Daily Archives: March 9, 2015

Protesters pack Wisconsin capital

Protesters pack Wisconsin capital http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-31801192

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Outside judge to take Ferguson cases

Outside judge to take Ferguson cases http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-31808148

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Lenka: Nothing Here But Love

Nothing Here But Love

Lenka – Blue Skies

Lenka – Blue Skies

‘Climate change’ banned for Florida officials

‘Climate change’ banned for Florida officials

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Tsarnaev trial: Surveillance footage revealed

Tsarnaev trial: Surveillance footage revealed

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From NPR News

47 GOP Senators Tell Iran They May Not Honor A Nuclear Deal http://n.pr/1E1D6sP

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States Fund Pregnancy Centers That Discourage Abortion http://n.pr/1BoXmWY

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From NPR News

3 Reasons Democrats Are Freaking Out About Hillary Clinton http://n.pr/1E1DEit

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From NPR News

Saudi Arabia Ramps Up Training To Repel Homegrown Terrorists http://n.pr/1BoyLBr

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Hunt for new obesity pills

Hunt for new obesity pills http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-31794430

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HRT-users ‘may risk clots and stroke’

HRT-users ‘may risk clots and stroke’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-31794435

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The Princess and the homeless Vogue reader

The Princess and the homeless Vogue reader http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-31799543

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Japanese women at a crossroads

Japanese women at a crossroads http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-31792714

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Five ways to stay in power in Central Asia

Five ways to stay in power in Central Asia http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-31705746

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Islamic State ex-hostage Henin: Asking for pity is stupid

Islamic State ex-hostage Henin: Asking for pity is stupid http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-31806085

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One-man rule in Israel’s hippy micro-state

One-man rule in Israel’s hippy micro-state http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-31800580

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Birds that bring gifts and do the gardening

Birds that bring gifts and do the gardening http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-31795681

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Dutch ‘drug money’ ministers resign

Dutch ‘drug money’ ministers resign http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-31806086

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CNN : ICE arrests more than 2,000 fugitive immigrants

ICE arrests more than 2,000 fugitive immigrants

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Court upholds Qadri death sentence

Court upholds Qadri death sentence http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-31794760

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Madison police leaders: This won’t be Ferguson

Madison police leaders: This won’t be Ferguson

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US declares Venezuela a threat, sanctions top officials


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Greece told to ‘stop wasting time’

Greece told to ‘stop wasting time’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-31793145

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‘Simpsons’ co-creator dies at age 59

‘Simpsons’ co-creator dies at age 59 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-31801198

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Obama mocks Congress letter to Iran

Obama mocks Congress letter to Iran http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-31796235

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France 24

What does Boko Haram’s ‘allegiance’ to IS group mean for the West?


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From NPR News

Obama Imposes Sanctions On Venezuela, Invoking Emergency Powers http://n.pr/1Bp1mGP

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German woman, 19, killed fighting IS

German woman, 19, killed fighting IS http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-31796228

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Wisconsin protests over teen death

Wisconsin protests over teen death http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-31801192

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Egypt schoolboy dies after beating

Egypt schoolboy dies after beating http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-31797834

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Fresh US sanctions on Venezuela

Fresh US sanctions on Venezuela http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-31804925

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Congress ‘interfering on Iran talks’

Congress ‘interfering on Iran talks’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-31796235

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HSBC accused of incompetence by MPs

HSBC accused of incompetence by MPs http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-31799405

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New arrests over Paris attacks

New arrests over Paris attacks http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-31803331

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Solar plane journey’s first leg ends

Solar plane journey’s first leg ends http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-31772140

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Nine foreigners ‘kidnapped’ in Libya

Nine foreigners ‘kidnapped’ in Libya http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-31802393

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This Pressed-every life counts: Africa – Egypt schoolboy dies after teacher beating, ministry says – France 24

Latest update : 2015-03-09

A Cairo schoolboy died on Sunday after being severely beaten by his teacher who has now been suspended, Egypt’s education ministry said as an inquiry was launched.

Corporal punishment is common in Egyptian schools, where official negligence has been blamed for the deaths in late 2014 of two children in accidents because of badly maintained equipment.

The 12-year-old pupil died on Sunday “after being beaten by a teacher the previous day”, a ministry statement said.

It said the teacher has been suspended and an “urgent inquiry” started to determine the circumstances of the boy’s death.

The child had head injuries and suffered a brain haemorrhage, forensics department chief Hisham Abdel Hamid told AFP.

The number of child abuse cases in Egypt has reached alarming proportions.

Between January 2014 and the end of October, attacks on children increased by 55 percent compared with the average over the previous three years, the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood said in December.

It said 50 percent of the cases of violence against children were registered in schools.

In September, the director of a Cairo orphanage was sentenced to three years in jail for assaulting minors.

Video footage posted on the Internet show him beating children who run away screaming.


Date created : 2015-03-09

via Africa – Egypt schoolboy dies after teacher beating, ministry says – France 24.

this pressed: U.N. inquiry on Gaza war crimes seeks delay of report to June: statement

U.N. inquiry on Gaza war crimes seeks delay of report to June: statement.

GENEVA (Reuters) – U.N. investigators looking at possible war crimes committed by all sides during the Gaza war last year have asked to postpone publication of their report from March until June to consider further evidence received, a U.N. statement said on Monday.

Their report on violations by Israeli armed forces and Hamas militants in Gaza during the July-August conflict was due to be issued to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 23.

In a statement, Council President Joachim Ruecker said that he backed the request for a deferral to June 2015 to finalize a comprehensive report by the team of investigators. The 47-nation Council is expected to approve the postponement before its ongoing main annual session ends on March 27.

The commission of inquiry’s former chairman, William Schabas, stepped down last month after Israeli allegations of bias due to consultancy work he did for the Palestine Liberation Organisation. Israel wants the report shelved.

Mary McGowan Davis, who succeeded Schabas as chair, said in a letter to Council president Ruecker, also made public on Monday: “In this context, the Commission must analyze with the utmost objectivity the large number of additional submissions and documents received over the past few weeks from both sides, relating to the fact-finding dimension of our mandate.”

Some 2,256 Palestinians were killed during the latest Gaza conflict, of whom 1,563 were civilians including 538 children, while 66 Israeli soldiers and five civilians died, U.N. special rapporteur Makarim Wibisono said in a separate report last week. He called on Israel to investigate killings of civilians.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

09/03/2015 19:26     by: Reuters: World News

via U.N. inquiry on Gaza war crimes seeks delay of report to June: statement.

Vine,vine primavara Flory Florentza Flory Florentza

Vine,vine primavara

Itzhak Perlman Vivaldi The Four Seasons Spring : (“vine, vine primavara, se astene-n toata tara…”

just a thought: Frunza verde de mohor, usor Martie, usor- doar ca din cand in cand primavara vine peste noapte, si cu un explozie senzoriala de culori calde, miresme-ametitoare, iinsecte ametite si ieranteti astenici, adormiti pe bancile insorite din, Cismigiu (desi s-ar putea sa fie orice parc, cu sau fara iaz, din Bucuresti, sau din alte orase, si orasele! Primavara e sezonunul meu favorit, si nimeni nu o celebreaza asa de frumos ca Vivaldi


Itzhak Perlman Vivaldi The Four Seasons Spring

Dark Ages (historiography)

Dark Ages (historiography)


Petrarch, who conceived the idea of a European “Dark Age #1”. From Cycle of Famous Men and Women, Andrea di Bartolo di Bargilla, c. 1450

 The Dark Ages is a historical periodization used originally for the Middle Ages, which emphasizes the cultural and economic deterioration that supposedly occurred in Western Europe following the decline of the Roman Empire.[1][2] The label employs traditional light-versus-darkness imagery to contrast the “darkness” of the period with earlier and later periods of “light”.[3] The period is characterized by a relative scarcity of historical and other written records at least for some areas of Europe, rendering it obscure to historians. The term “Dark Age” derives from the Latin saeculum obscurum, originally applied by Caesar Baronius in 1602 to a tumultuous period in the 10th and 11th centuries.[4]

The term once characterized the bulk of the Middle Ages, or roughly the 6th to 13th centuries, as a period of intellectual darkness between extinguishing the “light of Rome” after the end of Late Antiquity, and the rise of the Italian Renaissance in the 14th century.[3][5] This definition is still found in popular use,[1][2][6] but increased recognition of the accomplishments of the Middle Ages has led to the label being restricted in application. Since the 20th century, it is frequently applied to the earlier part of the era, the Early Middle Ages (c. 5th–10th century).[7][8] However, many modern scholars who study the era tend to avoid the term altogether for its negative connotations, finding it misleading and inaccurate for any part of the Middle Ages.[9][10][11]

The concept of a Dark Age originated with the Italian scholar Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca) in the 1330s, and was originally intended as a sweeping criticism of the character of Late Latin literature.[3][12] Petrarch regarded the post-Roman centuries as “dark” compared to the light of classical antiquity. Later historians expanded the term to refer to the transitional period between Roman times and the High Middle Ages (c. 11th–13th century), including the lack of Latin literature, and a lack of contemporary written history, general demographic decline, limited building activity and material cultural achievements in general. Later historians and writers picked up the concept, and popular culture has further expanded on it as a vehicle to depict the early Middle Ages as a time of backwardness, extending its pejorative use and expanding its scope.[13]


Main article: Medievalism

The term “Dark Ages” originally was intended to denote the entire period between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance; the term “Middle Ages” has a similar motivation, implying an intermediate period between Classical Antiquity and the Modern era. In the 19th century scholars began to recognize the accomplishments made during the period, thereby challenging the image of the Middle Ages as a time of darkness and decay.[6] Now the term is not used by scholars to refer to the entire medieval period;[10] when used, it is generally restricted to the Early Middle Ages.[1]

The rise of archaeology and other specialties in the 20th century has shed much light on the period and offered a more nuanced understanding of its positive developments.[13] Other terms of periodization have come to the fore: Late Antiquity, the Early Middle Ages, and the Great Migrations, depending on which aspects of culture are being emphasized. When modern scholarly study of the Middle Ages arose in the 19th century, the term “Dark Ages” was at first kept, with all its critical overtones. On the rare occasions when the term “Dark Ages” is used by historians today, it is intended to be neutral, namely, to express the idea that the events of the period often seem “dark” because of the scarcity of artistic and cultural output,[14] including historical records, when compared with both earlier and later times.[10]


