Talk:Migration Period/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2


Love the page, but can anyone provide a few references more recent than 1923? Harthacanute 01:58, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Title and scope

There is no reason to use the German term Völkerwanderung in an English-language Wikipedia, where Human migration is an exact equivalent, and at the same time many reasons not to connect these historic phenomena specifically with a 19th century German historians' term and whatever nationalistic baggage may come along with that.

Which is better, Migration (human) or Migration (history). I prefer "human" myself. Wetman 15:36, 28 Jan 2004 (UTC)

(I was wrong here and caused misunderstandings. I really should have meant "Migrations period", which is currently a redirect to Volkerwanderung.) --Wetman 20:57, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)
You do not understand. Volkerwanderung is the name of a specific group of migrations in European history (both in the English & German languages), not a generic reference for all human migrations. There is no need to pile all content about all human migrations into a single article. Please let it be. Crusadeonilliteracy 18:02, 28 Jan 2004 (UTC)
But I think I do understand: the term Völkerwanderung was created to refer specifically to the Germanic migrations that divide the culture of Antiquity from that of the Middle Ages, the period modern historians refer to in English as the Migrations (or Early Medieval) and that the English-speaking 19th century used to call the Dark Ages— not a very modern term itself. There is room at Wikipedia both for Volkerwanderung, with its own connotations, and for Human migrations in the broader modern historical sense. surely. I certainly won't blank Völkerwanderung.Wetman 18:43, 28 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Not only Germanic people migrated by the Völkerwanderung . It was initiated by Huns and Slavs and Turks took part in it. Cautious 09:46, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Now I understand your concept better and know what is wrong with it. The division of culture was made by all migrations between 500-900. However, if you want to refer to the reception of the migration in German culture, feel free to use the word Völkerwanderung. One should remember, that this the product of one eye-blind view of German historians, that saw only Germanic people as important. In the matter of fact, Germanic people, were the same level barbarians like Slavic, the are only 2 differents: (1) they got in touch with Romans few centuries before and little bit civilised sooner, (2) they settled down in the already civilised provinces and assimilated little bit by the higher culture that existed there before. There is no agreement on reproducing the discriminative view of Europe, that makes artificial divisions between Western and Eastren part. Cautious 10:41, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Dbachmann, see above. --Joy [shallot] 00:05, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

what?? dab () 20:22, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)
ah, in case you mean to suggest that I think Germans are more important than Slavs: I fully endorse what Cautious says. If I added Germanic tribes to this articles, this was not because I think Slavic tribes should not be added. It is true that the Migration period is dominated by Germanic tribes and Huns, and that the Slavs appear on history's radar slightly later, though, but early slavic migrations certainly may be traced to the Migration period. dab () 20:26, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Völkerwanderung is what German historians called it. The Romans saw it as The Barbarian Invasions, later historians have called it The Germanic Invasions. It is apparent that neither Barbarian, nor Germanic, nor Invasion correctly describe this vastly complicated process which took place over hundreds of years and thousands of kilometers. I'm a strong supporter of the term Völkerwanderung, while at the same time I wish to expand it to include the non-Germanic "nations" which participated, primarily the Slavs, Huns and Turks. It is also important to realise that these migrations where influenced by push factors in Central Asia, where most of these tribes started out such as the Mongolan Hoards which "encouraged", so to speak the various tribes to move on.

I want to expand this article to include the things mentioned above, as soon as I can research it properly. This is a pivotal moment in European history and deserves more coverage. --BadSeed 19:55, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Good widely-used modern historians' terms for this period of transition include Late Antiquity, Great Migrations or Migrations Period and Early Medieval Period (There's already an entry Early Medieval History of Northumbria, for example.) Each term is most suitable in its own somewhat different context. Three articles, referring to the existence of the other two, would give three perspectives, with some factual overlap, probably. Völkerwanderung still has its place and its own entry: the history of specifically Germanic migrations (with a subsection on 19th century historical views) --Wetman 20:57, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Ok, I've been looking over the aricles on this subject, so far there appears to be this one, a sub topic in Human Migration and the Northumbria article. It would be good to have a dedicated article to the sujbect. If I manage to write something decent and post it, it will hopefully compensate for the stub in Great Migrations and Human Migration and , while this article as you point out would be a good for either the Germanic aspect or the 19th Century historical aspect, or whatever. --BadSeed 21:31, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I do think this article should be called Migration period. It was originally entitled Volkerwanderung probably to suggest that the concept is an outdated historical notion of grey-bearded German historians. Since the article is also about modern notions of what happened between 300 and 700 AD, it should also be titled with the contemporary English term. This article will just be a redirect, until the 'history' section on Migrations period grows large enough to warrant a specialized article. dab () 20:22, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Suggested addition

This is temporarily posted here to be worked on,. I didn't want to just put it into the text, if this whole subject is sensitive. Wetman 20:33, 4 Feb 2004 (UTC):

They saw these migrations as a contributory factor leading to the break-up of the Roman Empire. English-language historians of the same generations persisted in the old usage "barbarians"
The expansion of Germanic peoples into Southern Europe, France,England, Northern Italy and elsewhere allegedly indicated the energy and dynamism of those so-called "barbarian" peoples. This became associated with 19th century German nationalism and the Eastern expansion of Germany (Drang nach Osten), and later helped form the Nazi ideology of Lebensraum, or "living space", the theory that the Germans had an ethnic right to expand their population beyond the national borders of Germany. These migrations, which separated Antiquity from the Middle Ages in Europe and the West generally speaking, but had less effect on the continuity of the Byzantine Empire, also included non-Germanic Huns and Slavs, Avars and others. Thus Modern English-language historians refer to the Völkerwanderung as "Migrations period" and "Migrations art."
Two kinds of wanderers were involved. Some were marauding war-bands. Others were peoples on the move, with their women and children, their slaves and chattels. Not all the migrations were of people who were nomadic by culture. Sometimes the war-bands acted as the wedge that opened the way for a broader migration: Angle and Saxon raiding parties harassed the Romano-Britons before the full brunt of the Anglo-Saxon immigration began.

