During my time in Tuebingen I was free to address major problems. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire caused by savage invading Barbarians is a common place of European historical narrations. Thirty years of research did not really change this, be it inside or outside academic circles. Recently published articles as well as the constant use of the metaphors “migration of peoples” (Völkerwanderung) or “Barbarian migration” as well as “migration age” underline this. Comparisons of late antique and early medieval events with recent ones seem in fact to increase.
Are basic facts and final conclusions possible when dealing with the end of the Western Roman Empire? Is it conceivable to compare late antique structures and events with recent ones? Did Barbarians attack and conquer the Empire, or was the encounter between Rome and the so-called Barbarians more complex than people tend to think? All these heavily loaded debates focus on the “migration period” of the fifth and sixth century. Rome was, however, in a constant exchange with so-called Barbarians living outside its imperial borders and many strangers entered the empire throughout its entire history.
My research in Tuebingen followed these framing ideas. I finished articles focusing general problems of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, did research on the Alpine Roman provinces as well as on North Africa. Considering the latter I organised, together with Paolo Tedesco, a conference on “Africa 500-1000. New Perspectives for historical and archaeological research”. The proceedings will be published in the online journal “Medieval Worlds” https://medieval.vlg.oeaw.ac.at/index.php/medievalworlds in 2021.
For further information about Roland Steinacher, please click here.