Our current read, Eagle in the Snow by Wallace Breem, centers around the barbarian invasion of 406 CE across the Rhein river, which our fictitious hero Paulinus Gaius Maximus is tasked to stave off by Stilicho, magister militum of the Western Roman Empire. (Note also Claudian at LacusCurtius re Stilicho.)
"In this manner Italy had indeed been speedily saved from great danger, but at the end of the next year (406) hostile hordes broke into Gaul with so much the greater violence. It is very probable that this invasion, which was undertaken by the Vandals, had some connexion with that of Radagaisus. In conjunction with the Vandals were the Alani, who had recently formed an alliance with them, and the Suevi, by whom we must understand the Quadi, who had formerly dwelt north of the Vandals. This great tribal migration, following the road along the Roman frontier (limes), reached the river Main, where they met the Silingi, a Vandal tribe which had gone westward with the Burgundians in the third century. These now helped to swell the Vandal hordes, whilst a part of the Alani under the leadership of Goar enlisted in the Roman army on the Rhine. Near this river the Vandals were attacked by some Frankish tribes, who were keeping guard on the frontier, in accordance with their treaty with Stilicho. In the ensuing fight the Vandals suffered severe losses, their king Godigisel being among the slain. On receiving this news the Alani immediately turned about, and, led by their king Respendial, they completely routed the Franks. On the last day of 406 this mass of people crossed the Rhine at Mainz, which they invested and destroyed. The march was continued by Trèves to Rheims, where the bishop Nicasius was slain in his own church; thence to Tournai, Terouenne, Arras and Amiens. From this point the journey proceeded through Gallia Lugdunensis to Paris, Orleans, and Tours, and, passing through Aquitania into Novempopulana, by Bordeaux to Toulouse, which the bishop Exuperius saved from falling into the enemies' hands. But the fortified passes of the Pyrenees put a stop to their further advance. Thus Spain remained unconquered for the present, and the Vandals now made their way into the rich province of Narbonensis. The devastation of the extensive provinces and the conquered cities of Gaul was terrible; contemporary writers of prose and verse alike complain bitterly of the atrocities committed by the barbarians in this unhappy country. The oldest people could not remember so disastrous an invasion. The weakness of the Empire is revealed by the absence of a Roman army to oppose the Germans. Stilicho's policy was at that time directed towards Illyria, and for this reason he probably found it impossible to come to the assistance of Gaul.
"This first great danger was soon followed by a second. The migration of the Vandals had very likely caused the Burgundians along the middle course of the Main to become restless; they now began to bear down upon the Alemanni on the lower Main. A part of the Burgundians had perhaps intended to join the great migration of 406, for shortly after we meet with them on the west side of the Rhine. The most important result, however, was, that the Alemanni now entered on a campaign against Roman Upper Germany, and conquered Worms, Speier, and Strassburg. Here again the Empire failed to send help, and the allied Franks remained quiet.
The fact hat this is included in "Medieval History" is interesting and ties in with or previous discussion, late antiquity, spätantike: when did it happen?
A.H.M. Jones, The Later Roman Empire, 284-602, is listed in the bibliography. It can be found as Google Book, albeit as "Preview" only, with the relevant passages missing.
Wikipedia (as usual handle with care) has individual pages on some of the tribal leaders:
- Goar (he did not die as in the novel but survived until at least 446)
- Godigesel and Gunderic coverage is brief and unsupported, but there are the Vandals. Godigesel was the father not only of Gunderic but also of Geiseric, the two latter being half-brothers.
- Gunther (Gundaharius, our Guntiarus)
The above image, courtesy Wikimedia Commons is "Plünderung Roms durch die Vandalen" (the sack of Rome by the Vandals) by Heinrich Leutemann (1824-1904)