The thesis focuses on the socio-cultural interaction between Gallo-Romans and barbarians in fifth century Gaul. Its aim is to investigate how both Romans and barbarians, particularly the Gothic people, shared a common living space within imperial territory, how this space was created, and to which extent both sides assimilated with each other in terms of their cultural and political understanding. By moving away from the argument of brutal warfare as the main means of contact,I am trying instead to look more at the changes of their cultural understanding which eventually would lead to the world of the Middle Ages. The slow emergence of barbarian powerbases created a political world that was different from the Roman empire. The Gallo-Romans had to accept a new political order in which they not only faced the gradual loss of their former positions of political/military superiority but which also challenged their previously undisputed concept of cultural understanding;violent occupation of Roman territory was only one part of this process as there was simultaneously a continuation of Roman literature and culture in general possible. Gradual attempts at assimilation can be seen for example in the continuation of Gallo-Roman aristocratic involvement in the political establishment of the Gothic court, and the increasing role of the Gallo-Roman nobility in the church in general and in the Episcopate in particular. Equally the Gothic side had to adapt their political and cultural understanding to a new concept which was compatible with the Roman administration if they wanted to survive as ethnic communities within the empire; such political/military assimilation not only with the Roman empire but especially with the Gallo-Roman aristocracy was even more important when it came to the establishment of an independent Gothic settlement and eventually a Gothic kingdom in Gaul.
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