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The Fall of the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
(also called Fall of the Roman Empire or Fall of Rome) was the process of decline in the Western Roman Empire
Roman Empire
in which it failed to enforce its rule, and its vast territory was divided into several successor polities. The Roman Empire lost the strengths that had allowed it to exercise effective control over the West; modern historians mention factors including the effectiveness and numbers of the army, the health and numbers of the Roman population, the strength of the economy, the competence of the Emperors, the internal struggles for power, the religious changes of the period, and the efficiency of the civil administration. Increasing pressure from barbarians outside Roman culture also contributed greatly to the collapse. The reasons for the collapse are major subjects of the historiography of the ancient world and they inform much modern discourse on state failure.[1][2] Relevant dates include 117 CE, when the Empire was at its greatest territorial extent, and the accession of Diocletian
Diocletian
in 284. Irreversible major territorial loss, however, began in 376 with a large-scale irruption of Goths
Goths
and others. In 395, after winning two destructive civil wars, Theodosius I
Theodosius I
died, leaving a collapsing field army and the Empire, still plagued by Goths, divided between his two incapable sons. By 476 when Odoacer
Odoacer
deposed the Emperor Romulus, the Western Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
wielded negligible military, political, or financial power and had no effective control over the scattered Western domains that could still be described as Roman. Invading barbarians had established their own power in most of the area of the Western Empire. While its legitimacy lasted for centuries longer and its cultural influence remains today, the Western Empire never had the strength to rise again. The Fall is not the only unifying concept for these events; the period described as Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity
emphasizes the cultural continuities throughout and beyond the political collapse.

Contents

1 Historical approaches

1.1 Timespan 1.2 Reasons 1.3 Alternative descriptions and labels

2 Height of power, crises, and recoveries

2.1 Height of power 2.2 Crisis of the Third Century 2.3 Reunification and political division 2.4 Growing social divisions

3 313–376: Abuse of power, frontier warfare, and rise of Christianity 4 376–395; invasions, civil wars, and religious discord

4.1 Battle of Adrianople 4.2 Partial recovery in the Balkans 4.3 Civil wars

5 Military, financial, and political ineffectiveness: the process of failure 6 395–406; Stilicho

6.1 Stilicho's attempts to unify the Empire, revolts, and invasions

7 408–410; the end of an effective regular field army, starvation in Italy, sack of Rome

7.1 Stilicho's fall and Alaric's reaction 7.2 Alaric besieges Rome 7.3 The Goths
Goths
move out of Italy

8 405–418 in the Gallic provinces; barbarians and usurpers, loss of Britannia, partial loss of Hispania
Hispania
and Gaul

8.1 Settlement of 418; barbarians within the empire

9 421–433; renewed dissension after the death of Constantius, partial loss of the Diocese of Africa 10 433–454; ascendancy of Aetius, loss of Carthage

10.1 444–453; attacks by the empire of Attila
Attila
the Hun

11 455–456; failure of Avitus, further losses in Gaul, rise of Ricimer 12 457–467; resurgence under Majorian, attempt to recover Africa, control by Ricimer 13 467–472, Anthemius; an Emperor and an army from the East 14 472–476; the final emperors, puppets of the warlords 15 From 476; last Emperor, rump states 16 Legacy 17 See also 18 Notes 19 References 20 External Links

