Ars Bellica


It was essentially in the fifth century that a number of Germanic peoples, who lived north of the Danube and east of the Rhine, settled within the borders of the Roman empire and changed forever the destiny. Visigoths, Suevi, Vandals, Burgundians at first, and then the Franks and Goths gave life to many kingdoms in the Western Europe where this Germans peoples, for the most, formally imperial allied (foederati), held for sure a prominent role, but in which had to contend with the Catholic episcopate and a powerful landowning aristocracy of Roman origins. The strongest of these kingdoms, however, was the Frankish one. The conversion of Clovis, their king, and of all the people from polytheism to Christianity in the early sixth century, favored, de facto, the establishment of close ties between the frank military aristocracy, the Catholic episcopate and the landowners of the Gaul-Roman origins. The relations with the Romanized local aristocracies were not the only problem that the leaders of the barbarian tribes faced. As a remedy, for example, the inadequacy of the Germanic tribal structures to meet the necessities of a government bureaucracy as complex as the Roman Empire. They were so used and preserved many administrative structures inherited from the empire, a great help in the "culture of government" for officials coordinating a "public" constituency (the committee) or ecclesiastical area. This contact with the Roman world was thus fraught with consequences. Among other things, it have favored the allocation of new functions and policies of the government to the royal power, the king, who in primitive Germans tribes was primarily a military leader, became the supreme political authority of a territorial state in which the coexistence of the laws of each occupying nation with the Roman law allowed individuals to live according to their own laws. The imitation of the ways of life and social affirmation popular in the Roman world finally changed the physiognomy of the occupants that from peasants warriors became landowners, while the German military aristocracies were transformed into land aristocracies, until, in the course of the seventh century, slowly merged with those of the Roman tradition.
Invasions does not changed the old economic structures, focused on the Mediterranean. Greek, Syrians or Jews merchants, kept it alive, especially in the sixth century; following the preceding structures. The grain of Africa and Sicily came to Ostia, the Spanish olive oil up in northern Gaul. Saxon slaves traded in Verdun reached Spain and the Middle East. Conversely, the Egyptian papyrus and spices from the Far East, respectively, landed in the ports of Marseilles and Narbonne. Although the economic life was strongly tested by the repetition in the Mediterranean of a large scale of recurring epidemics of plague, the fundamental economic structures of the ancient world survived at least until the seventh and eighth centuries. The importance of these businesses is confirmed by the intensity of circulation of money, from Ravenna, Barcelona and Marseille, as evidenced by a coin.



Battle of Poitiers

17 October 732

Charles Martel defeats Abd al-Rahaman blocking the Muslim expansion into Europe.

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