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By Sidney Painter
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Extra resources for A History of the Middle Ages 284–1500
The Germanic peoples who established states in the Mediterranean region were comparatively small in numbers, and existed as armies of occupation. They maintained their positions only so long as they were faced by no serious c::temies. The Ostrogoths and Vandals were overthrown by Justinian's armies, and a century and a half later the Visigoths were overwhelmed by the Moslems. Thus, although the Germans destroyed the military and political power of Rome in the western Mediterranean region, they were unable to replace it with any strong order of their own.
There is good reason to believe that immediately after the withdrawal of the legions Scottish adventurers from Ireland overran Britain and established small kingdoms on its soil. One of these kings who apparently ruled in both Ireland and part of Britain was the semimythical V ortigem. But the German raiders who had been harrying the coasts of Britain for a century or more did not cease their raids. And before long they were coming not only as plunderers but as settlers. In general the people of Roman Britain had lived on the high country with light soils and had avoided the heavy soils of the river valleys.
While the Arabs were conquering the Asiatic and African provinces of the empire, a new enemy had appeared in the north. In 679 the Bulgarians, a Turkish people closely allied to the Avars, crossed the lower Danube and occupied the region between the river and the Balkan mountains. In the early eighth century they took advantage of the weak emperors of the period to ravage imperial territory, and the year 7 1 z saw them at the walls of Constantinople. Thus in 717 the situation of the empire looked completely hopeless.
A History of the Middle Ages 284–1500 by Sidney Painter