Exercitus barbarorum. The organisation and the warfare of the armies of Germanic people in the V-VI centruries in the Mediterranean Area

Marek Wilczyński

Uniwersytet Pedagogiczny im. Komisji Edukacji Narodowej w Krakowie , Poland


Organization of the armies of the barbarian states that emerged on the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea in the 5th and 6th centuries can only partially be recon­structed. Primary sources and archeological records vary depending on the state. The preserved evidence relating to the military power of the Vandals and Goths is relatively good, much less is known about the Svevs. All of the discussed barbar­ian armies were presumably grouped into units based on ten. Better insight can only be provided into the top military ranks. An interesting issue presented in the thesis is to what degree the former tribal structures were preserved and how far the Roman models were followed by the barbaric people. None of the armies of the kingdoms referred to above can fully be compared with the Germanic army that existed in the north of the Medieval Europe, which inevitably leads to sub­stantive errors. All the foregoing kingdoms had armies mostly composed of native warriors which, however, did not guarantee their purely Germanic character. The author tries to determine to what extent the Roman population or inhabitants of certain provinces, e.g. the Moors joined the military organizations of kingdoms under the Germanic rule. Examples of the Roman officers and commanders who sought carrier in the Gothic army or representatives of subdued nations serving in the Vandals’ navy or auxiliaries encourage to perform further study in this field.


Late Antiquity, Armies of Germanic People, Vandals, Goths, Svevs

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Wilczyński, M. (2015). Exercitus barbarorum. The organisation and the warfare of the armies of Germanic people in the V-VI centruries in the Mediterranean Area. Vox Patrum, 63, 287–305. https://doi.org/10.31743/vp.3565

Marek Wilczyński 
Uniwersytet Pedagogiczny im. Komisji Edukacji Narodowej w Krakowie


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