A History of the Ostrogoths (Midland Book)

A History of the Ostrogoths (Midland Book) This Work, The First Study Of The Ostrogoths In Almost A Century, Traces Their Initial Contact With The Roman World In The Third Century Through The Dissolution Of Their Kingdom In Italy In It Depicts Early Ostrogothic Society And Studies The Interactions Between These Barbarians And The Roman Empire Relations And Exchanges Which Played An Important Role In The Metamorphosis, Rise, And Fall Of Ostrogothic Society Thorough And Convincing Likely To Become The Standard Work On The Subject Library Journal Highly Readable Medieval Literature A Major Work Of Synthesis Walter E Kaegi Burns Has Achieved Much For The Modern Study Of Ostrogoths Antiquaries Journal

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  • Paperback
  • 300 pages
  • A History of the Ostrogoths (Midland Book)
  • Thomas S. Burns
  • English
  • 23 February 2019
  • 9780253206008

10 thoughts on “A History of the Ostrogoths (Midland Book)

  1. says:

    An irrelevant introduction I bought this book from the Indiana University Press website I well remember the days when actual bookshops were rare and an internet was not even imagined in Science Fiction so I am alert to the usefulness of the online book retailers but the big ones I find are just boring I find book buying on them dull Yes, I get the book I want, but it is a mechanical drudge like experience Somehow, somewhere, I got a link to this university press website and loved it It was like going to a real book shop in that I could see books about things that I had no idea that people were writing about I may not want to buy the weird and the wonderful, ok actually I do if I am strictly honest with myself, however there is pleasure in knowing that they are available, sometimes fantastically discounted, those on sale for less than ten United States Dollars I find particularly hard to resist One of the books I bought was this history of the Ostrogoths.The OstrogothsThe Ostrogoths set up a kingdom of sorts in Italy between about 490 and 552ish AD after defeating Odovacar who had been enjoying being king over semi demi post Roman Empire Italy since 476 Both Odovacar and the Ostrogoths were barbarians which is to say neither Roman nor Greek, and by this time Rome had been sacked twice in 410 and again in 455 however a Roman way of life continued Even under these barbarian rulers there was still a Roman Senate complete with senators giving speeches, there were tax farmers who collected Roman taxes, and Roman courts were still in session The last Roman Emperor, who had the good luck to be called Romulus Augustus, in the west had been packed off into retirement by Odovacar but a recognisably Roman way of life continued under these barbarian rulers.Anyhow Sic transit gloria mundi as those old Romans frequently liked to say In 535 the Byzantines invaded Italy, fought the Ostrogoths up, down and round Italy until the last of them surrendered, utterly exhausted, in 553 However the Byzantines didn t get to enjoy their victory for long either since in 568 another barbarian people, the Langobards, began to push the Byzantines out, working from north to south And so it goes.So given my occasional interest in the end of the Roman Empire the original decline of the West and thanks to the website of Indiana University Press I found myself the reader of Thomas Burns book A History of the OstrogothsMy problem with this book is that after reading I don t know who it s intended audience is It neither explains things in a thorough or helpful way to make the subject understandable for somebody coming to the Ostrogoths for the first time, yet nor does it offer particularly interesting insights in the main text the endnotes are a different matter , an engagement with the historiography or sources to entertain somebody who is already comfortable with the difference between an Ostrogoth and a Visigoth view spoiler its best not to get your Goths mixed up hide spoiler

  2. says:

    A History of the Ostrogoths by Thomas Burns attempts to survey the Ostrogoths, rather broadly at times, through their short but eventful history What I mean by rather broadly is that we are forced to use approximations from literary and archaeological sources because Ostrogothic history is not well documented, as the author himself states Combining archaeological data and the Greco Roman literary sources can never produce a truly uniform and consistent historical vision Introduction XV A goal of this book is to look at the Ostrogoths as a group rather than individuals and their long term interaction with Rome According to the author This study is a history of the Ostrogoths, not of the late Roman Empire Nor is it an archaeological survey rather it is a history based on a synthesis of traditional sources and relevant archaeological materials The emphasis on the Ostrogoths is clear and deliberate Roman developments set the stage for much of Ostrogothic history, but only in that respect do purely roman events and personalities enter the narrative The Ostrogoths merit their own history Introduction XVI That being said I found that most of the book had references to Visigoths, Romans, and non Germanic groups like the Huns, and Alans, than the Ostrogoths For an example the first reference to the Ostrogoths does not come until the eleventh page of the first chapter, when they are mentioned in passing Another source of influence was the cultural ganglion of central Asian groups in the area of south central Russia The artistic influence of the Steppes was most prominent among groups in direct contact with this area, for example, the Ostrogoths in their early period Page 11 I did find this book to be really informative and I cannot begin to list all I garnered from this book in such a short paper, so I will give a condensed version By 375 A.D the Huns had conquered the Gruethingi Ostrogoths ruled by Ermanaric, who committed suicide rather than lead his people into Hunnic slavery The Ostrogoths were subject to the Huns until the death of Attila in 453 A.D The memories of their subjection were bitter long after they had escaped from the Huns following the decisive battle of Nedao in 454 Page 45 , But Burns also says that The Ostrogoths had been fortunate, for Attila had favored the Amali Valamir and his brothers Thuidmir and Vidmir In fact, it seems that despite occasional hunger and growing animosity, at least the Ostrogothic nobility, and presumably their personal followers, did reasonably well under the Huns Page 45 The Ostrogoths spent the next 34 years after the battle of Nedao engaged in securing the Balkans for Rome and finding a permanent land to settle By 489 A.D the Emperor Zeno and Theodoric the Great were severely at odds with each other and the Ostrogoths began the final phase of their history as they began a trek to Italy They entered in 489 490, and by 493 Theodoric had killed his rival Odacer and set up the Ostrogothic kingdom, with Ravenna as his capitol After Theodoric s death in 526 A.D his daughter Amalasuntha became regent for her son Athalric after his death in 534 A.D., she mistakenly placed herself under the protection of her cousin Theodahad Her death in 535 A.D gave the Emperor Justinian a pretext for sending Belisarius to reconquer Italy When Justinian launched his armies against the Ostrogoths, he may have envisioned a quick victory of Belisarius, like that he had achieved over the Vandals If so, the Emperor was gravely mistaken but not foolishly na ve Page 204 In 552 A.D the Byzantine general Narses defeated Totila, who died in battle The survivors of the Ostrogoths chose Teja or Teias as their king, but were practically wiped out in the battle at Mons Lactarius in which Teja was also killed By 554 the Ostrogothic Kingdom was gone Page 215 The few survivors mingled with other peoples and nations some were romanized in Italy, and others wandered north where they disappeared among the various Germanic tribes In conclusion, again I cannot state everything I have taken away from this book but I think the author Thomas Burns says it best in his introduction, The Ostrogoths developed as a people over the course of at least three centuries of direct and indirect contact with the Roman Empire In essence, Rome nourished Gothic civilization throughout a long life and ultimately destroyed and buried her mature creation Introduction Xiii

  3. says:

    Thomas Burns faces the problem confronted by many historians writing about dimly perceived, partially literate tribes Even with the advent of modern archeological studies, there remains much we don t know about the Ostrogoths, and the gaps will probably persist, absent new major finds under the earth or in a forgotten ancient library somewhere.Burns can turn a phrase very eloquently, but in some ways, his writing is too dense to be called a clarification He assumes too much of his readers For example, if this is general history, most readers may not know the difference in tribal oppression between such Roman emperors as Valens and Diocletian Burns also does not give us much detail on how the Ostrogoths and Visigoths related to each other Visigoths clearly were vassal like, but did they pay tribute Maybe this is not known, but Burns leaves too much to the imagination.Burns is at his best describing the reign of Theodoric, and the disappointments faced in the attempts by his offspring to extend his rule We get a sense of what the Ostrogoths in power were like as they tried to rule a crumbling Italy from Ravenna, applying the Roman rules of law they knew only partially He gives a sense of how the assumption of power by Witigis in 536 AD almost represented a nostalgic return to form for the Ostrogothic tribe What does not come through in the description of Belisarius s and Narses s assaults on Italy, is what the Byzantine emperors, particularly Justinian, claimed for being able to determine the fate of both Eastern and Western Roman empires Sure, might makes right, but did Justinian simply assume he could use armies to put the barbarians back in their places The conclusion of the book was a disappointment because there was not a good analysis of the rule of Totila Baduila , the final great king of the Ostrogoths If we are to believe Gibbons, Totila was one of the most critical people of sixth century Europe Here he exists only as a two dimensional figure challenging Narses Maybe there is no way to make a fuzzy, dimly remembered character like Totila snap into focus In any event, Burns is too indirect and dense prose of a writer to bring clarity to these final years This book has some fascinating moments, but it is not the definitive work on the Ostrogoths.

  4. says:

    This is a very dense and thorough examination of the Ostrogoths Burns clearly studied them in every possible light and discussed nearly every study then available to him Certainly one of the best available on this group.

  5. says:

    Informative, but dense as unleavened Hefezopf Not to be undertaken lightly

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