Triumph of Christianity by Tommaso Laureti (1530–1602), ceiling painting in the Sala di Constantino, Vatican Palace. Images like this one celebrate the triumph of Christianity over the paganism of Antiquity

The idea of a Dark Age originated with Petrarch in the 1330s.[3][6] Writing of those who had come before him, he said: “Amidst the errors there shone forth men of genius; no less keen were their eyes, although they were surrounded by darkness and dense gloom”.[15] Christian writers, including Petrarch himself,[3] had long used traditional metaphors of “light versus darkness” to describe “good versus evil“. Petrarch was the first to co-opt the metaphor and give it secular meaning by reversing its application. Classical Antiquity, so long considered the “dark” age for its lack of Christianity, was now seen by Petrarch as the age of “light” because of its cultural achievements, while Petrarch’s time, allegedly lacking such cultural achievements, was seen as the age of darkness.[3]

As an Italian, Petrarch saw the Roman Empire and the classical period as expressions of Italian greatness.[3] He spent much of his time travelling through Europe rediscovering and republishing classic Latin and Greek texts. He wanted to restore the classical Latin language to its former purity. Humanists saw the preceding 900-year period as a time of stagnation. They saw history unfolding, not along the religious outline of Saint Augustine‘s Six Ages of the World, but in cultural (or secular) terms through the progressive developments of classical ideals, literature, and art.

Petrarch wrote that history had two periods: the classic period of the Greeks and Romans, followed by a time of darkness, in which he saw himself as still living. In around 1343, in the conclusion to his epic Africa, he wrote: “My fate is to live among varied and confusing storms. But for you perhaps, if as I hope and wish you will live long after me, there will follow a better age. This sleep of forgetfulness will not last for ever. When the darkness has been dispersed, our descendants can come again in the former pure radiance.”[16] In the 15th century, historians Leonardo Bruni and Flavio Biondo developed a three tier outline of history. They used Petrarch’s two ages, plus a modern, “better age”, which they believed the world had entered. The term “Middle Ages,” in Latin media tempestas (1469) or medium aevum (1604), was later used to describe the period of supposed decline.[17]


During the Protestant Reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries, Protestants wrote of the Middle Ages as a period of Catholic corruption. Just as Petrarch’s writing was not an attack on Christianity per se — along with his humanism, he was deeply occupied with the search for God — neither was this an attack on Christianity: it was a drive to restore what Protestants saw as biblical Christianity.

The Magdeburg Centuries was a work of ecclesiastical history compiled by Lutheran scholars and published between 1559 and 1574. Devoting a volume to each century, it covered the first thirteen centuries of Christianity up to 1298. The work was virulently anti-Catholic. Identifying the Papacy as the Antichrist, it painted a “dark” picture of church history after the 5th century, characterizing it as “increments of errors and their corrupting influences”.


In response to the Protestants, Roman Catholics developed a counter-image, depicting the High Middle Ages in particular as a period of social and religious harmony, and not “dark” at all.[18] The most important Catholic reply to the Magdeburg Centuries was the Annales Ecclesiastici by Cardinal Caesar Baronius. Baronius was a trained historian who kept theology in the background and produced a work that the Encyclopædia Britannica in 1911 described as “far surpassing anything before his day”[19] and that Acton regarded as “the greatest history of the Church ever written”.[20] The Annales, covering the first twelve centuries of Christianity up to 1198, was published in twelve volumes between 1588 and 1607. It was in Volume X that Baronius coined the term “dark age” for the period between the end of the Carolingian Empire in 888[21] and the first inklings of the Gregorian Reform under Pope Clement II in 1046:

The new age (saeculum) which was beginning, for its harshness and barrenness of good could well be called iron, for its baseness and abounding evil leaden, and moreover for its lack of writers (inopia scriptorum) dark (obscurum).[22]

Significantly, Baronius termed the age “dark” because of the paucity of written records capable of throwing light on it for the historian. The “lack of writers” he referred to may be illustrated by comparing the number of volumes in Migne‘s Patrologia Latina containing the work of Latin writers from the 10th century (the heart of the age he called “dark”) with the number of volumes containing the work of writers from the preceding and succeeding centuries. A minority of these writers were historians.

Volumes of Patrologia Latina per century[23]
Century Migne Volume Nos Volumes
7th 80–88 8
8th 89–96 7
9th 97–130 33
10th 131–138 7
11th 139–151 12
12th 162–191 39
13th 192–217 25

Medieval production of manuscripts.[24] The beginning of the Middle Ages was also a period of low activity in copying.

 There is a sharp drop from 33 volumes in the 9th century to just 7 in the 10th. The 11th century, with 12 volumes, evidences a certain recovery, and the 12th century, with 39, surpasses the 9th, something the 13th, with just 25 volumes, fails to do. There was indeed a “dark age”, in Baronius’s sense of a “lack of writers”, between the Carolingian Renaissance in the 9th century and the beginnings, some time in the 11th, of what has been called the Renaissance of the 12th century. Furthermore, besides the “dark age” named by Baronius, there was an earlier one, for regarding “lack of writers” the 7th and 8th centuries are pretty much on a par with the 10th. In short, in Western Europe during the 1st millennium, two “dark ages” can be identified, separated by the brilliant but all too brief Carolingian Renaissance.

