|Ostrogoths and Visigoths |
The Ancient Germans and a Troubled Rome
Imperial Rome Part 2
SACKING OF ROME AND VISIGOTHIC DOMESTICATION: In A.D. 410, the Visigoths, one of the frustrated Gothic tribes pushed away by Attila's rampage in the Balkans, began to show how much trouble they could be by sacking Rome and ravaging the entire city. The angry Visigoths took anything worthwhile and left shortly after. The Romans moved back in, however, in A.D. 455 Rome was sacked for the second time, this time by the Vandals who had been taking pot shots at Rome for years from their base at Carthage on the tip of Africa. With the new troubles of Imperial Rome, this time actually marks the true beginning of the Goths, who soon united under the barbarian king Clovis in western Europe, the first ever barbarian Christian king, which is important to note because a barbarian king was expected to guide all those under him. By being a Christian king, it meant that all barbarians must follow his lead, effectively changing the entire religion of every Goth. The thing is, Christianity had a tendency to make people calmer and less...genocidal...and so the wild ways of the Visigoths began to slow down and consolidate, and as a side note, paved the way a few centuries later for the Goths to become more Germanesque, so to speak, around the time of Charlemagne. But that is not for a while, and right now they are still a vast collection of barbaric tribes.
|Attila the Hun|
But not all Christians are civilized! After all, Rome was not having a good century, for the western Imperial Rome had managed to tame many of the Visigothic tribes and even include them into the Roman military and fend off Attila the Hun, by this point Rome was already sacked twice in less than 50 years and the Visigoths were swarming Roman areas, all wanting to become part of Rome and wanting more privileges, but were denied. As you probably already guessed, it still gets worse for those poor Romans, as the last western Emperor of Rome named Romulus Augustulus was deposed in A.D. 476 by a clever Ostrogothic solider named Odaocer, who with much support from many of the eastern (Ostro)Goths and Roman senate, deposed Romulus by leading a revolt of of Herulians, Rugians, and Scirians, marking the end of the Roman Empire in the west. This was possible because Romulus had been declared Western Emperor by his father, the rebellious general of the army in Italy, less than a year before, but had been unable to gain allegiance or recognition beyond central Italy, With the backing of the Roman Senate, Odoacer thenceforth ruled Italy autonomously. But even this was short lived, as the troublesome Theodoric later showed himself a clever nuisance, vexing the borders of the eastern Roman Empire to become king of Italy, and where by turning one troublesome nominal vassal against another, he set the stage to invade Italy successfully and ate up the peninsula between A.D. 489, through A.D. 493, effectively becoming king of a humbled Imperial Rome.
|Totila, Ostrogothic King of the East|
in the Byzantine Empire region
RISE OF THE BYZANTINE EMPPRE: The eastern empire in Byzantium being led by Justinian I under renovatio imperii, or "restoration of the Empire," fought against the Ostrogothic King Totila and his talented rebels, but with the excellent help of skilled commander Narses for Justinian, Ostrogothic King Totila was defeated at the Battle of Taginae by the Byzantines. Followng Justinian I's ambitious renovatio imperii to the letter, Narses immediately moved on to secure the entire western half of the Roman Empire, pushing out the rest of the Gothic troublemakers, effectively reviving the mighty empire by freeing it of its barbarian kings, and uniting both the Eastern and Western halves of the Roman Empire under Justinian I, marking the Beginning of the gigantic Byzantine Empire.
Phew, did you catch all that? Looks like western Rome survived after all, but under new management from Justinian. Good God in heaven that was a doozy to write. Could you imagine having all those kings, wars, and radical shifts of government every couple decades? Imagine having a new president, new rules, new officers, and all new faces (foreign rulers no less) every few decades switching everything and warring in gruesome, long battles. I really cannot picture what that is like!
Up next is the Rise of Charlemagne in...
"Medieval Europe Part 1: Of Kings and Popes-- Rise of Charlemagne, Fiefdoms, and the Norseme