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Monday, not marking

17 April, 2007

Monday, not marking

I have much marking to do, but am not in the mood, because really, I’ve been sort of out of it most of the day, thinking a lot about Va Tech. I kinda know one person there, and I hope he’s ok.

But since there are lots of places you can read about that and make comments, I thought I’d distract myself by putting down some thoughts I had about a question Steve asked below: what is with all this Alamanni stuff??

I’ve been thinking about it, off and on, and here are my rather ill-formed meanderings. For the past couple or so years, Early Medievalists and Late Antiquarians have been looking again, and in more depth, about older concepts of ethnicity and especially what it means to be “German” (or indeed any group of people called ‘germanic’). There are also grumblings that Late Anitquity really doesn’t exist and that really, there wasn’t quite as much synthesis as we’d thought, and maybe we should just go back to saying Early Medieval from around 476. I’m not going there today.

But some fairly big names have been sticking their oars in this particular body of water (the ethnicity one). Goffart, Wickham, Smith, Burns, Ward-Perkins and Heather have all written books dealing with Rome and the Barbarians in one form or another in the past couple of years, and I know of at least two others coming out in the next year. So maybe taking a closer look at individual groups of so-called Germans is the next trend, and the Alamanni are just the first? It will be a while before people start overturning everything we know about the Franks, at least. I’m actually serious about this. Maybe the time has come where we can start examining evidence again, and come to some newer conclusions about who these people that the Romans called Germans really were.

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