I think you should keep the actual history and how 19th century Nationalists (mis)interpreted it to their own ends separate. IMO, the like between the Völkerwanderung and German expansion belongs under Historiography, not History. --BadSeed 20:00, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Good point! Each periodization entry at Wikipedia should really have a subsection (at the very bottom?): Historiography of... to cover these points for each term. --Wetman 20:57, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)
That would be good. Pretty had to do. Historigraphy tends to be a rather specialised thing so finding compenent writters might be hard. At least it might reduce some of the confusion about the difference between POV and Historical Interpretation

--BadSeed 21:15, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)

One article, two articles or many?

I'm not sure I understand what's in process here, but in case we are about to get several articles covering different understandings of the same phenomenon, I would like to protest as early as possible. If the term Migrations Period is more common in English than Völkerwanderung, then I don't understand why not this article is moved.

However, User:JHK, who seems to know what she does, moved this article here.
--Ruhrjung 02:29, Jan 13, 2005 (UTC)

It's our choice. I'm for one article, at Migrations Period, with a section about 19th century interpretations. The timeline thing I created is horrible, by the way, but I got fed up with fiddling with it. Any help is appreciated. dab () 17:07, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Is the following a consensus picture: Migrations Period is indeed the most current term, even extended to art (Sutton Hoo). The other view of the same events is at Late Antiquity. The two should link to one another and complement one another. The Germanic migrations, and their romantic nationalist perspective are at Völkerwanderung umlaut and all, somewhat as "Dark Ages" is already about historiography rather than history itself. Individual tribes are given individual articles in the plural: Huns, Goths, Franks even Merovingians and Visigoths. The same events are seen from a local perspective under 'History of" subsections at cities (Pavia etc) or at articles for areas (Lombardy, Duchy of Spoleto etc). The next article in a sequence of the History of Europe should be Early Middle Ages, leading up to the Carolingians, the major ending to this group of mutually-supporting articles. A very condense disambiguation might head each article, much as I hate the look, and the reader should also be guided from History of Europe (or better ideas?) BtW anyone interested here will be interested in Wikipedia:WikiProject Middle Ages--Wetman 23:05, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)
sounds ok. I really think it is more important to get this article in better shape first, and decide on how to distribute the material among several articles later. But your proposal is good, of course. dab () 08:56, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Late Antiquity goes from the crisis of the third century to around 700AD. Early Middle Ages from around 700 to 1000 and High Middle Ages goes from 1000 to 1300. These are the general terms and bounds in use at the moment in acadamia. The other periodization articles could be historiographical in nature (similar to Dark Ages) and redirect the reader to a single article that contain the specific history. Stbalbach 06:16, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Proposal to rename article

I would like rename the article to "Migration Period"

  1. Singular not plural as that is the Wikipedia convention, and theres no clear precendent either way.
  2. Since it is a term of periodization, we need not worry about what it implies, that is handled in the historiography section. See Dark Ages for how this can be handled. We report on how the rest of the world views the term, not what we would prefer it to mean.
  3. As a proper noun "Period" is capitalized (as in "Dark Ages" vs "Dark ages")
  4. Migration Period is a commonly used term of periodization. See Migration Period art for example.
  5. Völkerwanderung is obscure and generally unknown to the average English reader.

--Stbalbach 04:13, 27 Jun 2005 (UTC)

It looks like someone jumped the gun and renamed the article before anyone had time to discuss or make input. The article is now called "Migration Period" for the reason listed above. Any change to this I would appreciate to discuss first to avoid any edit wars and subsequent problems. Stbalbach 28 June 2005 16:52 (UTC)
No, I didn't jump the gun, people have been talking about "Migrations period" months ago, read the fine discussion above. --Joy [shallot] 28 June 2005 17:00 (UTC)
Not everyone agreed with the change, and there was no clarity on what to call it exactly (plural or singular, capital letters or not). Anyway it's now been done, water under the bridge, hopefully there are no hard feelings with anyone. Stbalbach 28 June 2005 17:04 (UTC)

Improvement Drive

The article History of the Balkans has been listed to be improved on Wikipedia:This week's improvement drive. You can add your vote there if you would like to support the article.--Fenice 17:18, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

Map request

I've added a request for a map for this article on Wikipedia:WikiProject_Maps/Requested_and_orphan_maps. (Though multiple maps might be necessary.) I think such an addition would go a long way toward making this article easy and quick to read, and to help readers (including myself) get clear on the relevant geography. -- Beland 04:19, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

The German Wikipedia has a nice map here. dab () 11:19, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Ecological influence

I read that the Barbar invasions induced changes in the ecology of Europe. Basically, the mountains, that had been relatively free of human effect and preserved the pre-Human environment, were settled by peoples fleeing the fightings.

I guess it could have been caused by the coetaneous changes in agriculture or some other process.

