The Ten Horns

"And behold a fourth beast, . . . and it had ten horns." Daniel 7:7.

The ten horns represent the kingdoms (variously referred to as "barbarian," "Germanic," "Teutonic") which entered and established rule in the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century.

The Ten Horns, a Part of the Fourth Beast of Daniel 7

"The great invasions were not a war of the barbarians to defeat and subjugate the Roman Empire. Rather, the Germans sought to become part of the Empire and were fighting for concessions, in the form of land or money. The Roman Empire . . . became a sort of vacuum into which the Germans pushed their way. They came as settlers, as allies. . . . They did not defeat the Roman Empire in one cataclysmic battle; instead, they permeated the Roman world over the course of three centuries and transformed the fundamental nature of Roman civilization." Norman Cantor, Western Civilization: Its Genesis and Destiny, Vol. I, p. 243. Emphasis supplied.

"The city of Rome itself became no more than one of the many German kingdoms in western Europe. Although this by no means signified the death of the heritage of Roman culture or the end of the power of Rome in the East, the year 476 marked a fundamental turning point in the Empire." Ibid., p. 248.

"By the fifth century the Roman army, which had been the arbiter of imperial power, was actually made up of a number of barbarian tribes and adventurers. The vital center of the Empire was no longer Roman in any real sense. Thus the Roman Empire did not succumb to invasion; we can really assign no date to its 'fall.' We can only conclude that by the end of the fifth century the ancient city-state had lost its power; that a wealthy urban society had been replaced by a rural culture based on peasant, serf, and landlord; that the Roman army contained scarcely any men who were Roman in anything but name; and that the Roman emperor and Senate had become outworn and hollow forms. After 476 the facade was gone, and Italy was part of a German kingdom." Ibid., p. 252.

Germanic Peoples Which Took Over the Roman Empire

On the left you will find the name of the people group, the year they acquired dominion, and the territory they occupied. Additional comments are on the right. You will notice that we discuss more than ten groups. The first ten are the ones generally considered to be the ten referred to in the prophecy. The others are discussed also for your consideration and evaluation.

c. 260
The Alemanni were originally composed of fragments of several Germanic peoples, and they remained a loosely knit confederation of tribes. Although several tribes put their military forces under the joint command of two leaders for the duration of a campaign, the different peoples generally found it difficult to combine, and they had nothing that could be called a central government. The Romans were displaced from the Agri Decumates by the Alemanni c. 260. (The Agri Decumates is a name given by the ancient Roman historian Tacitus to the Black Forest and adjoining areas of southwestern Germany between the Rhine, Danube, and Main Rivers.) The Alemanni occupied that region, and late in the 5th century they expanded into Alsace and northern Switzerland, thus making those regions German speaking. In 496 they were conquered by Clovis and incorporated into his Frankish dominions. The people continued to exist, yet under Merovingian rule. Originally pagan, they were converted to Christianity by Columbanus in the early 7th century. As that was the Celtic, and not the Catholic, form of Christianity, they were referred to as "Arians" by the Catholics. Between the years 718 and 732, by the efforts of Boniface, a Catholic monk from England, the Alemanni were brought under papal control.
NW Spain
Moved west across Gaul around the year 406. Considered to be Arian. Became Catholic around the year 555 (Some sources say 575). Absorbed into the Visigoth kingdom about 585.
Arian. Entered Roman territory around 395. Sacked Rome in 410. Established a large kingdom in Spain and Gaul in 415. Driven from Gaul in 508. Became Catholic in 587. In 621 they gained possession of the entire Spanish peninsula. Overthrown by the Moslems in 711.
N. Africa
Arian. Entered Roman territory in 409, settling in Spain. Crossed into Africa in 429. Took Carthage in 439. Captured and sacked Rome in 455. Destroyed by Justinian's general, Belisarius, in 534.
First entered Roman territory in 358. In 486 Clovis destroyed the last vestige of Roman power in Gaul. They were pagan, but Clovis was converted to Catholicism in 496, the first of the barbarians to do so. Clovis established a powerful kingdom by conquering several other German kingdoms. In 561 the kingdom was divided into four parts, three of which, after 567, were off-and-on-again separately ruled: Neustria, Austrasia, and Burgundy.
First appeared in Roman territory in 412. Arian. It appears that the king converted to Catholicism about the year 520. The kingdom fell to the Franks in 532 or 534. Now a part of France.
Angles, Saxons, Jutes
c. 450
These groups were pagan until Catholicism, which, introduced in 597, was established by the Synod of Whitby in 664. The Anglo-Saxon kingdom was conquered by the Normans in 1066.
The Heruli were German auxiliary troops in Rome who mutinied on August 23, 476, bringing to an end the Western Roman imperial line. Was it really a Herulian kingdom, or simply a Herulian king who played an important role in Western civilization? As a people group they hold no major significance; but their leader, Odoacer, stands out distinctly in history. They were Arian. When Odoacer was killed by Theodoric in 493, we hear no more about the Heruli.
Arrived in 456. Came to power in Rome in 493 when Theodoric killed Odoacer. Arian. Belisarius expelled them from Rome in 538. Their kingdom came to an end in 553.
A Suevian group who moved into Italy in 568. Arian. The changeover to Catholicism took place between 588 and 662. They lasted as a kingdom until 774.
A portion of the Netherlands
Sources conflict with each other as to whether their territory was ever under Roman jurisdiction. If it was, the Romans, not the Frisians, were the invaders. This is not an example of a barbarian group migrating into Roman territory. It is also questioned whether or not they ever formed a self-contained political, cultural, or ethnic unit which might be called a "kingdom." Descendants of this people group still exist there today. The Frisians were pagan until forced to become Catholic in 750.
By A.D. 500
They first appeared sometime after c. 350. They were conquered by the Huns near the middle of the 5th century. But by the beginning of the 6th century the Thuringians had an extensive kingdom from the Elbe to the Danube, outside the territory proper of the old Roman Empire. In 531 they were attacked by the Franks and the Saxons. The northern part of their kingdom was taken by the Saxons, and the southern part became Frankish territory. If occupying territory within the boundaries of the old Roman Empire is a qualification for being one of the ten horns, the Thuringians probably would not qualify. Some maps of the Roman Empire, however, do include what might have been the southern portion of Thuringia.
Appear to have come on the scene too late to be one of the orginal ten horns. Possibly Catholic by the time they achieved independence. Incorporated into Charlemagne's dominions in 788.

