Syrians as Goths

Posted on 2016 January 24


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Either we’re going to solve this by realistic negotiation or there will be blood on the border. — Tom Metzger

Stop me if you’ve heard this. Refugees from a country at war beg asylum from a nearby civilization. They’re allowed entry, but border guards take advantage of them, causing resentment. Once inside, some refugees demand autonomy or get into battles with the locals. The host civilization, already wracked by economic, political and religious upheaval, struggles to adapt to the new situation.

Were you thinking of the Syrian refugees? I was thinking of the Goths. 

In 370 A.D., the Ostrogoths, a Germanic tribe on the run from an onslaught of Huns, begged asylum at the gates of the Roman Empire. They were allowed entry, but border guards took advantage of them, causing resentment. Once inside, some Ostrogoths demanded autonomy or got into battles with the locals. The Romans, already wracked by economic, political and religious upheaval, struggled to adapt to the new situation. 

Sounds like the same story.

We don’t yet know how the Syrian refugee crisis ultimately will unfold, but we do know what happened with the Germanic tribes. Ostrogoths poured into the Empire’s Balkan states while Visigoths and Vandals soon occupied the Iberian region in the west and Franks assumed power in northwest Europe. Many became Roman citizens and rose to prominence. Then in 410 the Visigoths attacked Rome, and in 476 a Germanic Roman citizen, Odoacer, overthrew the Emperor and ruled until he, in turn, was killed and replaced by the Ostrogoth ruler Theodoric. And that pretty much wrapped it up for the western Roman Empire.

From there it was downhill for a thousand years. The Germanics had yearned to dominate the Empire, not destroy it, so for centuries they tried to revive things, beginning with the first Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne, around 800 A.D., eventually evolving into the German and Austro-Hungarian empires and, when those collapsed after World War I, the Nazi Third Reich. Today, modern Germany dominates yet again — this time with a quasi-empire, the European Union. Maybe, finally, they got it right.


Now a foreign people seem to threaten Europe from without. Islamicists, long a thorn in Europe’s southern flank, are in an expansionist phase — not unlike the Goths of old — and yearn to dominate their neighbors to the north. Meanwhile, Middle Easterners have streamed into Europe by the millions.

Today Germans play the role of ancient Romans, nervously granting entry to the latest wave of beleaguered immigrants. What will transpire as these outsiders assimilate over the decades? Will the Germanic domination of Europe, lo these sixteen hundred years, finally come to an end?

No wonder EU conservatives are wringing their hands. The New Goths are at the gates.