Can somebody confirm? --Error 21:57, 4 September 2005 (UTC)


I have my doubts that "Migration Period" is used for times as late as 900, or even 1000 as suggested by the timeline. Sure, migrations continued to occur, but the term doesn't apply to them (otherwise, we would have to argue that the Migration Period never ended). By 800 at the latest, with the Holy Roman Empire, the Migration period ends. Later Migrations are incursions on a solidified political entity, and not chaotic turmoils. The Viking Age is a continuation of the Migration period, but not usually considered part of the Migration period. AD 300-800 would be acceptable, 300-700 would be more common, and note that the German article says that the span of the term in the narrow sense covers 375-568 only. dab () 11:18, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

since there was no reply, I'll reduce the span given. Charlemagne was certainly no Migration Period ruler, I'll opt for 300-700. dab () 15:24, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
The Dictionary of the Middle Ages defines the period as ending roughly in the middle of the 6th century when the Germanic kingdoms had been established, mainly focused on the 5th and 6th centuries. Certainly it should not start before 375 though? I think 375-568 is pretty accurate, this is a German historiographical term usually used to emphasis the carving up of a collapsing roman empire and establishment of German kingdoms. -- Stbalbach 01:02, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Actually reading our article "The modern account" it makes a case for including the Slavs which extends it later, and also includes events in the 8-10th centuries. I'll add a cite request for the modern account. -- Stbalbach

DNA evidence

Moved this recent DNA text to here:

In addition, recent DNA analysis of current populations suggests that the german language and culture, moreso than the germanic peoples, expanded in geographic influence. This is due to the current populations of europe being shown to be very similar, in DNA terms, to the populations in pre-roman times with only minimal germanic input. Thus, the migration period may be more simmilar to the celtic and roman linguistic and cultural expansions in western europe.

Need a citation. DNA results are always complex in what they really mean, and are often mis-interpreted by the press to make a good/interesting story. So, we need to see the original science paper and have someone parse it for what it's really saying, now what the BBC or whomever says. --Stbalbach 16:39, 28 December 2005 (UTC)


That map's good, but it should be in English.--Cúchullain t/c 00:55, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

Why did a migration occur?

I would like to see more this article on why the migration occurred.

  • If it was not a hostile invasion, and merely occupying under-populated land, then the Roman Empire should have been able to absorb them
  • Why would their land suffer population pressures when the Roman Empire was under-populated?
  • Is there evidence that the environment was changing adversely?
  • If there was displacement by other tribes, what caused these tribes to move west?) JMcC 13:00, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

They didn't move only westwards

Some Germanic people moved east, this is why they are called "Ostrogoths", not to mention other branches. And it was central and eastern Europe (Byzantine empire included) that caught the wave first. Dpotop 09:51, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

The Ostrogoths did not migrate east, they originated in the east. Ameise -- chat 08:56, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
I thought Goths, including Ostrogoths, originated in the Scandinavian peninsula. And the oldest mentions put them in Poland (near Vistula). Dpotop 10:53, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

The Goths originated on an island in the Baltic (or possibly Gotland in Sweden) and moved south to the black sea, not west but a move to a warmer climate none the less. Byzantine was southern Europe as fas I am concerned! Modern day Yugoslavia/Romania/Macedonia/Greece etc, Balkans. And Asia Minor / Middle east at different times. Central Europe? Any large numbers like those seen moving south and west? The only North migration i can think of during this time is the Anglo-Saxon-Jutes, but England may have well been warmer than Saxony at the time any way. People moving East were not moving to lower latitudes? This clip has a lot of temperature reconstructions showing dramatic cooling, check 6:42

Does anyone have numbers during the migration period? History channel just said up to 500,000 Lombard's entered Italy! I would have guessed the Lombards as being more minor than the Goths/Vandals/Franks/Alamani/Huns etc! Massive numbers, just amazing —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:51, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Slavs, Alans, Avars, Bulgars, Hungarians, Pechenegs, Cumans, Tatars

What about these other migrating people? Nobody mentions the slavs and the alans, even though their migrations fit the chosen time frame. Dpotop 09:44, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

And why this time frame? Migrations continued until the 10th century, with the Hungarians (Magyars), Pechenegs, Cumans, and ultimately Tatars. And these migrations are well-documented.

I didn't mention here mongols, because their movements were ultimately part of some state's policy. Dpotop 09:44, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

500 AD?

There was no western Roman Empire in AD 500, please fix that in the graphic.--Damifb 12:46, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Disagreement with title name!!!

This is so insulting to me and others of Italian descendants, to negate the horrible atrocities the Germanic tribes did to the Italian countryside and its inhabitants!! This is purely done to gloss over these horrible violent raids and conquest and make the past more suitable for modern day peoples of Germanic ancestry. This is absolutely insane to change history to suit your own propaganda purposes. The facts are the facts and history Should Never be rewritten to soothe the ego's of modern day Germanics or any people for that matter. God forbid how will they gloss over slavery in a another hundred years or so.

Thankfully, this new viewpoint is not agreed upon by all historians around the world. This new movement where the Germanic tribes are portrayed in a more favorable way, has a strong following in Germanic countries such as Scandavia, Northern Europe and most predominately in the USA. This new movement wants to cover up the violence and atrocities and downright massacre that the Germanic tribes did to the Latin people of Western Rome and Italy during the 5th-7th century.

This is not the viewpoint that historians in Italy or most other nations around the world have. There are numerous historical facts, literature, evidence and letters throughout Italy that shows the Invasion was devastating and severe. Read, "the Fall of Rome" by Bryan Ward-Perkins.

