Helena, the early Christian author Lactantius worried about the possibility of “‘a false historian, with the mind of Cicero or Tacitus and the soul of an animal,’ and he nodded towards the gibbon who fretted his golden chain and chattered for fruit."

J. C. Stobart, author of The Grandeur that was Rome (1911), wrote of Gibbon that “The mere notion of empire continuing to decline and fall for five centuries is ridiculous ... this is one of the cases which prove that History is made not so much by heroes or natural forces as by historians."




Edward Gibbon, (born May 8 [April 27, Old Style], 1737, Putney, Surrey, England—died January 16, 1794, London), English rationalist historian and scholar best known as the author of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776–88), a continuous narrative from the 2nd century CE to the fall of Constantinople in 1453.



Gibbon’s grandfather, Edward, had made a considerable fortune and his father, also Edward, was able to live an easygoing life in society and Parliament. He married Judith, a daughter of James Porten, whose family had originated in Germany. Edward, too, had independent means throughout his life. He was the eldest and the only survivor of seven children, the rest dying in infancy.

Gibbon’s own childhood was a series of illnesses and more than once he nearly died. Neglected by his mother, he owed his life to her sister, Catherine Porten, whom he also called “the mother of his mind,” and after his mother’s death in 1747 he was almost entirely in his aunt’s care. He early became an omnivorous reader and could indulge his tastes the more fully since his schooling was most irregular. He attended a day school in Putney and, in 1746, Kingston grammar school, where he was to note in his Memoirs “at the expense of many tears and some blood, [he] purchased a knowledge of Latin syntax.” In 1749 he was admitted to Westminster School. He was taken in 1750 to Bath and Winchester in search of health and after an unsuccessful attempt to return to Westminster was placed for the next two years with tutors from whom he learned little. His father took him on visits to country houses where he had the run of libraries filled with old folios.

He noted his 12th year as one of great intellectual development and says in his Memoirs that he had early discovered his “proper food,” history. By his 14th year he had already covered the main fields of his subsequent masterpiece, applying his mind as well to difficult problems of chronology. The keynote of these early years of study was self-sufficiency. Apart from his aunt’s initial guidance, Gibbon followed his intellectual bent in solitary independence. This characteristic remained with him throughout his life. His great work was composed without consulting other scholars and is impressed with the seal of his unique personality.

In his Memoirs Gibbon remarked that with the onset of puberty his health suddenly improved and remained excellent throughout his life. Never a strong or active man, he was of diminutive stature and very slightly built and he became corpulent in later years. The improvement in his health apparently accounts for his father’s sudden decision to enter him at Magdalen College, Oxford, on April 3, 1752, about three weeks before his 15th birthday. He was now privileged and independent. Any expectations of study at Oxford were soon disappointed. The authorities failed to look after him intellectually or spiritually or even to note his absences from the college. Left to himself, Gibbon turned to theology and read himself into the Roman Catholic faith. It was a purely intellectual conversion. Yet he acted on it and was received into the Roman Catholic Church by a priest in London on June 8, 1753.

His father, outraged because under the existing laws his son had disqualified himself for all public service and office, acted swiftly, and Edward was dispatched to Lausanne and lodged with a Calvinist minister, the Rev. Daniel Pavillard. Though the change was complete, and Gibbon was under strict surveillance, in great discomfort, and with the scantiest allowance, he later spoke of this period with gratitude. To Pavillard he owed kindly and competent instruction and the formation of regular habits of study. He mastered the bulk of classical Latin literature and studied mathematics and logic. He also became perfectly conversant with the language and literature of France, which exercised a permanent influence on him. These studies made him not only a man of considerable learning but a stylist for life. He began his first work, written in French, Essai sur l’étude de la littérature (1761; An Essay on the Study of Literature, 1764). Meanwhile, the main purpose of his exile had not been neglected. Not without weighty thought, Gibbon at last abjured his new faith and was publicly readmitted to the Protestant communion at Christmas 1754. “It was here,” Gibbon says somewhat ambiguously, “that I suspended my religious enquiries, acquiescing with implicit belief in the tenets and mysteries which are adopted by the general consent of Catholics and Protestants.”

