Bohemian Barbarians: Bohemia in Late Antiquity

Neglected BarbariansBohemian Barbarians: Bohemia in Late Antiquity

By Jaroslav Jiřík

Neglected Barbarians, edited by Florin Curta (Brepols, 2011)

Introduction: The settlement of the Bohemian Basin passed through a very complicated development during Late Antiquity. During the fourth century it is possible to observe the evolution of the so-called Elbe-Germanic culture tradition which, for the Roman period, may be considered as native to the territory of Bohemia. Indeed, a major source of information regarding that tradition is the cremation cemeteries in Plotištì nad Labem near Hradec Králové, and Opoèno by Louny. In Plotištì, Alena Rybová identified clear influences from the region of the Lower Elbe territory, which she further interpreted as evidence of Suebian immigrants. Contacts with the territory of the Elbe-Germanic culture are also documented by a number of rich burials dated to the C3 (AD 300/20 to 380/400) and C3/D1 (AD 380/400 to 410/20) periods of the general chronology of Central and East Central Europe. Some burials in north-western and central Bohemia which have been dated to the C3 period also point to contacts with present-day Bavaria. Considerable similarities may be established, for example, between the pottery found in Prosmyky and Neuburg an der Donau, respectively.

Likewise, on account of miniature bronze weapons deposited in each one of them, the burials excavated in Litomìøice, Velké Žernoseky, and Beroun-Závodí must be compared with that from Laisacker near Neuburg an der Donau. More interesting parallels have recently come to light through the examination of pottery assemblages from contemporary settlements, some of which may have continued into the subsequent period.


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