In Italy the Barbarian Invasions are still looked at as a time of great destruction and violence. Italy had no standing army at the time, so the battle was fought primarily between Germanic warriors and Italian citizens, including woman and young children. The multiple invasions and raids led by the Germanic tribes led to huge amounts of Italian refugees flooded from the cities and countryside, there land was confiscated, the woman & daughters were raped, murdered, persercuted(catholic christians), tortured, plundered, and families were broken up and left to starve and thousands of Italians and Romans were enslaved and massacred.

This article should still be entitled, "Barbarian Invasions".....I wonder if Americans will be so kind as to call the massive immigration of Hispanics(and this is only the beginning of their exodus to America) as a peaceful migration period?? I highly doubt it, The arrogance, naivety, blindness and hypocrisy of modern day American people and historians is unacceptable, immoral and disgusting!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Joeguida30 (talkcontribs)

In Italy the Barbarian Invasions are still looked at as a time of great destruction and violence. Italy had no standing army at the time, so the battle was fought primarily between Germanic warriors and Italian citizens, including woman and young children. The multiple invasions and raids led by the Germanic tribes led to huge amounts of Italian refugees flooded from the cities and countryside, there land was confiscated, the woman & daughters were raped, murdered, persercuted(catholic christians), tortured, plundered, and families were broken up and left to starve and thousands of Italians and Romans were enslaved and massacred. Perhaps "Germanic Invasions" would be a better more descriptive name.(Scipio3000 21:41, 9 August 2007 (UTC))

To Joeguida30: You state that thousands italians and romans were ensalved and massacred. Did you know that Caesar alone killed 2 millions germanic people? So, should we rename the roman empire to Mass-Murder Empire, and leave any neutrality? I prefer the truth without insults.

In the last decades of the Roman Empire, they used the germanic people as military servants in many battles, but often broke contracts to make them weak. After they maked even a deal with the extremly aggressive and cruel huns to massacre their true and most loyal allies, the burgunds, which served them well in many battles even against other germanic people, no germanic people would trust them again. Finally, Western-Rom was destroyed by an Foederati of East-Roman, and they tried to keep Rom intact. What you mean with murders and starvation, took place when Eastern-Rom attacked his former servant (see Gothic War) because they thought that they are too powerful.

So, only rassistic POV, no germanic murder, rape or whatever. Even the last attack of the Lombards was partly initiated by Narses, so all i see is anti-germanic rassism.

To Scipio3000: invasions is the italian view. People can be only at one place a time, so they leave a place and go (invade?) to another. If you look at europe, for example the Goths, who probably left scandinavia with unknown reason, fought wars against western-rom in contract with eastern-rom as Foederati, so no real invasion. Just a lot of movements in a period (Migration Period), when a big empire broke down. Wispanow 02:35, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

To Wispanow: Two factual errors in your post. First, there was no such thing as a "Germanic people" in the period concerned. There were a great many tribes and tribal confederations, at war with eachother more often than with Rome, which are (very) roughly subdivided in Przeworsk and Jastorf cultures in the archaeological record. Second, Julius Caesar didn't kill very many Germani, as no Germani lived in Gaul during his campaigns. Which by the way were some 500 years before the period the article is about.

Also, please refrain from projecting modern notions of "fairness" in international politics onto a time when such things simply did not apply. Your claim about "rassism" (sic) is simply ridiculous: at the time of the Rhine crossing in 405-406 the de facto ruler of the Western Empire was Stilicho, who was a Vandal.

To Joeguida30 and Scipio3000: The horrors you describe were much greater and had much longer-lasting in places like Britain and Gaul initially. Except from the extreme north which suffered under Radagasius and Attila, Italy was spared most of the bloodshed until the Gothic Wars of the mid-6th century which - amongst other things - led to the utter destruction of the old senatorial class. If you're Italian - and I am assuming you are - please go visit Ravenna, which was flourishing until around AD600 and the remains of this are still to be seen. A fact which Ward-Perkins conveniently ignores in his, in otherwise excellently written and delightfully polemic book.

There is nowhere near a consensus about the precise nature of the invasions or migrations or whatever label one chooses to attach to them in the current academia, and precisely so because the quite limited written sources from the period have been enormously expanded on in recent years with a mass of archaeological data.

What we do know is that specific events such as the Rhine crossings and the Vandal seizure of Roman Africa contributed greatly to the disintegration of the Roman state, and that a great deal of destruction was wrought in the initial events, even though this was mainly constrained to specific areas which mostly initially recover somewhat before going into terminal decline due to the loss of a superstate such as Rome was and the complex trade and exchange networks it made possible.

I think in order to maintain a neutral POV however, the term "Migrations Period" is quite adequate: for Romans it certainly meant "invasion" in the more traditional sense. But for the Germanic peoples on the move it meant a choice between being annihilated or enslaved by the Huns or face Rome's legions who weren't about to let them in without a fight, contrary to what people like Walter Goffart might have claimed before. For them it was therefore a choice of survival and not one of simple spite or avarice.Quadrifoglio (talk) 23:16, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Did those battles really happen? With attila and such?

I have been told that those battles, like at Chalons, were just metaphoric for christianisation. Written by the manipulative tiranic roman church. ANy opinions? (And please dont start to nag about sources)(N33 08:29, 16 October 2007 (UTC))

If you make such a bold and unverified claim, which goes agains almost any source which survives from the period, I am certainly going to nag about sources. Quadrifoglio (talk) 23:18, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

I meant; can you even trust those sources. Its easy to hang on to them, due to a lack of frame of reference. --N33 (talk) 06:37, 29 October 2008 (UTC)


Obviously the northern european peoples DID cause profound death and violence- it's been shown by many emperical anthropological studies that hunter-gatherer and early state peoples typically have high rates of violence. There's no way the germans and the like would be exempt from this human universal. But why does the article say so little of it other than anecdotes? Someone should fill this in. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:13, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 05:34, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Title Incorrect?

