Similar to “cyborgs,” “historgs”, as in “historical organisms”, exist and result from the fusion of the present and past. These synthetic forms appear in various ways in public history.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) newspaper recently published an article by Berlin historian Alexander Demandt which had previously been rejected by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, a conservative political foundation. The following republication of the article by Swiss paper Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) caused a debate. Demandt’s hypothesis: the fall of the Roman Empire provides immediate historical lessons for today’s migrant crisis which must no longer be ignored.
Immigrating Germanic Hordes
In his article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) from January, 21st 2016, Alexander Demandt employs the seemingly matter-of-fact tone of the chronicler to speak of the “end of the old order” without explicitly referencing present-day problems. Those who know Demandt as a theorist of history and as a classicist cannot help being irritated by this text. On the one hand, Demandt should be better aware than anyone else that the end of the Roman Empire was not simply caused by “Germanic hordes”, as he puts it, and by seemingly unmanageable “numbers of immigrants”, but by a number of complex and intertwined factors.