Roman Iron Age

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Roman Bronze figurine, Öland, Sweden

The Roman Iron Age (1-400) is the name that Swedish archaeologist Oscar Montelius gave to a part of the Iron Age in Scandinavia, Northern Germany and the Netherlands.

The name comes from the hold that the Roman Empire had begun to exert on the Germanic tribes of Northern Europe. Therefore, the preceding part of the Iron Age is called the Pre-Roman Iron Age, which had grown out of the Nordic Bronze Age. The age that followed the Roman Iron Age is called the Germanic Iron Age or the Age of Migrations.

Scandinavia[edit]

In Scandinavia, there was a great import of goods, such as coins (more than 7,000), vessels, bronze images, glass beakers, enameled buckles, weapons, etc. Moreover, the style of metal objects and clay vessels was markedly Roman. Objects such as shears and pawns appear for the first time. In the 3rd century and 4th century, some elements are imported from Germanic tribes that had settled north of the Black Sea, such as the runes.

There are also many bog bodies from this time in Denmark, Schleswig and southern Sweden. Together with the bodies, there are weapons, household wares and clothes of wool. Great ships made for rowing have been found from the 4th century in Nydam Mose in southern Denmark.

The prime burial tradition was cremation, but the third century and thereafter saw an increase in inhumation.

Through the 5th century and 6th century, gold and silver become more and more common. This time saw the ransack of the Roman Empire by Germanic tribes, from which many Scandinavians returned with gold and silver. A new Iron Age had begun in Northern Europe, the Germanic Iron Age.

See also[edit]


Logo för Nordisk familjeboks uggleupplaga.png This article contains content from the Owl Edition of Nordisk familjebok, a Swedish encyclopedia published between 1904 and 1926, now in the public domain.