migration of the nations, 400 ad - 1000 ad

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1 Description of the migration movement
2 Causes of migration
3 Consequences of migration
4 Reactions on migration

CHARACTERISTICS

From the second century A.D. onwards plague epidemics depopulated and weakened the Roman Empire, forcing it both to relinquish efforts to maintain control over conquered peoples, as well as resort to a fundamentally simpler system of organisation. This meant that the extensive administrative and military infrastructure with Rome at its core had to be reduced, leading to a smaller administration and weakened armies. Tribes whose attacks on the Empire had previously been thwarted were now achieving success in penetrating the defenses, so that around 406 A.D. the northern region of the Empire had to be abandoned, followed soon afterwards by other areas. Inhabitants of the regions that were rid of Roman rule returned to the old patterns of life, meaning that once again the entire population -apart from warriors and priests- had to contribute to the primitive production necessary for survival. The economy stagnated, trade and artisanship diminished and the population no longer grew.

The period lasting from the 4th until the 7th century A.D. has been called the period of the Migration of the Nations, reflecting the extensive migration of many groups. This period was essential in shaping the distribution of cultures in Europe and laying the foundations of future nations. Most tribes found a fixed place to live, and in doing so formed the roots of the European States. Examples are the Franks and Burgundians in France, and the Angles and Saxons in England. The invasions of the Germans in the 4th and 5th century shaped Europe in a fundamental way. The contrast between Northern and Southern Europe faded away and was replaced by a contrast between Eastern Europe with Slav and Greek culture on the one hand, and Western Europe with German and Latin culture on the other.

EFFECT OF CHARACTERISTICS ON MIGRATION

Tribes fought their way into areas they sought to occupy in three identifiable waves. The first wave consisted of the Huns, Goths and Avaren moving through Europe, the second wave set Slavs, Steppe-tribes and Arabs in motion and the third wave was composed of Vikings, Norse and Magyars. Weaker tribes were forced to leave and settle elsewhere.

A lack of information about this period makes it difficult to ascertain with certainty what prompted tribes to migrate, yet some causes can be determined. Some tribes were attracted by the wealth of the Roman Empire, as was the case for the Huns and the Germans. The migration of tribes from Central Asia into Europe -thereby displacing the established tribes- could serve as an explanation for the attacks of the Huns, the Avars and the Bulgarians. Some Northern tribes were driven South by changes in the climate, while others may have been attracted to the available land. Apart from these external factors, internal motivators of migration included population growth, changing living conditions and developing social structures.

The migration of Christians due to Roman persecution continued unabated in the 8th and 9th century.

1. DESCRIPTION OF THE MIGRATION MOVEMENT

1.1 Who were they and where did they come from: ethnic origin, geographical background, religion, adults, men or women, special qualities?

* 4th century A.C.: The Huns entered Europe. They had come all the way from China to the Black Sea between 200 B.C. and 400A.C..
* 4th - 5th century A.C.: The Goths, originally from Sweden, came south to the Russian planes around the year 200. They split up into the Ostrogoths and Visigoths. The former lived along the border of the Black Sea between Don and Dnieper, while the Visigoths occupied an area to the West, near the Danube.
* 6th century A.C.: The Avars came from China and settled in the Danube valley, where the Huns once had their empire. In 796 their journey came to an end and they disappeared from Europe.
* 600 - 1000 A.C.: Slavs were on the move. Halfway the 6th century they lived in the area between the mouth of the Danube, the Djnepr and the Vistula.
* 726 - 834 A.C.: Priests and monks fled from the Byzanthian Empire to Rome, Southern Italy and Sicily.
* 800 - 1000 A.C.: The Arabs were on the move.
* 9th - 10th century A.C.: Norse came to Europe from Scandinavia.
* 10th century: Magyars (Hungarians) went to Germany, France and Central Europe and ultimately settled in Pannonia.

1.2 How did they travel: transport, circumstances of travelling?

1.3 When?
First wave:

* 4th century: The Huns entered Europe.
* 4th - 5th century A.C.: The Goths, originally from Sweden, came South to the Russian planes about the year 200.
* 6th century: The Avars settled in the Danube valley.

Second wave:

* 600 - 1000: Slavs were on the move.
* 800 - 1000: Steppe-tribes still invaded Europe.
* 800 - 1000: The Arabs were on the move.

 

Third wave:

* 9th - 10th century: Norse came to Europe from Scandinavia.
* 10th century: Magyars (Hungarians) went to Germany, France and Central Europe.

