The Conquerors: The
Last Updated 11/8/2009 11/25/2007 11/24/2007
Some believe that all Germanic tribes originated from Scandinavian Peninsula.
Around 1000 BC, the Germanic tribes originated in Scandinavia, from which they moved south.
In 650 BC, the climate pushed the Germanic tribes southwards into continental Europe.
In 105 B.C. German warriors inflicted a terrible defeat on a Roman army.
In 101 BC, a capable Roman leader, Marius, outmaneuvered the Germans and defeated them.
By 100 BC, they had reached the Rhine area.and about two hundred years later, the Danube Basin, both Roman borders.
52 BC, batttle of Alesia, where Vercingetorix and his troops were forced to yield to Julius Caesar
In 51 BC, Caesar had noted that the Germanic tribes could be a threat.
45 BC, Vercingetorix executed by crucifixion in Rome.
9 AD, three Legions under Varus destroyed by Arminius in the Teutoburg Forest.
100 AD, German Tribes reach the Danube River.
Small numbers were accepted for service with Roman legions.
Small scale German-Roman trade relations emerged involving cattle and slaves.
0-100 AD, the Germanic tribes were not a real danger to Rome:
1) Poverty ensured poor armor and weapons
2) They had limited tactics, consisting of ambushes and a mass charge.
3) Divisions into numerous small tribes meant a lack of political cooperation.
4) There was no real, continual government beyond the clan.
Western German Tribes
Eastern Tribes north of the
Goths, originall from Sweden, lived in the Balkan peninsula.
They were divided into two groups.
Ostrogoths were the East Goths.
Visigoths were the West Goths.
300 AD, Romans allow groups of West Goths to cross their borders and settle.
By the 300s AD, there was a continual belt of barbarian tribes all along the Roman frontier.
The fortified frontier ran from the North Sea to the Black Sea.
They had to give up their weapons and promise to be loyal to Rome.
Trouble broke out between the Roman officials and the West Goths.
the Goths had to buy food at high prices.
Romans made slaves of many young Goths.
Rebellion by the Goths
West Goths rebelled against the Roamns.
In 378 AD, West Goths defeated Romans at the Battle of Adrianople.
Calvary eclipses the power of the foot soldier.
In 410 AD, The Visigoths, led by Alaric, captured and looted Rome.
Alraic was a general in the Roman army.
Alaric ordered his army not to molest women or destroy churches.
West Goths continued to Gaul.
The weak West Roman emperor ceded southern Gaul to the Visigoths
Then they moved in to Spain.
Their Spanish kingdom lasted until the Muslim conquest of the eighth century.
The West Goths ended Roman rule and drove the Vandals out.
The Visigoths set up their own kingdom.
Both groups were attacked by a tribe from Asia called the Huns.
The Huns were a wild barbarian race which came from Asia.
The warriors marching ahead, while vast trains of wagons rolled after.
The wagons contained their women and children.
They were of Mongol blood, short, dwarf-like men, but thick-set and powerful in build.
They were very hardy, caring nothing for cold, heat, hunger, or hardship.
They had flat noses, yellow faces, tiny eyes, and big, upstanding cheek-bones,
The people of Europe believed that they were the offspring of demons.
People dreaded them as much for their appearance as for their fury in attack.
From 420 AD, a Hunnic dynasty had begun to emerge.
First by a chieftain known as Oktar.
Oktar was succeeded by his brother Ruga.
After Ruga's death the tribes fell under the joint rule of his two nephews, Attila and Bleda.
Bleda, a simple fellow, was soon murdered by the scheming Attila.
Attila then emerged as the unchallenged lord of the Huns.
The Huns conquered the East Goths.
The West Goths asked the Roman emperor Valens for help.
451 AD, alliance with Franks and Vandals.
451 AD, Roman and Visigoth armies defeat Attila at Chalons.
452 AD, Attila pillages northern Italy.
Pope appeals to Attila to leave Ravenea alone.
Attila retreats to his capital near present day Budapest.
Attila the Hun
Was the son of the Hun king Mundzuk.
The leader of the Huns was named Attila ("Little Daddy") and he was a fierce leader.
When Attila died a river was diverted.
A tomb was created on the dry river bed.
He was buried in full armor, sitting on his horse.
He was surrounded by treasure.
The river was returned to its former bed and covered the grave.
The Roman historian Renatus Profuturus Frigeridus described Attila as follows:
"Of middle height, he was manly in appearance and well made, neither too frail nor too heavy; he was quick of wit and agile of limb, a very practiced horseman and a skilful archer, he was indefatigable with the spear. A born warrior, he was renowned for the arts of peace, without avarice and little swayed by desire, endowed with the gifts of the mind, not swerving from his purpose for any kind of evil instigation. He bore wrongs with the utmost patience and loved labor. Undaunted by danger, he was excelled by none in the endurance of hunger, thirst and vigil."
The Vandals crossed the Mediterranean Sea to North Africa.
They became pirates and attacked cities along the Mediterraean coast.
In 455 AD, the Vandals attacked and burned Rome.
They did spare the life of Romans.The Vandals then returned to North Africa.
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
407 AD, last Roman legion leaves Britain.
In 476 AD, the last Roman emperor was overthrown by Odocar.
Odocar ruled the western empire for 15 years.
East Goths invaded Italy.
489 AD, Theodoric kills Odocar at a dinner meeting.
As Odocar sits down Thedoric cleaves him from shoulder to thigh.
Theodoric rearked, "That he doesn't have any bones."
Theodoric becomes king.
In 500 AD, the Roman Empire was divided into small regions that were ruled by different tribes.
The time period after the fall of the Roman Empire is sometimes called the Dark Ages.
Germanic leaders were not able to keep up the accomplishments of the Romans before them.
Much of Roman arts, medicine, literature, government, architecture, and science were forgotten.
"Attila the Hun." Virtual History of Venice. 1997. 25 Nov. 2007. http://www.boglewood.com/timeline/attila.html.
Finnemore, John. "The German Tribes." Germany Peeps at History. 25 Nov. 2007. http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?author=finnemore&book=germany&story=tribes.
Gordon, Richard. "Battle of Chalons: Attila the Hun Versus Flavius Aetius." HistoryNet.com. Dec 2003. 25 Nov. 2007 http://www.historynet.com/magazines/military_history/3025266.html?page=3&c=y.
Marelich, Marko. "German Tribes Invaded the Roman
Empire and the Slavs Occupid the Illyrian Provinces." 20 Oct. 2003. 25 Nov.
"The Germanic Tribes." Spark Notes. 2006. 25 Nov. 2007. http://www.sparknotes.com/history/european/rome4/section3.rhtml.