Barbarian Tides: The Migration Age and the Later Roman Empire

  • by Walter Goffart
  • Narrated by Bruce Bluett
  • 13 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Migration Age is still envisioned as an onrush of expansionary "Germans" pouring unwanted into the Roman Empire and subjecting it to pressures so great that its western parts collapsed under the weight. Further developing the themes set forth in his classic Barbarians and Romans, Walter Goffart dismantles this grand narrative, shaking the barbarians of late antiquity out of this "Germanic" setting and reimagining the role of foreigners in the later Roman Empire.
The empire was not swamped by a migratory Germanic flood for the simple reason that there was no single ancient Germanic civilization to be transplanted onto ex-Roman soil. Rather, the multiplicity of Northern peoples once living on the edges of the empire participated with the Romans in the larger stirrings of late antiquity. Most relevant among these was the long militarization that gripped late Roman society concurrently with its Christianization.
Many barbarians were settled in the provinces without dislodging the Roman residents or destabilizing land ownership; some were even incorporated into the ruling families of the empire. The outcome of this process, Goffart argues, was a society headed by elite soldiers and Christian clergy - one we have come to call medieval.


What the Critics Say

"Goffart has produced yet another major study on the migration of the Northern barbarians into the late Roman Empire." (Choice)
"An important book which should be read attentively by all scholars of the late Roman West and early medieval Europe." (HER)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Needs revision

What disappointed you about Barbarian Tides: The Migration Age and the Later Roman Empire?

I am always reluctant to criticize someone who has taken such trouble to educate me. But this really needs an editor.

I would strenuously advise the author to remove all testimony to his greatness and likewise, the re-enactment of past academic disputes. All new ideas are pilloried by mediocre minds - if that doesn't take place, the book is not adequately marketed.

He also needs to make up his mind about what he is writing - the history or how that evolved. Personally, I have trouble imagining both subjects in the same book whilst preserving coherence.

Both subjects are interesting and relevant, but I would at least put them in separate parts.

The conclusion chapter is actually the most impressive - I would advise expanding it into the rest of the book!

Would you ever listen to anything by Walter Goffart again?


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- Farevar Rami

Book Details

  • Release Date: 18-05-2016
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks