Over the course of the fifth to ninth centuries, the Roman Empire gave way in western Europe to several kingdoms initially founded by so-called 'barbarian' tribes. This thesis is a thematic assessment of the evolutionary trends that shaped this period. It respects and integrates the highly interconnected nature of these themes (politics and social structures, for instance). It is driven by a desire for synthesis, and in particular a desire to reconcile the economic arguments of Chris Wickham and Walter Goffart with the more political histories of Peter Heather and Guy Halsall. The institutions that define the early medieval era--localized, more feudal societies, power systems, and economies--will be seen to be the direct outcome of trends begun under the Empire. In fact, these trends began with the Romans' method for accommodating the arrival of the barbarian peoples in the fifth century.
Level of Degree
First Committee Member (Chair)
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
McDaniel, Ryan David. "Decline and Fall? The Institutional History of Post-Imperial Western Europe, AD 400-800." (2012). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/hist_etds/52