The History Hut: Barbarians on the Move (Pt. 1)





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Uploaded on Nov 22, 2011

This episode of The History Hut will examine the period towards the end of the Roman Empire when many groups of people begin to move west to the Roman borders and inside the Roman frontier, as the Huns start to move west and push everyone before them.

These many groups acted as both allies and enemies to the Romans. While it took the Roman Empire a long time to collapse, the 'barbarians' first sacked it early in the fifth century and it continued to face pressure from different barbarian groups.

Perhaps the most important part of our discussion is the re-assessment of this period following the collapse of empire, which is usually called 'The Dark Ages' (400-800). This re-assessment shows us just how wrong we have been, since there is actually a lot going on in this era -- writing never stops, neither does building, nor does a very sophisticated level of craftsmanship.

We will spend some time looking at what was going on from 400-800AD, focusing on the impact of the Huns and the movement of the Visigoths (into western Europe) and the Vandals (into North Africa). In particular, we are looking for who will emerge as the successor state to Rome, though we will see that it is none of the above.

In fact, it is the Franks (also known as the Merovingians) who take over. Our discussion of the Franks will take us through the rule of Childeric and Clovis in particular, and then to the position of 'mayor of the palace,' through which the Carolingians (Holy Roman Empire) come to power.

There is also a brief examination of the social, religious and political structure of Frankish life. As well, we see that the lessons of the decline of the Merovingians is certainly not lost on the greatest Carolingian of them all -- Charlemagne.

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