During the Migration Period (375-568 CE), many "barbarian" peoples (gentes) migrated to the Roman Empire and established their own kingdoms on formerly Roman soil. These gentes by no means were homogeneous groups of people with the same origins and the same traditions. Instead, they constituted heterogeneous groups whose members had many different ethnic and religious origins. For various reasons, these people of different backgrounds joined to form larger political units - a process called "ethnogenesis" in modern research. Just as pluralistic as these barbarian groups were the kingdoms that were founded by gentes like the Goths or Vandals. After all, these kingdoms did not consist of the heterogeneous barbarian people only, but also of indigenous Romans who were not any less heterogeneous than the barbarians. Thus, within these kingdoms, people of different ethnic backgrounds ("Barbarians" and "Romans") and religions (Catholics, Arians, "Pagans", Jews etc.) were entangled in varying degrees.
As a first step, this project analyses the significance of religion in these processes of entanglement. Was it necessary that all members of a gens shared the same religion, or could a gens comprise several religions or confessions, for example Arians and Catholics? Which role did religion play in the entanglements between Romans and Barbarians? As a second step, the project looks at conflicts between Barbarians and Romans that finally led to disentanglements between these groups and asks how significant religion was in these conflicts. Was it, for example, indeed the religious contrast between Arians and Catholics that was responsible for the failure of the Ostrogoths in Italy, or did other reasons play a role, too?