A half-dozen years ago, I visited in a European art gallery an exhibition of artifacts from the first decades after the end of the Roman empire. The exhibition and its catalogue were organized to argue a point: that the end of the Roman empire was not a cataclysm but a "transition." The barbarians were not "invaders" but "migrants." Indeed, the barbarians were not "barbaric" at all, but carriers of their own rich cultural traditions, not inferior to those of Rome.
David’s Book Club: Empires and Barbarians