Indiana University

History H610/H710

Colloquium/Seminar in Medieval European History



Spring Semester 2011 Dr. Deborah M. Deliyannis
Place:  Ballantine Hall 235 Office:  Ballantine Hall 708
Time:  Th 6:15-8:15 pm Office Hours:  W 1:30-3:00 or by appt.

Phone:  855-3431



The term "barbarian" is problematic for modern historians of the Middle Ages.  Some embrace it, and speak happily of "barbarian Europe" and "the barbarian invasions," while others have devised elaborate verbal constructs ("Germanic peoples", "transformation of the Roman world") in order to avoid using it.  This class will focus on the concept of "barbarian" in the ancient and medieval worlds:  on the way that these concepts are expressed in both medieval and in more modern studies of the period that we call the Early Middle Ages, and the way that modern scholars conceptualize the concept.  We will read both primary (in translation) and secondary sources, in order to understand what ancient and medieval people meant by the term "barbarian", and how we might use it today.



Readings are assigned from books and/or articles that are on reserve in the library, and some of them have also been placed on Oncourse in the Resources folder.  Some of these are available for purchase, and you might consider purchasing them.

Course requirements


             25%       Class participation

             20%       2 book reviews (10% each)

             15%       Presentation of bibliographic essay/research paper

             40%       Bibliographic essay/research paper                               

           100%       TOTAL




A large part (25%) of the course grade is based on class participation.  You are expected to do the reading for each week, and come prepared to discuss it.  Your participation grade will be based as much (or more) on what you say as how much you say.  I will give you an estimate of your participation grade halfway through the semester, so that if necessary you can work to improve it.


Book reviews

Each student will write two book reviews, which will be presented to class (10 mins) on the day listed on the syllabus.  The book reviews should be between 1000 and 1500 words long, and should take the format of a scholarly book review (any journal's format may be used).  These books have been reviewed, of course, when they were published; I recommend that you NOT look at those reviews when writing your own, but you should, of course, look at reviews of other books to get an idea of the way you might go about it.


Bibliographic essay/research paper and presentation

There will also be a 10-15-page bibliographic essay or a 14-20-page research paper, on a topic of interest to you and related to medieval barbarians in some way.


You must turn in a statement of your topic on Feb. 3, and you must have discussed it with me first (during office hours or by appointment; talking about it before or after class is not sufficient). 


A preliminary bibliography for your paper must be turned in on Feb. 24.  Some of the materials you may need may not be in our library, and you will be expected to order them from interlibrary loan. 


This project will result in a 20 minute presentation in one of the last two class meetings.  In the interests of preparing you to give conference papers, I would like you to write up and read your presentation.  Part of the preparation will be timing yourself to keep to the 20-minute format.




Tentative schedule


Jan. 13        Introduction


Jan. 20        Overview, and the concept of the 'barbarian'


                       Readings:   Jones, William R.  "The Image of the Barbarian in Medieval Europe,"  Comparative Studies in Society and History 13 (1971):  376-407.  JSTOR

                                        Goffart, Walter.  "Rome, Constantinople, and the Barbarians."  American Historical Review 86 (1981):  275-306.  JSTOR

                                        Gillett, Andrew.  "The Mirror of Jordanes:  Concepts of the Barbarian, Then and Now."   In A companion to late Antiquity, ed. Philip Rousseau (Malden:  Blackwell, 2009), pp. 392-408.  PDF Oncourse


                  Book reports: Hall, Edith.  Inventing the Barbarian. Greek Self-Definition through Tragedy (Oxford, 1989).  Wells reserve PA3136 
Isaac, Benjamin.   The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity
.   Princeton:  Princeton University Press, 2004.  chs. 1 and 2.  Wells DF135 .I82 2004  checked out, due 2/4



Jan. 27        The Barbarian in Late Roman Thought


                       Readings:   Ladner, G. B., "On Roman attitudes towards barbarians in late Roman literature." Viator 7 (1976): 1-26.  online via IUCAT

                                       Wiedemann, T.  "Between men and beasts:  barbarians in Ammianus Marcellinus," in Past perspectives:  studies in Greek and Roman historical writing:  papers presented at a conference in Leeds, 6-8 April 1983, eds. I. Moxon, J. Smart and A. Woodman (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1986), pp. 189-201. PDF Oncourse

                                       King, C.  "The Veracity of Ammianus Marcellinus' Description of the Huns," American Journal of Ancient History 12 (1987 [1995]): 77-95. PDF Oncourse

                                       Ammianus Marcellinus, Book 31.2


                  Book reports: Kelly, Christopher. Attila the Hun:  barbarian terror and the fall of the Roman Empire (London:  Bodley Head, 2008).  Wells reserve D141 .K45 2008



Feb. 3          Barbarians in the Late Roman Empire

                       paper topics due


                       Readings:   Blockley, Roger C.  "Roman-barbarian marriages in the late Empire."  Florilegium 4 (1982):  63-79.  PDF Oncourse

                                       Elton, Hugh.  "Fravitta and Barbarian Career Opportunities in Constantinople."  Medieval prosopography 17 (1996):  95-106.  PDF Oncourse

