The last century BC marked the rapid change of the ethnic situation in Europe. The wide expansion of Celtic tribes which made scared all ancient European civilization, ended after Celts were stopped in Italy in the 4th century BC and on the Balkans in the 3rd century BC. Gradually Celtic regions, like Gaul and Spain, fell under the rule of Rome, and its population decreased much. Since then, the "Celtic horror" in Europe is being changed by the Germanic one.
Germanic tribes initially inhabited lands in northern Europe, in Scandinavia, Low Countries and Jutland. But on the edge of the new era, their poor lands made numerous overpopulated tribes migrate south. The first conflict between Romans and Germanic armies happen in the 2nd century BC in Dacia. A century later, Caesar managed to cross the Rhine from Gaul and defeat Germans who terrified Celts in Gaul.
In 1 AD, in Bohemia, a leader of the tribe of Marcomannes, Marobod, established a huge alliance of different Germanic tribes against all those who prevented the Germanic move south. His army, about 100 thousand people, slowly went south to the Alps, closer to the Roman province of Rhaetia. In 6 AD, both Roman consular armies rushed to stop the Germans, but could not do that because of the uprising in Pannonia. Three years later, Germans eliminate another Roman army in the Teutoburg Woods - Romans never again step into Inner Germany.
This first unity of Germanic tribes meant the beginning of a completely
new epoch in the history of Europe: Germans conquer new and new lands,
more and more nations disappear, and the Roman Empire will try to defend
its borders for four centuries, but at last will fail.
39 - 236 Roman try to conquer Germany
This year Rome equips a huge army against Germans. Sulpicius Halba, a Roman commander, crossed the Rhine and overwhelmed the tribe of Hatts. Setting a camp in the district of modern Mainz, Romans began constant expansion into Germany, in order to remove the power of Germans north to Roman borders.
Germans at that time were even more than just barbarians - they hardly knew any advances of the civilization, widely used human sacrifices (they usually sunk people in swamps), did not cultivate lands. Most men were involved only in war affairs. That is why Germans were the biggest threat to Roman towns - they destroyed all buildings, roads, wells, farms, just because they did not know how to use them. All historians agree that Germans were the most cruel tribe in that day Europe.
In 41 Emperor Claudius ordered to build a line of defense along the Danube, to protect the Empire from Germanic raids. Later, in 83, Emperor Titus finally gave up the idea to conquer all Germany till the Elbe, and the wall was build along the Rhine, with numerous forts and colonies of Romans (one of them, Colonia Agrippina, is now Cologne).
Constant wars lasted for several centuries, and Rome still could not conquer Germanic lands. Moreover, Germanic leaders could not be bribed or "civilized", they did not want to speak Latin and to take up Roman gods, as Celts sometimes did. The only way fro Romans to win was to eliminate all possible Germans - but they were too numerous. In 167 Germans felt that lands north from the Danube were becoming populated too densely, and began an invasion into the Roman province of Noric. Emperor Marc Aurelius attempted to destroy the tribe of Marcomannes, but died in Vindobona (modern Vienna) in 180. In 233, Alemannes destroyed the wall on the Rhine and invaded the Empire. Now no one could stop them.
43 - 142 Romans conquer Britain
Emperor Claudius was not the first to try Britain - already Caesar during his Gaulish wars decided to cross the Channel and to investigate the island. Caesar was met by Cassivelaun, a leader of Celts, and after several battles retreated back to the continent. Now that Rome grew firmer, emperors determined to conquer Britain. Gradually numerous Roman merchants settled in the country, which was rich with metal, grain, cattle; contacts between Romans and Brittish nobles finally made the latter depend on Roman luxuries, and in Caligula's time the queen of the tribe of Brigantes Cartimandua became Roman ally.
All that made the invasion of Claudius' troops easier. Interfering the dynasty hostilities in Britain, Roman army came to the country. The island Mona close to the shores of Britain was at that time a center of druidism, where all Celts of northern Europe worshipped their deities. That is why those Celts who ran from Roman rule in Gaul settled here and trained their troops here.
