chapter  3
26 Pages

Origin myths and political/ethnical affiliations

Migration Period Europe: a historical survey What are known as the European Middle Ages began around ad 400, succeeding Antiquity – the era of the Roman Empire. Around that time (more precisely on the last day of ad 406), Roman Gaul was invaded by a huge army of barbarians from many parts of Europe beyond the Roman frontier: Vandals, Sueves, Alans and Burgundians. In ad 410 Rome was sacked by another group of barbarians, the Goths. Not least symbolically, these two events marked an end of the West Roman Empire and the beginning of the Middle Ages, or the Dark Age, during which barbarian peoples in the following century settled all over the former Western Empire. From c. ad 400 to 560, Europe experienced formative political changes as armed barbarian groups were constantly on the move, searching for land and wealth – named fortune – on Roman territory. The Goths (East and West), the Vandals, the Lombards, the Burgundians, the Heruli, the Franks, the Anglo-Saxons and many more – together with Central Asian steppe nomads in the form of the Huns – are known from the written sources as players in shifting alliances and political confederations, both in mutual arrangements and with the Romans.