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Empires and Barbarians: The Fall of Rome and…
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Empires and Barbarians: The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe (Original 2010; 2010. Auflage)

von Peter Heather

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4441444,024 (3.96)13
"Here is a fresh, provocative look at how a recognizable Europe came into being in the first millennium AD. With sharp analytic insight, Peter Heather explores the dynamics of migration and social and economic interaction that changed two vastly different worlds--the undeveloped barbarian world and the sophisticated Roman Empire--into remarkably similar societies and states. The book's vivid narrative begins at the time of Christ, when the Mediterranean circle, newly united under the Romans, hosted a politically sophisticated, economically advanced, and culturally developed civilization--one with philosophy, banking, professional armies, literature, stunning architecture, even garbage collection. The rest of Europe, meanwhile, was home to subsistence farmers living in small groups, dominated largely by Germanic speakers. Although having some iron tools and weapons, these mostly illiterate peoples worked mainly in wood and never built in stone. The farther east one went, the simpler it became: fewer iron tools and ever less productive economies. And yet ten centuries later, from the Atlantic to the Urals, the European world had turned. Slavic speakers had largely superseded Germanic speakers in central and Eastern Europe, literacy was growing, Christianity had spread, and most fundamentally, Mediterranean supremacy was broken. The emergence of larger and stronger states in the north and east had, by the year 1000, brought patterns of human organization into much greater homogeneity across the continent. Barbarian Europe was barbarian no longer. Bringing the whole of first millennium European history together for the first time, and challenging current arguments that migration played but a tiny role in this unfolding narrative, Empires and Barbarians views the destruction of the ancient world order in the light of modern migration and globalization patterns. The result is a compelling, nuanced, and integrated view of how the foundations of modern Europe were laid"--Provided by publisher. "At the start of the first millennium AD, southern and western Europe formed part of the Mediterranean-based Roman Empire, the largest state western Eurasia has ever known, and was set firmly on a trajectory towards towns, writing, mosaics, and central heating. Central, northern and eastern Europe was home to subsistence farmers, living in wooden houses with mud floors, whose largest political units weighed in at no more than a few thousand people. By the year 1000, Mediterranean domination of the European landscape had been destroyed. Instead of one huge Empire facing loosely organized subsistence farmers, Europe - from the Atlantic almost to the Urals - was home to an interacting commonwealth of Christian states, many of which are still with us today. This book tells the story of the transformations which changed western Eurasia forever: of the birth of Europe itself"--Provided by publisher.… (mehr)
Mitglied:briansb
Titel:Empires and Barbarians: The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe
Autoren:Peter Heather
Info:Oxford University Press, USA (2010), Hardcover, 752 pages
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek
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Invasion der Barbaren: Die Entstehung Europas im ersten Jahrtausend nach Christus von Peter Heather (2010)

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Un largo ensayo que pretende formular la regla detrás de las grandes migraciones bárbaras en el marco del imperio romano, y tratar de obtener un principio general aplicable inclusive a la actualidad. Muy bien documentado, bien escrito, tal vez algo repetitivo. ( )
  gneoflavio | Apr 23, 2021 |
A thorough, educational and thought-provoking — if massive and occasionally overwhelming work about the "barbarian invasions" that wracked Europe for more than a half century, coinciding with the fall of Roman hegemony in the West, the rise of successor kingdoms, and then those kingdoms' own struggles against future waves of barbarian invaders. Heather's book is one part history and one part disputation, weighing with voluminous evidence into an academic debate that has fiercely divided the field of Late Antique and Early Medieval studies: is the standard story of barbarian invasions causing the fall of Rome actually true at all?

The revisionist theory holds that the conventional tale of hordes of barbarians moving, families in tow, across vast expanses of Eurasia and leaving the Roman Empire shattered in its wake has little basis in reality. Populations remained relatively constant, with only small numbers of new people moving, and changes in material culture observed in archaeology reflecting cultural change rather than the replacement of one people by another. This argument has the virtue of having been true in at least some times and places, the best-documented of which is the Norman invasion of England in 1066: William the Conquerer's army was relatively small, and simply replaced the old Anglo-Saxon aristocracy with new Norman aristocracy. Life then continued as normal, with a French-speaking elite and Anglo-Saxon-speaking peasantry gradually, over the centuries, developing a common culture.

Heather's book, in documenting the history of the so-called "barbarian invasions," is responding to this thesis, which he says has attained the status of orthodoxy in some parts of the field. He readily acknowledges some of the revisionist points, and critiques the traditionalist view of "nations on the march" for going too far and being too subjugated to 19th Century political concerns. But Heather is convinced that barbarian migration actually does and did happen, and draws on a wide array of historical accounts, archaeological evidence, studies of modern migrations and more to try to convince you, the reader, too.