Historical approaches[edit] Main article: Historiography
Historiography
of the fall of the Western Roman Empire Since 1776, when Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon
published the first volume of his The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Decline and Fall has been the theme around which much of the history of the Roman Empire has been structured. "From the eighteenth century onward," historian Glen Bowersock wrote, "we have been obsessed with the fall: it has been valued as an archetype for every perceived decline, and, hence, as a symbol for our own fears."[3] The Fall is not the only unifying concept for these events; the period described as Late Antiquity emphasizes the cultural continuities throughout and beyond the political collapse. Timespan[edit] The Fall of the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
was the process of decline in the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
in which it failed to enforce its rule. The loss of centralized political control over the West, and the lessened power of the East, are universally agreed, but the theme of decline has been taken to cover a much wider time span than the hundred years from 376. For Cassius Dio, the accession of the emperor Commodus
Commodus
in 180 CE marked the descent "from a kingdom of gold to one of rust and iron".[4] Gibbon started his story in 98 and Theodor Mommsen
Theodor Mommsen
regarded the whole of the imperial period as unworthy of inclusion in his Nobel Prize-winning History of Rome. Arnold J. Toynbee
Arnold J. Toynbee
and James Burke argue that the entire Imperial era was one of steady decay of institutions founded in republican times. As one convenient marker for the end, 476 has been used since Gibbon, but other markers include the Crisis of the Third Century, the Crossing of the Rhine
Crossing of the Rhine
in 406 (or 405), the sack of Rome
Rome
in 410, the death of Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos
in 480, all the way to the Fall of New Rome
Rome
in 1453.[5] Reasons[edit] Gibbon gave a classic formulation of reasons why the Fall happened. He began an ongoing controversy about the role of Christianity, but he gave great weight to other causes of internal decline and to attacks from outside the Empire.

The story of its ruin is simple and obvious; and, instead of inquiring why the Roman empire was destroyed, we should rather be surprised that it had subsisted so long. The victorious legions, who, in distant wars, acquired the vices of strangers and mercenaries, first oppressed the freedom of the republic, and afterwards violated the majesty of the purple. The emperors, anxious for their personal safety and the public peace, were reduced to the base expedient of corrupting the discipline which rendered them alike formidable to their sovereign and to the enemy; the vigour of the military government was relaxed, and finally dissolved, by the partial institutions of Constantine; and the Roman world was overwhelmed by a deluge of Barbarians. — Edward Gibbon. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, "General Observations on the Fall of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
in the West", Chapter 38

Alexander Demandt enumerated 210 different theories on why Rome
Rome
fell, and new ideas have emerged since.[6][7] Historians still try to analyze the reasons for loss of political control over a vast territory (and, as a subsidiary theme, the reasons for the survival of the Eastern Roman
Eastern Roman
Empire). Comparison has also been made with China after the end of the Han dynasty, which re-established unity under the Sui dynasty
Sui dynasty
while the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
world remained politically disunited. Low taxes helped the Roman aristocracy increase their wealth, which equalled or exceeded the revenues of the central government. An emperor sometimes replenished his treasury by confiscating the estates of the "super-rich", but in the later period, the resistance of the wealthy to paying taxes was one of the factors contributing to the collapse of the Empire.[8] Alternative descriptions and labels[edit] Main article: Late Antiquity From at least the time of Henri Pirenne
Henri Pirenne
scholars have described a continuity of Roman culture and political legitimacy long after 476.[citation needed] Pirenne postponed the demise of classical civilization to the 8th century. He challenged the notion that Germanic barbarians had caused the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
to end, and he refused to equate the end of the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
with the end of the office of emperor in Italy. He pointed out the essential continuity of the economy of the Roman Mediterranean
Mediterranean
even after the barbarian invasions, and suggested that only the Muslim conquests represented a decisive break with antiquity. The more recent formulation of a historical period characterized as "Late Antiquity" emphasizes the transformations of ancient to medieval worlds within a cultural continuity.[9] In recent decades archaeologically-based argument even extends the continuity in material culture and in patterns of settlement as late as the eleventh century.[10][11][12] Observing the political reality of lost control, but also the cultural and archaeological continuities, the process has been described as a complex cultural transformation, rather than a fall.[13] Height of power, crises, and recoveries[edit] Height of power[edit] The Roman Empire
Roman Empire
reached its greatest geographical extent under Trajan (emperor 98–117), who ruled a prosperous state that stretched from Armenia to the Atlantic. The Empire had large numbers of trained, supplied, and disciplined soldiers, as well as a comprehensive civil administration based in thriving cities with effective control over public finances. Among its literate elite it had ideological legitimacy as the only worthwhile form of civilization and a cultural unity based on comprehensive familiarity with Greek and Roman literature and rhetoric. The Empire's power allowed it to maintain extreme differences of wealth and status (including slavery on a large scale),[14] and its wide-ranging trade networks permitted even modest households to use goods made by professionals far away.[15] Its financial system allowed it to raise significant taxes which, despite endemic corruption, supported a large regular army with logistics and training. The cursus honorum, a standardized series of military and civil posts organised for ambitious aristocratic men, ensured that powerful noblemen became familiar with military and civil command and administration. At a lower level within the army, connecting the aristocrats at the top with the private soldiers, a large number of centurions were well-rewarded, literate, and responsible for training, discipline, administration, and leadership in battle.[16] City governments with their own properties and revenues functioned effectively at a local level; membership of city councils involved lucrative opportunities for independent decision-making, and, despite its obligations, became seen as a privilege. Under a series of emperors who each adopted a mature and capable successor, the Empire did not require civil wars to regulate the imperial succession. Requests could be submitted directly to the better emperors, and the answers had the force of law, putting the imperial power directly in touch with even humble subjects.[17] The cults of polytheist religion were hugely varied, but none claimed that theirs was the only truth, and their followers displayed mutual tolerance, producing a polyphonous religious harmony.[18] Religious strife was rare after the suppression of the Bar Kokhba revolt
Bar Kokhba revolt
in 136 (after which the devastated Judaea
Judaea
ceased to be a major centre for Jewish unrest). Heavy mortality in 165–180 from the Antonine Plague
Antonine Plague
seriously impaired attempts to repel Germanic invaders, but the legions generally held or at least speedily re-instated the borders of the Empire.[19]

