CONCLUSION

From whatever standpoint we regard it, then, the period inaugurated by the establishment of the Barbarians within the Empire introduced no absolute historical innovation.1 What the Germans destroyed was not the Empire, but the Imperial government in partibus occidentis. They themselves acknowledged as much by installing themselves as foederati. Far from seeking to replace the Empire by anything new, they established themselves within it, and although their settlement was accompanied by a process of serious degradation, they did not introduce a new scheme of government; the ancient palazzo, so to speak, was divided up into apartments, but it still survived as a building. In short, the essential character of "Romania" still remained Mediterranean. The frontier territories, which remained Germanic, and England, played on part in it as yet; it is a mistake to regard them at this period as a point of departure. Considering matters as they actually were, we see that the great novelty of the epoch was a political fact: in the Occident a plurality of States had replaced the unity of the Roman State. And this, of course, was a very considerable novelty. The aspect of Europe was changing, but the fundamental character of its life remained the same. These States, which have been described as national States, were not really national at all, but were merely fragments of the great unity which they had replaced. There was no profound transformation except in Britain.

There the Emperor and the civilization of the Empire had disappeared. Nothing remained of the old tradition. A new world had made its appearance. The old law and language and institutions were replaced by those of the Germans. A civilization of a new type was manifesting itself, which we may call the Nordic or

____________________
1
These things were retained: the language, the currency, writing (papyrus), weights and measures, the kinds of foodstuffs in common use, the social classes, the religion -- the role of Arianism has been exaggerated -- art, the law. the administration, the taxes, the economic organization.

-140-

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