Claudius managed to conquer southern Britain rather fast. A king of the tribe of Regnii, Cogidubnus, was appointed Roman legatus in the country, some other nobles also took up Roman language, religion, and got the Roman citizenship. However, the population preserved their loyalty to local princes and to their native religion. The struggle of the Brittes for independence lasted for four centuries. Though in 77 a Roman commander named Agricola spread the Roman occupation till northern England, and in 136 Emperor Adrianus finally reached Scotland, still Romans could not manage to conquer all the island, nor Ireland. They were always afraid of Celtic and Pictish invasions from the north, from Scotland and Ireland, and though two walls were built to protect the Roman domain, in 136 and in 142, they could hardly prevent Picts and Celts from raiding south.
Neither Celts, nor Picts in Britain were assimilated by Roman colonists, the way it happened in Gaul and Spain. Natives here did not learn Latin, and even sometimes refused to communicate with Roman colonies which were constructed on the island. They lived in their own towns and villages and did not mix with the invaders.
Kuchans, obviously a branch of Yue-ji, a tribe of mixed Mongolo-Turkish origin, migrated from Central Asia, captured by drought, south. Soon they occupy Afghanistan, Punjab, and in about 50 arrived in Northern India. In 78 King Kanishka, after defeating armies of Indian princes, established a kingdom in the Gang valley, built a capital near modern Peshawar and managed to unite lands of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Northern India and parts of Central Asia.
The epoch of Kanishka marked the beginning of foreign rule in Northern India. Since then, lands between the Gang and the Indus were constantly under the rule of newcomers from Asia. However, Kuchans and other tribes of their alliance, like Iranian Sacians, quickly dissolved among Indians, and soon their language, their poor culture and religion were forgotten under the influence of Indian Sanskrit language, Brahmi script and Indic beliefs.
In about 150, Kanishka's successors handed their power in India to their governors (kshatraps). Indian regions became actually independent. And in 250, the last king of Kuchans, Vasudeva, was crushed by the Persian empire of Sasanides.
Dacia, a vast region in modern Romania and Moldavia, was inhabited by tribes related to Thracians, and their languages were quite similar. But not the social structure - Thracians who lived closer to the Greeks on the Aegean shores developed their first kingdom under Greek influence already in the 5th century BC, they lived in towns and cities, their language contained a lot of Greek words.
Dacians were still a wild nation, occupied in agriculture and cattle breeding, and at least they could not pose a serious threat to the Roman Empire. However, Emperor Traianus after several unsuccessful Dacian wars of his predecessors decided to conquer the country. In 106 Dacian king Decebalus was finally defeated, his capital Sarmisegetusa was destroyed, and Dacia in 112 becomes another province of the Empire.
The problem of ethnic assimilation is a tricky issue: certain nations are easily assimilated, some preserve their nationality after centuries of colonial history. For example, Celts in Gaul were quite easy to convert into the Roman way of life, the Latin language and the religion of Romans; but Celts in Britain did not in general mix with Roman colonists and hardly knew Latin. While the whole nations disappeared under Roman influence, like Iberians and Etruscans, without even a single sign of their language left, Germans, though long under Romans, did not pick up anything from Latin and were not "Romanized" at all. Which qualities of the nation account for the resistance from assimilation? This is a matter for ethnologists.
As for Dacians, they were especially fast to be assimilated by Romans, and several centuries later the Dacian language was unknown in the country, replaced by a form of Latin. Nowadays, the only source for its studies is onomastics and hydronymics of the region.
The first reliable historical mentioning of the Slavs was found in Tacitus's "Germany", where he described the life of Venedi, a tribe which used to live on the shores of the Baltic in the 1st century AD: "Venedi borrowed much from the life of Sarmatians, because they raid all forests and mountains for plunder wherever between Peucini and Fenni. But I would rather call them Germans, as they build houses, carry shields and move on foot, while Sarmatians live horseback and in wagons".
In the 1st century the number of settlements within Slavic archaeological cultures in north-east Europe grow very fast: the region became overpopulated, which always led to migrations. Their west neighbours were Germans, very aggressive and numerous, and east was just a vast swampy wood region inhabited by Finnish hunters. That is why Slavs began moving south, and this was the beginning of the Slavic expansion in Europe.
