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46 rice historical review oliver lucier subunits

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46RICE HISTORICAL REVIEWOLIVER LUCIERsubunits, larger political entities could exist by binding together these smaller politicaldivisions.In this passage, Gregory also discusses reconfiguring and blending ethnic identities.Gontran, perhaps influenced by the ultimately detrimental efforts of diplomacy by theSpanish, decided to lead an expedition against the Goths, more particularly the Visigoths, intheir southern kingdom of Toulouse. Gontran, “with all his possessions, mobilized an armyand positioned himself to march against the Goths.”63This passage is interesting because itprovides an example of ethnic strife in post-Rome Western Europe. During the later stages ofthe Roman Empire there existed a large amount of conflict between the Empire, and the manydifferent groups at the Empires’ borders and within the Empire. These groups, the Franks,the Burgundians, and the Goths among them, all held different identities. However, theseidentities were not clearly defined and were comprised of a number of qualities, includinglanguage, ethnicity, and the practices of its elite. Identities were also heavily reinforced byRoman interactions and Roman construction of barbarian identities.64By late 1916 and early 1917 Germany’sattempt to bring stability to the Eastthorugh cultural and economic imperialismwould collapse spectacularly - with direconsequences for all involved.When these different groups were settled in Gaul, typically asfederate, they claimedtheir own political independence and ethno-cultural identity. For example, the Visigothsestablished a Gothic kingdom around Toulouse in Aquitaine, while the Burgundiansestablished Burgundian kingdom in eastern Gaul and the Franks established a kingdom, theMerovingian dynasty, originally in Northern Gaul.65However, it is important to note thatthese kingdoms were not ethnically homogeneous and were in fact much more nuanced,complex, and diverse political organizations.66However, after the gradual withdrawal of the Roman military and direct Romaninterference in Southern Gaul, new identities began to form. The success of the Merovingiankings led to a gradual mixing, particularly among the elite, of Gallo-Romans (the Romancitizens who inhabited Gaul throughout Roman times and who constituted a vast majorityof the population), together with the Burgundians and the Franks.67Agnès Graceffa noteshow “according to Gregory” there existed “the quasi-absence of any real attention toterms pertaining to nationalities (at least in an ethnic sense).”68The old ethnic dichotomybetween groups of barbarians and the civilized Romans was replaced by a much less clearamalgamation of identities.69This ethnic blurring in Merovingian Gaul started largely withalliances of marriage between elites, but also resulted from mixing simply due to proximityand cultural exchange. The pursuit and eventual defeat of the Goths by the Merovingian
47SPRING 2018A Carefully Constructed Historyrulers show how the Merovingian rulers reorganized ethnic divisions in Roman Gaul throughconquest and expansion.

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Term
Winter
Professor
Mrs. cooper
Tags
Franks Gregory

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