Medieval life was tough. There was no technology at the people’s fingertips, and everything had to be done by hand. Without doctors with professional knowledge, many people died. However, by the stubbornness and work ethic of the people, they made it through. One group of people that made was the barbarians. The barbarians’ toughness and ability to survive is what caused them to make Rome fall. Angry_barbarian.gif
Officially, the word barbarian means one with no ability to read or write. However, to the ancient Greeks, it meant one who did not have the Greek culture as his or her own. There were three types of barbarians: Vandals, Goths, and Huns.

The Huns

The Huns were a nomadic tribe that lived on the Asian steppes. (The Huns, para.2) That means that they never stayed in the same place at the same time. Not much was known about them before they entered Europe. Hun life was fairly easy. As soon as a Hun got up in the morning, chores had to be done. There were animals to feed, water to gather, tents(called yurts) to set up or take down, and training with a bow and arrow to do. (Invictus, para. 1) Hun clothing consisted of a light shirt, thick jackets to keep out the cold, and pants, which were all made out of wool. They wore shoes made out of cowhide.
The Huns herded sheep, and ate usually that. It was very rare for them to raise crops, because they always moved around. Most of their fruits and vegetables consisted of berries, and occasional crops, if they stayed in an area for a long time. There have been no accounts of them fishing. On very rare occasions, cow was available for food, but that was only if there had been a raid into Rome, and cows were captured. Old horses, those who could no longer keep up with the others would be eaten as well. Drinks consisted of goat’s milk, water, cow’s milk, and horse milk.
"The Huns."

The Huns fought on horseback, which gave the advantage of speed and maneuverability. (Lafontaine, 13) The composite bow was the weapon of choice for the nomadic Huns. Actually, the composite bow is stronger than the English longbow. Attila the Hun, who was also known as the ‘Scourge of God,’ carried the famed Sword of Mars. (Scaliger, para.2) For a chopping job, the Scythian axe was the best choice.

The Goths

The Goths were an East Germanic tribe that lived in Scandinavia. In the 5th and 6th centuries, the Goths split into two tribes. One was the Ostrogoths, and their leader was called Theodoric. The other tribe was called the Visigoths, and their leader was named Alaric.
In 238 B.C., the Ostrogoths entered Rome. This was when they began to raid it. During these raids, Theodoric was captured. He was held hostage by Rome for ten years. When he and his followers broke free, they left Rome. The Ostrogoths planned on going east, but they were attacked and destroyed by the Huns.
The Visigoths, on the other hand, headed towards Greece and captured Athens.
Although the Goths do not exist today, there is much left of them. The ruins of an old Gothic fort in the Ukraine stand today. Many Gothic artifacts are found by archaeologists each day. The last of the Gothic language was spoken in the 16th century. Their civilization was demolished, but they still live among us in their artifacts.

The Vandals

The Vandals were also an East Germanic tribe that lived in Germany. (Sinnigen, para.1) This group did not split, unlike the Goths. By the 6th century, the Vandals had accepted Arian Christianity, These people may not have been civilized, but they had a start.
Around the mid 6th century, the Vandals began to fight against Rome. These raids, like those that had come before them, further deteriorated the Roman Empire. Also, around this time, the Vandals constructed a defense against attacking Visigoths, who had begun pestering them since their journey to Rome. The Visigoths had made a detour on their way to Greece to eliminate another tribe. The Vandals fortunately held off the more superior Visigoths.
The Vandals were probably the most primitive of the three when it came to weapons. Most of their weapons consisted of spiked wooden clubs. In some cases, the double edged sword was used. For long range, the bow was available for use. For an impaling job, the wooden pike was the favored weapon.
Some of the strongest people in medieval Europe were barbarians. Their ability to survive made them the toughest type of people. They may have been primitive, but if they were strong enough to take down Rome, then they were strong enough to live.
Works Cited

Invictus. “The Huns.” All Empires. 2001. <>
Lafontaine, Bruce. Warriors through the Ages. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2002.
Scaliger, Charles. “The Battle for Chalons: in confronting the Huns under Atilla, the man known as “The Last Roman” led the remnant forces of Western civilization against the raging Barbarian horde.” The New American 9 July 2007: 34+. Student Resource Center - Gold. Web. 4 Apr. 2011.
Adam, Brian. “The Vandals”. Illustrated History of the Roman Empire. < >
Sinnigen, William G. “Barbarian.” World Book Student. World Book, 2011. Web. 4 April, 2011.

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