Baronius’s “dark age” seems to have struck historians as something they could use, for it was in the 17th century that the terms “dark age” and “dark ages” started to proliferate in the various European languages, with his original Latin term, “saeculum obscurum”, being reserved for the period he had applied it to. But while some historians, following Baronius’s lead, used “dark age” neutrally to refer to a dearth of written records, others, in the manner of the early humanists and Protestants (and later the Enlightenment writers and their successors right up to the present day) used it pejoratively, lapsing into that lack of neutrality and objectivity that has quite spoilt the term for many modern historians.

The first British historian to use the term was most likely Gilbert Burnet, in the form “darker ages”, which appears several times in his work in the last quarter of the 17th century. His earliest use of it seems to have been in 1679 in the “Epistle Dedicatory” to Volume I of The History of the Reformation of the Church of England, where he writes: “The design of the reformation was to restore Christianity to what it was at first, and to purge it of those corruptions, with which it was overrun in the later and darker ages.”[25] He uses it again in 1682 in Volume II of the History, where he dismisses the story of “St George’s fighting with the dragon” as “a legend formed in the darker ages to support the humour of chivalry”.[26] Burnet was a Protestant bishop chronicling how England became Protestant and his use of the term is invariably pejorative.


During the 17th and 18th centuries, in the Age of Enlightenment, many critical thinkers saw religion as antithetical to reason. For them the Middle Ages, or “Age of Faith”, was therefore the polar opposite of the Age of Reason.[27] Kant and Voltaire, among others, were vocal in attacking the religiously dominated Middle Ages as a period of social regress, while Gibbon in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire expressed contempt for the “rubbish of the Dark Ages”.[28] Yet just as Petrarch, seeing himself on the threshold of a “new age”, was criticizing the centuries until his own time, so too were the Enlightenment writers criticizing the centuries until their own. These extended well after Petrarch’s time, since religious domination and conflict were still common into the 17th century and beyond, albeit diminished in scope.

Consequently, an evolution had occurred in at least three ways. Petrarch’s original metaphor of light versus dark had been expanded in time, implicitly at least. Even if the early humanists after him no longer saw themselves living in a dark age, their times were still not light enough for 18th-century writers who saw themselves as living in the real Age of Enlightenment, while the period covered by their own condemnation had been stretched to include what we now call Early Modern times. Additionally, Petrarch’s metaphor of darkness, which he used mainly to deplore what he saw as a lack of secular achievements, was sharpened to take on a more explicitly anti-religious and anti-clerical meaning.

In spite of this, the term “Middle Ages”, used by Biondo and other early humanists after Petrarch, was the name in general use before the 18th century to denote the period until the Renaissance. The earliest recorded use of the English word “medieval” was in 1827. The concept of the Dark Ages was also in use, but by the 18th century, it tended to be confined to the earlier part of this medieval period. The earliest entry for a capitalised “Dark Ages” in the Oxford English Dictionary is a reference in Henry Thomas Buckle‘s History of Civilization in England in 1857.[1] Starting and ending dates varied: the Dark Ages were considered by some to start in 410, by others in 476 when there was no longer an emperor in Rome, and to end about 800, at the time of the Carolingian Renaissance under Charlemagne, or to extend through the rest of the 1st millennium.


In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the Romantics reversed the negative assessment of Enlightenment critics and launched a vogue for medievalism.[29] The word “Gothic” had been a term of opprobrium akin to “Vandal” until a few self-confident mid-18th-century English “Goths” like Horace Walpole initiated the Gothic Revival in the arts. This sparked off an interest in the Middle Ages, which for the following Romantic generation began to take on an idyllic image of the “Age of Faith”. This image, in reaction to a world dominated by Enlightenment rationalism in which reason trumped emotion, expressed a romantic view of a Golden Age of chivalry. The Middle Ages were seen with romantic nostalgia as a period of social and environmental harmony and spiritual inspiration, in contrast to the excesses of the French Revolution and, most of all, to the environmental and social upheavals and sterile utilitarianism of the emerging industrial revolution.[30] The Romantics’ view of these earlier centuries can still be seen in modern-day fairs and festivals celebrating the period with costumes and events.

Just as Petrarch had turned the meaning of light versus darkness, so had the Romantics turned the judgment of Enlightenment critics. However, the period idealized by the Romantics focused largely on what is now known as the High Middle Ages, extending into Early Modern times. In one respect, this was a reversal of the religious aspect of Petrarch’s judgment, since these later centuries were those when the universal power and prestige of the Church was at its height. To many users of the term, the scope of the Dark Ages was becoming divorced from this period, denoting mainly the earlier centuries after the fall of Rome.

Modern academic use (read more HERE)

Migration Period (Migrarea popoarelor)

Migration Period

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Migration Period
Map of Europe, with colored lines denoting migration routes

Time 376–700 AD
Place Europe and Northern Africa
Event Tribes invading the declining Roman Empire

The Migration Period, also known as the Völkerwanderung[1] (“migration of peoples” in German), was a period of intensified human migration in Europe often defined, from the period when it seriously impacted the Roman world, as running from about 376 to 800 AD[2][3] during the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages. This period was marked by profound changes both within the Roman Empire and beyond its “barbarian frontier”. The migrants who came first were Germanic tribes such as the Goths, Vandals, Angles, Saxons, Lombards, Suebi, Frisii, Jutes and Franks; they were later pushed westwards by the Huns, Avars, Slavs, Bulgars and Alans.[4] Later migrations (such as the Arab conquest and Viking, Norman, Hungarian, Moorish, Turkic, and Mongol invasions) also had significant effects (especially in North Africa, the Iberian peninsula, Anatolia and Central and Eastern Europe); however, they are outside the scope of the Migration Period.


Origins of Germanic tribes

Germanic peoples moved out of southern Scandinavia and Germany[5][6] to the adjacent lands between the Elbe and Oder after 1000 BC. The first wave moved westward and southward (pushing the resident Celts west to the Rhine by about 200 BC) and moving into southern Germany up to the Roman province of Gaul by 100 BC, where they were stopped by Gaius Marius and Julius Caesar. It is this western group which was described by the Roman historian Tacitus (56–117 AD) and Julius Caesar (100–44 BC). A later wave of Germanic tribes migrated eastward and southward from Scandinavia between 600 and 300 BC to the opposite coast of the Baltic Sea, moving up the Vistula near the Carpathians. During Tacitus‘ era they included lesser known tribes such as the Tencteri, Cherusci, Hermunduri and Chatti; however, a period of federation and intermarriage resulted in the familiar groups known as the Alemanni, Franks, Saxons, Frisians and Thuringians.[7]

First phase

The Migration Period may be divided into two phases. The first phase, occurring between AD 300 and 500, is partly documented by Greek and Latin historians but difficult to verify archaeologically. It put Germanic peoples in control of most areas of the then-Western Roman Empire.[8] The Tervingi entered Roman territory (after a clash with the Huns) in 376. Some time thereafter in Marcianopolis, the escort to Fritigern (their leader) was killed while meeting with Lupicinus.[9] The Tervingi rebelled, and the Visigoths, a group derived either from the Tervingi or from a fusion of mainly Gothic groups, eventually invaded Italy and sacked Rome in 410, before settling in Iberia and founding a kingdom that lasted for 300 years. They were followed into Roman territory by the Ostrogoths, led by Theodoric the Great, who settled in Italy. In Gaul the Franks (a fusion of western Germanic tribes whose leaders had been aligned with Rome since the third century AD) entered Roman lands gradually and peacefully during the fifth century, and were accepted as rulers by the Roman-Gaulish population. Fending off challenges from the Allemanni, Burgundians, and Visigoths, the Frankish kingdom became the nucleus of the future France and Germany. The initial Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain occurred during the fifth century, when Roman control of Britain had come to an end.[10]

Second phase

The second phase took place between 500 and 700 and saw Slavic tribes settling in central and eastern Europe (particularly in eastern Magna Germania), gradually making it predominantly Slavic.[11] Additionally, Turkic tribes such as the Avars were involved in this phase. In 567, the Avars and the Lombards destroyed much of the Gepid Kingdom. The Lombards, a Germanic people, settled in northern Italy in the region now known as Lombardy. The Central Asian Bulgars had occupied the Pontic steppe north of Caucasus since the second century, but after, pushed by the Khazars, the majority of them migrated west and dominated Byzantine territories along the lower Danube in the seventh century.

During the early Byzantine–Arab Wars the Arab armies attempted to invade southeast Europe via Asia Minor during the late seventh and early eighth centuries, but were defeated at the siege of Constantinople by the joint forces of Byzantium and the Bulgars. During the Khazar–Arab Wars, the Khazars stopped the Arab expansion into Europe across the Caucasus. At the same time, the Moors (consisting of Arabs and Berbers) invaded Europe via Gibraltar (conquering Hispania—the Iberian Peninsula—from the Visigothic Kingdom in 711), before being halted by the Franks at the Battle of Tours in 732. These battles largely fixed the frontier between Christendom and Islam for the next millennium. The following centuries saw the Muslims successful in conquering Sicily from the Christians.

The Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin from around 895, and the Viking expansion from the late 8th century may be taken to mark the last large movements of the period. All the barbarian peoples were gradually Christianized and integrated into the medieval Christian order.

Climatic factors

A number of contemporary historical references worldwide refer to an extended period of extreme weather during 535–536. Evidence of this cold period is also found in dendrochronology and ice cores. The consequences of this cold period are debated.


Barbarian identity

The analysis of barbarian identity and how it was created and expressed during the Migration Age has elicited discussion among scholars. Herwig Wolfram (a historian of the Goths),[12] in discussing the equation of migratio gentium with Völkerwanderung, observes that Michael Schmidt introduced the equation in his 1778 history of the Germans. Wolfram observed that the significance of gens as a biological community was shifting even during the early Middle Ages; “to complicate matters, we have no way of devising a terminology that is not derived from the concept of nationhood created during the French Revolution“.