Map of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
in the early second century

Crisis of the Third Century[edit] Main article: Crisis of the Third Century The Empire suffered from multiple, serious crises during the third century, including the rise of the Sassanid Empire, which inflicted three crushing defeats on Roman field armies and remained a potent threat for centuries.[20] Other disasters included repeated civil wars, barbarian invasions, and more mass mortality in the Plague of Cyprian (from 250 onwards). Rome
Rome
abandoned the province of Dacia
Dacia
on the north of the Danube (271), and for a short period the Empire split into a Gallic Empire
Gallic Empire
in the West (260–274), a Palmyrene Empire
Palmyrene Empire
in the East (260–273), and a central Roman rump state. The Rhine/Danube frontier also came under more effective threat from larger barbarian groupings, which had developed better agriculture and larger populations.[21] The Empire survived the Crisis of the Third Century, directing its economy successfully towards defence, but survival came at the price of a more centralized and bureaucratic state. Under Gallienus
Gallienus
the senatorial aristocracy ceased joining the ranks of the senior military commanders, its typical members lacking interest in military service and showing incompetence at command.[22][23]

The divided Empire in 271 CE

Reunification and political division[edit] Aurelian
Aurelian
reunited the empire in 274; and from 284 Diocletian
Diocletian
and his successors reorganized it with more emphasis on the military. John the Lydian, writing over two centuries later, reported that Diocletian's army at one point totaled 389,704 men, plus 45,562 in the fleets, and numbers may have increased later.[24] With the limited communications of the time, both the European and the Eastern frontiers needed the attention of their own supreme commanders. Diocletian
Diocletian
tried to solve this problem by re-establishing an adoptive succession with a senior (Augustus) and junior (Caesar) emperor in each half of the Empire, but this system of tetrarchy broke down within one generation; the hereditary principle re-established itself with generally unfortunate results, and thereafter civil war became again the main method of establishing new imperial regimes. Although Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great
(in office 306 to 337) again re-united the Empire, towards the end of the fourth century the need for division was generally accepted. From then on, the Empire existed in constant tension between the need for two emperors and their mutual mistrust.[20] Until late in the fourth century the united Empire retained sufficient power to launch attacks against its enemies in Germania
Germania
and in the Sassanid Empire. Receptio of barbarians became widely practiced: imperial authorities admitted potentially hostile groups into the Empire, split them up, and allotted to them lands, status, and duties within the imperial system. In this way many groups provided unfree workers (coloni) for Roman landowners, and recruits (laeti) for the Roman army. Sometimes their leaders became officers. Normally the Romans managed the process carefully, with sufficient military force on hand to ensure compliance, and cultural assimilation followed over the next generation or two.