At the root of Heather's case are arguments based on agricultural economics: complex societies with division of labor and a dedicated warrior caste require an agricultural surplus to support non-farming citizens. In one fascinating aside, he notes that the Germania area that Rome's borders never subsumed had notoriously thick and unproductive soil in antiquity, making it incapable of supporting a large society. Rome never conquered Germania not because it didn't want to, but because by the standards that mattered, Germania couldn't produce enough to justify conquering it. This drawback was only gradually solved as agricultural technology advanced (in particular better plows that could turn the soil), which enabled the area to support larger populations — to the detriment of the Roman frontier.

Using both contemporary observations and archaeological finds (midden-heaps and graves from certain places and times are laden with ornate luxury goods and tools, while others are spare), Heather meticulous documents where we can conclude that migrations happened, where the evidence is sketchier, and where we can be pretty sure that a supposed "invasion" was only a relatively small number of people. This being ancient history, he's forced to fall back on the old "we must suppose" standby more often than a history fan might like, but there's really no way around it and Heather never oversells his evidence. You'll come away better informed about both the facts and the historiographic arguments concerning the surprisingly relevant question of Rome's fall (if you can soldier through more than 600 occasionally dense pages). ( )
  dhmontgomery | Dec 13, 2020 |
An interesting and detailed look at the barbarian migrations and empire building in Europe. More about barbarians than Romans. ( )
  ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
Peter Heather has researched the massive culture shift at the end of the roman empire, and has concentrated on the migrations. He has documented the three types of Migrations and explored their effects on Europe and the Mediterranean. It is a very interesting addition to the literature on the transition to the Middle ages. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Feb 24, 2018 |
This is long and complicated. What kept my attention was not the history, but the metahistory. What can we know about this period, and how and why do we know it? How do ancient and modern patterns of migration compare? What does one tell us about the other? ( )
  MarthaJeanne | Nov 18, 2017 |
Peter Heather’s compendium Empires and Barbarians is an impressive work in its scope, ambition, and sheer size. At 734 pages, this is a serious academic work, yet its tone and language remain admirably accessible and engaging for the interested, if uninitiated, general audience. Empires and Barbarians’ subject is the events occurring in Europe after the third-century crisis in the Roman Empire
hinzugefügt von AndreasJ | bearbeitenH-Net, Christopher Gennari (Apr 18, 2013)
 
Now Heather has produced a weightier and more ambitious book. The full title is misleading, since it suggests that the birth of Europe follows closely on the fall of Rome, which is not his contention. Rather, his book covers a much longer period, down to about 1000 CE, and takes the reader through not only the violent encounters between Rome and various Germanic groups in the fourth and fifth centuries but also the subsequent movement of Slavic peoples into central and eastern Europe, or from the Marcomannic wars of the second century to the Viking invasions of the 10th and the birth of Rus, creating the basic ethnic and linguistic map that persists to this day.
 
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To my Father and Father-in-Law

ALLAN FREDERICK HEATHER
28.2.1923-14.1.2008

RICHARD MILES SAWYER
30.7.1917-3.9.2007
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"Here is a fresh, provocative look at how a recognizable Europe came into being in the first millennium AD. With sharp analytic insight, Peter Heather explores the dynamics of migration and social and economic interaction that changed two vastly different worlds--the undeveloped barbarian world and the sophisticated Roman Empire--into remarkably similar societies and states. The book's vivid narrative begins at the time of Christ, when the Mediterranean circle, newly united under the Romans, hosted a politically sophisticated, economically advanced, and culturally developed civilization--one with philosophy, banking, professional armies, literature, stunning architecture, even garbage collection. The rest of Europe, meanwhile, was home to subsistence farmers living in small groups, dominated largely by Germanic speakers. Although having some iron tools and weapons, these mostly illiterate peoples worked mainly in wood and never built in stone. The farther east one went, the simpler it became: fewer iron tools and ever less productive economies. And yet ten centuries later, from the Atlantic to the Urals, the European world had turned. Slavic speakers had largely superseded Germanic speakers in central and Eastern Europe, literacy was growing, Christianity had spread, and most fundamentally, Mediterranean supremacy was broken. The emergence of larger and stronger states in the north and east had, by the year 1000, brought patterns of human organization into much greater homogeneity across the continent. Barbarian Europe was barbarian no longer. Bringing the whole of first millennium European history together for the first time, and challenging current arguments that migration played but a tiny role in this unfolding narrative, Empires and Barbarians views the destruction of the ancient world order in the light of modern migration and globalization patterns. The result is a compelling, nuanced, and integrated view of how the foundations of modern Europe were laid"--Provided by publisher. "At the start of the first millennium AD, southern and western Europe formed part of the Mediterranean-based Roman Empire, the largest state western Eurasia has ever known, and was set firmly on a trajectory towards towns, writing, mosaics, and central heating. Central, northern and eastern Europe was home to subsistence farmers, living in wooden houses with mud floors, whose largest political units weighed in at no more than a few thousand people. By the year 1000, Mediterranean domination of the European landscape had been destroyed. Instead of one huge Empire facing loosely organized subsistence farmers, Europe - from the Atlantic almost to the Urals - was home to an interacting commonwealth of Christian states, many of which are still with us today. This book tells the story of the transformations which changed western Eurasia forever: of the birth of Europe itself"--Provided by publisher.

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