The Dark Ages Podcast

The Dark Ages Podcast

The history of Europe, from 376. Barbarian invasions, kings and warlords, myths and legends. Explore the shadowy but fascinating history of Europe after the fall of Rome.


October 4, 2021 31 min

The Goths, Part One.

The Goths appear on the Roman border and quickly become a force to be reckoned with.  This episode deals with the Goths origins, early history, conflicts with Rome in the third century, and some things about their culture. Who was a Goth when he was at home? (Spoiler, he didn't wear black or think much about vampires.)

This episode covers a period from about 100 BCE to 271 CE.

Music "The Bretons" By...

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The Goths, Part 2

c. 264-378 CE

The Goths face challenges at home and abroad.  An ambitious Roman Emperor seeks to shore up his reign at their expense.  Religious controversy and rivalry threatens internal stability.  But the greatest challenge arises in the East, and the Goths must abandon their way of life.

The Lord's Prayer in Gothic

Map of the Adrianople Campaign


"The Britons" by Kevin MacLeod

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October 14, 2021 32 min

The Goths, Part 3

378 - 408 CE

The Gothic Wars end in stalemate as Goths and Romans try to come to terms with new realities.  A new leader appears to push for dignity and power for his people, who will take the fight into the heartland of the Roman world.

Map of Alaric's invasion of Greece

Map of Alaric's First Invasion of Italy

Bust of Eutropius


"The Britons" by Kevin MacLeod

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October 20, 2021 28 min

The Goths, Part 4

408-410 CE

The death of Stilicho leaves Alaric and the Visigoths high and dry.  Negotiations break down, and Alaric takes drastic action.  The Sack of Rome of 410 is pointed to as one of the points where the Roman Empire fell, and the resonance of the event would be felt down through the centuries.


Music :

"The Britons" by Kevin MacLeod

"Rulers of our Lands" by Raphael Krux

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October 28, 2021 35 min

The Goths, Part 5

410 - 451 CE

The Visigoths move out of Italy, into more years of privation. Along the way there's a royal marriage, long marches, sieges and naval blockades. Ultimately the Goths find what they've been looking for for nearly half a century - a home. But there's another, even greater test on the horizon, and a chance to face an old enemy.


"The Bretons" By Kevin MacLeod


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c. 370 - 395 CE

Where had the Huns come from? Who were they? How did they fight? What made them so scary?

I'll look for answers in this episode, and may even find some.

Information on cranial modification is here and here

An image of the patera is here

Music "The Bretons" By Kevin MacLeod

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November 26, 2021 33 min

395 - 435 CE

Contact with the wealth of the Roman empire gradually changes the Huns and sets the stage for their most famous ruler.


Map of Roman Provinces


Music "The Bretons" By Kevin MacLeod

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December 31, 2021 34 min

435 - 446 CE

The scourge of God rises from the Hunnic horde.  The Romans have to deal with him while also facing earthquake, flood, and plague.  Straight up not having a good time, bro.

Map of the Roman road network.

Another map of the geography of the Balkans in late antiquity.

Music "The Bretons" By Kevin MacLeod

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January 21, 2022 34 min

c. 200 BCE to 408 CE

I introduce the Vandals with a cold.  The Vandals don't have a cold, I have a cold. So, sorry about that.

The Vandals rose up next door to the Goths, with whom they would have a complicated relationship.  This episode tracks their early migration into Gaul and then Spain, and talks a little bit about what their home life would have been like.  There's also a bonus tribe, as we sketch a bit about the Ala...

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February 4, 2022 39 min

408 - 439 CE

The Vandals, along with their allies, the Alans and Suevi, ravage Spain before moving into Africa.  There, under the leadership of their king Gaiseric, they will achieve something no other Barbarian tribe has yet accomplished.

Map of the Vandal Invasion of Spain

Roman Provinces of Africa

The Peutinger Tabula



Title: "The Britons" by Kevin MacLeod

Incidental Music by Andrew Sitkov


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February 19, 2022 37 min

c. 448 CE

In the spring, a diplomatic mission set out from Constantinople for discussions with Atilla the Hun. One of the men on the trip later wrote out his experience in one of the most detailed accounts of life among the Huns. This episode condenses the writing of Priscus of Panion, diplomat and historian. 


Title Music: "The Britons" by Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0...

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March 8, 2022 34 min

The Huns, Part IV

450-453 CE

Attila unleashed his fury on the Western empire in two back to back campaigns. The first culminated in the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields. The second ended with the famous meeting between Attila the Hun and Pope Leo I.

Map of Attila's Invasion of Italy


War dominates the scene on today's episode, as it does on today's headlines. The inevitable consequence of war is the displa...

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March 20, 2022 27 min

c. 450 to c. 482 CE


Saint Severinus was a holy man who was active in Noricum Ripensis, in modern Austria and Bavaria. His life coincided with the end of Roman rule in the west, and the biography that was written by his disciple Eugippius includes several insights into the world as the ancient social structures changed and were replaced by new anxieties and dangers. In this episode we'll talk about those changes and the new...

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April 4, 2022 38 min

The Vandals Part III

439 to 455 CE

“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be therefore as wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Matthew, 10:16

Gaiseric weathers Roman attempts to recover the African provinces, and begins to set his house in order. Marriage deals are made and broken, and an ancient version of gunboat diplomacy is used by the new king. Meanwhile, jealousy and paranoia lead to big changes in ...

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April 19, 2022 37 min

418 to 456 CE

A senator by the name of Eparchius Avitus is dragooned into filling the imperial shoes left behind by the well-aimed brick that took out Petronius Maximus. His life gives a framework for discussing the place of southern Gaul within the Roman empire, and how the Visigoths were settling in.


The full text of Sidonius' letter describing Theodoric.




Title Music: "The Britons" by Kevin MacLeod (inco...

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May 13, 2022 31 min

The Franks, Part I

280 to 480 CE

We welcome the Franks onto the stage of Europe, and look at their origins, early history, ferocious reputation, and the way modern politics work their way into the telling of history.

Fittings from the Sword and Scabbard found in Childeric's tomb.

Childeric's Ring at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France

Childeric's Bees

Sword and Scabbard Decoration from Childeric's Treasure


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June 7, 2022 36 min

456 to 464 CE Emperor Majorian and his Right-Hand man Ricimer attempt to pull the empire back from the brink after the departure of Avitus.  But there's a snake in the grass, a fly in the ointment, and a bad apple in the barrel.  It all leads to the creation of a new entity called the Kingdom of Soissons.  Or does it?

Map of Majorian's Campaigns


Title Music: "The Britons" by Kevin MacLeod ( L...

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461 to 468 CE

The East and West combine forces in one great push to take Africa backs from the Vandals and make everything all better.


Title Music: "The Britons" and "The Vikings" by Kevin MacLeod at Free Music Archive Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0


Sound effects from

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July 25, 2022 29 min

466 to around 473

The Visigoths break out, under the leadership of their new and aggressive King Euric. Inside the empire, another emperor falls to Ricimer's scheming.

An appropriate map for this episode is here.

Sources are here

Title Music: "The Britons" by Kevin MacLeod at Free Music Archive Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

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August 8, 2022 37 min

453 CE to 460 CE

Out of the wreckage of Attila's empire, new peoples emerge. New actors inject new elements into the political game of the late Roman empire

British Museum entry for the Gepids, with some artefacts

History Files Article and Regnal List of the Gepids

Scirian Earring found at Bakod Puszta



Title Music: "The Britons" by Kevin MacLeod at Free Music Archive Licensed under Creative Commons: B...

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