How did Italian society change between the 5th and 11th century, in terms of culture and language compared to the Roman era?

I feel that there is a general lack of information regarding the first few centuries after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Italy suffered several major changes in society: the Visigoths, the Ostrogoths, the Langobards and finally the Carolingians and the HRE…

I read somewhere that during these centuries a lot of Roman citizens were either killed or exiled and their culture changed , however most of the new people in charged were spending all their effort in order to appear Roman themselves, for example Alaric, Odoacer or Theodoric all considered themselves Roman to some extent.

Today’s Italian has plenty of “barbarian” terms such as guerra (war), faida (feud) and zuffa (fight) and the language structures have some major differences compared to Latin. I know that Italian evolved from a mix of Latin and Vulgar and was standardised with the creation of the Divina Commedia by Dante.

Was this a noticeable change at the time or is it something that developed slowly over the next centuries?

Would a Roman citizen living in the 6th century feel a great difference in society compared to the late empire era? Were the byzantines more culturally similar to a 3rd century Roman than for example a citizen of Odoacer’s Italian kingdom?

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What do you think?

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