GERMAN KINGDOMS IN THE WEST
OF little account compared to the Church, before which opened so impressive a future, or to the great Empire, whose glory now lay in the past, were the crude kingdoms of the present that the invading barbarians had founded in the West. In many respects these states were mere fragments of the preceding Empire, going on from the momentum which it had given them, rather than from any political capacity or civilizing power on the part of the newcomers. We note, for one thing, that all the barbarian kingdoms which in any true sense could be called states were upon Roman soil. Attila's empire had not been, but it had lasted only so long as life was in his commanding person. It took a Roman population and ordered society, a Roman civil service, Roman walls and roads, though they might be in ruins, to keep any sort of a government going at that time. Yet we note further that all these states were German kingdoms. Huns, Slavs, and Alani founded no states at this time that have left records or are worth studying. The Germans were farther advanced on the road toward political organization and settled life than any of the other barbarians, and showed themselves capable with Roman help of keeping some sort of government and society in existence into the sixth century.
German states on Roman soil
The founding of the kingdoms of the Burgundians and Franks in Gaul, of the Visigoths in southwestern Gaul, of the Vandals in Africa, and of the Ostrogoths in Italy have already been narrated in the chapter on the barbarian invasions. Only approximate dates can be given for the beginning of some of these states, since at first they were nominally still parts of the Empire and only gradually asserted their complete independence. At their
Duration and extent