The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians
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The weakened military in the west failed to stop the Visigoths, Vandals, and other barbarian groups as they cut out portions of land for themselves across the empire. More troops were needed, but the funds could not be raised.
The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians
A large portion of the military had transitioned to garrison forces who dealt primarily with minor threats to frontier security. These soldiers had many other local duties and lived in a communal setting with their wives and children. When the barbarians began to push with force, the garrisons were not strong enough to fight back because they lacked man-power and training. Thus, loss of territory and revenue directly impacted the military forces which were divided sparingly along the borders.
Ultimately, Rome fell because the barbarian strength kept growing; one attack was not enough, but the cumulative effect caused the fall of the western empire. The barbarian problems arose from migratory expansion. Romans interacted with barbarians in the fourth century when Gothic refugees requested sanctuary within Roman borders. After a few years of peaceful living, the Goths revolted and killed emperor Valens at the battle of Hadrianople.
The Alamanni and Burgundians followed the Gothic example by snatching territories north of Italy. The damage of the resulting frontier conflict continued on a grand scale both geographically and numerically. The barbarians became a formidable enemy because contact with Rome increased their material wealth which in turn created a ruling class capable of controlling larger people groups.
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The continual pressure upon the Germanic tribes by the Huns forced them to invade Italy itself, and these continual invasions caused the fall of the Roman Empire. In a Germanic prince deposed the last western emperor, Romulus Augustulus, and the remaining Roman army now owed allegiance to a barbarian ruler. On one hand, some contemporary historians agreed with Heather about the barbarian invasions. Twentieth-century historian J.
The Fall of the Roman Empire
Bury had also argued that a series of events came together to shatter the empire, instead of one single event. John Matthews, a current professor at Yale University, co-authored a book with Heather, discussing the Gothic invasions and their effect on the Roman Empire. Heather also disagreed with A.
Jones and Bryan Ward-Perkins who both argued from an economic position. Jones believed that over-taxation destroyed the Roman economy, and Ward-Perkins believed that Germanic immigrants caused economic failures. Despite his contemporary opposition, Heather maintained that Rome fell because of financial, military, and barbarian problems. He claimed that since the empire had survived for at least half a millennium, no true historian could argue that Rome fell because of internal problems. This view of the Roman Empire offered fresh insights for twenty-first century scholars and created a new topic for debate in universities worldwide.
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