Cover image for Rome and the barbarians : 100 B.C.-A.D. 400
Rome and the barbarians : 100 B.C.-A.D. 400
Burns, Thomas S.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xiv, 461 pages : illustrations, maps ; 23 cm.
Recognition, confrontation, and co-existence: Barbarians in the Roman world of the second century BC -- Through Caesar's eyes -- The early empire and the Barbarians: an overview -- The early empire and the Barbarians: perspectives from Pannonia -- The Barbarians and the "crisis" of the empire -- Barbarians and the late Roman Empire.
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DG254.2 .B87 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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The barbarians of antiquity, so long a fixture of the public imagination as the savages who sacked and destroyed Rome, emerge in this colourful history as a much more complex - and far more interesting - factor in the expansion, and eventual unmaking, of the Roman Empire. Thomas S. Burns marshals an abundance of archaeological and literary evidence, as well as three decades of study and experience, to bring forth a wide-ranging account of the relations between Romans and non-Romans along the frontiers of western Europe from the last years of the Republic into late antiquity. barbarians and Romans around 100 BC and ending with the spread of barbarian settlement in the western Empire around AD 400, Burns removes the barbarians from their narrow niche as invaders and conquerors and places them in the broader context of neighbours, (sometimes bitter) friends and settlers. His nuanced history subtly shows how Rome's relations with the barbarians - and vice versa - slowly but inexorably evolved from general ignorance, hostility and suspicion toward tolerance, synergy and integration. What he describes is, in fact, a drawn-out period of acculturation, characterized more by continuity than by change and conflict and leading to the creation of a new Romano-barbarian hybrid society and culture that anticipated the values and traditions of medieval civilization.

Author Notes

Thomas S. Burns is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of History at Emory University.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This wide-ranging survey of relations between Romans and barbarians is based on both literary and archeological evidence. The change and continuity over 500 years of acculturation shows the mutual influence of Romans and barbarians on each other, even though Roman literary sources see this as a one-way street, with the barbarians accepting superior Roman civilization. In accord with Roman literary usage, the term barbarians is used to include Celts, Germans, Huns, etc.--all who were viewed as non-Romans initially. After an introductory first chapter, the book is divided into three chronological phases that show ongoing synthesis of cultures and institutions. The early Roman-barbarian bipolar view changed as barbarians were given Roman citizenship and as Christianity entered the blending process and grafted itself onto the old Roman mindset. By the end of the fourth century, both groups were searching for new identities; barbarian now meant soldier, and Roman referred to orthodox Catholic Christians in the West. This detailed analysis of Roman-barbarian interaction rests on a very solid scholarly base, with 40 pages of endnotes and an up-to-date 22-page bibliography. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Most suitable for graduate and research collections; also a good addition to any undergraduate or large public library. G. G. Guzman Bradley University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations and Mapsp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
1 Sometimes Bitter Friendsp. 1
2 Recognition, Confrontation, and Coexistencep. 42
3 Through Caesar's Eyesp. 88
4 The Early Empire and the Barbarians: An Overviewp. 140
5 Perspectives from Pannoniap. 194
6 The Barbarians and the "Crisis" of the Empirep. 248
7 Barbarians and the Late Roman Empirep. 309
Epiloguep. 374
Appendix Most Important Roman Emperors and Usurpersp. 385
Notesp. 391
Bibliographyp. 431
Indexp. 453