Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Isabel Köster

Second Advisor

Diane Conlin

Third Advisor

Scott Bruce


This thesis argues against the traditional view of barbari or “barbarians” and what is considered the “barbarian invasions” as the Roman attitude toward foreigners is traditionally regarded as negative. The traditional characterizations of the immigrants in the empire included unfavorable connotations that hordes of barbarians are wreaking havoc among civilized societies and the peoples being either uncivilized or primitive. The Res Gestae of the Roman historiographer, Ammianus Marcellinus, will be the basis of this study as his work has been long regarded as a key text in the study of barbarian invasions. Ammianus’ perspective on the barbarians within the Rhine frontier, the Alamanni, is that of the traditional view, while the barbarians on the Danube frontier, the Theruingi, are beneficial contributors to Roman society. This thesis will also include the definition of the frontiers of the Roman Empire, the motivation for the two central battles within the Western and Eastern Empire, the Battle of Strasbourg and the Battle of Adrianople, themselves, and what occurs in their resolutions.