In the latter part of his exile Gibbon entered more freely into Lausanne society. He attended Voltaire’sparties. He formed an enduring friendship with a young Swiss, Georges Deyverdun, and also fell in love with and rashly plighted himself to Suzanne Curchod, a pastor’s daughter of great charm and intelligence. In 1758 his father called Gibbon home shortly before his 21st birthday and settled an annuity of £300 on him. On the other hand, he found that his father and his stepmother were implacably opposed to his engagement, and he was compelled to break it off. (“I sighed as a lover, I obeyed as a son.”) He never again thought seriously of marriage. After a natural estrangement he and Curchod became lifelong friends. She was well known as the wife of Jacques Necker, the French finance minister under Louis XVI. During the next five years Gibbon read widely and considered many possible subjects for a historical composition. From 1760 until the end of 1762, his studies were seriously interrupted by his service on home defense duties with the Hampshire militia. With the rank of captain he did his duty conscientiously and later claimed that his experience of men and camps had been useful to him as a historian.

Gibbon left England on January 25, 1763, and spent some time in Paris, making the acquaintance of several Philosophes, Denis Diderot and Jean Le Rond d’Alembert among others. During the autumn and winter spent in study and gaiety at Lausanne, he gained a valuable friend in John Baker Holroyd (later Lord Sheffield), who was to become his literary executor. In 1764 Gibbon went to Rome, where he made an exhaustive study of the antiquities and, on October 15, 1764, while musing amid the ruins of the Capitol, was inspired to write of the decline and fall of the city. Some time was yet to pass before he decided on the history of the empire.

At home, the next five years were the least satisfactory in Gibbon’s life. He was dependent on his father and although nearly 30 had achieved little in life. Although bent on writing a history, he had not settled on a definite subject. Impressed by the supremacy of French culture in Europe, he began in that language a history of the liberty of the Swiss, but was dissuaded from continuing it. He and Deyverdun published two volumes of Mémoires littéraires de la Grande Bretagne (1768-69). In 1770 he sought to attract some attention by publishing Critical Observations on the Sixth Book of the Aeneid.

His father died intestate in 1770. After two years of tiresome business, Gibbon was established in Bentinck Street, London, and concentrated on his Roman history. At the same time he entered fully into social life. He joined the fashionable clubs and was also becoming known among men of letters. In 1775 he was elected to the Club, the brilliant circle that the painter Sir Joshua Reynolds had formed round the writer and lexicographer Dr. Samuel Johnson. Although Johnson’s biographer, James Boswell, openly detested Gibbon, and it may be inferred that Johnson disliked him, Gibbon took an active part in the Club and became intimate with Reynolds and the actor David Garrick. In the previous year he had entered Parliament and was an assiduous, though silent, supporter of Lord North.

The Decline And Fall

The first quarto volume of his history, published on February 17, 1776, immediately scored a success that was resounding, if somewhat scandalous because of the last two chapters in which he dealt with great irony with the rise of Christianity. Reactions to Gibbon’s treatment of Christianity have displayed various phases. Both in his lifetime and after, he was attacked and personally ridiculed by those who feared that his skepticism would shake the existing establishment. In the 19th century he was hailed as a champion by militant agnostics. Gibbon himself was not militant. He did not cry with Voltaire, “Écrasez l’Infâme!”(“Crush the Infamy!”) because in his England and Switzerland he saw no danger in the ecclesiastical systems. His concern was history. One may say, however, with confidence, that he had no belief in a divine revelation and little sympathy with those who had such a belief. While he treated the supernatural with irony, his main purpose was to establish the principle that religions must be treated as phenomena of human experience. In this his successors have followed him and added to the collateral causes of Christianity’s growth those that he had overlooked or could not know of, such as the various mystery religions of the empire and particularly the Mithraic cult. Although Gibbon’s best known treatment of Christianity is found mainly in the 15th and 16th chapters, no less significant are later chapters in which he traced the developments of theology and ecclesiasticism in relation to the breakup of the empire.

