The Roman Periphery

On the organization of Roman provincial cities see, Charles Gates, Ancient Cities, especially the sections on Ephesus and Pergamon, Palmyra, Lepcis Magna, Nimes and London.  A useful website is  An animated map to the Gothic peoples invasions and settlements of the 5th century is found at this UK Divinity school's website.
The Goths and Huns

The impetus for the waves of movement across the Danube and Rhine Rivers beginning around 376-380 A.D. and again around 405-06 A.D. by Goths and other Central and Eastern European based tribal peoples had two components. It was generated by the migration of the powerful Huns from the lower Steppes of Central Eurasia and the largely Germanic groups who were caught between them and the Roman Empire’s demarcation of provincial control at these rivers. Why the Huns moved from lands north of the Black Sea is understudied and difficult to answer. What was the interaction between steppe nomads and Germanic agricultural based tribes? As the Germanic groups moved into Roman territory they split into new sub groups. The term “barbarian” is imprecise and presumes a priori the acceptance of a Western Civilization, that is a Roman model. While the Goths split into important sub groups (Visigoths and Ostrogoths), the major Goth leader Alaric, sought to establish the Goths as a new political entity with new territories to be acquired from the warmer and more arable Roman provincial lands. By the mid 410s Alaric and the Goths had created a new and powerful political alliance that after a raid on Rome forced intermarriage into the Roman nobility and claimed new territories for themselves in Acquitaine and Southern Gaul (France).

Two formative studies on the Goths and Huns are Herwig Wolfram, History of the Goths (1980) and Otto J. Maenchen-Helfen, The World of the Huns: Studies in Their History and Culture (1973). Both are in our Clatsop CC library. Maenchen-Helfen’s work was published posthumously, and some more recent work has been able to supplement these works with archaeological evidence, including E.A. Thompson,The Huns(1999) and P.J. Heather,The Goths(1998). The crossing of the Huns and invasion into Roman territories followed that of the Goths. Until the Battle of Chalons in Gaul in 451, the Huns were deemed a threat to establish themselves in the Western European lands. As Rome was destabilized by these invasions, the sources written by Latin chroniclers provide valuable accounts of interactions between Romans and these tribal peoples.

Another important migrant group were the Vandals who originated from Eastern Germany, settled along with Alans and Sueves, in Hispania (Spain) in the late 4th and in the early 5th century AD crossed into North Africa. The Vandals adhered to Christian Arian doctrine and practice, as did the Goths, but in their territories they needed to allow their new Roman subjects to remain orthodox or Catholic. While the Vandals assumed their Arian beliefs should be universal, there was a negative tone toward their practice adopted among the chroniclers in the Roman-Latin tradition. (Wickham,The Inheritance of Rome,2010)A recent work on the Vandals is Andrew Merrils,Vandals, Romans and Berbers:New Perspectives on late Roman Africa. Note that Stilicho, the regent military Roman leader of the late 4th century was a Vandal. Most of the accounts of the Vandals are by their critics and their religious opponents.  Possidius’ eyewitness account of their violent arrival in Africa in 429 and Eastern Roman historians' criticism of their luxurious lifestyle at the time of the Byazntine-Roman reconquest in 533-534. Chris Wickham suggests the Vandals had absorbed the Roman administrative system, adopted their models and currency and installed the same tax structure so that the Vandal elites accumulated great wealth. Archaeology suggests that little had changed in material culture form the Roman period.  (Wickham,2010).

The impression given by ancient sources such as Victor of Vita, Quodvultdeus, and Fulgentius of Ruspe was that the Vandal take-over of Carthage and North Africa led to widespread destruction. However, recent archaeological investigations have challenged this assertion. (C. Wickham, The Inheritance of Rome, 2010) Although Carthage's Odeon was destroyed, the street pattern remained the same and some public buildings were renovated. New industrial centres emerged within towns during this period.  Historian Andy Merrills uses the large amounts of African Red Slip ware discovered across the Mediterranean dating from the Vandal period of North Africa to challenge the assumption that the Vandal rule of North Africa was a time of economic instability. When the Vandals raided Sicily in 440, however the Western Roman Empire was too preoccupied with war with Gaul to react. A counter attack in 441 A.D. by Theodosius II, emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, only reached as far as Sicily. Valentinian III, the Western Roman Emperor Valentinian III was forced to broker a peace deal with the Vandals in 442 and ceded away to the Vandals the remaining Roman provinces of North Africa, including Byzacena, Tripolitania, and parts of Numidia.

