Barbarians – Protection at Roman Frontiers - Julius Caesar
Barbarians had been organized for protection at the Roman frontiers right from the time of Julius Caesar. The river Rhine and Danube demarcated the Roman Empire in the European continental segregating the citizens of Rome from the various people who had inhabited Germania, which is the Roman term for the location extending as far north as Scandinavia and far east as the Vistula River.
The empire had at no point of time isolated itself from the Germanic people known as barbarian who were recruited as soldiers for the Roman army and developed commercial as well as political bonds with their leaders who had occupied lands beyond the borders.Several of these barbarians would return to the homeland though others would stay with their families in the Roman territories and would rise to the highest rank in military.
The kingdom had established diplomatic ties with the Germanic monarchs who had inhabited the lands further than the borders in order to safeguard them from hostile barbarians much beyond the field. Possibilities of Roman citizenship together with military as well as economic support had encouraged barbarian leaders to support their well to do neighbours mainly with the provision of troops.
Barbarian Neighbours – Hierarchical/Wealthy Elites
The barbarian neighbours of the empire were hierarchical as well as wealthy elites. Refereed by the buried artifacts and some observation in the literature of Rome, ‘Gaul almost everywhere had been governed by elite families who had been merged together by marriage as well as service in the community and region’.
These provisions enabled the barbarians of high position to amass wealth like direct gifts of jewellery from the empire together with payment in gold coin which in turn could be utilised in the commissioning of luxury objects of personal beautification from the local artists.
In the later centuries of the empire the increasing strength and the extent of the military needed the assimilation of improved quantities of barbarians units called the foedarati, in the army. Towards the fourth century, around 75,000 soldiers had been posted in the Roman province of Gaul where most of them were Germanic.
Roman Belief – Superior to Barbarian Neighbours
Burns had described the relations between the Roman Empire and the barbarians towards the frontier in Western Europe through a span of 500 years. The Romans were of the belief that they were superior to their barbarian neighbours and looked on their own civil wars as serious affairs though made light of the endemic warfare among the barbarians.
Rome had been interested in stability and peace on its borders and the barbarians were aggressive and invading each other inclusive of the societies with whom the Romans had agreements. Besides protecting the barbarian allies, Rome also pressured these allies in limiting the warfare.
The trade between the Romans and the barbarians had been universal which comprises of Celtic people whom the archaeologists had found signs of having large amount of Roman goods. This indicated that they had on-going trade.Towards the second century BCE, in southern and central Gaul, the Celts had created `highly refined iron products and the Roman trader had acquired Celtic iron wear for resale.