Bernard S. Bachrach
Military Aspects of Scandinavian Society in a European Perspective, AD 1-1300 (1997)
Since the mid nineteenth century early medieval military history has been reduced to a rather simple formula. Prior to the Middle Ages warfare in Western Europe was dominated by the highly trained and well organised infantry legions of the Roman Empire. Then, for several hundred years, the barbarians, who are either credited or blamed for destroying the Roman Empire and creating the so called “Dark Ages” fought according to the tribal customs that they had brought with them from the German forests.
These barbarians who were gathered into embarrassingly small armed groups (much imagination has been expended trying to explain how they conquered the Roman Empire putatively fought each other in an ongoing search for greater and greater amounts of plunder and the irrational pursuit of glory. Warfare as commonly understood in Western civilization on the basis of a Greco-Roman model, is believed ostensibly to have ceased to exist among these barbarians.