The Burgundian Code: Book of Constitutions or Law of Gundobad: Additional Enactments

The Burgundian Code: Book of Constitutions or Law of Gundobad: Additional Enactments

The Burgundian Code: Book of Constitutions or Law of Gundobad: Additional Enactments

The Burgundian Code: Book of Constitutions or Law of Gundobad: Additional Enactments

Excerpt

The Burgundians were one of the East Germanic tribes. They first came into contact with the Roman Empire in the third century when they had established themselves just east of the Rhine along the Main River, where they and other groups of barbarians continually threatened the Roman frontier. For over a century longer the Romans were able to prevent the barbarian hordes from overrunning the Empire completely, but by the fifth century internal conditions within the Empire had so weakened it that the frontier garrisons and armies were no longer able or willing to maintain their defenses. In the year 406, when the attention of Rome was directed toward the Visigoths who had crossed the Balkan peninsula and were threatening Italy, the Vandals, together with the Alani, Suevi, and the Silingii, poured across the undefended Rhine frontier. Perhaps the Burgundians also intended to join this invasion. At any rate, by, 413 they had appeared on the west side of the Rhine and had entered on a campaign against Roman upper Germany, conquering Worms, Speier, and Strassburg. Here in the region west of the Rhine, the center of which was the city of Worms, the Emperor Honorius gave them land, making the Burgundians foederati of the Roman Empire.

Lasting from about 413 until 436, this first Burgundian kingdom is the one of legendary fame, of the Nibelungenlied and Waldhere legends. It was overthrown by a Hunnish army in the employ of Rome in 436, at which time the Burgundian king, Gundahar, and a large number of Burgundians were killed.

Somewhat later the remnants of the Burgundian tribe were assigned territory in Sabaudia north of Lake Geneva by the Roman government. Here they became firmly enough established to be able to set up a second federate kingdom by 443 under the leadership of their king, Gundioc (437-74). From here the Burgundians . . .

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