The Romans fought the barbarians at the borders of the Roman Empire for many years. In some cases, barbarians became part of the Roman Empire. In other cases, they fought back. Eventually, barbarians sacked the city of Rome, bringing about the end of the Western Roman Empire.
The Romans referred to groups outside the Roman Empire as barbarians. The barbarian culture was different from the Romans. They dressed differently, ate different foods, and had different religions. They did not have the same level of government, education, or engineering as the Romans.
The barbarians weren't a single group of people. The term barbarian was used to describe a wide variety of different peoples that had little to do with one another.
One of the most powerful and organized groups of barbarians were the Goths. The Goths were divided into two major branches: the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths. The Visigoths took over much of Western Europe and fought Rome continuously. The Visigoths sacked Rome in 410.
The Vandals migrated from Northern Europe to the Iberian Peninsula (Spain) and eventually to North Africa where they established a powerful kingdom. They made a peace treaty with Rome in 442 AD, but sacked and plundered Rome in 455 when the treaty was broken.
The Huns were a nomadic warrior people who came from the east. Under the leadership of their leader Attila, the Huns defeated the Ostrogoths and invaded the Eastern Roman Empire. They then moved to conquer much of Roman Gaul (France). In 452, the Huns plundered much of Italy, but did not capture the city of Rome.
The Franks were a few Germanic tribes that settled in the region that is in current-day France. They began invading the borders of the Roman Empire around 300 AD. The Franks became powerful after the fall of the Western Roman Empire and eventually became one of the leading empires in Western Europe.
As Rome began to weaken, the Saxons moved from Western Europe and invaded Great Britain, taking over many Roman settlements there.
The Romans also referred to other groups as barbarians, including the Celts, Thracians, Parthians, Picts, Lombards, and Burgundians.
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