Introduction Chapter One. The Roman Era Decline in trade and population within the Roman Empire in the 3rd century. Weakening within Rome. The Hun Empire pushing the Germanic peoples westwards and south into the Roman Empire. In the Gothic War (376-382), the Goths revolted and confronted the main Roman army in the Battle of Adrianople (378). The Barbarian invasions. Chapter Two. The Barbarian Kingdoms The Franks, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, Lombards, Avars, Bulgars. Increasingly localized societies. Collapse in long distance trade and manufacturing. Decline in education, organizations and administrations. A retreat in agriculture and reclaiming by forest of some land. Chapter Three. Britain A series of settlements by Germanic peoples (the Anglo-Saxons) began in the early fifth century, and by the sixth century the island would consist of many small kingdoms engaged in ongoing warfare with each other. Chapter Four. The Church Rome became the centre of the Catholic Church. The spread of Christianity across northern Europe. Arianism. Monasteries became the centres of learning. Monks christianised the British Isles. The Byzantine Church and continuity of the Roman Empire in the East. The Challenge of Islam. The sophistication of Islamic Spain, where 9th century Cordoda was one of the world's largest and most developed cities. Chapter Five. The Norsemen Beginning in 789AD, the Vikings raided monasteries, sacked cities and invaded western Europe. They looted and enslaved their enemies. But that is only part of their story. In long boats they discovered Iceland and America (both by accident) and also sailed up the Seine to Paris (which they sacked). They settled from Newfoundland to Russia, founded Dublin and fought battles as far afield as the Caspian Sea. Chapter Six. Kingdoms of Europe The last 200 years of the 'Dark Ages' saw the emergence of powerful feudal kingdoms that would shape the fate of Europe for the next centuries. Frankish Empire, Norse raids in Europe, Scandinavian Kingdoms, Feudalism, The Normans, The legacy. Bibliography Index
Fully illustrated exploration of this often-overlooked period in early medieval history
Martin J. Dougherty is a freelance writer specializing in military and defence topics. He is the author of Medieval Warrior, SAS and Elite Forces Guide Extreme Unarmed Combat, and SAS and Elite Forces Guide Sniper, Small Arms: From the Civil War to the Present Day, and books on personal self-defence. He lives in northern England.