The “primordialistic”[13] paradigm prevailed during the 19th century. Scholars such as German linguist Johann Gottfried Herder viewed tribes as coherent biological (racial) entities, using the term to refer to discrete ethnic groups.[14] He believed that the Volk were an organic whole, with a core identity and spirit evident in art, literature and language. These were seen as intrinsic characteristics unaffected by external influences, even conquest.[15] Language, in particular, was seen as the most important expression of ethnicity. They argued that groups sharing the same (or similar) language possessed a common identity and ancestry.[16] The Romantic ideal that there had once been a single German, Celtic or Slavic people who originated from a common homeland and spoke a common tongue helped provide a conceptual framework for political movements of the 18th and 19th centuries such as Pan-Germanism and Pan-Slavism.[15]

Beginning in the 1960s a reinterpretation of archaeological and historic evidence prompted scholars (such as Goffart and Todd) to propose new models for explaining the construction of barbarian identity, maintaining that no sense of shared identity was perceived by the Germani;[17][18][19] a similar theory has been proposed for Celtic and Slavic groups.[20] This theory states that the primordialist mode of thinking was encouraged by a prima facie interpretation of Graeco-Roman sources, which grouped together many tribes under such labels as Germani, Keltoi or Sclavenoi (encouraging their perception as distinct peoples). Modernists argue that the uniqueness perceived by specific groups was based on common political and economic interests, rather than biological or racial distinctions.

The role of language in constructing and maintaining group identity can be ephemeral, since large-scale language shifts occur commonly in history.[21] Modernists propose the idea of “imagined communities”; the barbarian polities in late antiquity were social constructs, rather than changeless lines of blood kinship.[22] The process of forming tribal units was called “ethnogenesis“, a term coined by Soviet scholar Julian Bromley.[23] The Austrian school (led by Reinhard Wenskus) popularized this idea, which influenced medievalists such as Herwig Wolfram, Walter Pohl and Patrick Geary.[17] It argues that the stimulus for forming tribal polities was perpetuated by a small nucleus of people, known as the Traditionskern (“kernel of tradition”), who were a military or aristocratic elite. This core group formed a standard for larger units, gathering adherents by employing amalgamative metaphors such as kinship and aboriginal commonality and claiming that they perpetuated an ancient, divinely-sanctioned lineage.[24]

A capable soldier would be able to assume the group identity without being born into the “tribe”. “A victorious campaign confirmed [the leaders’] right to rule and drew [to] them an ever-growing people who accepted and shared in their identity”.[24] In time, these heterogeneous armies grew into a new people possessing “a strong belief in a common biological origin”.[25] Halsall argues that no objectively-definable criterion can be consistently used to distinguish ethnic groups from one another: language, social customs, geographic habitation, religion or a common origin. “The only common factor in defining ethnicity is belief: in the reality of your group and the difference to others”.[26]

Walter Pohl highlights the dynamic nature of group identity, proposing that during the Migration Period people could live in circumstances of “ethnic ambiguity”. Given that ethnicity was important for the upper classes, they could adopt multiple ethnicities to secure the allegiance of their partners and followers: a phenomenon referred to as “situational ethnicity”.[26] To advance socially, one needed to “grow into a dominating group with high prestige, to copy its lifestyle”.[27] The process of assimilation could produce “a wide variety of transitional stages”.[28] Followers could also disband from larger units. Factions arose, challenging the right to lead the people and uphold their traditions. Conversely defeat by an external power could mean the end of a ruler and his people, who were absorbed into the victorious confederacy.[29] “Seen in this light, ‘ethnic’ identity among barbarians was extraordinarily fluid, as new groups emerged and old ones disappeared”.

Peter Heather suggests that constructionism and modernism represent two extremes of the spectrum of possibilities. The process of assimilation and appropriation of new group identity varied from group to group. He alludes to literary sources, which describe two contrasting models of interaction: the Sclavenes were prepared (after a given period) to accept prisoners as full and free members of their tribal groups; on the other hand, the Huns (although incorporating non-Hun groups) kept them separate and subordinate. Rather than being aristocratic kernels, he argues that the identity of tribal groups was maintained by a contingent of “notables” and freemen. He clarifies that while groups like the Goths were multi-ethnic, full assimilation was not the rule.[30] He proposes that conquered groups held a subordinate status either as otherwise-autonomous tribute-payers or as disadvantaged strata within mixed settlements. Even when a homogeneous material culture arose, disparate groups were likely to preserve their unique identity and language.[31]

Whatever the case, this process of building large-scale group identity was particularly evident along the Roman frontier, prompted by the example of Roman provincial life and the threat of Roman attack.[32] Ethnicity was a complex, subjective and multi-layered process, and the Migration Period saw groups rise and fall. Confederations like the Huns and the Vandals arose, to vanish abruptly within a few generations. Other, previously-obscure groups (like the Angles and the Franks) created enduring polities. Even ancient groups like the Goths (who existed from late antiquity until the Middle Ages) underwent profound transformation. Given constant migrations, changing allegiances, and new cultural appropriations, all that remained constant was their Gothic name.[33] As Thomas Noble states, “tribes are no longer imagined to have been “marching for centuries at a time in ordered ranks with homogeneous ethnic compositions” from a distant, localized homeland across Europe into a settlement on Roman soil:

“The common, track-filled map of the Völkerwanderung may illustrate such [a] course of events, but it misleads. Unfolded over long periods of time, the changes of position that took place were necessarily irregular … (with) periods of emphatic discontinuity. For decades and possibly centuries, the tradition bearers idled, and the tradition itself hibernated. There was ample time for forgetfulness to do its work”.[34]

“Invasion” versus “migration”