                                       Salzman, Michele Renee.  "Symmachus and the 'barbarian' generals."  Historia. Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte 55 (2006):  352-367.  PDF Oncourse

                                       Halsall, Guy.  Barbarian migrations and the Roman West, 376-568 (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2007), read Chapter 5, "Romans and barbarians before 376," pp. 138-162.  Wells reserve DG311 .H35 2007


                  Book reports:  Liebeschuetz, J. H. W. G.  Barbarians and bishops: Army, Church, and State in the Age of Arcadius and Chrysostom (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 1990).  online via IUCAT; Wells DF543 .L33 1990

                                        Wolfram, Herwig.  The Roman Empire and its Germanic peoples, trans. by Thomas Dunlap (Berkeley:  University of California Press, 1997).  Wells reserve DG312 .W6613 1997



Feb. 10       The Barbarian Invasions and the Fall of Rome


                       Readings:   Goffart, Walter.  "The Theme of 'the Barbarian Invasions' in Late Antique and Modern Historiography," in Rome's Fall and After (London:  Hambledon Press, 1989), pp. 111-132.  PDF Oncourse

                                       Goffart, Walter.  "The map of the barbarian invasions:  a longer look."  In The Culture of Christendom:  Essays in Medieval History in Commemoration of Denis L. T. Bethell, ed. Marc A. Meyer (London:  Hambledon Press, 1993), pp. 1-27.  PDF Oncourse

                                       Halsall, Guy.  "Movers and Shakers: the Barbarians and the Fall of Rome," Early Medieval Europe 8 (1999): 131-45.  online via IUCAT

                                       Noble, Thomas F. X. "Introduction:  Romans, barbarians, and the transformation of the Roman Empire."  In From Roman provinces to Medieval kingdoms, ed. T. F. X. Noble (London:  Routledge, 2006), pp. 1-22.   PDF Oncourse


                  Book reports: Goffart, Walter.  Barbarian tides: the migration age and the later Roman Empire (Philadelphia:  University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006).  Wells reserve D135 .G65 2006

                                       Halsall, Guy.  Barbarian migrations and the Roman West, 376-568 (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2007).  Wells reserve DG311 .H35 2007

                                        Heather, Peter. Empires and barbarians:  the fall of Rome and the birth of Europe.  (New York:  Oxford University Press, 2010).  Wells reserve D135 .H436 2010



Feb. 17       Byzantium and the Barbarians


                       Readings:  Maurice's Strategikon: handbook of Byzantine military strategy, trans. George T. Dennis (Philadelphia:  Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 2002), Book 11.  PDF Oncourse

                                      Kaldellis, Anthony.  "Classicism, Barbarism, and Warfare:  Prokopios and the Conservative Reaction to Later Roman Military Policy," American Journal of Ancient History n.s. 3-4 (2004-2005 [2007]) 189-218.   PDF Oncourse

                                      Pallas-Brown, Rachael.  "East Roman perceptions of the Avars in the mid- and late-sixth century," in Ethnicity and culture in late antiquity, eds. Stephen Mitchell and Geoffrey Greatrex (London:  Duckworth, 2000), pp. 309-329.   PDF Oncourse


                  Book reports:  Luttwak, Edward.  The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire (Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press, 2009). Wells reserve U163 .L86 2009



Feb. 24       Ethnicity and Barbarians I:  theory

                       bibliographies due


                       Readings:  Murray, Alexander C.  "Reinhard Wenskus on 'Ethnogenesis', Ethnicity, and the Origins of the Franks," in On barbarian identity:  critical approaches to ethnicity in the early middle ages, ed. Andrew Gillett (Turnhout:  Brepols, 2002), pp. 39-68. Wells reserve GN575 .O5 2002

                                      Curta, Florin. "Some remarks on ethnicity in medieval archaeology," Early Medieval Europe 15 (2007): 159-85.  PDF Oncourse


                  Book reports: Jones, Siân.  The archaeology of ethnicity:  constructing identities in the past and present (London:  Routledge, 1997).   not at IU (will have to ILL)



Mar. 3         Ethnicity and Barbarians II:  identifiers


                       Readings:   Effros, Bonnie.  "Dressing conservatively:  women's brooches as markers of ethnic identity?"  In Gender in the early medieval world: east and west, 300-900, eds. Leslie Brubaker and Julia M. H. Smith (Sewanee:  University of the South Press, 1996), pp. 165-184.  PDF Oncourse

                                       Pohl, Walter.  "Telling the Difference:  Signs of Ethnic Identity," in Strategies of Distinction: The Construction of Ethnic Communities, 300-800, ed. W. Pohl and Helmut Reimitz (Leiden:  Brill, 1998), pp. 17–69.  PDF Oncourse

                                       Wormald, Patrick.  "The Leges Barbarorum: law and ethnicity in the post-Roman West," in Regna and gentes, eds. H.-W. Goetz, J. Jarnut and W. Pohl (Leiden:  Brill, 2003), pp. 21-53.  PDF Oncourse



