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2007 - 2016

Welcome to the Migration Museum1

m

igration has always existed. It is an important part of European history. Even in ancient times there was migration, because tribes were displaced by other tribes, because tribes wanted to expand their territory or, because of famine caused by crop failures that forced the

inhabitants to look for a different, better place to settle.

The trek of the emigrants
The trek of the emigrants

Even before the new (Christian) era, there was migration of Germanic tribes (Bastarni, Cimbri, Teutons, Ambrones), to the south. These tribes were called “Barbarians"2 by the Romans.

Migration of the Goths
Migration of the Goths

However, much more significant were the migrations of the Germanic Goths, Gepids3 and Vandals4 in the Second and Third Centuries AD, to southern Russia and the Carpathians and the advances of Marcomanni4, Alemanni and Franks on the Danube and Rhine, which led to the fall of the Roman Limes (Roman-Germanic frontier) around 260.

Trade on the Roman limes
Trade on the Roman limes

 

From the time of the invasion of the Huns around 350, which triggered the Germanic migrations, there were no major population shifts.

 

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1 Thanks to S. Winkler for help with the English translation of this page

2 Barbarians = originally, among the Greeks, it included anyone who didn’t speak Greek. Since the Persian wars it was connected with the significance of uneducated, rude and cruel people.
The Romans used it to refer to all people living outside of the area commonly referred to as the sphere of Greek-Roman culture. Today, it is a slang term for a raw and uneducated people.

3 Gepids = Eastgermanic tribes, were mentioned for the first time in the middle of the third Century AD. They settled at that time in the Vistula Delta. It appears that along with the Goths, the Gepids settled around 250 in the Carpathian region of the lower Danube (Transylvania), where they remained until the beginning of the 5th Century as allies or as subjects of the Goths. At the end of the 4th Century the Gepids like the Ostrogoths, were dominated by the Huns. After Attila’s death (453) the Gepid King, Ardaric, freed Southeastern Europe from domination by the Huns.

4 Vandals = East Germanic people, whose original settlement area is unknown, the most significant tribes were the Hasdingi and Silings (Silesia is named after the latter) and who settled in the Oder-Warta region.
During the Marcomannic wars (166-180) hordes of Vandals, settled on the eastern slopes of the Carpathians and later into the fluvial basin of the Tisza. In 406-407 the Vandals crossed the Rhine River with Suevi and Alans (Caucasian nomads tribes) and in 409 they arrived in Spain, where in 411 they received land grants as Roman federates: the Hasdingi and Suevi in the area known as Galicia today, and the Silings in the area now known as Andalusia. There they were besieged by the Visigoths. About 80,000 Vandals and Alans were driven out of Gaiseric to North Africa in 429, where they founded their own kingdom on Roman soil. In 439 the Vandals took Carthage which they made their capital and in 455 the Vandals, appeared with a fleet from Rome, and plundered the city for 14 days. Their Kingdom was destroyed in 533-534 by the Byzantine Commander Flavius Belisarius.

5 Marcomanni (in German: Markomannen, the plural of Markomann; it is a composed substantive of Mark (antique word for border area) and Mann (man); the 'o' between the two words can be considered like a glue for a easier pronunciation; so the significant is: men who lives in the border area) were a large Germanic group of the Suevi tribe, probably expelled from the Elbe at the beginning of the 1st century BC. They then settled on the Main River, in the current Franconia and displaced the indigenous Celts.
During Caesar's time, they were in the north-eastern half of the Kingdom of Bavaria. They had been defeated by the Romans in 9 BC and together with the Quadi under King Maroboduus they moved to Bohemia, to the land of the Boii (Celtic tribe) which penetrated from Gaul around 400 BC to an area in Nothern Italy (capital Bononia, today Bologna) or in Bohemia (Boiohaemum named after him), situated in the north of the Danube, where Maroboduus, in alliance with other Germanic tribes established a great Germanic Empire, which was perceived by the Roman Emperor Augustus as a potential threat to Rome. In 19 AD, the Marcomanni, came under Roman influence and were a Roman client state for 30 years. The pressure of other Germanic tribes, social and economic changes, and the weakness of the defense of the Roman Empire led to the Marcomannic wars, which lasted, with interruptions from 166 to 180 AD.
In 433 the Marcomanni, living in Pannonia (today’s eastern Austria), came under the rule of the Huns. In the 6th century, they immigrated to Bavaria and their name is gradually lost. From then on, it appeared under the name of Bavaria, a name that they had already brought from their Bohemian homeland, where they were called 'Vaiwarier', i.e. residents of Baiheim in Bohemia.