Barbarians: The Roman Empire Continued Into Italy

Our last blog left you wishing you well as you enjoyed your favorite brew in your favorite drinking horn as you played GoT. The blog took us through the Barbarians move into the already declining Roman Empire to France. We left off with Charles the Bald ruling the western part of Europe between 838 and 877 and over time, changing that area to France.

The Barbarian Work Their Way To Italy

The Roman Empire was coming to an end by the start of the 5th century and barbarians had invaded, changed things around and then they moved on to Span. Alans, Sueves and Vandals would go on to cross the Pyrenees in 409 AD and occupy the majority of Spain.

However, the Visigoths, another set of Germanic people, had become Roman allies and invaded Span between 416 and 418. After defeating the Alans, they withdrew into France and the Vandals absorbed was left of the Alans. They would go on to North Africa in 429 though and leave Spain to the Sueves.

However King Theoderic II of the Visigoth who ruled from 453 to 466 would lead an army into Spain. In battle, he went on to crush the Sueves in 456 and Spain was then under Visigoth’s rule. With just a piece of Northeast Spain left that was being rule by the Romans, the Visgoths would take it over in 476.

The old parts of Rome would keep declining under the Visigoths their populations dropped. In 587 on the other hand, King Reccared converted to Catholicism and in 654 a single code of law for the kingdom of King Recceswinth was made.

The Visigoth kings were not strong and their kingdom would suffer from division on the inside, making them an easy prey for the likes of groups like the Moors. At this time, the Jewish population was plenty and by the 7th century the Visigoths would persecute them.

Conversely, a Muslim invasion at the start of the 8th century would destroy the Visigoth realm. Then, led by Arabs, in 711 a Berber army from North Africa would cross over into Spain and the Visigoths were utterly defeated at the Barbate River on July 19, 711.

The Barbarians Arrive in Italy

The Roman Empire was collapsing during the 5th century, piece by piece. Then the Germanic people would invade Gaul in between 406 and 407 with 407 seeing the Roman army leave Britain. Rome was captured in 410 by Alaric the Goth captured Rome and the Roman empire still managed to survive for a while.

Yet in 429-430 the barbarian group called the Vandals would cross over from Spain to North Africa which would lead to serious consequences for the Romans. It is from there that they had imported most of their grain and then making matters even worse, the vandals would sack Rome in 455. It was in 476 the finally the last Roman emperor was deposed and Odoacer, a German, became self-proclaimed King of Italy. Many consider that to be the Roman Empire’s final end.

For the majority of those living in Italy, life simply went on as normal and Roman culture was respected by the Germanic kings, as were the Roman laws. In 493, Theodoric the Ostrogoth would take over for Odoacer and would rule until 526. The Germans and Romans would live peacefully together under his ruling.

During this time, the eastern part of the Roman Empire continued to flourish and was called the Byzantine Empire. Justinian, the Byzantine emperor would send an army into Italy in 535 with his general Belisarius in charge. This began a warfare that would go on for a long period and was Italy’s devastation.

Belisarius would march the troops north into Italy in 540 where he captured Ravenna. Andyet, the Goth’s would recapture Italy under their leader Totila between 541 and 552. Byzantine would keep Ravenna and a few other coastal towns under his reign. In 562, the Pendulum swung the other direction and Byzantine would take Italy as a whole under their general Narses.

Then in 568, the Lomabards, another group of Barbarians, invaded north Italy and under Authari and Agilulf (584-590 and 590-616 respectively), the Lombards would fight their way south. However, they were stopped at the line from Ravenna to Rome by the Byzantines. Over time, at there would be intermarriage with the native Italians and Italian customs and ways were adopted, including the Italian language.

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Barbarians: The Roman Empire Continued Into Italy