Gerhard H. Kuhlmann M.A.
Historical glossary

(Illustration) Triumphal arch of the emperor Constantine. Rome, 4th century. For decoration statuary and reliefs from the 2nd and 3rd century were used, and the heads of earlier emperors were replaced with that of Constantine.


This glossary contains brief descriptions of the various peoples living in the regions depicted on the game map during the period of the folk migrations. Especially considered are the tribes and races about whom it is difficult to obtain information. The cultural developments possible on the "Cultural Progress" flow chart are also briefly described.

The individual officials of the Roman state are not included in the glossary.


With the exception of very specialized nomads all the peoples of late antiquity worked the land with plow and ox team, hoe and sickle. In the area of cereals the Romans mainly cultivated wheat, barley and millet, but in the 5th century the East Germans introduced rye, oats and spelt and other grains as fodder. (see MEDIEVAL HUSBANDRY)

Aestii Estonians

The Estonians had been settled in the Baltic region since prehistory, and at that time their territory and that of the Livonians, also a  finno-ugrit people, stretched much further south.

Alamanni The Alamanni
("all men") were an Elbe-German tribal confederacy that emerged on the upper Main in the 3rd century, apparently developing from a core group of Semnones migrants from the Elbe- Havel region. They were known as the Sueben (Swabians) to their neighbors, and c. 260 they crossed the Roman limes and settled in the upper Rhine-Lake Constance area, moving after the 5th century also into what is today Switzerland and Alsace. In 496/7 they fell under the rule of the Franks, but nevertheless maintained their tribal leaders.

The current practice of differentiating between Alamanni and Swabians first appeared in 1803 and has no historical foundation other than the differing nationalist views of the inhabitants of Baden and of Baden and Württemberg.

Alani Alans

The name given an Iranian steppe people, related to the Sarmatians, who from the 1st century inhabited the region north of the Caucus mountains. (They are the direct ancestors of the Ossetians, who currently live in the area.)

One of the Alan groups driven westward by the Huns crossed the Rhine with the Vandals in 406 and 3 years later moved into Spain, where until 418 an Alan kingdom existed, ostensibly remembered in the present name "(Cat-)alan." The Alan kingdom was destroyed by the Visigoths in 418, and the survivors joined the Hasding Vandals and in 429 crossed to Africa with them.

Angli Angles

Whether the Angles, who appear in the game, are actually associated with the North Sea Germans is questionable, since their trail becomes lost after their departure with the Saxons (see Angli et Saxones). The area settled by the Angles was determined by the presence of the Danes to the east and the Frisians to the west. One group of Angles moved south into Thuringia (see Thuringi) and in the 9th century were still recognized as a distinct people, living along the Unstrut river. The Angles are remembered in the names "England" and "Angeln," a district in Schleswig.

Angli et Saxones Angles and Saxons Anglo-Saxons

The common name for groups of North Sea Germans (mostly Saxons), who after 451 overran and settled Britain, which had been evacuated by the Romans. They established several kingdoms and forced the Celtic inhabitants into the western reaches of the island. By the middle of the 7th century they were converted to Latin Christianity, in part by Irish monks, and a united kingdom existed after the 9th century.


German boat of the 5th century (Nydam type). The Angles, Saxons and Jutes reached Gaul and Britannia in this type of oared vessel.


see Gallo-Romans


Promoted by the eastern emperor before 381, Arianism was persecuted in the Roman Empire after that date.
C. 369 Ulfilas translated the Bible into Gothic and in order to do so created a Gothic script based on the Greek alphabet. Since Arianism was a leading doctrine at the time, it was the version of Christianity taught by Ulfilas. After the conversion of the Visigoths all the East German tribes accepted Arian Christianity in the last quarter of the 4th century (as would later also the Elbe German groups, the Lombards and the Quadi). While Arianism permanently separated the German warrior aristocracy from the Roman population, it was well adapted as the official, royally directed church of the individual German tribes. There was, however, no international church embracing all Arians, and virtually nothing is known of any conflict between the Arian church and the kings. On the other hand, Arianism was unable to long survive the conversion of a royal family to Catholicism (as in the case of the Visigoths, Burgundians and Lombards).

Arianism, which recognized as divine only God the Father and not Christ and the Holy Spirit, exhibited a number of theological ties to Judaism and later Islam. Like Jewish and Muslim believers, the Arian Christian also accepted a strict prohibition of icons. Against the other belief systems (Jews, pagans, Syrian Christians and in general also Latin and Greek Christians) the Arians were relatively tolerant, at least according to the standards of the times. Arianism – and in this respect it was also closer to Judaism and Islam than Latin and Greek Christianity – rejected monasticism and celibacy, even for bishops. Veneration of saints and relics was also foreign to the Arians.

Avari Avars

The Avars were a Turkic people from central Asia, who were especially skilled in horse breeding. They introduced the stirrup (q.v.) into Europe and for a long period were considered invincible. In 567 in alliance with the Lombards they conquered the Gepids and settled in the Hungarian plain on both sides of the Danube, from where they were active as far north as the Elbe river. The slavic peoples south of the Sudeten area, west of the Carpathian mountains and northwest of the Drina river belonged to their empire. For more than a century Byzantium bought protection from the Avars through the regular payment of a substantial tribute. They were first subdued by Charlemagne, and in 896 their territory was conquered by another horse people, the Hungarians.

(Illustration) Avar stirrups

Balts, Slavs and Illyrians

The peoples are grouped together simply for game reasons. Within the Indo-European language family the Baltic and Slavic languages are no more closely related to one another than to the other western Indo-European language groups (Latin, Celtic, Germanic, Greek, Iranian)

Belgae Belgians

see Gallo-Romans

Plague(Bubonic plague/Pneumonic plague)

In 444 and again between 541 and 594 several catastrophic epidemics swept through Asia, Africa and Europe. In 541, the year of the "Plague of Justinian", many areas of the eastern Roman Empire ceased to be cultivated, and the population may have been reduced by as much as half through disease and hunger.


Wherever in Europe the Arabs ruled for a long period (as in southern Spain and Sicily) they established an irrigation infrastructure and imported a host of useful plants previously unknown in Europe, such as sugarcane and citrus fruits.

Britanni Britains

After the Romans gave up the defense of Britain and withdrew their troops in the first decade of the 5th century, the Picts and Anglo-Saxons moved in. The Britains, who unlike the Gallo- Romans were only barely assimilated into Roman culture and converted to Christianity, remained essentially Celts and were forced to withdraw into Cornwall and Wales. One group moved to Aremorica, later known as Bretagne.

