Rome and the Barbarians

From 26 January 2008 to 20 July 2008

At the very beginning of our era, Rome dominated all the Mediterranean coasts and started its northen conquests of Europe. In the West, British islands were about to be subjected; meanwhile in the continent, the borderlines were shaped by the way of the Rhine and the Danube.

Nonetheless, by the end of the 2nd century, the increasing rhythm of Roman conquests was slowed down by frightening warriors coming from Sacndinavia, central Europe and Asian steppes: the Barbarians.

The arrival of these populations at the boundaries of the European territory not only stopped the Roman army, but also forced it to recede. Thus, by the end of the 5th century, the Western part of the Roman Empire became barbarians' property. Yet, it is not possible to define as 'destructive' their cultural contribution. Actually, Merovingian in Gaul, Ostrogoths and then Longobards in Italy, Wisigoths in Spain, Vandales in Africa, Anglo-Saxons in British islands, were all fascinated by Roman culture. Besieging Roman territory, the Barbarians learnt their knowledge and customs, adopted and spread Christianism. Even during a long period of conflicts, the cultural diversity of the Barbarians tribes melted toghether with the latest Roman civilization and gave origin to a new Western Culture. Recalling some events, among which the first clashes between Romans and Germans, the 'Roman' Empire of Charlemagne and also the sackings of Rome by the kings Alaric and Genseric, Attila's campaign, Clovis' conversion, Rome and the Barbarians is going to revive centuries of conflicts and cohexistence between the two civilizations. On the three floors of Palazzo Grassi, the exhibition will witness and emphasize the artistic richness of the Late Antiquity and the early Middle Age in the West facing the classical Roman art. Gathering a great number of archaeological treasures coming from the most prestigeous museums in Europe, Africa and America - some of the pieces will be showed to the public for the first time - the exhibition will shed light on the richness and the technical skills of those populations that were at the basis of the European cultural heritage.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff