Migration Age

Definition

Jan van der Crabben
by
published on 15 July 2010
Routes of the Barbarian Invaders (by US Military Academy)

The Migration Period, also called the Barbarian Invasions or German: Völkerwanderung (wandering of the peoples), was a period of human migration that occurred roughly between 300 to 700 CE in Europe, marking the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages. These movements were catalyzed by profound changes within both the Roman Empire and the so-called 'barbarian frontier'. Migrating peoples during this period included the Huns, Goths, Vandals, Bulgars, Alans, Suebi, Frisians, and Franks, among other Germanic and Slavic tribes.

The migration movement may be divided into two phases: The first phase, between 300 and 500 CE, put Germanic peoples in control of most areas of the former Western Roman Empire. The first to formally enter Roman territory — as refugees from the Huns — were the Visigoths in 376. Tolerated by the Romans on condition that they defend the Danube frontier, they rebelled, eventually invading Italy and sacking Rome itself in 410 CE, before settling in Iberia and founding a kingdom there that endured 300 years. They were followed into Roman territory by the Ostrogoths led by Theodoric the Great, who settled in Italy itself. 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. Fending off challenges from the Allemanni, Burgundians and Visigoths, the Frankish kingdom became the nucleus of the future states of France and Germany. Meanwhile, Roman Britain was more slowly invaded and settled by Angles and Saxons.

Remove Ads

Advertisement

The second phase, between 500 and 700 CE, saw Slavic tribes settling in Central and Eastern Europe, particularly in eastern Magna Germania, and gradually making it predominantly Slavic. The Bulgars, a now-Slavicized people possibly of Turkic origin who had been present in far Eastern Europe since the 2nd century CE, conquered the eastern Balkan territory of the Byzantine Empire in the 7th century CE. The Lombards, a Germanic people, settled northern Italy in the region now known as Lombardy. Migrations of peoples, although not strictly part of the 'Migration Age', continued beyond AD 1000, marked by Viking, Magyar, Moorish, Turkic and Mongol invasions, and these also had significant effects, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.

Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication.



About the Author

Jan van der Crabben
Jan is the Founder and CEO of Ancient History Encyclopedia, leading the non-profit company to best fulfil its mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. He holds an MA War Studies from King's College.

Remove Ads

Advertisement

Help us write more

We're a small non-profit organisation run by a handful of volunteers. Each article costs us about $50 in history books as source material, plus editing and server costs. You can help us create even more free articles for as little as $5 per month, and we'll give you an ad-free experience to thank you! Become a Member

Recommended Books

Sorry, we haven't been able to find any books on the subject.
 

Cite This Work

APA Style

Crabben, J. V. D. (2010, July 15). Migration Age. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/Migration_Age/

Chicago Style

Crabben, Jan V. D. "Migration Age." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified July 15, 2010. https://www.ancient.eu/Migration_Age/.

MLA Style

Crabben, Jan V. D. "Migration Age." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 15 Jul 2010. Web. 24 Oct 2018.

Remove Ads

Advertisement

Remove Ads

Advertisement

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and learn more about history once a week.

Subscribe
Remove Ads

Advertisement

Timeless Travels

Timeless Travels Digital Magazine