Burgundi Burgundians

After 250 the Burgundians moved from their home on the Oder, Warthe and Weichsel rivers to the area between the upper Main river and the Danube, and c. 380 they won from the Alamanni the lands between the Neckar and Main rivers. Moving, after the Gothic pattern, under the leadership of a war king, a Burgundian contingent took part in the invasion of Gaul in 406, accepted Arian Christianity and won the area around the city of Worms. The Burgundians on the right bank of the Rhine fell under the control of the Huns, and in 436 their compatriots on the left bank were defeated by a Hunish army in the pay of the Roman Aetius, in which battle the Burgundian king Gundahar fell. (These events form the historical background for the Nibelungenlied.) In 443 Aetius gave the Burgundians a new home in Savoy, where they established a kingdom with a capital at Genava (Geneva).

The Burgundians sought a close association with Rome and did not, like many of the other barbarian kingdoms, follow an apartheid- like system prohibiting marriage and interaction with the Roman population. As a result, the Burgundians were very quickly Romanized, and after 517 a growing number of them converted from Arianism to Catholicism.

In 532-534 the Burgundian kingdom was overthrown by the Franks, but their name (also transmitted through the Nibelung epic) lives on in the titles of several political divisions of the high Middle Ages (kingdom, duchy, palatinate and "Free County" of the B.), in the historical name of the province and in the identity of the region.

(Illustration) North German warrior with a typical round shield, sax (single edged sword), framea (German thrusting spear) and a hairdo particularly common among the North and East Germans.

Dani Danes

During the period of folk migrations the North German Danes spread out from southern Sweden against the Herulians in the Danish islands and the Jutes in Danish peninsula. The beginnings of the Danish kingdom and adoption of Christianity go back to the 9th century, and after the middle of the 9th century Danish Vikings conquered and settled parts of northeast England.


There was a widespread notion in antiquity that humanity found itself in a permanent process of decay from an original golden age into a constantly increasing state of decadent refinement and feeble degeneration. The moral purity and basic natural strength of this golden age could still be found, however, among the barbarian neighbors to the north, especially among the Germans, and Roman historians described them in such terms. Innumerable historians and philosophers of history, both important and unimportant, have found in this idea of decadence the cause for the collapse of classical civilization.

Elbe Germans

see Germans

Eutii or Euthiones Jutes

In the 5th century Danes moved westward into the Danish peninsula (Jutland), and many of the Jutes living there migrated to Britain and Belgium. The Jutes who remained were gradual absorbed into the Danish population.


During the time of the folk migrations long distance trade in western and central Europe consisted of luxury goods, scarce raw materials and high quality finished products. Coinage was familiar and widespread, and coins were minted in many locations (e.g., by the pagan Frisians) and exchanged everywhere. Long distance trade was organized along ethnic lines: in the North Sea it was in the hands of the Frisians, in the Baltic Sea the Swedes and in the Mediterranean the Syrians, Jews and Greeks. On the other hand, long distance trade cut directly across geographic, political, ethnic and religious boundaries and thus played a critical role in cultural exchange.

Finno-Ugrians and Basques

Apart from speaking non-Indo-European languages, the peoples of the Finno-Ugrit family and the Basques have nothing in common and are grouped together simply for game reasons.

The Finns, Estonians and Hungarians belong to the Finno-Ugrit family. During the period of the folk migrations the Finno-Ugrit peoples still inhabited a broad stretch of northeastern Europe from central Sweden to the Ural mountains, but by the late Middle Ages they were being driven back by the Swedes, Balts and most especially by the Russians striking northward.

Franci Franks

Salian, Ripuarian and Hessian Franks

The Franks ("free ones") arose out of a combination of smaller tribes. In 358 the Salian Franks were settled in Germania Inferior (today northern Brabant in the Netherlands) as allies of the Romans, while a short time later the Ripuarian Franks occupied the area around Cologne and pushed towards the Mosel river. Under Clovis (482-511) all the small Frankish kingdoms were united and adopted Catholic Christianity, and almost all Gaul, as well as the Alamanni, were incorporated into the Frankish kingdom.

Between 531 and 539 the Thuringian and Burgundian kingdoms and the territory settled by the Bavarians all came under Frankish control. Despite frequent partitions of the kingdom a national identity endured, and the Frankish kingdom was always reunited. Under the rule of Charlemagne (776-814) all the Germanic peoples outside of Scandanavia and England were united, and on Christmas day 800 Pope Leo III recreated in western Europe the empire lost in 476. From this Frankish empire would emerge the medieval kingdoms of France, Germany, Burgundy and Italy.


Francisca, the Frankish throwing axe (6th cent.)

Frisii Frisians

There is evidence for the existence of the Frisians, well known as cattle-breeders and sailors, as an independent people occupying the area indicated on the game map since before Christ. Under their king Radbod they ruled the entire North Sea coast from Flanders to the mouth of the Weser river until the beginning of the 8th century, and in 716 a Frisian army drove as far as Cologne. In 785 they were conquered by Charlemagne and converted to Christianity, but before the conguest many pagan Frisians fled to the what is today north Friesland, previously evacuated by the Angles. Not until the end of the 10th century were these Frisians converted to Christianity by the Danes. (Tidal Floods, LONG DISTANCE TRADE)

Galli Gauls

see Gallo-Romans


In contrast to their cousins in the British isles all the Celts on the continent, most particularly the Gauls, had become fully Romanized in language and culture under the impact of Roman rule and settlement. There was nevertheless at some stages in late Roman history a tendency for the Gallo-Romans to form their own separate empire, and between the 3rd and 5th centuries Roman rule was shaken by revolts of the Bagaudae (peasants who had fled their land). After the Frankish king Clovis defeated Syagrius, the last independent Roman ruler in Gaul, in 486 it was left to the Germans to determine for centuries to come the political history of the Gallo-Roman majority.

Gepidae Gepids

The Gepids are those Goths who did not leave their home on the lower Vistula river at the beginning of the 2nd century, but rather moved west later in the middle of the 3rd century. They settled in northern Transylvania and prospered, first under the Goths and later together with them as vassals of the Huns. Like all the East German peoples the Gepids knew the institution of kingship, but in contrast to the Ostrogoths and Visigoths they had not been in contact with the Iranian horse peoples and possessed only a small warrior aristocracy, most of their population being peasants. Sometime in the 5th or 6th century the Gepids adopted Arian Christianity from the Goths. After the death of Attila in 453 the Gepids smashed the Hun empire on the Danube and Theiss rivers and banished the remnants to the area between the Dniester and Dnieper rivers. The Gepid kingdom was destroyed in 567, and they were absorbed into the Lombard and Avar populations.

Germani Germans Germanic peoples

Roman name for a group of peoples possessing an Iron Age culture and knowledge of animal husbandry, agriculture and sailing, but not cities, and sharing a common language family and set of religious and folk traditions. According to current understanding, the Germans did not recognize themselves as a single community or even develop any concept of a German collective, just as they had no conception of non-Germans as a distinct group (unlike the Greeks and Romans, who distinguished themselves from "barbarians"). As with all peoples organized along kinship lines (such as the Alans, Iazyges, Slavs, Balts, Picts, Basgues, Finno-Ugrians, Huns and Avars), a German community was defined only by tribal affiliation, and oaths were binding only on fellow tribesmen. The followers of a war leader (who was often Roman) might also constitute a community, taking the place of a tribe. All men outside one’s own group were considered to have no rights or security and could be dealt with arbitrarily and forcefully without fear of any punishment or loss of rights. At the beginning of the period of interest to us (4th century AD) the Germans can, on the basis of archaeological finds, be subdivided into five territorial groups, which were also distinguished by language, religion and folkways: North Germans (Scandinavia), East Germans (Oder, Vistula and lower Danube rivers, Black Sea), Elbe Germans (Elbe, Oder and upper Danube, Rhine and Main rivers), Rhein-Weser Germans (Rhine, Werra and Main rivers) and North Sea Germans (North Sea).

(Illustration) Germanic leader with a cloak (reconstructed from textile remains in the Thorsberg find). He carries a gladius, which was already becoming a rarity by the time of the barbarian invasions.

Gothi or Gothones Goths
(see also Visigothi and Ostrogothones) Originally united with the Gauti of southern Sweden (see Suiones; the Gauti are remembered in the name Gotland), the Goths had lived since the 1st century BC south of the Baltic Sea in the area around the mouth of the Vistula. In the wider sense all the East Germans were Goths, and in the 1st century AD the Gepids (see Gepidae) moved to Transylvania, the Asding Vandals (see Vandali Asdingi) to what is now Slovakia and the Silling Vandals (see Vandali Sillingi) to Silesia. More narrowly defined, the Goths were those who c. 150 AD arrived in the western Ukraine and later in the middle of the 3rd century split into the East (Ostro-) and West (Visi-) Goths. While the majority of the Goths disappeared without trace into the Romance peoples of the Mediterranean in the course of the early Middle Ages, the Crimean Goths maintained their independence into the 16th century, when they finally vanished under the Crimean Tartars.

The customary use of the term "Gothic" for the art of the high and late Middle Ages resulted from Renaissance contempt for the barbarian invasions and has absolutely nothing to do with the actual Goths.

Graeci Greeks

At the beginning of the folk migrations in Europe the majority of the populations in Apulia and Epirus were still Greek, and in Neapolis (Naples) and Massilia (Marseille) there were significant Greek minorities. A part of the long distance trade in the Mediterranean was in Greek hands.


The theological differences between Latin and Greek Christianity were still very small at the beginning of the folkmigrations, but the two already differed in the language of the liturgy. Further, the Greek imperial church was closely bound to the Byzantine state, while the Roman church needed to remain independent of the changing Arian regimes in the West. The Benedictine monastic movement ("Ora et labora" – Pray and work) that arose in 6th century Italy could make no headway against the older, more purely contemplative monastic traditions of the East, causing further estrangement between the two halves of Christianity. In missionary activity among the Slavs in the 7th and 8th centuries the Latin and Greek churches were already in competition, and the formal split between western and eastern Christianity took place in 1054.


With the emergence of Greek philosophy the West began to emancipate itself from myth and would ultimately create a spiritual and intellectual climate conducive to the development of science. In late antiquity the church fathers arrived at a new synthesis of Greek philosophy and the Christian revelation rooted in Jewish culture, and in monastic cloisters, the sole places of learning in the West during the folk migrations, philosophical and scientific texts of the classical world were copied and preserved. In addition to Byzantium Islam also preserved and transmitted fragments of Greek philosophy and science.

Heruli or Eruli Herulians

Forced from Zealand and other islands by the Danes in the 3rd century, the eastern Herulians moved to the Black Sea, while the western Herulians entered Gaul, never to be heard of again. The eastern Herulians (Arian Christians since the end of the 4th century) fell under the rule of first the Goths and later the Huns, and then in 453 in alliance with the Goths they overthrew the Hun empire, settled in the March-Danube river area and defeated the Lombards. When at the end of the 5th century the Lombards threw off Herulian rule, the tribe split. One Herulian group crossed the Danube, submitted to the Emperor and was converted to orthodox Christianity by Byzantium in 528, while the larger, Arian group aligned themselves with the Gepids in 545 and subsequently shared their fate. At the beginning of the 6th century another, pagan group of Herulians moved north and attacked the Varini (see Varini) in the Baltic Sea region.

(Illustration) Germanic horseman with helmet, spatha (double-edged long sword), saddle and a bridle of East or North German design. (Not an east Gothic armored horseman, but perhaps a Herulian.)


The Norwegian Vikings were the first Europeans regularly to sail the Atlantic in new style ocean-going vessels and travel long distances out of sight of land. In the 8th century they reached the Faroe islands, in the 9th Iceland, in the 10th Greenland and around the year 1000 North America.

Hunni Huns

The Huns were a nomadic, Mongolian horse people from northeast Asia and owed their superiority to especially efficient horses and the composite bow. Because of their nomadic ways and their particularly fit breeds of horses, Hun groups were able to dominate the broad belt of central Asian steppe north of the Caspian and Black Seas. In the 4th century they destroyed the kingdom of the Alans and then in 375 the great Ostrogothic empire of Ermaneric, thereby causing the great European folk migrations. They themselves moved west a short time later and established in the Hungarian plain the heart of their European empire, which for a while brought all the East and Elbe Germans (excepting the Visigoths and Lombards) under its control. Around 445 Attila became the supreme leader of all the Huns and launched a massive invasion of Gaul, where he met defeat on the Catalaunian Plains (451 near Chalons). A year later a campaign against Italy miscarried, and Attila died of a stroke in 453. Revolting Gepids, Scirians and Herulians dismantled the Hun empire, and the survivors fled to the steppe between the Dnieper and Volga rivers. There they fused with wandering Turkic elements to form a new people, the Bulgars, in which guise they would reappear in east European history by the end of the 5th century.

Iazyges Iazyges

see Sarmatae

Iudaei JEWS

Driven from Judea by the Romans after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, many Jews found homes in the major cities of the Mediterranean world. In the Catholic states of late antiquity Jews suffered growing persecution, and their position in Italy and North Africa worsened after the destruction of the East German kingdoms in those areas. When in 568 the Visigothic king Rekared converted to Catholicism, brutal persecutions of non-Catholics (Jews and Goths who remained Arians) broke out in Spain and southern Gaul, where many Jews lived. On the other hand, the emergence of Arab- Muslim rule in Spain after 711 represented a step towards greater tolerance.

Iuthungi Iuthungi

In the 3rd and 4th centuries the Elbe Germanic Iuthungi launched repeated plundering raids across the Alps into Italy. They are heard from for the last time in 430, when they were defeated by Aetius and the survivors were absorbed by the Alamanni.

Illyrii Illyrians

In antiquity an important Indo-European sub-group living in the western part of the Balkan peninsula. Archaeological evidence suggests that present-day Albanians are the descendants of the Illyrians. The old theory that the Illyrian language and culture were widespread in southern Europe and northern Italy before the arrival of the Celts has been soundly refuted, though it lives on in some popular works.

Iranians (see Sarmatae, Alani)

A huge Indo-European sub-group. In antiquity Iranian peoples settled the steppe from the Ukraine to the frontiers of China and Mongolia, as well as the Iranian plateau and what are now Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Parthians, ancestors of the present-day Pathans and Baluchis (in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan) make up the East Iranians, while the West Iranians include the ancient Achaemenid and Sassanid Persians and the modern Persians, Tadjiks and Kurds. To the North Iranian group belonged the Sarmatians and Alans, both of which groups lived in Europe during the period of the migrations.


During the fold migrations Islam arrived in Europe as the religion of the Arab overlords. To be sure, in the first few centuries few Europeans converted, since the Muslims did not proselytize among the North Germans, Baltic Germans and Slavs, as they did in central Asia and the Urals. With the Umayyid caliphate of Cordoba a center of Islamic culture and the Arabic language was established in Europe, and Islamic law and the superior Arab mathematics and medicine were taught in Spain, which also preserved many ancient Greek texts lost to the West.


In the urban civilizations of antiquity hunting no longer played any role in the food supply, and even among most of the Germanic, Baltic, Slavic and non-romanized Celtic peoples it contributed only 10% or less of the supply of meat.


The 5th and 6th centuries were a spiritual golden age for the Jews. With the codification of the Talmud, the all-embracing collection and interpretation of the rules that covered every aspect of Jewish life, Judaism acquired the theological strength to resist the Christian church and Islam, both of which had to varying degrees adopted the writings of the Old Testament, formerly sacred only to the Jews. In competition with the other revealed religions the Jews were successful in the 8th century in converting the Black Sea Khazars, the most important instance of Jewish proselytism in all of history.


The period between 375 and 955 witnessed the greatest population decline in the history of humanity. The world population is estimated to have been 257 million in the year 200, and by 400 it had sunk to 206 million. World population remained at this level until 700 AD, when it began to grow again, reaching the 250 million mark at the turn of the millennium. During this period the Mediterranean world was, along with Persia, China and India, one of the most developed and densely populated areas on earth. The origins of this catastrophe are still obscure. For centuries historians, philosophers and sociologists have debated whether the great folk migrations were caused by a dramatic climate change, whether the barbarian wars to divide Europe resulted in the devastation of developed lands and whether domestic crises and a decaying structure in the Roman Empire weakened its ability to resist, allowing relatively small armed bands to overthrow such a large population. The literature dealing with these questions fills libraries. Traditionally this world wide crisis has been seen simply in terms of the collapse of the western Roman Empire and the confrontation between Rome and the Germanic peoples, but it is likely that in the near future improved climate models and the interpretation of ice cores and other climatic evidence will provide a better understanding of the 1st century AD and lead to a reevaluation of this epoch – the "dark ages" of Anglo-Saxon literature – and its mysteries.


Although the Celts on the continent were thoroughly romanized under Roman rule, those in the British isles maintained their native language and culture. see Picti, Scoti and Britanni

COMPOSITE BOW or reflexed bow

From varying layers of wood, horn and sinews the Huns built an extremely elastic bow, from which even iron arrows could be shot. An accomplished Hun horseman could loose up to 20 arrows a minute at a full gallop with this 60 cm long bow. In order to draw the bowstring it had to be hooked over an iron ring worn on the thumb, and the resulting arrow flight reached 500 meters. This long distance weapon and its attendant tactics were later also brought to Europe by the Avars and Hungarians, as well as by the Mongols in the 13th century. Similar, but weaker, bows had already been used by the Parthians and other Iranian peoples long before the Huns, and the Lombards and a few other Germanic tribes also used the composite bow, though they did not manufacture them themselves. (The manufacture of a composite bow required severalyears.) In Europe, however, the composite bow gave way to the simple wood bow, which could be used by foot soldiers, while cavalry favored combat with sword and lance. In part this was due to the fact that the composite bow could only be used in dry weather, since high humidity would cause the bowstring to become slack.

(Illustration) Composite bow. From the left: relaxed, without bowstring; with bowstring attached; with bowstring drawn to fire


It is difficult today to comprehend the immense importance of the efficient use of draft animals in agricultural production. Oxen and horses were used as draft animals for thousands of years, but the old and ubiquitous common "yoke" was so cumbersome that a horse was able to pull only 20-25% of the load that it might draw with a properly designed harness. The problem was apparently understood and there were many attempts to develop more effective harness, but progress was very modest. Between the 4th and 2nd centuries BC the Chinese developed the breast-strap harness, which brought a fourfold increase in drawing power, but for many centuries it remained unknown in Europe, India, the Near East and north Africa.

The oldest European description of this harness dates from the 8th century, and its use spread in the following centuries. (It is found in Viking accounts from the 9th century.) Philological research suggests, however, that the breast-strap harness was already known to the Germans and Slavs in the 5th and 6th centuries, though no actual examples have been found. A further step was taken with the horse collar harness, also developed in China, this time in the 1st century BC. It appeared in the Europe in the 8th century, and the development of medieval agriculture, so much more productive than ancient, is hardly imaginable without this technology. In the game horse collar harness means a new harnessing technique, which includes the idea of the breast-strap harness, and it has been associated with the 6th century eastern Invaders, among whom its use may be surmised, and with the Normans, for whom there is actual evidence.

(Illustration) Draft horse with horse collar harness.

Langobardi Lombards

C. 400 groups of Lombards began moving southeast from their home on the lower Elbe river, and in the course of the 5th century Arian Christianity gained more and more ground among them. In 425 the Lombards repulsed the Huns, and in 489 they destroyed the Rugians in Noricum, after which the bulk of the tribe moved
southeast. In 526-527 the Lombards captured Pannonia, which brought them into conflict with the Gepids, and in 567 they invited in the Avars to help against the Gepids. After the destruction of the Gepid kingdom in 568 they abandoned Pannonia, honoring an agreement with the Avars, and together with Saxons, Gepids and other tribal remnants they conquered most of the Italian peninsula, though they were never able to capture Rome itself. At the beginning of the 7th century the Lombards converted from Arian to Catholic Christianity. In 773 the Pope summoned Charlemagne (768-814), fearing the loss of Rome to the Lombards, and in the following year the Frankish king captured the Lombard capital at Pavia and put an end to Lombard rule, placing the "iron crown" of the Lombard kingship on his own head. The heartland of the Lombard kingdom in Italy still bears their name: Lombardy. Those Lombards who remained in their old home in the north were absorbed by the Saxons and are remembered in the name of Bardowick near Lüneburg.

Lithunii Lithuanians see Pruzzi


The ongoing deforestation and intensive agriculture in the Mediterranean has led over the centuries to considerable erosion and to the silting up of the river valleys, all of which has contributed to the formation of marshes. In the Mediterranean climate these are ideal breeding grounds for malarial mosquitoes, and the disease is considered to have played a significant role in the population decline of the region.

