Empires and Barbarians ePub Ó 734 pages

doc × The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe ☆ Peter Heather

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 statesThe 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 Once again Peter Heath has written an extraordinarily complex and nuanced account of Europe in the first millennium AD a period when the modern foundations of European society were established He focuses on migration and its role in transforming the Mediterranean centered world of Late Antiuity into the Atlantic centered one of the Medieval and Modern eras Toward that end the author looks at the drift of Germanic tribes ever westward into the Roman Empire to c AD 600; their replacement by Slavs in north and central Europe after AD 400; and the last great migrations of the Vikings AD 700 1000 Up to the 1960s the theory – influenced by 19th Century ideas of nationalism and frankly racism – of mass migrations of large coherent “nations” of peoples sweeping through the old provinces of Rome and exterminating or pushing all before them dominated the historiography As textual and archaeological evidence accumulated this view grew and inadeuate It engendered a reactive scholarship that emphasized internal transformations on both sides of the frontier rather than migrations as critical factors Preface and Chapter 1 “Migrants and Barbarians” Walter Goffart is a good and intimidating example of this school Heather argues that neither extreme is terribly productive in explaining what happened and we should take a nuanced view that incorporates the very real internal transformations that made Constantine’s empire very different from Augustus’ and Fritigern’s Germania very different from Arminius’ and the external migrations of significant populations that certainly took place p xIn his zeal to restore the good name of “mass migration” Heather may himself stray into the pitfall of overemphasis but not too often and not too deepA reader hoping to understand or find out about the anti migration argument will be disappointed but I’d refer you to Heather’s earlier book The Fall of the Roman Empire A New History of Rome and the Barbarians or better since it’s from a proponent Goffart’s work That aside Heather’s argument for restoring a balance in our perceptions of a nascent European culture is valid and the evidence he martials for his case impressive And eye opening Heather has a particular facility in evoking the society of late Antiuity and making the reader see events through the eyes of the participantsHeather begins the book by looking at the difference between the social and economic development of “Germania” from our first glimpse of it in Roman literature primarily Cornelius Tacitus to the Frankish hegemony of the 8th Century including the Anglo Saxon conuest of Celto Roman Britain here the primary text is Ammianus Marcellinus He then looks at the Slavicization of north and central Europe in the wake of the Germanic migration And he rounds off his survey by examining the Viking migrations that crowned the last few centuries of the first millennium AD The basic argument for all of these developments is this Migration is motivated by negative factors such as war and political turmoil but also by positive factors such as economic opportunity People look toward wealthier economies for the promise of a better life In the face of a strong polity like Rome before c 400 a four tier zone developed i Rome proper relative to others a highly developed mature wealthy economy; ii an inner periphery of barbarian polities intimately tied to Rome in trade and politics; iii an outer less developed periphery; iv a zone with little or no direct contact with even the inner periphery much less Rome where the levels of technological political and economic development remained at an Iron Age level or less A paradox of this development is that in pursuing its own economic interests the advanced culture sows the seeds of relative if not absolute decline In the face of Roman aggressio

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Empires and Barbarians The Fall of Rome and the Birth of EuropeArchitecture 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 supremac Too much academic for my taste Deals with research and explaining how archeology is important than actual events As a study for an academic student it's perfect Not so much for the general public if you wish to learn about the actual events during the Great Migration

Peter Heather ☆ Empires and Barbarians: The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe eBook

Empires and Barbarians ePub Ó 734 pages ☆ 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 theY 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 longerBringing 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 lai In “Empires and barbarians” Peter Heather attempts to tackle two of the biggest uestions in history of European continent The first of those uestions is how in a course of millennia Europe transformed from a territory eually divided between Roman empire and a multitude of Germanic tribes lacking any “national” structures into a socio political construct of proto national states which to a large degree remains unchanged into our own time Simultaneously he tries to figure out the answer to parallel and eually important uestion about what role if any did large scale migrations play in this metamorphosisAfter this short introduction to the purpose and content of this book let me proceed with a short clarification of this review When it comes to serious history works and in my humble opinion this volume falls most certainly into this category I am of opinion that any meaningful discussion must be split into two distinct parts pure literary assessment being the first one While I am most definitely a history buff I am not a historian As such I reuire for my history books to be easily accessible and engaging As much as I desire to learn from history books I also read for the sake of enjoyment The other part of my “reviews” of books such as this one consists of evaluation of actual factual content After all what’s the point of a history book if it fails to learn you something new about actual historyIf we start off with the literary “review” let me put it bluntly this was one of the toughest reading experiences I’ve had in several years Now don’t get me wrong here I am not saying that it’s a badly written book On uite contrary the literary skills of the author are beyond reproach As a matter of fact the main reason for why I started reading “Empires and barbarians” besides the obvious fact that the topic is interesting to me was my very pleasant experience with one of author’s previous works – “The Fall of the Roman Empire” Writing style of that book was what I usually look for in a history book – an informed narrative presentation of events complemented by author’s personal conclusions and observations The issue with “Empires and barbarians” is that being written with same skill is the one thing it has in common with The Fall of the Roman Empire In pretty much every other respect it is a very different beast and the reason is pretty straightforward those two books serve different purpose Unlike “The Fall of the Roman Empire” which is clearly intended for general public “Empires and barbarians” is at its core a presentation of a serious academic thesis and a contribution to ongoing discussion in a very active academic field of study Yes it can be read by “general public” but make no mistake it is primarily directed both stylistically and content wise toward other academicians This is very important to realize because the topic discussed in this book is always contentious and uite often volatile among historians and this book is a direct assault on beliefs held by some of them As conseuence in what I assume is anticipation of inevitable scrutiny and criticism of peers the content of this book exhibits painstaking meticulousness and attention to detail seldom encountered in popular history booksAs it turns out for this “casual” reader who as stated above just wants to read a good story and learn something new this approach didn’t transfer into a pleasant reading experience Once again I’m not saying that this is a bad book On uite contrary the author’s literary skills are very commendable and every once in a while when the “plot” manages to get off the ground this book and author’s theories are absolutely fascinating However author spends far too much time for my liking on reiterating same concepts and conclusions and their fortific