- Purchase/rental options available:
This paper draws attention to an important but neglected motivation for barbarian immigration into the empire in the fourth and early fifth century: its economic function as a source of agrarian labor. It argues that barbarian immigration into the empire must be seen against the background of specific economic challenges that the Roman landholding elites faced in the fourth century, particularly in its latter half. These challenges created a strong demand for agrarian workers whom the elites needed in order to maintain and increase productivity in a highly competitive environment. As a result, it appears that elite interest in increasing the pool of agrarian labor through barbarian immigrants was a much stronger motive of barbarian settlements in the fourth and early fifth centuries than is assumed in current scholarship.