Marcommani Marcomanni

The Elbe Germans found on the upper Elbe and Moldau rivers and after the 2nd century in what is now Austria. They were defeated by the emperor Marcus Aurelius in decades of warfare in the 2nd century, and at the beginning of the 5th they fell under the rule of the Huns. Their separate identity as Marcomanni ("men of the march") clearly did not survive this latter development, for subsequently all the Elbe German groups in Bohemia were known simply as Suebi. A hundred years after the Huns these Suebi moved into what is now Bavaria, the Oberpfalz, Salzburg and upper Austria, and joining there with other Elbe German and East German groups and the preexisting population they became the Bavarians.

(Illustration) Warrior with the Elbe German "Suevi-knot" (also worn by other Germanic groups) and carrying the traditional flat, cornered shield, which was in use from the early Empire to the barbarian invasions.

Mauri Moors

Name given by the Franks to the Arab forces invading the Iberian peninsula in 711. In the following year they destroyed the Visigothic kingdom and added the greater part of the Iberian peninsula to the Caliphate. In 732 a Moorish army invading Gaul was defeated by a Frankish force under Charles Martel ("the Hammer") (714-741).
In 750 the Caliphate in Damascus fell before the Abbasid revolution, and the ousted Umayyids sought refuge in Spain, which from 929 was the seat of an independent caliphate.


In antiquity all the subjects important to philosophy came under the heading of mathematics: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music theory and grammar and rhetoric as well. The narrowing of the concept towards our modern understanding of the term began with Aristotle, and since Aristotelian philosophy was favored by the church fathers, this more limited definition passed into western culture. From the time of Augustine (354- 430) the West divided the seven artes liberales into two groups: the three linguistic arts Grammar, Rhetoric and Dialectic (the Trivium) and the four mathematical arts Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy and Music Theory (the Quadrivium). Ancient mathematics is Greek mathematics, and the Romans demonstrated little interest in the subject. Not until the Arabs, who had both Greek and Indian sources to work with, did mathematics develop beyond the level reached in antiquity, and these developments passed to Europe in the course of the High Middle Ages.


Almost all coast-dwelling peoples in antiquity fished with nets, tackle and weir-baskets, but only in coastal waters. For such fishing and for hunting whales boats were also used, and this pushed the development of ship building, particularly in northern Europe.

Bad Harvests

It is well known that for traditional agriculture before the 19th century even small changes in the weather, natural disasters or wars during sowing or harvest could lead to seriously poor harvests. Since bulk goods like grain could only be transported quickly enough and in sufficient quantities by ship, it is understandable that after the collapse of Roman control of the western Mediterranean the effects of bad harvests were much more serious than in the days of the Roman Empire.


Because of improved breeds of domestic animals and better power transmission through the use of specialized harnesses, medieval farmers employed animal power to a far greater degree than was the case in antiquity. The potential for considerably expanded agricultural production came especially with the emergence of the horse as a draft animal because of the new harnessing techniques coming out of east Asia. The contention that this was actually already the case in the early Middle Ages is found in many accounts (I likewise make this assumption for the game), but it has not been proved. In actuality the potential advantages of horse power could only be realized if certain other conditions were present:

  • Because of these reasons extensive use of horses as draft animals in agriculture is not attested to in the sources until the 12th century. There are other technical improvements in medieval agriculture, such as the three field system of crop rotation and the general use of the heavy wheeled plow, which are not reflected in the game.



    North Germans See Germans

    North Sea Germans See Germans

    Nordmanni or Nortmanni Normans Vikings

    The name ("north men") given by west Europeans to the pagan Danish and Norwegian sailors who in the 8th and 9th centuries plundered the coasts of western Europe in their ocean-going vessels. From the end of the 8th century Vikings began settling
    in Ireland and a bit later also in Britain and Normandy.

    Norsavi North Swabians

    The Semnones who did not take part in the move south into the Rhine-Danube area, but remained in what is now Mecklenburg- Vorpommern and Brandenburg were known from 534 as the "Norsavi" (North Swabians). When the western Slavs drove towards the Elbe in the 7th century, the remaining North Swabians joined with the Saxons.  There is consequently evidence of a Saxon-North Swabian district during the Carolinigan period.


    Used in the game as a common designation for peoples from the Near East. see Iudaei, Syri, Mauri and Sarraceni

    East Germans see Germans

    Ostrogothones Ostrogoths East Goths (also Greutungians)

    The Ostrogoths were the most feared of the Germanic mounted warriors. In the middle of the 4th century king Amaleric established between the Don river and the mouth of the Danube an extensive Ostrogothic kingdom, which was destroyed by the Huns in 375.

    In the wake of this the Ostrogoths became firm allies of the Huns, and in the first half of the 5th century they adopted Arian Christianity. After the expulsion of the Huns they created their own kingdom in Pannonia, Moesia and Dacia, serving as official vassals of the eastern Roman emperor.

    In 488 with the approval of the eastern Roman emperor king Theoderic moved against Odoacer in Italy and established an Ostrogothic kingdom with its capital at Ravenna. In 552, after a stubborn 17 year long war, this kingdom was overthrown by the Eastern Roman Empire, and the Ostrogoths, adopting Catholicism, became yet another Germanic element in the emerging Italian people.

    Picti Picts

    The Roman name ("painted men," referring to their practice of tattooing their bodies) for the pre-Celtic and Celtic tribes living north of the Antonine wall. In the ninth century the Picts, along with the Scots immigrating from Ireland and Scandanavians settled in the north and Anglo-Saxons in the south, gave rise to Scotland.

    Pruzzi Prussians

    The Prussians, like the neighboring Lithuanians, belonged to the Baltic sub-group of the Indo-European family. Remaining in their homeland during the migrations, they participated in long distance trade as suppliers of amber and in the course of the 4th century established relations with the Ostrogothic kingdom in southern Russia and later with Sweden.


    Elbe Germans (defeated by the Roman c. 375) living north of the Danube in southern Moravia, where in the 4th century (apparently under the influence of the Iazyges) they adopted the life-style of the Iranian steppe peoples. Around 400 they were proselytized by the Arians, after which one group accompanied the Lombards to Italy, while another marched with the Vandals to Spain, where they established the "Suevi kingdom" in Galicia (northwest Spain). The Quadi turned to Catholicism around 550.



    The nature of mounted warfare changed dramatically from antiquity to the Middle Ages, and the social and political impact of these changes can hardly be overestimated.

    A saddle more suited to battle (scordiscus militaris from the 3rd century and sella eguestris from the 4th), one which in addition to being comfortable also provided a more stable platform in battle, almost certainly arrived in the West from an Iranian source. The saddle used by the Huns (still without stirrups) represented a further improvement. The next step in cavalry development was taken by the Avars: "The single-edged long saber ... which in one form or another had been the standard cavalry weapon since earliest times, was first introduced into Europe by the Avars. The most important innovation in warfare, however, was the use of iron stirrups, which for the first time allowed the fullest use of these weapons (the composite bow and saber – the author). The rider could rise up erect in the saddle and in almost all situations fire arrows from his short bow or virtually standing in the stirrups, fight with his saber. The stirrups also provided him a better seat when thrusting with his lance. Disciplined and well led, an army equipped in this ’modern’ fashion was almost unbeatable..."

