Terry Jones, former member of Monty Python, researched and narrated a 2006 series called "Barbarians" which aired again this week. Jones states that Rome's greatest achievement was propaganda! He sees the Roman ability to rule diverse groups being based on their power to persuade the ruling families of those groups to send their children to Rome for raising and education in Roman culture. Consequently, "barbarian leaders" such as Alaric, Gaiseric, and Atilla had a profound respect for Rome and were reluctant to seriously harm the culture they loved and desired to preserve. The latest research shows that Rome suffered very little from Goths, Vandals, and Huns, and the vilification of these groups is also largely the product of successful Roman propaganda!
In reality, the "genius" of Roman propaganda was not in educating barbarian princes, but in training Roman princes so that they could become the accepted leaders of the major tribal groups. This of course was not a Roman or Byzantine invention, but had been the modus operandi of royalty from the very beginning of the dynastic/pharaonic age. Yet mainstream historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists are completely oblivious to that fundamental and constant aspect of the ancient world. According to them, a prince like Alaric could not be a full-blooded Roman or Byzantine. This falls outside the bounds of proper research. The fact that a later Byzantine king Heraclius named one of his sons Ath-Alaric doesn't set off any alarms either!
The "Barbarians" series videos on-line:
Full screen versions:
Reviews of Terry Jones' "Barabarians":
Responses To This Message
© Charles N. Pope, US Library of Congress. All rights reserved.