Slavic tribes for centuries lived on the territory of modern Poland and Belorussia, between the Vistula and the Dniepr rivers. Several types of archaeological cultures follow one another after the Balto-Slavic community (which probably existed) broke up to two branches - Baltic and Slavic, though their languages remained quite close and similar. Slavs did not have the state, they lived in tribes which were rather peaceful, according to ancient authors, and contacted Baltic, Finnish, Germanic, Celtic and Thracian nations which all left traces in Slavic languages. Later due to close ties with the Scythians who founded a kingdom in the Lower Dniepr region, Slavic languages acquired many Iranian features which can be noticed even now in Russian, Belorussian and especially Ukrainian.
In the 5th century Slavic tribes which went south from the Vistula reached the borders of the Roman empire. They occupied lands which were free after Dacians suffered terrible losses in wars with Rome. Soon Slavic migrations will crush the boundary of the Empire.
180 Gothic migration to Eastern Europe
Already in the 3rd century BC an alliance of East Germanic tribes from Scandinavia arrived in continental Europe. According to the legend, Germans led by the tribe of Goths (from the island of Gotalnd) and their king Berig, landed on the Baltic shore in the land of the Slavs. After serious hostilities with Slavic tribes who did not want to cede their homeland to the invaders, Goths decided to move farther south.
The pressure on Roman borders along the Danube extended after Romans defeated Marcomannes. Lands in Pannonia became free and hardly populated by relics of Marcomannes, and another Germanic nation, Goths, came here from the north. Obviously, the Gothic movement south went in two directions: towards the Roman border, and to the northern coast of the Black Sea. Later these two waves became know as Wisigoths (West Goths) and Ostrogoths (East Goths).
Gothic tribes were as ignorant and uncivilized as their other Germanic brothers. Two centuries later after long contacts with Roman and Greek cultures they invented a script, acquired monarchy and many other advances of civilization. They spoke an Eastern Germanic dialect, relative to Burgundan and Langobardan. Gothic language, known much better than other languages of ancient Germany, preserved a number of archaic features forgotten in West Germanic tongues.
224 Sasanide Kingdom founded
This year Ardashir, a leader of Persians in their uprising against the Parthian dynasty, managed to defeat king Artaban the Fifth and proclaimed a new kingdom - Persia under the dynasty of Sasanides.
Parthia was in fact an occasional mixture of numerous nations and tribes. Its nucleus was situated in its northern part populated by former warlike nomads - Parthians - who composed the army and the class of nobles in the country. However, the most economically developed regions were the southern ones - Mesopotamia and Persida which also had rich and ancient cultural traditions and did not like the style of Parthian rule. In the beginning of the third century the final period of Parthian wars with Rome devastated Mesopotamia and Babylonia; the economy of the state crushed. One of the king's governors, the ruler of Persida, which was partially independent for the latest century, now became the ruler of the whole country.
In 226, Ardashir captured the city of Ktesiphon in Mesopotamia, the lands of the Kuchan Kingdom in Bactria and declared himself "the King of all kings of Iran". The new state meant only one thing for Rome: it turned weak Parthia to a strong opponent to Roman conquests in the East; new wars with the Roman Empire appeared very successful to Persia, and soon the most part of Armenia and many other Caucasian countries became Persian provinces. Europe again faced the powerful Persians.
As for the language matters, Parthian began to disappear - the cultural center of the state again moved south to Persia, and the Persian language becomes the official one. Gradually it assimilates the speech of the northern lands - Bactrian and Parthian, and for four centuries will stay the main tongue of the Middle East.
This year Alemannes, a Germanic tribe, broke through the limes, the system of fortifications on the borders of the Roman Empire. Roman armies did not already dare to invade Germany, but their borders were defended quite well. Nevertheless, Teutons felt themselves more and more cramped in Germany - tribes grew numerous, while the level of agriculture and cattle breeding remained as it was, very low. Alemannes destroyed several Roman fortifications and moved to the territory of modern Alsace.