    (Illustration) Late Roman cavalryman with laminated armor and arm guards and horse with a scale armor caparison (after the Iranian design), carrying the Contus or thrusting lance. From the 4th century on this type of rider (clibanarius) formed the heavy cavalry of Rome.

    Romani Romans, Romance peoples

    Rhaeto-Romans, Dalmatians, Dacio-Romans, Spaniards
    Imprinted with the language and culture of Rome, the majority of the peoples subjugated by the Romans remained "Roman" even after the political collapse of the Empire. Only in the Alpine region, Britain and eastern Gaul (parts of Belgica and the two Germaniae) was Germanic settlement so extensive and so closely linked with the political structure that the local inhabitants were Germanicized. It is noteworthy that with the fall of the last western Roman Emperor in 476 and the Frankish victory over Syagrius 10 years later there was for a long time no secular government whose leadership was still Roman. During this period Romanitas (Roman culture) was represented only by the Roman church, which along with the Latin language and script preserved cultural and structural elements of the ancient world.

    Roman Legion

    Name chosen in the game for the Roman military organization. In the 4th century the legion was no longer the heart of the Roman army, and the majority of military personnel, especially in the cavalry, was already non-Roman and mostly German. Consequently, the legionary’s equipment was changing, but there was still in this phase relative uniformity (e.g., shields marked to distinguish individual tactical units) and arms were apparently still being mass produced.

    (Illustration) Late Roman legionary with a chain mail coat and Syrian style helmet. Germanic influences: the long-sleeved tunic, the long pants with leggings, the adoption by foot soldiers of the round cavalry shield, the thrusting spear (hasta) in place of the formerly common javelin (pilum).




    Roman law is an essential factor in the evolution of European civilization. Preserved in part in the canon law of the Roman church, it revived in the High Middle Ages, drawn from classical sources, and provided the foundation from which modern European constitutionalism could develop.
    (Illustration) An officer with a late Roman cap, which was worn as a fur cap by regular legionaries when they were not on alert. He is armed with the spatha, the Germanic double-edged long sword that replaced the gladius, the classical Roman short sword, in combat against cavalry and foot armed with thrusting spears. The officer wears a long cloak, fastened in the front with a clasp, a garment widely common among both the Romans and Germans and one that figures in the legend of St.Martin.

    Rugii Rugians

    Living at first in what is now Pomerania, the Rugians moved to the Danube at the end of the 4th century and in the 5th fell under the rule of the Huns. Recognized in 453 as official Roman allies in what is now lower Austria, they established a kingdom in Noricum, which was destroyed by Odoacer in 487/88. The surviving Rugarians invaded Italy with the Ostrogoths in 489 and after 541 are no longer heard of in the sources. Their name is remembered in the Rügen island.

    Sarmatae Sarmatians

    An Iranian people living in southeastern Europe. Greek writers commented on their matriarchal institutions and declared the Amazons to be their ancestors. The Iazyges and Roxolani were Sarmatians, who from the 1st century AD lived respectively on the Hungarian plain and the lower Danube. All the Sarmatian peoples were nomadic herdsmen and experienced mounted warriors, who did not practice agriculture or even possess permanent settlements. They enslaved settled farmers and confiscated their produce, but at the beginning of the 4th century their slaves revolted and with Roman help ended Sarmatian rule. Emperor Constantine the Great settled 300,000 fleeing Sarmatians in Italy, the Balkans and in Germany on the left bank of the Rhine, and at the end of the 4th century they came under first Gothic and later Hun rule. In 568 the remnants of the Iazyges moved into Italy, apparently as allies of the Lombards.

    Sarraceni Saracens

    Collective name for Muslim peoples warring against the Christians in the Mediterranean. In the game the name is used for the Arab corsairs who, operating out of the Aghlabid kingdom in what is now Tunisia, raided Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, the Baleric islands and even Italy and Provence from the end of the 8th century. In Fraxinetum (near Saint Tropez) they established a base from which they conducted extensive plundering and slaving raids into the interior. The base was finally destroyed in 972 by Otto the Great.



    Saxones Saxons

    Westphalians, Eastphalians, Angrivarians and Northelbians

    The Saxons spread south and southwest out of Holstein and absorbed all the Germanic tribes already living in what is now northwest Germany. In 421 together with the Franks they destroyed the kingdom of the Thuringians, and in that same century a large part of the Saxons migrated to Britain. At a time when virtually all the Germanic tribes were under kingships the Saxons created an extremely stable tribal state that had in place of a kingship and even permanent duchies annual meetings to regulate political affairs. The Saxons held to their pagan traditions with extreme tenacity and only after decades of war (772-804) and subsequent revolts against Charlemagne were they finally overcome and converted to Christianity.

    From a contemporary viewpoint the most important contribution of the Saxons to modern civilization is their language, the original form of English. The Anglo-Saxons and continental Saxons still shared a common tongue in the 11th century, but Saxons and south Germans could understand one another only with difficulty.

    Scramasax (6th cent.)


    Despite all the advances in the construction and in the economic and military efficiency of the vessels, ancient navigation was essentially limited to fair weather sailing in the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastal regions. The Romans were able to reach every point in the Mediterranean, as well as the Atlantic island of Britain, but classical civilization never established secure maritime connections to Ireland, Scandinavia, the Baltic Sea and the Canary islands, which were known only through rumor, and Iceland and the open ocean remained unreachable.


    Characterizing the epoch from the 4th to the 10th centuries is the fact that almost all the European peoples (the Elbe Slavs and Finns waited until the 12th century, the Balts and Estonians until the 13th) were converted to either Latin or Greek Christianity. (This development defined a clear dividing line through Europe, one which continues to this day despite all the religious upheavals and other differences that have emerged.) For most peoples conversion was achieved without force through missionary activity, which often followed the individual conversion of a leader. (Only among the Saxons and Frisians in the 9th century, the Elbe Slavs in the 12th and the Balts and Estonians in 13th did conversion to Christianity come as a result of foreign conquest.)

    Already in the 4th and 5th centuries all the Ostrogoths and a large number of the Elbe Germans had been converted to Arian Christianity, while the attraction of the purely pagan cults was by way of comparison fairly narrow. The constant in all these conversions is the success of a religion that has at its heart (after the original pattern of Judaism) a holy text, which is to be taught, passed on, explained, annotated, interpreted, if necessary discussed and by all meansat least in the clerical sphere – read and copied. The preservation and even the expansion (geographically speaking)of literacy during a period in western European history when a developed urban civilization was being torn apart is an accomplishment that can hardly be overestimated. In the game the success of the other revealed realigns is also possible.