The southern half of the British Isles were occupied by the Romans from 55 B.C. to 410 A.D. The initial invasion was led by Julius Caesar.  Our knowledge of Roman Britain has been richly developed by extensive archaeological work.  We also have Roman texts that describe various periods of occupation and suppression of open rebellions launched by Britons themselves, including the uprising in 60 A.D. of  the Celtic warrior queen, Boudicca (Buduica in the text). (Cassius Dio, Book LXII note: this section also contains description of the great fire in Rome).  A useful reference website on Roman Britain is at   The Romans never succeeded in conquering all of the British Isles.  Hadrian’s Wall in Yorkshire, and the later extension of another wall to its north reflect the problem of the frontier borders of Scotland where the Picts resisted Roman sovereignty.  For insight into how the lesser Roman nobility prospered and adapted to life in Britain, the autobiographical memoir of Saint Patrick, lived late 4th to early 5th century A.D., gives insight into their formation.  The young Patrick was kidnapped by pirates and taken to Ireland.  For Patrick’s writings go to University of Cork’s CELT:  Corpus of Electronic Texts for his autobiographical Confessio and Epistola, as well as various lives of Saint Patrick.
Several useful works include Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier by Alan K Bowman (British Museum Press, 1998), and Roman Britain by Peter Salway (Oxford Paperbacks, 2000)
Southwest Asia and Asia Minor
Flavius Josephus’ The Jewish Wars is our primary source for the Jewish revolts of 66-70 A.D. that plagued the Roman Empire in the East and resulted in the final siege and defeat of the Jewish rebel community at Masada.  As a Jewish eyewitness and participant in these events, Josephus is a controversial figure because he collaborated with the Romans for which he was well rewarded with official posts and privileges. 
Mauretania, Numidia, Nubia and Africa
Following the Punic Wars Rome’s claim to control North Africa and its separate provinces required a system of administrative and military support for its colonization.  The Roman strategy was to allow the development of local elites and to expect large remittances in the form of taxation and commodities back to Rome.  North Africa became a major supplier of grain and revenues for Rome. 

Sallust's history of the Jugurthine Wars (112-106 BCE) are a key to understanding the resilient struggle against Roman hegemony and rule in North Africa.  Jugurtha was a Berber tribal leader who ruled large parts of Numidia and Mauretania until the Romans finally captured him in Mauretainia, transported him in chains to Rome and killed him by starvation.  

The city of Tipasa in Algeria was a prominent coastal trading town dependent on slave labor.  See the video clip below.

In later years women rose to prominence as scholars as at Alexandria and the philosopher Hypatia who was murdered by religious zealots. Socrates Scholasticus: The Murder of Hypatia. Or go to the The Hypatia Page for three primary sources of her biography:  Damascius: The Life of Hypatia, from the Life of Isidore;  Socrates Scholasticus: The Life of Hypatia; and John of Nikiu: The Life of Hypatia
On the life of Hypatia, a prominent woman Pagan intellectual in Alexandria and her assassination by zealous Christians, go to the Fordham Internet Sourcebook for sources on the problem of persecutions.

General Lists of Sources: 
Roman Britain
More on Roman Britain
Mauretania, Numidia and Libya
Sources on Late Antiquity may be found at the Fordham Medieval Internet Sourcebook:
Jordanes (fl.c.550 CE): History of the Goths Chap. 38:  The Battle of Chalôns, 451 CE
The Defeat of Attila.
Jordanes: History of the Goths
Ammianus Marcellinus The Battle of Adrianople 378 CE.
Procopius: The Plague, 542, History of the Wars, II.xxii-xxxiii:

Procopius of Caesarea (c.500-after 562 CE): Alaric's Sack of Rome, 410 CE, History of the Wars [written c. 550 CE], III.ii.7-39 [At this Site]
Procopius of Caesarea (c.500-after 562 CE): Gaiseric & The Vandal Conquest of North Africa, 406 - 477 CE, History of the Wars [written c. 550 CE], Book III, chapters iii-vii

Priscus: On the Palace of Attila the Hun, 448.  A Hyperlinked Version is also available [At Calgary]
Olympiodorus of Thebes (only fragments survive of his diplomatic mission to the Huns)
Jordanes (fl.c.550 CE): History of the Goths: Chap. 38: The Battle of Chalôns, 451 
On the last years of Attila the Hun, Pope Leo I and Attila: Two Accounts, 452.
Zosimus, (Byzantine historian who relied on Olympiodorus of Thebes’ account of his diplomatic mission to the Huns in the 5th century.  The History of Count Zosimus

Rutilius Numantius: On His Return, I.xi.47,  The Greatness of Rome in the Days of Ruin, 413CE
St. Augustine, on conditions in North Africa and the Roman Empire on the brink of the Vandal invasion
Some Secondary Sources:
Goffart, W., Barbarians and Romans, A.D. 418-584 (Princeton, 1980)
Heather, Peter.  The Fall of the Roman Empire:  A New History of Rome and the Barbarians. (Oxford, 2006)
Manchen-Helfen, Otto.  The World of the Huns:  Studies in Their History and Culture.  (Berkeley, 1973)
Wickham, Chris.  Framing the Early Middle Ages:  Europe and the Mediterranean, 400-800.  (Oxford, 2006) Particularly, Chapter, 2, Sec. 2, "The Romano-Germanic Kingdoms," pp. 80-124.
Wolfram, Herwig, History of the Goths (Berkeley, 1988)