Historians have postulated several explanations for the appearance of “barbarians” on the Roman frontier: weather and crops, population pressure, a “primeval urge” to push into the Mediterranean, or the “domino effect” (whereby the Huns fell upon the Goths who, in turn, pushed other Germanic tribes before them). Entire barbarian tribes (or nations) flooded into Roman provinces,[citation needed] ending classical urbanism and beginning new types of rural settlements.[35] In general, French and Italian scholars have tended to view this as a catastrophic event: the destruction of a civilization and the beginning of a “Dark Age” which set Europe back a millennium.[35] In contrast, German and English historians have tended to see it as the replacement of a “tired, effete and decadent Mediterranean civilization” with a “more virile, martial, Nordic one”.[35] Rather than “invasion”, German and Slavic scholars use the term “migration” (German: Völkerwanderung, Czech: Stěhování národů, Swedish: folkvandring and Hungarian: népvándorlás), Romanian: migrarea popoarelor, aspiring to the idea of a dynamic and “wandering Indo-Germanic people”.[36]

The scholar Guy Halsall has seen the barbarian movement as the result of the fall of the Roman Empire, not as its cause.[35] Archaeological finds have confirmed that Germanic and Slavic tribes were settled agriculturalists[37] who were probably merely “drawn into the politics of an empire already falling apart for quite a few other causes”. The Crisis of the Third Century caused significant changes within the Roman Empire, in both its western and eastern portions.[38] In particular, economic fragmentation removed many of the political, cultural and economic forces which had held the empire together.[39] The rural population in Roman provinces became distanced from the metropolis, and there was little to differentiate them from other peasants across the Roman frontier. In addition, Rome increasingly used foreign mercenaries to defend itself. This “barbarisation” of the Empire was paralleled by changes within barbaricum. For example, the Roman Empire played a vital role in building up barbarian groups along its frontier. Propped up with imperial support and gifts, the armies of allied barbarian chieftains served as buffers against hostile barbarian groups. The disintegration of Roman economic power weakened groups that had come to depend on Roman gifts for the maintenance of their own power. With the arrival of the Huns, this prompted many groups to invade the provinces for economic reasons.[40]

The nature of the barbarian takeover of former Roman provinces varied from region to region. For example, in Aquitaine the provincial administration was largely self-reliant. Halsall has argued that local rulers simply “handed over” military rule to the Ostrogoths, acquiring the identity of the newcomers.[8] In Gaul the collapse of imperial rule resulted in anarchy: the Franks and Alemanni were pulled into the ensuing “power vacuum”,[41] resulting in conflict. In Spain local aristocrats maintained independent rule for some time, raising their own armies against the Vandals. Meanwhile, the Roman withdrawal from lowland England resulted in conflict between Saxons and the Brythonic chieftains (whose centres of power retreated westward as a result). The Eastern Roman Empire attempted to maintain control of the Balkan provinces, despite a thinly-spread imperial army that relied mainly on local militias and an extensive effort to re-fortify the Danubian limes. The ambitious fortification efforts collapsed, worsening the impoverished conditions of the local populace and resulting in colonization by Slavic warriors and their families.[42]

Halsall and Noble have argued that such changes stemmed from the breakdown in Roman political control, which exposed the weakness of local Roman rule. Instead of large-scale migrations, there were military takeovers by small groups of warriors and their families (who usually numbered in the tens of thousands). This process involved active, conscious decision-making by Roman provincial populations. The collapse of centralized control severely weakened the sense of Roman identity in the provinces, which may explain why the provinces underwent dramatic cultural changes at this time even though few barbarians settled in them.[43] Ultimately, the Germanic groups in the Western Roman Empire were accommodated without “dispossessing or overturning indigenous society” and maintained a structured and hierarchical (albeit attenuated) form of Roman administration.[44] Ironically, they lost their unique identity as a result of this accommodation and were absorbed into Latinhood. In contrast, in the east, Slavic tribes maintained a more “spartan and egalitarian”[45] existence bound to the land “even in times when they took their part in plundering Roman provinces”.[46] Their organizational models were not Roman, and their leaders were not normally dependent on Roman gold for success. Thus, they arguably had a greater effect on their region than the Goths, Franks or Saxons had on theirs.[47]


Based on the belief that particular types of artifacts (generally elements of personal adornment found in a funerary context) are thought to indicate the race and/or ethnicity of the person buried, the “Culture-History” school of archaeology assumed that archaeological cultures represent the Urheimat (homeland) of tribal polities named in historical sources.[48] As a consequence, the shifting extensions of material cultures were interpreted as the expansion of peoples.[49] Influenced by constructionism, process-driven archaeologists rejected the Culture-Historical doctrine;[49] they marginalized the discussion of ethnicity altogether, and focused on the intragroup dynamics which generated such material remains. Moreover, they argued that adoption of new cultures could occur through trade or internal political developments rather than military takeovers.

Many scholars take a more moderate position. While recognizing that artifacts do not possess an inherent “ethnic ascription”, some artifacts may have been used as “emblems in identity and otherness – of belonging and exclusions”.[50] Peter Heather suggests that although shifts in culture should not solely rely on migratory explanations, there is no reason to a priori rule them out (especially if there is evidence from literary sources).[51] Profound changes in culture (and language) could occur through the influx of a ruling elite with minimal (or no) impact on overall population composition,[52] especially if it occurs when the indigenous population is receptive to such changes.