    Sciri Scirians

    (a small East German people) Originally on the upper Vistual river as neighbors of the Vandals, the Scirians had already in the 3rd century BC migrated to area of the Black Sea between the Bug river and the mouth of the Dnieper. Pressed by the Ostrogoths, they moved in the 4th century to the northern ranges of the Carpathian mountains, where they fell under the rule of the Huns. At the beginning of the 5th century the royal family at least was converted to Arian Christianity. The Scirians participated in the war of liberation against the Huns in 453, but were themselves almost eradicated by the Ostrogoths in 469, the survivors fleeing to the eastern and western halves of the Roman Empire, where they served in great numbers as soldiers. The most important Scirian was Odoacer, son of the last Scirian king, who made his mark in world history as the man who in 476 deposed the last Roman emperor in the west. Odoacer was later murdered by Theoderic, and with his death the Scirians disappear from history, having contributed their element to the populations of Italy, the Alps and the region between the Alps and the Danube. Older scholarship holds that the Sciri remnants were an important element in the formation of the Bavarian people.

    Sclaveni Slavs

    Since the 6th century a broad designation for the Slavic peoples.

    see Venedi

    Scoti Scotts

    Originally the name for Irish bands that infested Britain from the 3rd century on and later the Roman name for all the Irish, who however called themselves Gaels. In the 6th century the kingdom of Dalriada was formed in northwestern Scotland and in the 9th united with kingdom of the Picts; from that point on there is a Scotland, and the term Scoti is no longer used to describe the inhabitants of Ireland.
    The Gaels who remained in Ireland were converted to Christianity by St. Patrick long before the Anglo-Saxon conquest of Britain, and although Irish Christians remained faithful to Rome and did not create a separate confession, they did develop their own style of Christianity, the Irish monastic church, characterized
    by a very tight bond between salvation and the monastic life, severe asceticism and a strong emphasis on repentance. In the following centuries Irish monks would play a major role in the missionary successes of the Roman church. In the 9th century the Vikings brought an end to this cultural flowering in Ireland, which remained politically divided, but in the llth the Irish evicted the Scandinavian invaders and for a short time possessed a united Irish kingdom.


    "If one asks for change from a man, he receives a lecture on the begotten and the unbegotten; if one inquires about the price of bread, he receives as the answer that the Father is greater than the Son; if one asks whether the bath is ready, the answer is that the Son was created from nothing." So Gregory of Nyssa describes the state of affairs into which theological dispute had brought the common people. Late antiquity, with its revolutions and catastrophes, was particularly susceptible to such disputes, which not infrequently led to the lynching of those who believed differently. The Islamic world also saw violent clashes over doctrinal differences.




    Throughout the Roman Empire roads and buildings, as well as aqueducts and fortifications, were constructed from stone, while in central Europe wood was used almost exclusively until the High Middle Ages and predominated for a long time afterwards.

    Tidal floods

    For the entire period from the end of the Weichselian (corresponds cum grano salis to the north American Wisconsinan glacial)ice age 8000 years B.C. the sea level in the region of the North Sea has been rising, and during the age of the folk migrations a great deal of land was lost to tidal floods, since protection for coastal areas was generally lacking. Only the Frisians adapted to these conditions, building their settlements on man-made hills. ( That the coastline and the islands were different in antiquity is indicated on the game map only in the north Frisian area.

    Suiones Swedes

    C. 600 the king of Svea extended his rule over all of Sweden and subdued the Gauti. The Swedes dominated Baltic trade from the 7th century on, and in the 8th Haithabu was the major Swedish base and transshipment point in the west. In the 9th century Swedish Vikings (Waräger) reached the Black and Caspian Seas, Byzantium and Persia and established their own areas of rule in Russia.

    Syri Syrians

    Long distance trade in the western Mediterranean was carried on predominately by merchants from the eastern Mediterranean, and the Syrian share was particularly important, so much so that a trader in the west was often called simply "Syrian," even though he might be a Greek or Jew. Syrian Christianity possessed its own written language, developed out of Aramaic, and early on split from mainstream (Latin and Greek) Christianity over doctrine. These doctrinal differences and oppression at the hands of the Byzantine imperial church helped facilitate the Muslim conquest of Syria in the 7th century.

    SYRISCHES CHRISTENTUM Syrian Christianity see Syri

    Thuringi Thuringians

    An Elbe German people formed from the Hermundurians and remnants of the Varini, who had lived in the area for centuries, and from groups of Angles. C. 430 the Thuringians were subdued by the Huns, but after the destruction of the Hun empire in 453 a Thuringian kingdom appeared. In its prime in the 6th century the Thuringian kingdom stretched from the Weser river in the west to the Elbe in the east and to the Danube in the south, uniting also the Germanic populations in Mecklenburg, Brandenburg and northern Bohemia. This kingdom was destroyed by the allied Franks and Saxons at the battle of Scheidungen (531), and at that time what is now southern Lower Saxony and a large part of Saxe-Anhalt (Eastphalia) passed to the Saxons. The southern areas of Thuringian settlement between the Main and Danube rivers came under Frankish control and were converted to Christianity.
    In the 9th and 10th centuries the Thuringian heartland was able to preserve its independence within the compass of the Frankish empire, and the Thuringians, like other major German tribes, enjoyed their own written law under the overlordship of Charlemagne. The political independence was lost, however, when in 912 in the face of the Hungarian threat they placed themselves under Duke Henry of Saxony.

    Turks and Mongols

    a group including completely different peoples, chosen solely for game reasons

    Ungarii Hungarians, Magyars

    Perhaps because of the influence of an originally Turkic ruling aristocracy, the southeastern Finno-Ugrians, called the Hungarians or Magyars, developed into a nomadic horse people. Pressed by the Turkic Pechenegs and Khazars, they moved west, crossing the Carpathian mountains in 895 and destroying in 906 the first Slavic state in history, the kingdom of Greater Moravia. For a long time the levies of Germany, Bohemia, Italy and France were no match for their light cavalry, and like the Iazyges, Huns and Avars before them they established themselves in the Hungarian. For 50 years they terrorized broad stretches of central and western Europe with their huge plundering raids, but were decisively defeated in 955 at Lechfeld near Augsburg by an army of Germans and Bohemians under Emperor Otto I. " The Belgian historian Jan Dhondt writes of Otto the Great’s victory: "A primeval epoch, extending probably back to prehistoric folk migrations, comes to a conclusion at Lechfeld. There will certainly still be armies marching after this battle, but no longer will entire peoples be migrating into Europe." In the following decades the Hungarians adopted the religion and culture of western Christianity, and with this divelopment the age of folk migrations in Europe came to an end.

