Why were the Sclavenes never Roman allies?: A study of Late Antique Roman frontier policy and a barbarian society
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 11:26 by Amy Wood
This thesis addresses evidence which suggests that those barbarians identified as Sclavenes in the sources never became fully integrated into the Roman system of alliances or its cultural orbit in the sixth and seventh centuries. The written and archaeological evidence available is examined to compare it with previous Roman-barbarian relationships to draw reasonable conclusions about the Sclavene relationship with the Eastern Roman Empire and to some extent, the nature of Sclavene society before it transformed into the recognisable Slavic polities of the Early Middle Ages. The question is conceptualised within the overall framework of the Late Antique Roman frontiers along the Danube and its hinterland on either side (the Balkans and Pontic-Danubian region). This is the point at which the Sclavenes become visible in the written sources and where the cause and effect of Roman barbarian policy can be seen over time and across various (mainly Germanic) barbarian groups in both the written and archaeological material. It will be argued that the Sclavenes were never Roman allies due to a confluence of historical circumstances, the nature of Sclavene society itself, and the availability and operation of alternative imperial orbits in Central Eastern Europe, namely the First Avar Khaganate.