Department of History

During my two and half months stay in Tübingen I have been working on the question of the anxiety and fear experienced by some late antique authors who witnessed the barbarian migrations. I have explored some of the literature of catastrophes and destructions. Authors had their way to express fear which go behind the literary models used. The aim of the research was to understand how these eyewitnesses authors lived and recorded the experience of the migrations over the time. I gave preference to those late fourth and fifth century chronographers who described the effect that barbarians had on Roman society. Völkerwanderung inevitably generated among the Romans living in the provincial communities the anxiety of the unknown, the uncertainty in front of diversity, the fear of the cultural changes, and all the other sociological and psychological pressures of a speeding transforming society.  However exaggerated some of the accounts may be, these sources should not be dismissed as stereotype literature by clerical authors whose aim was to emphasize their religious message. The authors’ experience should not be shadowed by the use of apocalyptic language and of the Scriptures as literary models — as the alternative to the old classical stereotype on the barbarians. The evidence has been contextualized within the chronology of the invasions/migrations.

For more information about Massimiliano Vitiello, please click here.