Station: [04] Germanic and Slavic Migration

  • Oldenburger Wallmuseum

Around the year 375 A.D. a new age begins with the invasion of the Huns into Europe from Central Asia. This led to enormous changes in the life of the people, and today we refer to this period as the ‘Migration Period’.

To escape the feared warrior horsemen, tens of thousands of Germanic men, women and children migrate into the Roman Empire to seek protection. Complete areas of land become depopulated. You can see these here in grey-beige shading. Slavic tribes migrate into these areas around 700 A.D.

Please look at Board Number 3.

This chart shows the original settlement area of the Slavs who settle here around 500 A.D.  Today the area is part of the Ukraine and of south-east Poland. Following the onrush of Eastern peoples, the Slavs leave their original settlement area and migrate in large numbers to the regions of east and central Europe, which the Germanic people have left behind.

In around 700 A.D some of these migrants, the so-called West Slavs, reach an area north of the Danube through to the boundaries of an area populated by Franconians and Saxons. It is here that their migration comes to an end. In the north-east of present-day Germany, they form the tribes of Obotrites, Wilzen and Heveller. The new arrivals live peacefully together with the Germanic people who remained here.

Where we are, in the eastern part of present-day Schleswig-Holstein, a sub-tribe of the Obotrites settles, the so-called ‘Wagrie’. This tribe name is taken from the old Nordic word ‘Wagr’, meaning ‘Bay resident’.