La Völkerwanderung no ha tenido lugar

Posted on mayo 24, 2009



One of the most important -and much discussed in this book- but least thought about phenomena of the fifht-century narrative is that all of the major successor states to the west Roman Empire were created around the military power of new barbarian supergroups, generated on the march. The Visigoths who settled Aquitaine in the 410s were not an ancient subdivision of the Gothic world, but a new creation. Before the arrival of the Huns on the fringes of Europe, Visigoths -and don’t let any old-style maps of the invasions convince you otherwise- did not exist. They were created by the unification of the Tervingi and the Greuthungi, who had arrived at the Danube in 376, with the survivors of Radagaisus’ force who attacked Italy in 405-6. Alaric’s ambition brought the survivors of all three groups together, and created a new and much larger grouping than any previously seen in the Gothic world. The Vandals who conquered Carthage in 439, likewise, were a new political entity. In this case, the new unit was generated out of just one pulse of migration, the invaders who crossed the Rhine at the end of 406. These originally comprised a loose alliance of two separate groups of Vandals -Hasdings and Silings-, an unknown number of Alanic groups (the largest force), and Suevi, who were probably the product of a renewed alliance among some of the Germani of the Middle Danube. Under Romano-Gothic military assault in the mid-410s, a new entity emerged; the Siling Vandals, and various Alans attached themselves to the Hasding Vandal ruling line.

At a later date, the emergence of a Frankish Gallic kingdom was made possible only by a similar realignment among the Franks.

Peter Heather, The Fall of Rome, pp. 451-2

Cosa no muy distinta puede decirse, por ejemplo, de los vascones, definidos a partir de elementos diversos -hablantes de dialectos preindoeuropeos, iberos, celtíberos- por la acción imperialista y colonizadora de Roma:

Con estas fuertes diferencias etno-culturales, es poco probable que gentes de culturas tan diversas dieran forma en época prerromana a una etnia global. Fueron los romanos los que dieron el impulso decisivo en la configuración de la etnia vascona, uniendo comunidades culturalmente diversas y creando una etnia, significada con el etnónimo de vascones, a la que se le fueron adscribiendo comunidades y territorios.

José Manuel Roldán Hervás, Historia Antigua de España I

Ante la recurrente retórica de los pueblos, conviene recordar que, aun en los casos en que sea admisible hablar de ellos, no se trata de unidades ahistóricas esenciales, sino de accidentes históricos. A menudo determinados o creados por fuerzas políticas y culturales con las que mantienen una relación dialéctica, y a las que el relato moralizado de los neoprimitivos pretende oponer de forma maniquea.