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Page added on June 29, 2007

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Volkerwanderung

….When major civilizations disintegrate, though, these changes shift into overdrive. The decline and fall of the Roman Empire offers one of the best documented examples. Outside of Scandinavia, Scotland, and Ireland, practically none of the peoples of Europe stayed put. Before Rome fell, for example, the ancestors of the English lived in Denmark, the ancestors of the French and the northern Italians lived in Germany, the ancestors of the Spanish lived north of the Black Sea, and the ancestors of the Hungarians lived not far from the Gobi Desert. It took most of a thousand years for the rubble to stop bouncing and the new nations of Europe to take shape, and when that finally happened, those nations and cultures had only the most distant connections to what had been there before Rome fell.


German historians of the 19th century coined a useful word for the age of migrations that followed the fall of Rome: Volkerwanderung,

The first ripples of this future flood can be seen by anyone who travels by bus through any rural region west of the Mississippi River, as I did a few days ago. Stray very far from the freeways and the tourist towns, and in a great many places you



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