Gibbon went on to prepare the next volumes. Meanwhile, he was assailed by many pamphleteers and subjected to much ridicule. His ugliness and elaborate clothes made him an easy target. For the most part he ignored his critics. The historians David Hume and William Robertson recognized him as their equal if not their superior. Only to those who had accused him of falsifying his evidence did he make a devastating reply in A Vindication of Some Passages in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Chapters of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1779).

In the same year he obtained a valuable sinecure as a commissioner of trade and plantations. Shortly after that he composed Mémoire justificatif (1779; a French and English version, 1780), a masterly state paper in reply to continental criticism of the British government’s policy in America. In 1781 he published the second and third volumes of his history, bringing the narrative down to the end of the empire in the West. Gibbon paused at this point to consider continuing his history. In 1782, however, Lord North’s government fell, and soon Gibbon’s commission was abolished. This was a serious loss of income. To economize he left England and joined Deyverdun in a house at Lausanne. There he quietly completed his history in three more volumes, writing the last lines of it on June 27, 1787. He soon returned to England with the manuscript, and these volumes were published on his 51st birthday, May 8, 1788. The completion of this great work was acclaimed on all sides.

The Decline and Fall thus comprises two divisions, equal in bulk but inevitably different in treatment. The first half covers a period of about 300 years to the end of the empire in the West, about 480 CE. In the second half nearly 1,000 years are compressed. Yet the work is a coherent whole by virtue of its conception of the Roman Empire as a single entity throughout its long and diversified course. Gibbon imposed a further unity on his narrative by viewing it as an undeviating decline from those ideals of political and, even more, intellectual freedom that he had found in classical literature. The material decay that had inspired him in Rome was the effect and symbol of moral decadence. However well this attitude suited the history of the West, its continuance constitutes the most serious defect of the second half of Gibbon’s history and involved him in obvious contradictions. He asserted, for example, that the long story of empire in the East is one of continuous decay, yet for 1,000 years Constantinople stood as a bulwark of eastern Europe. The fact is that Gibbon was not only out of sympathy with Byzantine civilization; he was less at home with Greek sources than with Latin and had no access to vast stores of material in other languages that subsequent scholars have assembled. Consequently there are serious omissions in his narrative, as well as unsatisfactory summaries.

Nevertheless, this second half contains much of Gibbon’s best. With all its shortcomings, it marshals with masterly lucidity the successive forces that eventually overthrew Constantinople. Many of his most famous chapters occur there. These include sections on Justinian, the Trinitarian controversies, the rise of Islam, and the history of Roman law. There is, in addition, a brilliant and moving story of the last siege and capture of Constantinople and, finally, the epilogue of chapters describing medieval and Renaissance Rome, which gives some hope that the long decline is over and that mankind has some prospect of recovering intellectual freedom. The vindication of intellectual freedom is a large part of Gibbon’s purpose as a historian. When toward the end of his work he remarks, “I have described the triumph of barbarism and religion,” he reveals epigrammatically his view of the causes of the decay of the Greco-Roman world. They can hardly be disputed. But there is the further question of whether the changes brought about are to be regarded as ones of progress or retrogression. Writing as a mid-18th-century “philosopher,” Gibbon saw the process as retrogression, and his judgment remains of perpetual interest.

Returning to Lausanne, Gibbon turned mainly to writing his memoirs. His happiness was broken first by Deyverdun’s death in 1789, quickly followed by the outbreak of the French Revolution and the subsequent apprehension of an invasion of Switzerland. He had now become very fat and his health was declining. In 1793 he suddenly returned to England on hearing of Lady Sheffield’s death. The journey aggravated his ailments, and he died in a house in St. James’s Street, London. His remains were placed in Lord Sheffield’s family vault in Fletching Church, Sussex.


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