Why isn't this article titled 'Barbarian Invasions', many scholars in history have called it this and its widely known in English as the Barbarian invasions. These peoples didn't arrive peacefully they murdered and pillaged their way across Europe, to call it a 'migration' asif to make it seem like a peaceful event is equivalent to attempting to alter history. This was undoubtedly an invasion they were not welcomed by those who they invaded. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:22, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

That is oversimplifying the issue. Many of these tribes were only 'invading' the Roman empire because they in turn were pushed west by invaders. Several of these tribes even became part of the Roman empire in exchange for a guarantee of protection. Needless to say that they were not at all happy when the Romans were not able to provide it, and were left no choice to move further into the empire after the border fell.
These more nuanced views are (IMHO) one of the major achievements of modern historians, not taking the historical POV but looking at all sides. So no - stay with migration period - if I have a say. Arnoutf Grognardexribbon.jpg 10:21, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

To Arnoudf: I wouldn't say that peaceful accomodation happened very often in the period described in the article. The normal Roman practice was to break up an immigrating tribe into tiny portions and disperse them across the Empire so they could no longer pose a threat. Or, if the tribe had misbehaved from the viewpoint of Rome (which wasn't necessarily a fair one) people were sold off into slavery or worse. The change we see after 376AD is that, starting with the Goths, tribal confederations had reached a size with which they could not only cross into Roman territory, but remain together as a cohesive unit. The Goths who crossed in 376 had 30.000-40.000 fighting men who - as Adrianopolis showed - were a quite capable force too. The Vandal/Suevi/Alemanni Rhine crossing of 406 probably involved even more fighting men. While the Roman army on paper vastly outnumbered both of these groups, it was too widely dispersed to make an effective stand against either force, and the result was disastrous in both cases. Settlement of the groups in a more peaceful fashion mostly happened only much later: the Visigoths entered Roman territory in 376 and were only settled in 418, when Rome's military was much weaker than four decades before. The Burgundians also had been in Gaul for four decades when a more permanent arrangement was made in 443, at a time when the Western Empire was even weaker. The Roman state did not do all this out of a kindness of heart - mass expropriation of one's own citizens' property to a foreign entity would have been as politically hard to sell then as it is now. To state that this all was due to "an imaginative experiment that got a little out of hand" (Goffart, 1980) is thus a distortion of historical fact, and one which has been argued against quite vehemently by a number of authors recently. Quadrifoglio (talk) 05:16, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

"Migration Period" is standard fare now. "Barbarian Invasion" begs the question, skirting it by presenting a foregone conclusion. Some further reading will help. --Wetman (talk) 08:13, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Even the very notion of migrations at all has come under heavy attack recently, thanks especially to Walter Goffart (who would abhor all our nice maps with those squiggly lines denoting barbarian migrations routes). This is an area in which Wikipedia is very out of date generally, but it would be a very difficult task to try and get it up to speed, if there even is anything like a scholarly consensus to get up to speed with (I don't know). Srnec (talk) 03:56, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

German article

In comparision with the (very long but good) german article (, the english article is a little bit disappointing. Especially the Bibliography could be enlarged. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:29, 31 March 2008 (UTC)


How can I add to Timeline diagram Serbian Rashka state founded somewhere between 600 AD - 650 AD as stated in Administrativo Imperio


I checked for wikipedia's definition of invasion. "An invasion is a military offensive consisting of all, or large parts of the armed forces of one geopolitical entity aggressively entering territory controlled by another such entity, generally with the objective of either conquering, liberating or re-establishing control or authority over a territory, altering the established government or gaining concessions from said government, or a combination thereof. An invasion can be the cause of a war, be used as a part of a larger strategy to end a war, or it can constitute an entire war in itself. " Now, i don't really see in which respect the barbarian invasions were not invasions. Of course this doesn't mean "invasion" has a negative meaning, it's quite obvious it doesn't. We can also say that, since English is a germanic language, or because of some political reason or thanks to the strenght of German historiography, the term "migration" is more accepted or more widely used in English. But saying they were all not invasions really makes little sense from a logical point of view. (talk) 22:59, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Invasion and migration have different meaning. During the last decades Western Europe has been affected by a great migration but has not been invaded. --Deguef (talk) 10:01, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

the period of the great migrations

being a non-native speaker of english and wishing to find this article, I used my dictionary, which gave 'the period of the great migrations' as the english word for this period. Could somebody please apply that word as redirecting to this page, as this would help many people following my example find this page more easily. thanks —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:32, 12 January 2009 (UTC)


THe migration age is defined 300 - 700 CE. Therefore, there is no need to include historiography about Turkic and tartar invasions, which fall well outside this period Hxseek (talk) 06:10, 19 May 2009 (UTC)


So this article instead of discussing its topic digresses into a rambling essay on speculations regarding "ethnicity" and "barbarian identity". I am not sure, is this a recent deterioration of the article, or has it always been like this? Either way, it desperately needs to be put on its feet. --dab (𒁳) 18:36, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

