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The Migration Period is a historiographic term, and so used to label historic descriptions of events taking place roughly between AD 300 to 700 in Europe. It is a time of societal transition, and this has been reflected in historiography also as the periodizations known as Late Antiquity, respectively the Early Middle Ages. The societal changes, that notably included the physical movement of groups of people, were catalyzed by the profound tension between the Roman Empire and the tribal enclaves surrounding that empire, paraphrased as the 'barbarian frontier'. This change brought the downfall of the Roman Empire, although the administrative and physical infrastructure to some extent survived .

The Migration Period, as commonly used,[citation needed] imply a period of human migration. Precise dates may vary; often cited is 410, the sack of Rome by Alaric I and 751, the accession of Pippin the Short and the establishment of the Carolingian dynasty. Also implied, is a list of migrating peoples during this period: the Huns, Goths, Vandals, Bulgars, Alans, Suebi, Frisians, and Franks, among other Germanic and Slavic tribes.

In current research, tracing migration and ethnic groups tend to dissolve these concepts, more or less. [1] How one can establish evidence of the many particular migrations, is a matter of methodology, and has gained much attention. Good examples of this modern approach is the description of the Goths and the Huns . [2]

Migrations of peoples, although not part of the Migration Period, continued beyond AD 1000:Turkic and Mongol invasions, as well as Normannic or Viking landtaking and seasonal raids, the administrative and missionary settlements of Francia into the lands east of the Elb, and also the Crusader states, European settlement in present day Libanon .

Alternative names for 'Migration Period' are the Barbarian Invasions or German: Völkerwanderung (wandering of the peoples).

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  1. ^ Exponents for this kind of research are sometimes referred to as belonging to the Vienna School . This Wikipedia article mention their research, and similar reflections from other scholars, in the section Modern discourse.
  2. ^ On Huns, cf. Wirth (1999), noting that these are nomadic peoples. On Goths, cf. Bierbrauer (1994). He conclude the migration to take place in the centuries preceding the year 400.


  • Wirth, Gerhard (1999), Attila . Das Hunnenreich und Europa, Berlin, Köln: Kohlhammer, ISBN 3-17-014232-1 
  • Bierbrauer, Volker (1994), Archäologie und Geschichte der Goten vom 1.-7. Jahrhundert . Versuch einer Bilanz, Frühmittelalterliche Studien ; Jahrbuch des Instituts für Frühmittelalterforscung der Universität Münster, 28, Berlin, New Zork: de Gruyter