Map of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
under the Tetrarchy, showing the dioceses and the four Tetrarchs' zones of responsibility

Growing social divisions[edit] The new supreme rulers disposed of the legal fiction of the early Empire (seeing the emperor as but the first among equals); emperors from Aurelian
Aurelian
(reigned 270–275) onwards openly styled themselves as dominus et deus, "lord and god", titles appropriate for a master-slave relationship.[25] An elaborate court ceremonial developed, and obsequious flattery became the order of the day. Under Diocletian, the flow of direct requests to the emperor rapidly reduced and soon ceased altogether. No other form of direct access replaced them, and the emperor received only information filtered through his courtiers.[26] Official cruelty, supporting extortion and corruption, may also have become more commonplace.[27] While the scale, complexity, and violence of government were unmatched,[28] the emperors lost control over their whole realm insofar as that control came increasingly to be wielded by anyone who paid for it.[29] Meanwhile, the richest senatorial families, immune from most taxation, engrossed more and more of the available wealth and income,[30][31] while also becoming divorced from any tradition of military excellence. One scholar identifies a great increase in the purchasing power of gold, two and a half fold from 274 to the later fourth century, which may be an index of growing economic inequality between a gold-rich elite and a cash-poor peasantry.[32] Within the late Roman military, many recruits and even officers had barbarian origins, and soldiers are recorded as using possibly-barbarian rituals such as elevating a claimant on shields.[33] Some scholars have seen this as an indication of weakness; others disagree, seeing neither barbarian recruits nor new rituals as causing any problem with the effectiveness or loyalty of the army.[34] 313–376: Abuse of power, frontier warfare, and rise of Christianity[edit] Further information: History of late ancient Christianity In 313 Constantine I
Constantine I
declared official toleration of Christianity, followed over the ensuing decades by establishment of Christian orthodoxy and by official and private action against pagans and non-orthodox Christians. His successors generally continued this process, and Christianity became the religion of any ambitious civil official. Under Constantine the cities lost their revenue from local taxes, and under Constantius II
Constantius II
(r. 337–361) their endowments of property.[35] This worsened the existing difficulty in keeping the city councils up to strength, and the services provided by the cities were scamped or abandoned.[35] Public building projects became fewer, more often repairs than new construction, and now provided at state expense rather than by local grandees wishing to consolidate long-term local influence.[36] A further financial abuse was Constantius's increased habit of granting to his immediate entourage the estates of persons condemned of treason and other capital charges; this reduced future though not immediate income, and those close to the emperor gained a strong incentive to stimulate his suspicion of plots.[35] Constantine settled Franks
Franks
on the lower left bank of the Rhine; their settlements required a line of fortifications to keep them in check, indicating that Rome
Rome
had lost almost all local control.[27] Under Constantius, bandits came to dominate areas such as Isauria
Isauria
well within the empire.[37] The tribes of Germany also became more populous and more threatening.[21] In Gaul, which did not really recover from the invasions of the third century, there was widespread insecurity and economic decline in the 300s,[21] perhaps worst in Armorica. By 350, after decades of pirate attacks, virtually all villas in Armorica were deserted, and local use of money ceased about 360.[38] Repeated attempts to economize on military expenditure included billeting troops in cities, where they could less easily be kept under military discipline and could more easily extort from civilians.[39] Except in the rare case of a determined and incorruptible general, these troops proved ineffective in action and dangerous to civilians.[40] Frontier troops were often given land rather than pay; as they farmed for themselves, their direct costs diminished, but so did their effectiveness, and there was much less economic stimulus to the frontier economy.[41] However, except for the provinces along the lower Rhine, the agricultural economy was generally doing well.[42] The average nutritional state of the population in the West suffered a serious decline in the late second century; the population of North-Western Europe did not recover, though the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
regions did.[43] The numbers and effectiveness of the regular soldiers may have declined during the fourth century: payrolls were inflated so that pay could be diverted and exemptions from duty sold, their opportunities for personal extortion were multiplied by residence in cities, and their effectiveness was reduced by concentration on extortion instead of drill.[44] However, extortion, gross corruption, and occasional ineffectiveness[45] were not new to the Roman army; there is no consensus whether its effectiveness significantly declined before 376.[46] Ammianus Marcellinus, himself a professional soldier, repeats longstanding observations about the superiority of contemporary Roman armies being due to training and discipline, not to physical size or strength.[47] Despite a possible decrease in its ability to assemble and supply large armies,[48] Rome
Rome
maintained an aggressive and potent stance against perceived threats almost to the end of the fourth century.[49]