Domestic hostilities in Rome, frequent civil wars and coups did not allow the Empire to pay much attention to the borders. Only a few forts left untached by Teutons within the limes: in 260 the emperor called the legions back from Germany: Rome began to retreat.
The first Celtic writing system, Ogham, is believed to have been invented by Irish monks. Its principle was borrowed from the Latin alphabet, but no letters were used, just short and long lines written on both sides of an axis.
Ogham was never used for writing texts: Druids were the first to write it, so they made just short inscriptions on grave stones and wooden trunk. That is why the majority of Ogham inscriptions (more than five hundred are discovered so far) is quite short and contain the same words. A typical kind of them is "X son of Y".
Ogham was invented in Ireland, and in the 5th century AD spread to Scotland with Gaelic migrants. There in Highlands it was borrowed by the Picts, the nation of unknown origin which inhabited those lands before Scots came. Pictish writing, though can be read, is not understandable.
The Roman influence made Ogham gradually extinct together with all Druidic knowledge. More and more people took up the Latin alphabet. Still, even in Medieval times, many burial stones in Ireland were covered with Ogham lines.
Dacia was the last terrirory conquered by the Empire - by Emperor Trajan in 112. Now it became the first one left by Roman troops: the military situation on the borders became very dangerous. In 270 Emperor Claudius II died, and his heir Aurelianus was unable to contain the attacts of Teutons: Alemanns invaded Northern Italy and crushed Romans near Placentia.
After that Aurelianus ordered to build new additional walls in Rome, and to call legions back from Dacia. At that time Dacia was no longer overpopulated: vice versa, terrible wars of the 2nd century left it almost empty, and Roman colonists were unwilling to settle here, on dangerous and distant lands. Rome decided to let Gothic tribes settle in Dacia.
However, the Latin language was preserved well by the population of that province. Remains of Dacian population and Roman colonists actively mixed with each other, creating a new variety of Popular Latin - the basis of the modern Romanian language.
A new kingdom was established in the Gang valley led by the clan of Gupta. Its leader, Chandragupta, copied his state structure from the previous Indian powerful dynasty of Maurya, and managed to unify minor principaltites of Northern India. The Empire of Gupta existed just for more than one and a half century.
By the end of the fourth century heade by king Chandragupta the Second, Guptas widened their borders from Bengalia to the Arab peninsula. However, it failed even to unify all India, which was traditionally divided into hundreds of small states. Southern principalities populated by Dravidian people resisted the force of Indo-Aryans.
In the fifth century the Gupta kingdom faced the first serious threat
from the north: the Great Movement brought nomadic Central Asian tribes
to the Gang. A nomadic alliance which was called Ephtalites invaded the
country, and though Indians managed to repel the intervention, the strength
of the country reduced greatly. Later that century the kingdom was conquered
by the nomads. Soon India again restored its traditional system of political
When the Germanic migrations south began in the 1st century BC, one of their tribes, Goths, also left their original homeland in South-Eastern Scandinavia (Gotland Island?) and directed south to continental Europe. First they invaded Baltic shores of what is now Poland, then crossed Eastern Europe and reached the Roman border in Dacia.
In the fourth century Gothic power was already quite dangerous for the Empire. Goths required lands to settle, and the Constantinople government had to give them permissions to stay in provinces of Moesia and Thrace. However, Roman emperors understood well that until Goths are real barbarians they will be enemies for the weakening Empire. That us why much effort was used to give Goths Greek and Roman culture, and convert them to Christianity. The latter appeared a success in the fourth century when Goths got their first Christian bishop named Wulfila.
Without Wulfila we would have know practically nothing about the Gothic language. The Bible he translated into this East Germanic tongue is a unique document which allows us to learn extremely important things about Germanic, and Gothic in particular. The script the book was written in was a modification of the Greek alphabet with several newly introduced letters.
Still, we need to say that Roman efforts to civilize Goths and make them friends of Constantinople were lost: in 378, near the town of Adrianople, Gothic hordes defeated the Roman army and killed Emperor Valent. In 410, the kind of Goths Alarich came to Italy to bring the end to the Roman Empire.
