This volume is a result of the European Science Foundation programme The Transformation of the Roman World, and of further cooperation initiated and inspired by it. During the programme, in the years 1993 to 1997, one sub-group of scholars regularly got together to discuss 'Imperium, gentes et regna'. From these discussions, two previous volumes in the TRW series have resulted: Kingdoms of the Empire—The Integration of Barbarians in Late Antiquity (TRW 1), and Strategies of Distinction—The Construction of Ethnic Communities, 300–800 (TRW 2). Already at the last workshops of the programme in 1997/98, a further volume was projected to look at the construction of communities in a broader context. Since then, the group, or some of its members, have repeatedly met in other occasions, which has allowed the completion of this volume. Some of its contributions go back to papers already presented at the last meetings of the group and were successively prepared for publication. Others were written specifically for the volume.
As with the previous two volumes, editing was done at the Forschungsstele für Geschichte des Mittelalters of the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften in Vienna, supervised by its director, Walter Pohl, who had also acted as team leader of the group during the TRW programme. The Academy (and in particular, Herwig Friesinger) has to receive special credit for creating a space for early medieval research that is almost unique, and from which the editors have benefited. To put Vienna on the map as a centre for early medieval studies was not least the achievement of Herwig Wolfram. Thanks should also go to the European Science Foundation for funding the TRW project: this volume, as several others, demonstrates that the investment has been fruitful. Javier Arce, Evangelos Chrysos and Ian Wood have coordinated the programme and encouraged the publication of its results. We are also grateful to Brill, and in particular to Julian Deahl and Marcella Mulder, for their patience and their swift handling of publication.1
1 Several colleagues helped with the task of preparing the manuscript. For their
help with the register we should like to thank Gerda Heydemann, Marianne
Pollheimer and Vladimira Štipková.