Barbarian Settlements in Early Medieval Europe Comparison Essay by almostanangel

Barbarian Settlements in Early Medieval Europe
A comparison of the Ostrogoth settlement in Italy with the Anglo-Saxon settlement in Britain in the fourth and fifth centuries CE.
# 114746 | 3,074 words | 13 sources | MLA | 2009 | AU
Published on Jun 22, 2009 in History (Greek and Roman) , History (European)

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This paper compares the attempts of King Theoderic of the Ostrogoths to establish his kingdom out of the Goths and Romans in Italy with the less cohesive settlement of the Anglo-Saxons in England. The author begins by describing the Ostrogoths and the history of their contact with the Roman empire, and shows that the Goths' adoption of Roman culture was the main reason for their success at settling in Italy. However, it ultimately led to the disappearance of their own identity and culture, as they assimilated and ceased to be barbarians. On the other hand, the Anglo-Saxons took the opposite approach, keeping themselves mainly apart from the native Briton culture, and subsequently maintained their settlement for centuries. The author points out that the term 'Anglo-Saxon' is still used today, almost as a synonym for 'Caucasian.' The paper concludes that their ultimate success may have been due to their retention of their own culture and the eventual adoption of Catholicism, something which the Ostrogoths refused to do.

From the Paper:

"It has been said of the Ostrogoths that they were more Roman than the Romans, but how was this instituted and where did Theoderic get the inspiration from? The Ostrogoths as a people had had both indirect and direct contact with the Roman Empire for centuries. However, in 461, as the eight year old son of one of the Ostrogothic warrior leaders, Theoderic had been taken against his will to live in Byzantium for ten years. Living in the heart of what remained of the Roman Empire, Theoderic would have been exposed to Roman ways of living, perhaps more so than the ways of his own people. He would use this vital knowledge later in life when establishing his rule over two very different races, and create a kingdom unlike any of the other barbarian settlements."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Ammianus Marcellinus, Excerpta Valesiana, trans. John C. Rolfe (London, 1964)
  • Bede, 'A History of the English Church and People', in E. Freeman, ed., Barbarian Kingdoms (Hobart, 2009), pp. 120-26.
  • Cassiodorus, The Variae of Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator, trans. S.J.B Barnish (Liverpool, 1992).
  • Gildas, The Ruin of Britain, at, accessed May 4 2009.
  • Jordanes, 'Jordanes on the Fall of the western Empire', in E. Freeman, ed., Barbarian Kingdoms (Hobart, 2009), pp. 56-7.

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

Barbarian Settlements in Early Medieval Europe (2009, June 22) Retrieved September 18, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Barbarian Settlements in Early Medieval Europe" 22 June 2009. Web. 18 September. 2020. <>