    Vandali Asdingi Asding Vandals

    This group of Vandals took their name from their ancestral kings, the Asdings, and their equestrian way of life from neighboring Iranian peoples in the 3rd/4th century. At the beginning of the 5th century they adopted Arian Christianity and left their homeland, moving first to Gaul in 406 and then to Spain in 409. After 418 they formed a tribal confederacy with the remaining Silling Vandals and the Iranian Alans, and with their Asding rulers now styling themselves "Kings of the Vandals and Alans," they conquered the Roman province of Africa in 429. For a generation the Vandal fleet ruled and plundered the western Mediterranean, and in 455 the Vandal king Gaiseric captured Rome, not to rule or destroy it, but to methodically plunder it.
    In 534/35 the Byzantine general Belisarius destroyed the Vandal kingdom and add its territory to the empire.

    Vandali Silingi Siling Vandals

    These Vandals left Silesia c. 400, and allied with their tribal cousins, the Asding Vandals, and with the Iranian Alans, they crossed the Rhine in 406, devastated Gaul and from 411 to 418 ruled "(V)Andalusia." After the destruction of their kingdom by the Visigoths they merged with the Asding Vandals and henceforth shared their fate. The Siling Vandals are remembered today in the geographic names Schlesien or Silesia (German) and Slask (Polish).


    Tacitus knew them to be living in Jutland, and later they moved to Mecklenburg. At least some of the Varini were part of the Thuringian kingdom in the 5th century, and c. 595 the Varini were virtually exterminated by the Franks. They are remembered in the name of the Warnow river in Mecklenburg.

    Vascones Basques

    Archaeology has demonstrated the existence of the Basques far back in prehistory, and philological research has revealed that many of the names of rivers in western, central and eastern Europe and the Balkans point to the Basque language. The Basques are Old Europeans, descendants of a European people who were not linguistically overwhelmed by the Indo-European invasions of the 2nd millennium BC. When Roman rule in Spain collapsed at the beginning of the 5th century, the Basques were able to recover and maintain their independence for some centuries.

    Venedi Wends

    The ancestors of a large Indo-European language family, they were called Slavs for the first time by Greek historians of the 6th century. The area between the lower Vistula and upper Don rivers is believed to have been their homeland at the beginning of the folk migrations. In the 6th century they settled Bohemia and Moravia and in the 7th and 8th the Baltic Sea coast between the mouth of the Vistula and the Kiel bight, as well as the area east of the Elbe and Saale rivers and the entire eastern Alpine region. The Old-Slavic culture was based on farming and possessed agricultural techniques that were for the time superior and well adapted. Politically, the Slavs fell first under the rule of the Huns and Goths and later the Avars and Franks, but in the 9th century they formed the first independent Slavic state, the kingdom of Greater Moravia, which was destroyed by the Hungarians in 906. The western Slavs adopted Latin Christianity in Croatia and the eastern Alpine region in the 7th century and in Bohemia and Moravia in the 9th. (The Poles converted after 966.) Likewise, the eastern Slavs were converted by the Greeks in the 10th century, as those in the Balkans had already been in the 8th.


    The Romans were familiar with most important species of domestic animals, but the Germanic and Iranian peoples, such as the Huns and the Avars, brought specially adapted domestic breeds, particularly breeds of horses, which had a tremendous influence on the development of mounted warfare. Dairy farming also underwent further development during the period of migrations. Butter, for example, which had not been common as a foodstuff in antiquity, was regularly consumed by the Germans, Slavs, Iranians, Huns and Avars.

    Visigothi Visigoths West Goths
    (also Terwingians)

    The Visigoths had lived in Dacia since the 3rd century, and at the end of the 4th century the bulk of the population converted to Arian Christianity. Fleeing from the Huns to the protection of the Roman Empire, the Visigoths fell into conflict with the Romans and in 378 AD destroyed the army of the emperor Valens at the battle of Adrianople, the first instance of a Roman emperor losing a set battle to Germans. After some years of accommodation a massacre of Goths in Constantinople in c. 400 sent the Visigoths west in a failed attempt to invade Africa via Italy and the Sicilian breadbasket. In 410 under their king Alaric they sacked Rome, after which in 418 they established in southern Gaul and northern Spain a Visigothic kingdom that lasted until overthrown by the Arabs in 711. At the end of the 6th century the Visigoths converted to Catholicism.

    Folk migrations (barbarian invasions)

    "Folk migrations" (or "barbarian invasions") is the term traditionally applied to the period from the invasion of the Huns (375) to the founding of the Lombard kingdom in Italy (568), that is to the period of the Germanic migrations. In the case of the game it designates a longer period that includes the invasions of the Avars, Saracens, Slavs and Vikings.

    After the conversion of the Hungarians and Scandinavians c. 1000 old Europe entered a period of consolidation, from which a continuous history of its peoples may be drawn to the present.

    The epoch of the European folk migrations represents the transition from classical Mediterranean civilization to that of Europe of the High Middle Ages, with its settled agricultural and stock-raising peoples, its established cities and a culture and life-style that for many of those peoples continued well into the last century. Only now is Europe once more experiencing an important influx of people, one that will fundamentally alter its existing structure.

    The idea that the various invading groups of the period were defined simply by ethnicity and blood can easily be seen to be false. More often the tribes and groups that followed a particular king were composed of varying ethnic elements, whose only common bond was military service under that ruler. A successfully established community or royal following often subsequently enhanced its legitimacy by "creating" a common ancestry. Noteworthy in this context is the assimilation of Iranianelements (the mounted warrior way of life and its equipment, weapons and tactics, the warrior kingship, and also the motifs and forms of gold jewelry for women) into the life-style of the East German Goths living north of the Black Sea and the temporary (occasional) acceptance by some East and Elbe German tribes of the Hun custom of deforming skulls, which certainly does not fit with the alleged rejection of all strange Mongolian practices by the Germanic peoples.

    Another example of the intermingling of Germans and eastern peoples is the relationship of the Goths and Vandals to the Iranian Alans, who under king Gaiseric merged completely with the East German Siling and Asding Vandals.

    The notion of "folk migrations" first arose in the 16th century and has been generally used in Germany since the 18th century, while in France and Italy the older conception, found in the Latin chroniclers of the time, of "barbarian invasions" predominates. The events of the period are seen by German observers as an "infusion of new blood" into a moribund, stagnant, parasitic, slave-holding, decadent late antique culture by groups of energetic, defiant and formerly oppressed peoples. In France and Italy, on the other hand, the Germans are seen as the barbarian destroyers of a superior ancient culture. During the French revolution aristocratic rule, which could be traced back to the Germanic invasions, was viewed as a thousand years of foreign Germanic rule over the Gallo-Roman townsmen and farmers. Because of political circumstances in the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth these conflicting interpretations spread and contributed to the emergence of the idea of "ancestral hostility" between Germany and France.

    (Illustration) Illustration on the reverse page: Mausoleum of the Ostrogothic king Theoderic Ravenna, 6th century

    Ó 1998 copywrite of English translation Richard M. Berthold

    Illustrations: Werner Pollak

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