It is sometimes hard to imagine that the first impulse that led to the the fall of the Roman Empire was the drought in Central Asia. Nevertheless it was the drought which made Asian steppes semi-deserts, so nomadic hordes had to seek for better lands for breeding. Massive migrations began to the East - to China, and to the West - to Europe.
In the middle of the 4th century the nation of Hunnu which used to be moving to and fro in Mongol steppes, appeared in East Europe. Tribes which attempted to resist were either eliminated or had to join the Hunnu in their movement to the West. Hunnu used a huge horseback strength, that allowed them to gain a fast victory. Millions of people left their lands and ran away from the wave of terror. In 375 Hunnu, known in Europe as Hunns, defeated Goths near the Lower Danube, and the latter had no choice but to retreat further to the West, on the territory of the Roman Empire.
Quite soon the outskirts of the Roman domain appeared conquered by a lot of barbarian tribes, Germanic, Iranian, Slavic, Turkish. The Hunns - already not a tribe, but a mixture of nations - came to Pannonia and established a sort of the state there. From this base they started their raids into Europe.
This process began already in the beginning of the century when emperors found themselves unable to control vast lands of the empire from Rome. The strength of the country was going down, and civil wars allowed only one kind of compromise: the division. Emperor Constantine builds his new capital in the town of Byzantium, later named Constantinople. Since then, there were actually two heads of the state: Western in Rome, Eastern in Byzantium, and their border passed approximately along the Adriatic.
The eastern position of Constantinople, its Greek population and Greece itself beside made the Hellenic culture flourishing here. Soon the Greek language became official in the East Empire, though its citizens still wanted to be called "Romaians" ("Romans"). This was the end of the Roman history in the east, and the beginning of the Byzantine one.
In 390, the Eastern Emperor Theodosius managed to inherit Rome and to
unify the greatest Empire for the last time. After his death, two descendants
were appointed again.
Forced by serious political and military crisis, Roman Emperor Gonorius ordered to call all legions remaining on the British Isles, back to Italy. And though such movements took place before as well, everyone realized that there was no coming back to Britain. Together with soldiers, Roman settlers left the islands and moved across the Channel.
Celtic population of Britain never loved Romans too much. The Latin language was not used by British nobles, so not much from Latin remains in English today. Soon after the legions went away, Roman villas, colonies and roads were destroyed, the Hadrian's Wall was crushed by Picts and Scots, and Britain became a mixture of independent Celtic kingdoms. Not for quite a long time, however.
The Roman 'limes' which protected the Empie from invasions from outside, was broken already in the thrid century. Germanic tribes grew more and more numerous, and their lands in the North could no longer feed them. Besides, the invasion of Asiatic Hunns and their allies made it impossible for Germans to move eastwards. So they flew west to Gaul.
In just a few years Germanic tribes which used to settle in Gaul already before, suppressed the resistance of Gaulish people and Roman colonists and plundered the country. Rich cities, Roman villas and colonies, roads and even crops were destroyed. Germans knew no agriculture, no towns, no civilization; they lived mainly by hunting, gathering and cattle-breeding.
In about 410 Germanic migrants reached Spain. The tribes which settled here first were Suebes (West Germanic) and Vandals (East Germanic). The former founded their kingdom in the north-eastern Spain, Vasconia. The latter went further to the asouth, crossed the Hibraltar and settled mainly in North Africa. Later Wisigoths penetrated into Spain and made it a part of their kingdom.
Germans lived in Spain for rather a long time (practically until the 8th century), but still they did not leave any sufficient trace in the language of the people which remained a dialect of Popular Latin. Several words in Spanish that left from Germanic include brotar (to grow) from bruton, agasajar (to welcome) from gasalja, estaco (a stake) from stakka, etc. Portuguese also preserves elmo (a helmet). Most of them must have been borrowed from Wisigoths. In grammar, practically no influence can be noticed. The Germanic element was assimilated by Basque, Latinized and, later, Arabic nations.
That was the time when every, even a small, Germanic tribe sought to found its own kingdom. The very word konung (Common Germanic *kuningaz, the ancestor of Slavic knez) existed in Germanic already before states appeared, in tribal society. Romans called them rex, reges (translated usually as 'leader'). But since Germans settled on some lands and began to be involved in agriculture, their community got the name 'Kingdom'.
