Archeological evidence established human presence in Germany at least 600,000 years ago. Artefacts from prehistory include the oldest musical instruments, figurative art and human figurative art ever found. Originating in southern Scandinavia and northern Germany from around 750 BC, Bronze Age Germanic tribes that possessed a shared material culture expanded southwards and to the east and west coming into contact with the Celts as well as Iranian, Baltic and Slavic cultures, developing into the pre-Roman Iron Age. In the 1st century AD the Germanic tribes came in contact with Roman forces and in part resisted their advance, this had varying effects of unification and reunification as Rome tactically sought to encourage conflict between tribes. However, the Germanic wars posed a formidable problem for the Roman Empire which continued to grow until, in the 5th century with the decline of the Roman empire, several large Germanic tribes including the Visigoths, Ostrogoths and Vandals advanced throughout Roman territory including Britain, Gaul, Spain, North Africa and Carthage, Greece, Thrace and Rome itself. The politics of this episode are complex but especially for the Goths who controlled Rome it brought great wealth and also mediated the Germanic tribes conversion to Christianity which can be seen as the transition to the Medieval period.

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