It seems that there "always" existed a section in this article called Romantic view on the Migration Period (I have just discovered this article and went through its history, btw). In the present edition it is included in the section Migration versus Invasion. Apart from that, during the last month User:Hxseek provided an account (quite essay-looking to be fair) for the Post-modernist reading of the historical events. Well, as I see it, the modern philosophical inbterpretations of the Migration Period are legitimate subjects but they do not belong to an article which has the purpose of describing the facts and their strictly historical interpretation. Since the "Postmodernist discourse" section is well developed and referenced it should be moved to an independent article with some cumbersome title such as "Modern philosophical (romanticist and post-modernist) views on European Migration Period" or something. In any case as it stands it is basically outside the scope of this article. --Omnipaedista (talk) 07:36, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

I felt that the above was needed in order to illustrate that the picture might not be so clear cut as generally thought. I was not under the impression that the article is solely for the purpose of outlining the chronology. Given that issues such as barbarian identity were particularly important during this age, I felt it appropriate to include it. However, if the concensus is that it would be better to create a separate article, then that sounds reasonable.

However, I cannot agree with the 'personal essay' suggestion. It certainly does not contain OR, nor is it slanted toward any particular view. Hxseek (talk) 23:19, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

As I read 'Postmodernist discurs' I find that it is something between a historiography of modern research and a presentation of a discourse more distanced from the actual study of ancient texts and archaeological finds . This would opportunely all fall under the heading 'postmodernist discourse' ?! It is slanted towards the view of Halsall . I think the information is highly relevant, but more so if it was structured more 'ordinary' than the one long paragraph (paragraph 3.1 Barbarian identity) Sechinsic (talk) 09:47, 16 August 2009 (UTC) , Dane .

postmodern or historiography ?

I am confused about the passage called postmodern . Could someone please enlighten me ? (Yes, I have an agenda . I always get confused by postmodernity .) Sechinsic (talk) 18:47, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Good question, I have no idea (but am confused by the term postmodern about 99.9% of its use). In any case I always thought the migration period was in pre-modern historical time. Arnoutf (talk) 19:27, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
So how about post-intellectuality :) Sechinsic (talk) 11:55, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
It seems like an empty buzzword intended only to intimidate. I also resent the use of the word "Barbarian", I mean, isn't that as much a negative term as "Nigger"? Or have I lived too many millennia? Lindorm (talk) 00:23, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
Two supports for postmodernity not being right . We should read up on the books and do some editing !! In the meantime I just changed the section titles /postmodernist/modern & /barbarian/tribal . Sechinsic (talk) 17:31, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Migration Period

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved. Vegaswikian (talk) 23:08, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Migration periodMigration Period

But only one "Migration Period"! Johnbod (talk) 12:10, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Exactly. It's "Vietnam War" (1960s/70s), not "Vietnam war" (any war in Vietnamese history). "The Renaissance" (the early-modern European one), not "The renaissance" (any renaissance in history). Historical terms of periodization are always capitalized, they are proper nouns. For other uses, handle it the same way Dark Ages does with a separate (disambiguation) in the top-hat, but honestly, what other uses of "migration period" would justify a new Wikipedia article with that name? Animal migration already exists - is "migration period" even an established term of use in that regard? Green Cardamom (talk) 17:02, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Support per nom; avoids any need for disam. Johnbod (talk) 12:10, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

A rephrasing and cleanup of intro and chronology

User:Ghmyrtle has challenged my edit from yesterday . Anyone interested is welcome to join in, preferably here on this talk page or at the temporary page that I have set up here . For reference, see User_talk:Ghmyrtle#Migration_Period Sechinsic (talk) 09:54, 17 July 2010 (UTC)

I have to agree - the English is not at all good. It might be better if you explained the objections or additions you have to the existing text here first, or added a draft. Johnbod (talk) 14:27, 17 July 2010 (UTC)
Please understand that I have made a wikipedia edit . This edit has been undone, and I am now giving everyone an opportuniy to comment . If you are unhappy with the phrasing, then you are welcome to argument . Simply stating that the language is bad, or making a list of words that you do not like is not a very constructive approach . Be more specific, and feel free to use the temporary page I have set up here -> User:Sechinsic/migration01 . Sechinsic (talk) 14:46, 17 July 2010 (UTC)
Please also understand that wikipedia is not a language school! Johnbod (talk) 15:27, 17 July 2010 (UTC)
I will assume good faith here, and as I have already said over at User_talk:Ghmyrtle, my language skill is far from perfect . As it is, I can only suggest that you, or anyone else, give a specific example . Sechinsic (talk) 16:13, 17 July 2010 (UTC)
My interest here, primarily, is on the readability and hence usefulness of the article, rather than on its technical content. That is why I reverted Sechinsic's wording. Other editors more knowledgeable about the period than me will need to comment on the substance of his/her proposals, as well as carrying out the copyediting for grammar, vocabulary and so forth. I'll help if time allows, but don't wait for me to comment. Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:43, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

