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« Old times there | Main | I guess that's it, then »

Jul 06, 2010


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Steve Harrison

I always assumed Tolkien had arrived at the name using a hybrid of the Ostrogoth King Theodoric and the Norse god Odin, but I'm prepared to bow to the greater geekiness of others.


I've read Heather's 2007 The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians but didn't know he'd done a follow up. I'll put it on my list. If I remember, Heather argued that the western empire collapsed because centuries of dealings with Rome had changed the "barbarians". Then the Huns, coming off the central Asian planes, moved into Europe and pushed other groups across the border into the Roman state. In response, Rome sometimes acted to ingest and Romanize the new people, and other times to force them out. What was really going on is that individual Roman leaders tried to use the "barbarians" as allies, one way or the other, in their own political and military battles. Meanwhile, the "barbarians" kept getting stronger, until one day no Romans were ruling anything west of Greece.

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