1.4 How many?

1.5 Permanent or temporary?

1.6 Where did they go to and where did they stay?

* 400-500 A.C.: Around 489 the Ostrogoths entered Italy, which the Visigoths had passed through roughly 90 years earlier on their journey to Central and Southern Spain. Jocelins, Angles and Saxons entered Britain, Frisians entered Holland, Franks and Burgundians entered France, Alamanni entered Germany and Helvetia, Lombards entered Italy, Suevi entered Northern Spain, Vandals travelled between 400 and 430 trough central Europe and Spain and went to Northern Africa, Sardinia and later on to Rome. Saxons, Frisians, Thuringians en Bajuwari settled in the areas on the eastern side of the Rhine that were now free.
* 6th century A.C.: The Avars went into Southern Russia from 558 onwards. After that they entered Europe through the Danube-valley and tried to move on.
* 600 - 1000 A.C: Slavs were on the move. Halfway the 6th century they lived in the area between the mouth of the Danube, the Dnieper and the Vistula. About 600 they started moving in three directions: to the north-east, in the direction of the Volga and the Ladago-lake; (here a Slavonic state was formed around Novgorod and Kiev, which existed until 1240.) To the West, they went into the direction of the Baltic and the Elbe, but also to the hills in Bohemia and the Eastern Alps. They also went to the South, where they settled in the Balkans. Thracians, Albanians and Illyrians pulled back from this area to the mountains.
* 800 - 1000 A.C.: Steppe-tribes still invaded Europe: The Bulgarians settled in 681 South of the Danube and the Chazars build an empire between the Volga and the Ural. From 855 onwards the Varegues went from Sweden southwards to Novrogod and Kiev and even further down even as far as Constantinople. At the same time Russians went from the steppes in the south (near the Black Sea) to the North, (towards the northern and central part of present-day Russia).
* 800 - 1000 A.C.: The Arabs were on the move, attacking Western and Eastern Europe. In 711 they conquered Spain and the Visigoths but in 732 the Franks blocked their invasion at Poitiers. In Eastern Europe they conquered provinces of the Byzanthian Empire, but were not able to gain control of Constantinople. Saracen (Islamic Arabs) attacked Gaul and Italy, and in the 9th century took over Sicily.
* 9th - 10th century A.C.: Norse came to Europe from Scandinavia. From 841 onwards they moved along the Atlantic coast all the way to Marseilles. They settled especially in England, Normandy and Holland. They also went to the West, to the Feroe-islands, Iceland, Greenland and perhaps even to the coast of North-America.
* 10th century: Magyars (Hungarians) went to Germany, France and Central Europe and ultimately settled in Pannonia. Around 955 they settled in the area where the Avars used to be, but whose settlement had collapsed at the end of the 8th century.

2. CAUSES OF MIGRATION

2.1 Circumstances that favoured migration
-Some tribes -such as the Huns and the Germans- were attracted to the wealth of the Roman Empire, others -such as the Norse- to than of the Carolingian Empire.
- Some Northern tribes could be driven South by changes in the climate.
- Changing conditions of life
- Changing social structures
- Population growth
A lot is unknown because of a lack of sources on the internal causes.

2.2 Circumstances that hindered migration

* 732: the Franks at Poitiers stopped The Arabs. This stopped their invasion into Europe.

2.3 Direct causes of migration

* Other tribes in Central Asia drove others on, which could explain the attacks of the Huns, the Avars and the Bulgarians.
* 5th century: The invasion of the Huns in the 5th century made all the German tribes move towards and into the Roman Empire and caused the end of the Western Roman Empire in the end.
* 453: The Huns went back to the Black Sea in this year because their leader Attila died.
* 550: The Avars moved towards Europe, because the Turks chased them out of the orient.
* 6th - 10th century: The Slavs, who used to live in the area North of the Danube, were chased away by Avars and Bulgarians. Thatís why they were migrating in this period.
* 7th - 10th century: Thracians, Albanians and Illyrians pulled back from the Balkan area into the mountains, because the Slavs who came from the East chased them away.
* 800-1000: Russians moved to the North because of pressure put on them by nomads.
* 726 - 834: Iconoclasm in the 8th century (726-834) caused religious refugees. Priests and monks fled from the Byzantine Empire. The Iconoclasm forbid the worshipping of statues and icons, it was an effort of the Roman emperor to restore unity. In 843 this measure was turned back, because it did not work

3. CONSEQUENCES OF MIGRATION

3.1 Short term consequences

Positive consequences
- for the migrants (first generation)
- for their new environment / native born
- for the country they left

Negative consequences
- for the migrants (first generation)

* 955 A.C.: Magyars were defeated by the German emperor on their way to Germany and France, this is the reason why they did not move on but settled in Pannonia.
- for their new environment / native born
* 4th century A.C.: The Huns drove the Visigoths into Europe and attacked the eastern side of the Roman Empire themselves about 450. In 453 they withdrew towards the Black Sea.
- for the country they left

3.2 Long term consequences

Positive consequences
- for the migrants (second and third generation)
- for their new environment

* 4th - 5th century: The invasions of the Germans marked Europe in a fundamental way. Many tribes settled at places where future states of these tribes would arise. For instance the Franks and Burgundians in France, the Angles and Saxons in England.
* 700: As a result of the settlement of the most important German tribes in Europe the first signs of later states in Europe appeared. The Carolingians/Franks united a large part of Western Europe in the 8th century, including most of the territory that used to be the Western Roman Empire with an extra piece between Elbe and Rhine. Later on the empire is split in three parts: West-Frankian, present-day France; East-frankian, present-day Germany and Central Empire, from Rhine-delta to Italy, which fell apart very soon.
* 800 - 1000: A result of the migration of the Varegues southward from Sweden was the foundation of the State of Kiev in present-day Russia in the 9th century.
- for the country they left

Negative consequences
- for the migrants (second and third generation)
- for their new environment

* 796: The Avars disappeared from Europe after Charlemagne had beaten them. - for the country they left

4 REACTIONS ON MIGRATION

4.1 Reactions of the receiving society on the immigrants
- official reaction
- reaction of the common people

4.2 Reactions of the immigrants on their new environment - integration / assimilation
- maintaining their own identity
- differences between first, second and third generation

IN SHORT

During this period tribes were free to move around territories they had forced the Romans to give up after continued invasions. This stage was essential for the building of Europe as it was during this time that most tribes found a fixed place to live, forming the roots of the European States. It is known that tribes fought their way into Europe in three big waves, yet much remains unclear about the reasons why they did so. Because of the importance of migration in this period to the formation of nations, the events described are collectively named the Migration of Nations.

 

Dr. Marlou Schrover