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Empires of FaithThe Fall of Rome to the Rise of Islam, 500-700$
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Peter Sarris

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199261260

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199261260.001.0001

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Byzantium, the Balkans, and the West

Byzantium, the Balkans, and the West

The Late Sixth Century

(p.169) 5 Byzantium, the Balkans, and the West
Empires of Faith

Peter Sarris

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the East Roman position in the Balkans in the sixth century and the imperial response to mounting pressure caused by Slavonic raiders and settlers. The migration to the north of the Balkans of the Avars in the late sixth century is identified as a major destabilising factor, which also played a role in propelling Langobard settlers into northern Italy where recently restored Roman rule was undermined. The emergence of new political and social structures further West in Visigothic Hispania, Merovingian Gaul, and Lowland Britain are then examined. In Gaul (or ‘Francia”) in particular, there are signs of growing ambition and sophistication on the part of royal government. In Spain likewise, the conversion of the Visigoths to Catholic Christianity allowed for the emergence of a closer relationship between ruler and ruled, and in Britain new political and social hierarchies began to emerge.

Keywords:   Balkans, Slavs, Avars, Langobards, Visigoths, Franks, Anglo-Saxons, Christianity, kingship, urbanism

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