                  Book reports: Todd, Malcolm.  Everyday life of the barbarians: Goths, Franks and Vandals  (London:  G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1972).  Wells reserve GN549 .G4T63

                                      James, Edward.  Europe's Barbarians, AD 200-600 (New York : Pearson Longman, 2009).  Wells reserve DG312 .J365 2009



Mar. 10      Ethnicity and Barbarians III:  perceptions


                       Readings:  Mathisen, Ralph Whitney.  "Violent Behavior and the Construction of Barbarian Identity in Late Antiquity."  In Violence in Late Antiquity, ed. Harold A. Drake (Aldershot:  Ashgate, 2006), pp. 27-35.  PDF Oncourse

                                       Pohl, Walter.  "Perceptions of barbarian violence," in Violence in Late Antiquity, ed. Harold A. Drake (Aldershot:  Ashgate, 2006), pp. 15-26.  PDF Oncourse

                                       Oschema, Klaus.  "Blood-brothers: a ritual of friendship and the construction of the imagined barbarian in the middle ages."  Journal of Medieval History 32 (2006):  275-301.  online via IUCAT






Mar. 24      Barbarians and Christianity


                       Readings:   Salvian, De Gubernatione Dei  [note that this link takes you to the preface and Book 1; you should then advance the PAGE to continue to Books 2-3]

                                       Mathisen, Ralph. "Barbarian Bishops and the Churches 'in barbaricis gentibus' during Late Antiquity." Speculum 72:3 (1997): 664-697.  JSTOR

                                       Schott, Jeremy M.  "Porphyry on Christians and others: 'Barbarian wisdom,' identity politics, and anti-Christian polemics on the eve of the great persecution."  Journal of Early Christian Studies 13 (2005):  277-314.  online via IUCAT

                                       Lambert, David.  "The barbarians in Salvian's De Gubernatione Dei."  In Ethnicity and culture in late antiquity, eds. Stephen Mitchell and Geoffrey Greatrex (London:  Duckworth, 2000), pp. 103-116.  PDF Oncourse

                                       Fletcher, Richard. The Barbarian Conversion:  From Paganism to Christianity (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999), ch. 1, "Who is it for?" pp. 1-33.  PDF Oncourse



Mar. 31      The Barbarian Kingdoms


                       Readings:   Everyone read:  Kulikowski, Michael.  "Nation versus army: a necessary contrast?" in On barbarian identity:  critical approaches to ethnicity in the early middle ages, ed. Andrew Gillett (Turnhout:  Brepols, 2002), pp. 69-84.  Wells reserve GN575 .O5 2002

                                        Everyone read:  Goetz, Hans-Werner, "Introduction," pp. 1-12 and Evangelos Chryos, "The Empire, the gentes and the regna," pp. 13-20, in H.-W. Goetz, Jörg Jarnut and Walter Pohl, eds.  Regna and gentes:  the relationship between late antique and early medieval peoples and kingdoms in the transformation of the Roman world (Leiden:  Brill, 2003).  PDF Oncourse

                                        Then, we will assign each person one chapter in Goetz/Jarnut/Pohl, eds.  Regna and gentes. DMD photocopies



                  Book reports: Amory, Patrick.  People and identity in Ostrogothic Italy, 489-554 (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1997).   Wells reserve DG504 .A56 2003

                                      Barnwell, Paul S.  Kings, Courtiers and Imperium. The Barbarian West, 565-725.  (London: Duckworth, 1997).   Wells reserve JC375 .B374 1997

                                      Wallace-Hadrill, J. M.  The Barbarian West, 400-1000 (London: Hutchinson, 1952; 3rd rev. ed. 1967).  Wells reserve D121 .W192 1967



Apr. 7         Barbarian Art


                       Readings:   Frassetto, Michael.  "Barbarian Art," in Encyclopedia of Barbarian Europe: Society in Transformation, ed. M. Frassetto  (Santa Barbara, CA:  ABC-CLIO, 2003), pp. 59-62.  Wells/Fine Arts reserve D135 .F73 2003

                                       Hubert, Jean, J. Porcher and W. F. Volbach, Europe of the Invasions (New York:  Braziller, 1969):  read pp. XI-XVI, 155-206, and 209-285 (don't worry, 75% of it is pictures!).  Wells reserve N7832 .H8732

                                       Nees, Lawrence.  Early Medieval Art (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2002):  read chs. 5, 6, and 9.  Wells reserve N5970 .N44 2002



Apr. 14       After the Early Middle Ages


                       Readings: Klaniczay, Gabor.  "Everyday Life and Elites in the later Middle Ages: the civilised and the barbarian."  In The Medieval World, eds. Peter Linehan and Janet L. Nelson (London: Routledge, 2001), pp. 671-690.  PDF Oncourse

                                      Jackson, Peter.  "Christians, barbarians and monsters:  the European discovery of the world beyond Islam." In The Medieval World, eds. Peter Linehan and Janet L. Nelson (London: Routledge, 2001), pp. 93-110.  PDF Oncourse



Apr. 21       student presentations


Apr. 28       student presentations



Papers due in my email, Thursday May 5 at 5:00 pm