Burgunds, another East Germanic tribe, established their kind of state in the basin of the Rhone, with the main city of Lugdunum, the former capital of Roman Gaul. Gundikar, the leader of Burgunds, however, chose Worms as the base for his army. The kingdom turned out to be situated just between two major powers of Europe - the Franks and the Wisigoths. Constant wars and hostilities did not let Burgunds survive. In 436, after the invasion of Burgunds into the Roman province of Belgica, Aetius, a Roman commander, supported by Hunns, defeated Gundikar and conquered the kingdom. These events of Gundikar's death and the crush of his reign was later reflectec in classical Germanic epic - The Song of Nibelungi and The Elder Edda.
However, the name of the country was preserved for many centuries - Burgundy, though the people which gave it and the language they spoke disappeared.
Another tribe, Wisigoths (or West Goths), settled down in southern Gaul and made Toulouse the capital of their kingdom. Their king Valia managed to get the rank of foederatus, or ally of the Roman Empire, and that's why was allowed to settle on Empire's lands. After the division of Goths to West and East this branch appeared the stronger one.
In 439 Wisigoths became brave enough to break their loyalty to the weak Empire's government and invaded Spain. A Roman commander sent to crush Goths, Litorius, was defeated and failed to capture Toulouse, so Wisigoths aquired total independence from Rome. Soon thw whole Spain and the most part of Gaul were under the Gothic rule.
The new alliance with Romans was signed in 451, for both nations now faced the Hunns, a terrible threat to Europe. The same year, in Gaul, Attila of Hunns was overwhelmed by the united force of Goths and Romans heade by Aetius.
The Wisigothic kingdom existed in Spain for more than three hundred years. When Arabs reached Europe in 711, they fought the kingdom and occupied the country. But by that time Wisigoths have already mixed with Romance population and lost their language.
Vandals were one of the East Germanic tribes which used to live not far from Goths and Burgunds, but later migrated south and appeared in the beginning of the 5th century in France. Then, oppressed by Wisigoths, they had to move further to the south, crossed the Pyrenees and reached Spain. In 425 their small ships landed in Africa where they managed to occupy rich and fertile lands of Tunis - Rome traditionally received grain from there. The newly established kingdom of Vandals founded its base in Carthago - the city Rome used to be afraid of more than of anything else.
All the worst forecast came true, when in 455 Vandals sailed from Carthago to Italy and did what Hannibal failed to manage: captured Rome. Heiserich, The king of Vandals let his soldiers plunder the whole city, and in a few days the capital of the world became a pile of rubbish.
This was the third - after Celts in 390 BC and Alarich in 410 AD - plunder of Rome. Vandals were not going to occupy Italy or proclaim their king an Emperor. They took the treasures of Rome and sailed back to Africa. Since then, the very name of "vandalism" reminds us about that event.
The tribe of Angles lived on the Jutland peninsula; Jutes, which give the name to Jutland, inhabited the same lands, a bit to the north; Saxon homeland was Lower Saxony: many European nations still call Germany "Saxony", like Finns.
Germanic tribes knew Britain and its inhabitants for several centuries already. But until Romans were there with their legions, Anglo-Saxons did not dare invade the island. In 409 the last Roman soldier left Britain, and Anglo-Saxons became more and more frequent guests of the country. Local Celtic princes invited them to serve as mercenaries: the way it often happens in history, mercenaries one day became independent. In 449, ships led by Hengist and Horsa, two leaders of Germans, landed in Britain. Soon after that, the country was flooded by Germanic conquerors: the main elements were Angles, who settled in the northeast, Saxons who kept the middle of the island, and Jutes who settled in what is now Kent.
Gradually the Celtic population, whose resistance was suppressed quickly, were pushed westwards and migrated to Wales, Cornwall. They also managed to keep their lands in Scotland. So England got its present name and became Germanic for several centuries, and the language of it, which borrowed just a few terms from Celtic, is now called Old English.
When Britain was invaded by Germanic warriors, many Celtic tribes chose the way out of the country. The land where they settled after a trip over the Channel was a peninsula which is now called Brittany in France. Here they mixed with latinized Gaulish population and preserved their language which exists nowadays as well.
