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Yale University: The Early Middle Ages, 284-1000 with Paul Freedman | 06/22 | Transformation of the Roman Empire

Map of the barbarian invasions of the Roman Empire showing the major incursions from 100 to 500 CE. Credit: MapMaster

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The Early Middle Ages, 284–1000 (HIST 210)

The Roman Empire in the West collapsed as a political entity in the fifth century although the Eastern part survived the crisis.. Professor Freedman considers this transformation through three main questions: Why did the West fall apart — because of the external pressure of invasions or the internal problems of institutional decline? Who were these invading barbarians? Finally, does this transformation mark a gradual shift or is it right to regard it as a cataclysmic end of civilization? Professor Freedman, as a moderate catastrophist, argues that this period marked the end of a particular civilization rather than the end of civilization in general.

00:00 – Chapter 1. Introduction
05:43 – Chapter 2. Catastrophe
18:43 – Chapter 3. The Roman Army and the Visigoths
28:25 – Chapter 4. Another Kind of Barbarian: The Huns
34:19 – Chapter 5. Accomodation
38:55 – Chapter 6. Decline