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The opening paragraphs of

Modern History relate to the Barbarian Nations.

The warlike tribes that

for several Centuries had

beaten against the northeastern frontiers of the

Roman Empire at last burst through the barriers which the Caesars had set against them

and swept the Old Civilization into ruins.

Peninsular Europe became the spoil of the

invaders. The immense populations of barbarism, long heaped up on the further banks

of the Rhine and the Danube, suddenly diffused themselves as a spreading flood over all

the better parts of the West. It may prove

of interest to take at least a cursory survey of

the barbarians, as it respects their ethnology,

institutions, and general history.

The warlike peoples by whom the Empire

of the Romans was subverted belonged to

three different races: the Germanic, the Slavic,

and the Scythic. Whether the first two groups

may be traced to a common Teutonic origin is

a question belonging to the ethnologist rather

than to the historian. It is sufficient to note the fact that in the fifth century the Germanic

and Slavic tribes were already so clearly discriminated as to constitute different groups of

population. As to the Scythic or Asiatic

invaders they were manifestly of a distinct

stock from the Teutonic nations, whom they

drove before them into the confines of the


1. The Germans. To this family belonged

the Goths, with their two divisions of "Visi" or

Western, and "Ostro" or Eastern Goths; the

AIIemannian confederation, consisting of several tribes, the Suevi being the chief; the

Marcomanni, the Quadi, the Hermunduri, the

Heruli, the Gepidae, the Vandals, the Lombards, the Franks, the Angles, the Saxons,

the Burgundians, and the Bavarians.

Of these many and populous tribes, among

the most important were the Goths. Their

origin has never been definitely ascertained.

The first historical contact between them and

the Romans was in the year A. D. 250, when

the Emperor Decius was called to confront

them on the Danube. They had, however,

been previously mentioned both by Pliny and

Ptolemy. By some authors they have been