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During the third and fourth centuries, there were large migrations of land-hungry Germans southward and westward onto the Rhine-Danube Frontier. The basic Germanic political structure was the tribe, headed by a chief who was elected for his ability as a war leader. It was these tribes that resulted in Rome's losing control of the great frontier. The Roman and Germanic cultures greatly clashed. The Germanic religion was polytheistic, their society was a warrior aristocracy, and finally their societal structure was a mobile one. By 370 A.D., the tribe had become nations led by warrior kings. It was at this time that the Huns swept out of central Asia westward until they encountered two Germanic nations of Visigoths and Ostrogoths. This was the spark of many years of invasions and warfare that provoked the downfall of the Roman-controlled frontier. The following information describes some of the Germanic tribes such as Franks, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Burgundians, Angles, Saxons, Ostrogoths, Vandals and Lombards.
Edited by: Antonio Jops, Von Steuben High School, Chicago, IL
Researched by: Meagan Sherman, Von Steuben High School, Chicago, IL
Written by: Lila Walsh, Von Steuben High School, Chicago, IL
29 January 1998
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