Huns elongated skulls from Europeana

Migration in the First Millennium

Migration is the theme of the latest issue of the journal: Networks and Neighbours. It opens with a seminal article by Peter Heather on the controversial question of the character of the large-scale migration in the 4th and 5th centuries.

The journal Networks and Neighbours (N&N) is a voice of the larger project of scholars by the same name. The project sponsors conference panels and runs master-classes, lectures and other events, including our annual symposium rotating biannually between the University of Leeds and select sites around the globe. This international, or rather post-national, and also extra-institutional, intellectual spirit is embodied in the journal N&N. To this end we invite, in addition to original research articles and book reviews in a diversity of languages, reports from conferences and other related early medieval research activities worldwide.

Networks and Neighbours 2015, Vol. 3, No. 1: Migration

Table of Contents

Networks and neighbours Cover 2015Migration
By Peter Heather


No serious scholar believes that migration of various kinds did not play a significant role in events of the first millennium AD, but the extent and importance of any large-group migration is particularly controversial. This paper seeks to think again about this highly controversial dimension of the subject area. Given that neither revisionist accounts of the operation of group identities, nor archaeological materials offer any sure guidance on the matter, it suggests that some of the available historical materials are worth taking more seriously, and explores the kind of picture that emerges from them.

Genealogy, Labour and Land: The Settlement of the Mýramenn in Egils saga
By Santiago Barreir


This study analyses the way in which the thirteenth-century Egils saga Skallagrímssonar presented the migration to Iceland of Egill’s father Grímr and grandfather Úlfr, and the creation of a settlement in the area of Borgarfjǫrðr in Western Iceland during the tenth century. Egils saga aimed to present the migration as a foundational act, which enabled the descendants of the settlers (the lineage known as Mýramenn) to claim inalienable rights over the lands settled by Grímr. The saga highlights three main shared markers of identity amongst the family members: their burial in barrows, their skill as farm managers, and the transference of both personal traits and material goods from one generation to the next. This led to a form of legitimation that included an ideology of a quasi-aristocratic lineage of landowners with the typical traits of the self-made men of the frontier. In contrast, it presented the martial deeds of these men as less meaningful. Moreover, the saga explored alternative ways (personified by each member of the main family) to deal with the rulers of Norway. This kingdom was presented as the historical homeland of Icelanders and as more central for them than other foreign lands. This paper holds that the main alternatives proposed by the saga were in service of the kings (expressed by both Þórólfrs) against independence (exemplified by Úlfr, Grímr, and Egill), but that simultaneously each character presented nuances which might reflect ideological variety within a peripheral immigrant society.

Conference Report Networks and Neighbours 2014
By Michael J Kelly

This is a report of the Networks and Neighbours Symposium held in April 2014, in Curitiba, Brazil.

Conference Report: East and West in the Early Middle Ages: The Merovingian Kingdoms in Mediterranean Perspective
By Lia Sternizki

This report gives a summary of the four-day conference on the Merovingian kingdoms in Mediterranean perspective which was held in Freie Universität, Berlin between the 17th and 20th of December, 2014. Sponsored by the Minerva-Gentner Symposia and organised by Prof. Stefan Esders (Berlin) and Prof. Yitzhak Hen (Be’er Sheva), the conference featured many leading scholars of international renown in Early Medieval History, Archaeology and Merovingian studies, whose presentations amount to an up-to-date and exceptional contribution to the existing state of knowledge on the reciprocal relationships between the Frankish kingdoms, the Byzantine Empire, and the Islamic world in the Merovingain period. The crux of each paper is provided in this conference report, as well as an outline of the main themes drawn out by the participants.

Conference Report: High and Low Literature in Late Antiquity
By Hope Deejune Williard

This report surveys the papers given at the second annual meeting of the International Society for Late Antique Literary Studies, held at Boston University in November 2014. The theme of the meeting was ‘High and Low Literature in Late Antiquity’.

Conference Report: Network for the Study of Caroline Minuscule Inaugural Colloquium
By N. Kıvılcım Yavuz

This is a report of the inaugural colloquium of the Network for the Study of Caroline Minuscule.


Intentionally deformed skull from the HNHM Post-Pleistocen Collection. Facial reconstructions of artificially deformed skulls from he Hun-German Period, HNHM Facial Reconstruction Collection. Hungarian Natural History Museum. Source:


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