Critical comments to the intro

The first sentence is overloaded and misleading

The sentence contain 4 statements

The Migration Period

  • (1) also called the Barbarian Invasions or German: Völkerwanderung (wandering of the peoples),
  • (3) that occurred roughly between AD 300 to 700 in Europe,
Comment to the first sentence
  • (1) A general critique of this opening sentence is to consider the first clause disruptive . It is to strain the reader's tolerance to continue the sentence with three other statements . Information on alternative naming can easily be written in a self-contained sentence .
  • (2) The second clause is misleading . It migt be historically correct to make the statement that human migration took place in this particular period . But it is also correct to assume a migratory, or half-nomadic lifestyle in the preceding as well as succeeding period . The second clause is therefore misleading in the sense that it imply 'in this period only' did migration occur or in a similar exclusive interpretation 'people behaved differently in this period' by migrating .
  • (3) By implication this mean the third clause is similarly misleading .
The second and third clause imply a definite and literal meaning of 'Migration Period': "This was the period in European history where migration took place ." The best way to express such a literal understanding is to refer to the term as a historiographic term, that is, to refer to the phrase 'migration period' as a sort of symbol value, that may or may not reflect an actual historic situation .
  • (4) The fourth clause may be taken as grossly imprecise, or just plain incorrect . To define late antiquity is probably not a very fruitful quest . In Wikipedia you read under Late Aniquity a timescheme of 2th-8th century with reference to a 'noted historian' but in the following sentence that 'generally' it encompass 3th-7th century . Early middle age is generally held to designate the period 6th-10th, where wikipedia says 5th-10th . To speak of a transition from 'late antiquity 7th century' to 'early middle ages 6th century' is illogical . The crux of the matter is that 'something' changed, to an extent so that it is necessary and meaningful to apply two different headings for a description of 'something before' and 'something after' . To state that 4th-8th is transitional to the shift between 2th-8th and 5th-10th is confusing, grossly imprecise or, just not right .
It is better to focus on the general understanding that a societal transition took place in this period . It makes sense to emphasize the transition as societal, instead of rubricating it as chronological in nature . The chronological designations defy logic when set as successive periodizations . On a general note, 'Late Antiquity', 'Early Middle Ages' and 'Migration Period', when applied, express a perspective on a subject matter in history writing, i.e. they are historiographic terms .

As part of this misleading spiel, 'migration period' itself is a misleading appelation . In modern research you find various naming schemes in use that directly reflect what can be attested by primary sources . Valentinian, Merowingian, pre-Pannonian, post-roman etc. The Migration Period does encompass a period of European history that hitherto may have been very dark, and thus easily comprised in the phrase "Migration Period", but today it does more to disguise the details of modern research . Is this POV ? It would be, if it appeared as text in the article . But we all have point of views, enabling us to make valid judgments .

The second sentence is too vague

These movements were catalyzed by profound changes within both the Roman Empire and the so-called 'barbarian frontier'.
  • Changes within the Roman empire and the barbarian frontier ? What does a change within a frontier look like ? Does the frontier exist, and if so, why not use the real name of the 'socalled' barbarian frontier ?

Third sentence is 'old school' + ambiguous or factually incorrect

Migrating peoples during this period included the Huns, Goths, Vandals, Bulgars, Alans, Suebi, Frisians, and Franks, among other Germanic and Slavic tribes.
  • Syntax: Migrating peoples during this period included the Huns, (..), and Franks, among other Germanic and Slavic tribes.
    • Ambiguous:You could get the impression that all listed tribes are Germanic or Slavic .
    • Factually incorrect: Huns and Alans are neither Germanic nor Slavic .
  • 'Old school':The nice overview of known ethnic groups doing their migratory tour through the Roman Empire .

Draft of new intro

I have done some rephrasing, to be seen at User:Sechinsic/migration01 . I am going to submit the 'Chronology' part, but hold back on the intro . Sechinsic (talk) 10:35, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

See my comment above. Your proposed text remains largely incomprehensible, and is therefore inappropriate for an encyclopedia written in the English language. I am not an expert on the period, nor am I a language tutor. You should await the input of more expert editors, to consider whether the substance of the changes you are proposing is accurate. There is no rush. Ghmyrtle (talk) 11:07, 18 July 2010 (UTC)
Your comment above is a display of intention, and is insubstantial to the matter at hand . Sechinsic (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 11:44, 18 July 2010 (UTC).

Comment to 'chronology'

Extensive comment
  • Layout: The current version handle the chronology by dividing it explicitly and consistently in two parts . The section is too small to split into subsections, but it will gain in clarity to emphasize the two phases with a bold caption .
  • Syntax:
    • (1)"The first phase,between AD 300 and 500, largely seen from the Mediterranean perspective of Greek and Latin historians, with the aid of some archaeology, put Germanic peoples in control of most areas of the former Western Roman Empire."
A semantically both complicated and vague sentence:
      • The first phase, between AD 300 and 500
Presentation of subject
      • largely seen from the Mediterranean perspective of Greek and Latin historians
Twisting the perspective of the sentence (A)
      • with the aid of some archaeology
Twisting the perspective of the sentence (B)
Presentation of object
The purported message is, that between AD 300-500 (subject), Germanic people came to control 'the former Western Roman Empire' (object).
The twisting of perspective is facilitated by the obvious expectation for a verb in a subject-object construction, in parenthesis that this is a linguistic observation based on my personal language perception . However that may be, the injection of subclauses complicate - generally - a simple reading . The nature of the subject is an abstract chronological cognate, i.e. between AD 300-500 . Good verbs to accomodate this cognate is 'saw' or 'experienced', whereas a simple construct would just predicate, using 'was' . I personally dislike the usage of 'put', but this is a matter of taste . The injection (A) can be interpreted as
'Classic authors described how (..)', or just, 'Modern research deduce from litterary sources from the late antiquity (..)' .
The 'twisting' or confusing aspect is that the abstract cognate is being qualified in mid-sentence . The cognate is not 'absolutely between AD 300-500' but specifically qualified as 'AD 300-500, as described by late antiquity authors' or 'AD 300-500, as deduced on the basis of reading late antiquity authors' .
The injection (B) is fundamentally ambiguous, but can only meaningfully appertain to injection (A):
'Modern research deduce from litterary sources from the late antiquity , as well as from archaeological findings (..)
It should be noted that this meaning can only be attained when injection (A) is interpreted to imply 'modern research', i.e. that the reading of late anitquity authors is not unproblematic, and that a certain - hopefully - scientific processing is necessary . The injection (B) in this way also help to qualify the subject: 'AD 300-500, as modern research is able to describe through the interpretation of late antiquity authors, and in conjunction with archaelogical studies'
In the conclusion of the sentence, 'Germanic people' are being put in control of the western part of the empire . That is a very generalized statement, and I think it could have worked as functional in the text - although there is some polemic about the definiteness of 'Germanic people' - had it not been for the injections .

The injections are by no means concise, and only by verbalizing the implicit meaning can they attain conciseness . But as concise statements they do not correlate with the generalized statement . The implied statement holds true for the research taking place in the 19th century, and the origin of the appelation 'Migration Period' .

  • Fact:
    • (1)"The first to formally enter Roman territory — as refugees from the Huns — were the Visigoths in 376."
What is the definition of formal in this sentence ? Frankish groups settled formally in Gaul before that - according to Wikipedia:Franks in the year 358 .
    • (2)"Tolerated by the Romans on condition that they defend the Danube frontier, they rebelled, (..)
On the contrary, the Romans sought to enforce the handover of weapons, and probably did not succeed .Wolfram (2001, pp. 125ff)
    • (3)"(..) they rebelled, eventually invading Italy and sacking Rome itself in 410, before settling in Iberia and founding a kingdom there that endured 300 years."
From year 526 to year 725 is only 200 years .
Dumville (1990) has it to be the post-roman Britain being invaded and settled .
  • Vagueness:
    • (1)"In Gaul, the Franks, a fusion of western Germanic tribes whose leaders had been strongly aligned with Rome, entered Roman lands more gradually and peacefully during the 5th century, and were generally accepted as rulers by the Roman-Gaulish population."
      • "(..) a fusion of western Germanic tribes whose leaders had been strongly aligned with Rome (..)"
When accepting the tone of generality, it is even more difficult to criticize vagueness . But I will try . The Frankish, as well as other tribal chiefs had been interacting with the Roman offialdom since the 3rd century . A recent compendium, edited by Volker Bierbrauer, concerning diggings of European 'Höhensiedlung', seek to verify this interaction in terms of settlement practice, specifically analyzing the 'Höhensiedlung' . It is therefore a pity that this development, stretching over a couple of centuries, is glossed over .
      • "(..) were generally accepted as rulers by the Roman-Gaulish population."
Again, in terms of generalization, this snippet could be acceptable for just conveying the meaning that the Franks came to settle on Roman territory as rulers . Still, it is too misleading to actually state they were accepted by the Roman-Gaulish population . It is not something I have hard facts to support, but I am under the impression that those times were rather cruel, for normal folks . Contemporary litterature, as Cassiodor and Gregor of Tours, are cited by Wolfram (2001) to describe in unsympathetic terms their new ruling elite, and their henchmen .
    • (3)"These battles largely fixed the frontier between Christendom and Islam for the next three centuries."
Actually for millenia . Confer with a modern day map :)
    • (4)"During the 8th to 10th centuries, not usually counted as part of the Migration Period but still within the Early Middle Ages, new waves of migration, first of the Magyars and later of the Turkic peoples, as well as Viking expansion from Scandinavia, threatened the newly established order of the Frankish Empire in Central Europe."
This is where rationality, reliable historic fact, even expectation of well-researched references, goes overboard . Normannic intrusion could be seen as Viking intrusion, so that is ok .. normally perceived Viking action verb is 'raid' rather than 'migration', but well-known is also the Rus-affaire, where Vikings did seem to integrate . That has nothing to do with the Frankish empire . Then there is the Turkic peoples, and I am left guessing who they might be . Perhaps something to do with khalifats and Constantinople ? That Magyars as single tribe rushed to Europe, is more than tendentious, and some vague support for this kind of story-telling, largely unreferenced, can be read at Wikipedia article:Hungarian people .
There is a Frankish expansion or sorts of, taking place around the 10th century, into lands east of the Elb . There is also the early European settlements in modern day Libanon, that could be mentioned as having the nature of migration, but belonging to the 11th century . Normans did their migration, and Vikings also, though only the former did contest the Frankish empire by their physical settlement in Frankish territory - if you are to discern between Normans and Vikings . It is perhaps a valid view to consider Viking raids a migrative behaviour, and an interesting view too, where it would be nice to know any present day source that holds such a view - not so farfetched at all, I think . Regarding Viking settlements in Western Europe, to my knowledge they are found in England . Apart from Normans, which are in reality Vikings .
To summarize : Too vague . Not every migration went to unsettle the Frankish empire . Moreover, it is relevant to distinguish between different migratory behaviour . Difficult perhaps, but relevant .


  • Wolfram, Herwig (2001), Die Goten . Von den Anfängen bis zur Mitte des sechsten Jahrhunderts ., München: C.H.Beck 
  • Dumville, David (1990), Histories and pseudo-histories of the insular Middle Ages, Aldershot, Hampshire: Variorum 

A draft can be seen here . Sechinsic (talk)

If you think the Vikings only raided, you might want to read up on the Viking Age in the British Isles, not to mention the Normans. Johnbod (talk) 16:41, 29 September 2010 (UTC)