Late Roman Empire
Early Middle Ages
“Dark Ages” versus “Middle Ages” (or Medieval Ages)
Not really dark, but lack of writing
Also called middle ages, because it is in between end of Rome and beginning of
Most appropriate name is Medieval
Weakening of Roman Bureaucracy: Roman state unable to protect vast borders
Overexpansion, loss of unity.
Changes in climate: northern tribes moved south
About year 400, weather changed dramatically
It becomes very cold
People living in Northern Europe could no longer live there
So, we see the northern tribes beginning to move south into tht Roman Empire across
those undefended borders and people who were living up in Northern Europe were forced
to move south
Invasions or Migrations? Huns, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, Vikings
Fall of strong central government: decline in standards of living
All these invasions weakended the gov’t, with this, decline in the standard of living also.
No central government to provide services and bath houses, etc.
decline of minted coins, trade, communication, roads, cities, housing, etc.
No coins, so trade stopped. Not as much food coming in, diets become worse,
decline in population because people lived not as long. People flee the cities.
Rome went from over a million to less than a million. People go to live in the
Decline in Roman Roads. No one wanted to go on the roads anyways, because
lots of thieves and highway robbers
little monumental art or architecture
Everything has to be small, people don’t have resources to build big things
small, portable, intrinsically valuable arts (interlace, cloisonné)
Emphasis no longer on humanism, mythical beings from the Germanic
peoples. Strange little composite creatures, emphasis on animals.
western.” Hun and Asian technology. Interlace comes out of the
wandering tribes. Psychological reflection of their nomadic
Things they carried with them were small and valuable. Intrinsically
valuable (had a person). If you got into trouble, you could trade
valuables for your life.