Noteworthy Names:

Alaric, king of the Visigoths (395-410)
Clovis, king of the Franks (481-511)
Genseric, king of the Vandals (428-477)
Odoacer, king of the Heruli (476-493)
Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths (493-526)

The Religion of the Germans

Much to the dismay of the Catholics, most of the Germanic kingdoms adopted the Arian form of Christianity.

   "When the Germanic peoples entered the Roman Empire and founded successor-kingdoms in the western part, most had been Arian Christians for more than a century." Wikipedia article: Arianism

The Franks and Anglo-Saxons were the notable exceptions, converting directly from paganism to Catholicism.

Here is how Encyclopaedia Brittanica describes the situation:

   "In all these cases the Germans embraced the Arian form of Christianity; none of the major Germanic people became officially Catholic until the conversion of the Franks under Clovis (496) and of the Burgundians under Sigismund. The reason for their adoption of Arianism rather than Catholicism is very obscure. Unhappily, the books produced by the Arian Germans have all disappeared with the exception of the fragments of Ulfilas' Bible, some leaves of an anonymous Gothic commentary on St. John's Gospel, and a fragment of a church calendar written in Gothic. It is clear, however, that their theology depended on a literal interpretation of the Scriptures." Encyclopaedia Brittanica: Germans, Ancient.

Here it is from another source:

   "From 476 to 521 the world was almost entirely under the sway of Arians. All the barbarians, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, and Vandals professed Arianism. Not that they could appreciate the intricate subtleties of the Greek language or the technical terms which separated those who held the Creed of Nicaea from the followers of Arius, but because they had received their Christianity from Arian missionaries, and perhaps because they disdained to worship with the despised Roman provincials." F. J. Foakes-Jackson, "The New West and Gregory the Great," in the composite work An Outline of Christianity (New York: Bethlehem Publishers, 1926), Vol. 2, p. 150.

Of all the Germanic kingdoms, the Vandals, Heruli, and Ostrogoths posed the greatest hindrance the development of the papacy. Their defeat allowed for unchallenged papal supremacy in 538. After that, all the Arian kingdoms were eventually forced to become Catholic.