This phenomenon is very interesting to show the historical memory of the people. British Celts are believed to have come from France, directly from Brittany, in the 6th century BC. For the whole millennium people preserved ties with their previous homeland, and when they found themselves in trouble and danger, they flew again to the continent - right to the place where they began their way to Britain.
Brittany first consisted of over ten independent principalities. Several
centuries later, they were unified to establish the Duchy of Brittany which
was in mediaeval times one of the most powerful states in France.
The discovery of the Tocharian branch of the Indo-European famoily was one of the most significant archaeological foundings of the century. It appared that Indo-European migrants managed to reach even East Turkestan in their movement from the homeland. The very existence of Tochariansd added much to the studies of Asian archaeology, and the materials of Tocharic languages, called A and B, were a great contribution to the studies of Indo-European linguistics.
Tocharians borrowed writing from India, together with Buddhism. At that time they were a semi-nomadic nation involved in cattle breeding and agriculture in oasises of the Turfan valley. Practically everything written in Tocharic is the collection of Buddhist texts. However, this collection is quite rich, so linguists could learn Tocharic morphology, syntax and vocabulary in detail.
Living in alien surrounding, among Turkish, Mongolian, Finnish tribes, Tocharians mixed very early with their neighbours. Already during their migration to the East they acquired much from languages of Iranian and Finnish people - the latter are believed to cause great changes to the noun morphology system. At the time texts were written, Tocharic languages were practically out of use in everyday life, replaced by other speech. Books and prayers they wrote were for sacral use rather than for ordinary people - the same thing with Veda, Avesta and many other epic works.
Finally, after 750 Tocharic texts are no longer written, and the speakers of the language appeared completely assimilated by tribes of the Turkish Kaganate.
After Armenia was converted into Christianity in the 3rd century, its culture was flourishing under the influence of the neighbouring Byzantine Empire. Church schools were established in cities where Armenians were taught languages, Christian science and history.
In about 430 a son of a peasant, formerly a scribe at the court of the Armenian king, Mesrop Mashtotz invented the Armenian alphabet. Backing on the Greek script, Mashtotz created a writing system which was so well organized for the Armenian language that had practically no changes for more than one and a half millennium. Mesrop also wrote the first work in this alphabet - he translated the Bible from Greek into Armenian. This translation is still considered a foundation of the literature language of Armenia.
The language is called Classical Armenian, or Grabar, and was written until the previous century - though the spoken language suffered many significant changed caused by alien influence from Turkey and Persia. Classical Armenian is much more Indo-European as the modern variety of the language.
In the 5th century the Empire was no longer a power in Europe. Though it existed officially, the authority belonged to the regents, who were appointed mainly from barbarian kingdoms which appeared in Europe. Goths, Franks, Burgunds were actual emperors at that time - they defined the policies, they commanded the army, they led wars. The Roman society was no longer proud of being the highest civilization in the world - it was fashionable to be a barbarian, to wear Germanic-like clothes, to speak Gothic or Frankish in Rome.
Culture stopped; agriculture did not exist. The economy of the state was divided between the large feudal domains which lived on natural resources, without any imports and exports. Cities lost their population as a result of endless wars and invasions, and roads and historical monuments were destroyed. All over Europe, it became habitual to erect huge, massive, thick-walled mansions and castles instead of classical basilicas and Roman temples. The Romanesque style was born, which had nothing in common with Roman culture at all.
The only thing that remained stable in this apocalypses, was the Latin language which was used officially in all European kingdoms, in Pope's documents, in Roman edicts. Barbarian kings, nobles, priest studied Latin to communicate with each other and to be closer to Rome - which remained the center of the world.
In 476, the last Roman Emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was taken off the
throne by a local Germano-Slavic king Odoacre, who proclaimed himself the
governor of Italy and sent all emperor's regalia to Constantinople. The
Byzantine emperor had no choice but to recognize Odoacre as the Italian
Another West Germanic nation left their homeland and invaded Gaul, by that time already sacked and terrified by Wisigoths, Allemanes, Burgunds and other Germanic conquerors. The kingdom Franks established here had its center in the north-west, though it never had its capital. Kings did not want to live in towns, and moved together with the army throughout the country and outside it.
The dynasty of leaders which Franks had was called Merovingi after the legendary Merovei who led his people to Gaul. Already the third king of the dynasty, Hlodvig, managed to create a real power in Western Europe, unifying other Germanic tribes of Gaul. In the beginning of the 6th century Hlodvig introduced the first code of laws in Germanic kingdoms - the Salic Law, which regulated social relations between feudals and peasants, between people in criminal aspect. The laws concerned both Franks (translated usually as 'freemen') and Gaulish and Romance peasants.
Hlodvig's power was based on the army. However, his was not the only army of Franks, other units sometimes appeared led by other "kings". Civil wars between different clans and even brothers were a frequent event in the kingdom.
As for the language, the Frankish speech was a variant of the Old High German language, with some special peculiarities arising from contacts with Romance population (for example, consonants seem to hasve been more voiced than in Bavarian or Allemanian). But the Frankish language did not exist for too long - it was soon assimilated by the Popular Latin spoken by the population of Gaul. Frankish words in French now make only less than 1%. The first distinction between the French and the German languages was made in the 9th language when at the meeting with the king of Germany the French king read his speech in both languages separately.
The valleys of Pannonia and Dacia were always the first to suffer from invasion of Asian nomads. Even in ancient times population here had to resist Cymmerians, Scythians, later Sarmatians. Lands here have always been fertile enough both for cattle breeding and agriculture, and could feed a lot of people. In the first centuries of the new era the Great Movement took new waves of invaders here.
By the beginning of the 5th century Pannonia, Dacia and Noricum were populated by Roman settlers and the remains of the aboriginal Indo-European population - Dacians, Thracians, Illyrians, Celts and - in some places - also Sarmatians and Scythians. The invasions of Bastarnes in the 2nd and Goths in the 4th century were not repelled, but Bastarnes quickly mixed with natives, and Goths passed through these lands and headed further to the south. The next threat was much more serious - Hunns came here together with their allies Alanians. Field were devastated, towns destroyed, people mostly eliminated, and Pannonia became a pasture for Hunnic cattle. Attila, the famous king of Hunns, selected his base (a sort of a capital) in Estergom. From here his huge army started its raids over Europe, here was the centre of the enormous Hunnic kingdom, from Gaul until the Ural mountains.
After Attila was assassinated in 453, Hunns disappeared from the map
of Europe as fast as they emerged here. By that time the population of
Europe decreased two or even three times, and Pannonian lands were empty.
Since the late 5th century Germanic, Slavic, later Turkish people penetrate
to settle here. In 488 last Roman colonists leave Pannonia, for it was
no longer possible to cultivate and build anything here.
Ostgoths, or Ostrogoths, as Byzantine sources call them, after the invasion of Hunns in Europe in 375 were pushed to the west and soon emerged in Illyria. In the late 5th century they occupied already the lands of Northern Italy. After 476, when Rome was captured by Odoacre, two Germanic kings began struggle for Italy. Byzantine emperors paid special attention to this war, and finally decided to support Teodorich, the king of Ostgoths.
In 493, the city of Ravenna, one of the most important in that-day Italy, was captured by Teodorich, who killed Odoacre and proclaimed himself a governor of Italy with the consent of Constantinople. Gradually, however, Ostgoths became more and more independent from the Byzantine court. They conquered all Italy, Sicily, Malta, in 508 occupied Provence, spread to Dalmatia and Pannonia. Their power already bothered Byzantine supremacy in Eastern Europe.
After Teodorich died, Byzantine troops landed in Italy. Emperor Justinian decided to get the country back under the Roman crown. In 555, Velisarius, one of Justinian's commanders, captured Ravenna, the capital of Ostgoths, and destroyed the kingdom.
The language of Ostgoths, which was spread at that time in Italy and all southern Europe, was quickly assimilated by Latin. Sure it influenced somehow the formation of the Italian language, but no significant Germanic signs can be now find in Romance languages of southern Europe.