Beethoven – 12 Variations on “Se vuol ballare” for violin and piano, WoO 40

Beethoven – 12 Variations on “Se vuol ballare” for violin and piano, WoO 40

Pino Feola plays Domenico Scarlatti – Sonata K 380

Pino Feola plays Domenico Scarlatti – Sonata K 380

Robert Schumann Symphony No 3 “Rhenish” in E flat major, Op 97 Bernstein

this pressed: From bust to boom: How the world became addicted to debt – Telegraph

The map above shows the current state of public indebtedness across the globe. Government debt as grown by $27 trillion in the eight years since the financial crisis, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.

From bust to boom: How the world became addicted to debt

Mapped: Eight years on from the financial crisis, the global economy is still awash with record levels of debt. Click on the countries to find who’s in the red and who’s in the black

By and large, the story of the global economy is one in which emerging markets have loaded on debt, while the developed world has struggled to reduce the burdens it amassed in the wake of banking bail-outs and years of stagnant economic growth. The Bank of International Settlements calculates the public sector debt of the G7 countries has grown by 40 percentage points to 120pc of GDP since the crisis began.

via From bust to boom: How the world became addicted to debt – this Telegraph.

this pressed- Think about it: Afrique – Pour Abdoulaye Diop, “l’attaque à Bamako est “une attaque contre la paix” – France 24

© Capture d’écran France 24 | Abdoulaye Diop, ministre malien des Affaires étrangères, était l’invité de France 24, lundi 9 mars 2015

Deux jours après les attaques de Bamako, le ministre malien des Affaires étrangères a dénoncé “les forces hostiles à la paix”. Il appelle les Mouvements de l’Azawad à “se déterminer dans les meilleurs délais”.

Abdoulaye Diop, ministre malien des Affaires étrangères, a rencontré, lundi 9 mars, son homologue français, Laurent Fabius, à Paris. La sécurité a été au centre des discussions après un week end meurtrier au Mali. Dimanche, une attaque a eu lieu contre un camp de l’ONU dans le nord du pays faisant 3 morts. La capitale malienne a également été frappée par un premier attentat antioccidental, revendiqué par le groupe jihadiste al-Mourabitoune, samedi 7 mars.

“Ce qui se joue, c’est essentiellement une attaque contre la paix”, a déclaré Abdoulaye Diop sur le plateau de France 24. Selon le ministre malien, ces attaques viennent freiner le processus de paix en cours. Il appelle la coordination des Mouvements de l’Azawad à “se déterminer dans les meilleurs délais” afin de parapher l’accord sur le Mali conclu le 1er mars à Alger. “Il y a urgence, le temps n’est pas en notre faveur”, a-t-il prévenu, pointant la menace terroriste. M. Diop demande à la communauté internationale et au Conseil de sécurité de faire pression sur les rebelles du nord afin qu’ils se positionnent.

via Afrique – Pour Abdoulaye Diop, “l’attaque à Bamako est “une attaque contre la paix” – France 24.

Google Translator says: 


To Abdoulaye Diop, “the attack in Bamako is” an attack against peace “

Text by FRANCE 24

Last modified: 03/09/2015
Two days after the attacks of Bamako, Mali’s foreign minister denounced “the forces hostile to peace.” He calls the Movements of Azawad to “determine as soon as possible.”

Abdoulaye Diop, Mali’s foreign minister, met Monday, March 9, his French counterpart Laurent Fabius in Paris. Security has been the focus of discussion after a deadly weekend getaway in Mali. On Sunday, an attack took place against a UN camp in the north of the country by 3 dead. Mali’s capital was also hit by a first anti-Western attack, claimed by the jihadist group Al-Mourabitoun, Saturday, March 7.

“What is at stake, it is essentially an attack against peace,” said Abdoulaye Diop on the board of France 24. The Malian Minister, these attacks are slow peace process underway. He calls the coordination of movements of Azawad to “determine as soon as possible” to initial the agreement concluded on March 1, Mali in Algiers. “It is urgent, time is not on our side,” he warned, pointing to the terrorist threat. Diop called on the international community and put pressure on the Security Council to the northern rebels so that they are positioned.

Abdoulaye Diop also thanked France for its support after the attack of Bamako, while calling for calm. “Do not panic,” he insisted, even if “zero risk does not exist (…), continue to live normally.” “We take all measures to protect our foreign friends,” said the Malian Foreign Minister.

Google Translator: Get yours HERE

this pressed-Think about it: Flash – French look at ways to curb tax avoidance by Internet giants – France 24


New levies could be imposed to frustrate tax avoidance strategies currently used by Internet commerce giants like Google and Amazon, according to a report by a French government body released Monday.

“Specific new fiscal tools could be envisaged, at the European level or in a core group of countries to counter the tax optimisation strategies” of Internet giants, said the report by France Strategie, a body that advises the French prime minister’s office.

Complex, but legal, tax structures have allowed companies such as Amazon and Google to pay little profit tax in most European countries although they generate hundreds of millions in profits in these markets.

With European governments cutting spending as they struggle to reduce their deficits and debt, such tax avoidance by multinational firms has become a hot button issue and France has been one of the most vocal about the need to close such tax and accounting loopholes.

Using a practice known as transfer pricing, multinationals charge their subsidiaries in each country for use of intellectual property and most profits are then shown in European countries which have lower corporate tax rates, such as Ireland where Google has its European headquarters.

via Flash – French look at ways to curb tax avoidance by Internet giants – France 24.