.    Instructor: Dave Tamm / Term: Spring 2008    .




the heirs of the western empire.


There were some kingdoms in place, but they were short lived,

transitory. They failed.


The Vandal kingdom in north africa had a lot of strikes against it.

They were arian christian heretics, but these fanatical arian's lived

by piracy on the Mediterranean, as much as they farmed the rich lands

of north africa. Justianian wasted them in 532 and they vanished into



The Ostragoths were also arians, and they were settled in Italy (like

when Odoacer took down the empire). Well, to parcel out Gaul or

Britannia or Iberia to Germanic tribes... was not nice but necessary.

Italy? Even in Constantinople this was troubling. Rome city had no

say, but Constantinople did. They sent Theodoric the Ostragoth

(492-526) to wrest it from Odoacer and submit it to the emperor.

Theodoric was gifted. Helped with peace in Italy during the early

500s. But, strikes against him and his Ostragoths: they were arian,

and they were in Italy. Also, after Theodoric died, things went bad

and Justinian sent armies to keep order, and by 555, there were twenty

years of brutal war and the Ostragoths disappear or go north.


The Visigoth Kingdom had a legacy of defeat vs. the Franks in 507 and

went over the Pyranees to Iberia. Then they were attacked by Justinian

in mid 6th. They were arians, and disunited. Yet, they persisted till

711, when the Berber warriors under Arab commanders took Iberia. They

had over 200 years, but not much of a chance.


The Lombard Kingdom began as Lombards entered Italy in 568. Lombards

fought Ostrogoths for the East Romans, and scouted the terrain at the

same time. The Byzantines didn't accept them in Italy... they were

arians too. Their legal culture was very high, and they wanted to

unify Italy. Popes were not happy cause Rome would be conquered or cut

off, so finally in the mid 8th C., Popes invited Pepin the Frank,

Charlemagne's dad, to come down and fight them- stalemate. Then

Charlemagne came in 773 and put the Lombards down, taking the throne

for himself.


The future was left to other tribes: the Anglo-Saxons and the Franks.


The Anglo-Saxon Kingdom in Britannia, originating in Denmark and

Germany, and Holland, built small kingdoms (heptarchy-7 kingdoms, inc.

King Arthur). Good ones were both capably led and had room for

expansion (so they had a common focus for energies). Kingdom of North

Umbria, Kent, Mercia, etc. These kings learned from the Roman past and

from the Franks: they built impressive wooden halls to rule from. Used

scepters, an abstract symbol, and coins. Laws, documents. These

documents had some native and some roman traditions. There was an

awareness of political unity of Britain though. A sense. Bretwalden.

Later in 8th C, Offa of Mercia, called himself King of the English.

Confusing. What did he mean by that? King of the people in Angleland?

Well, there was no cohesion like that.


A great find in 1939 was a ship which was buried with tons of stuff

from 6th century. It had scandinavian stuff, byzantine stuff, frankish

stuff and etc.



A confederation of Frankish tribes, around since the 250s, made

treaties with Rome. Moved from Rhineland to the south by agricultural

expansion. From Holland to Belgium to France. In 507 they sent out the

visigoths. They fought off the Burgundians and absorbed them. They

went east too, into today's Germany. The Franks, unlike the others

with strikes against them, the Franks had some 'credit in the bank'.

They were catholic. plus. they allied with bishops and abbots of

monestaries. they were seen as friends of the church, and they made

capital out of it. Their language was Latin, and their laws, wills and

other document, coins in Latin. Like Gaul on a lesser scale!



Clovis was the founder of a dynasty, kept trappings going of provncial

roman life. In 511 he died and soon the way opened for Carolingians.



Ireland has no political cohesion, Scotland either. Also the Slavic

lands and Scandinavian realms. In 750, it was just the Franks and

Anglo Saxons.



Popes turned away from the 'Mediterranean' and towards the 'Atlantic'.

Atlantic civilization would become. Western Europe would become the

focus of Christianity.


The Papal State comes into being, where the odd situation of a

religious leader being also a head of state. Papal patronage,

baptistrys, learning centers in Rome etc. and other buildings.

Elsewhere in the West, bishops were important. Very, like local

rulers. Bishop cities emerged: Canturbury, York, etc. in Germany too,

bishop cities emerged, and those lands were folded into the system.

Bishops became advisors to the kings, and could talk to them and help

direct how to rule. Blessed their rulership.



Monks converted the people of the countryside, by default. They were

not cloistered like today, but worked and did conversions. Many

English and Irish monks were in Europe to preach and teach.


Books copied etc. They followed Augustines imperative of Christian's

learning being good. And so they didn't want to 'save' classical

culture, but instead, wanted to learn.


Exhuberant motifs, color, abstraction, intricate interlacing knotted

design, the glory of folk celtic art.


Schools were located in monestaries and cathedrals. kathedra is the

seat of a bishop. learning in hands of church: bible and the church

fathers are the expositors of learning. Purpose of education is not

pleasure, forming liberally educated people, not to get a job, but to

save souls. You went to


Lindesfarne produced a spectucular gospel book: masterpiece of

biblical scholarship and book art: Book of Kells. Greatest of the

scholars? The Venrable Bede (673-735) wrote a great history, biblical

commentary, theology, and time. We date anno domini today because of



So, Three Cultural Realms. 

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