Solidus of Julian, c. 361. Obverse: Julian with the beard appropriate to a Neoplatonic
Neoplatonic
philosopher. Inscription: FL(AVIVS) CL(AVDIVS) IVLIANVS PP(=Pater Patriae, "father of the nation") AVG(=Augustus). Reverse: an armed Roman, military standard in one hand, a captive in the other. Inscription: VIRTVS EXERCITVS ROMANORVM, "the bravery/virtue of the Roman army"; the mint mark is SIRM, Sirmium

Julian (r. 360–363) launched a drive against official corruption which allowed the tax demands in Gaul to be reduced to one-third of their previous amount, while all government requirements were still met.[50] In civil legislation Julian was notable for his pro-pagan policies. All Christian sects were officially tolerated by Julian, persecution of heretics was forbidden, and non-Christian religions were encouraged. Some Christians continued to destroy temples, disrupt rituals, and break sacred images, seeking martyrdom and at times achieving it at the hands of non-Christian mobs or secular authorities; some pagans attacked the Christians who had previously been involved with the destruction of temples.[51] Julian won victories against Germans who had invaded Gaul. He launched an expensive campaign against the Persians,[35] which ended in defeat and his own death. He succeeded in marching to the Sassanid capital of Ctesiphon, but lacked adequate supplies for an assault. He burned his boats and supplies to show resolve in continuing operations, but the Sassanids began a war of attrition by burning crops. Finding himself cut off in enemy territory, he began a land retreat during which he was mortally wounded. His successor Jovian, acclaimed by a demoralized army, began his brief reign (363–364) trapped in Mesopotamia without supplies. To purchase safe passage home, he had to concede areas of northern Mesopotamia and Kurdistan, including the strategically important fortress of Nisibis, which had been Roman since before the Peace of Nisibis in 299. The brothers Valens
Valens
(r. 364–378) and Valentinian I
Valentinian I
(r. 364–375) energetically tackled the threats of barbarian attacks on all the Western frontiers[52] and tried to alleviate the burdens of taxation, which had risen continuously over the previous forty years; Valens
Valens
in the East reduced the tax demand by half in his fourth year.[53] Both were Christians and confiscated the temple lands that Julian had restored, but were generally tolerant of other beliefs. Valentinian in the West refused to intervene in religious controversy; in the East, Valens
Valens
had to deal with Christians who did not conform to his ideas of orthodoxy, and persecution formed part of his response.[54] The wealth of the church increased dramatically, immense resources both public and private being used for ecclesiastical construction and support of the religious life.[55] Bishops in wealthy cities were thus able to offer vast patronage; Ammianus described some as "enriched from the offerings of matrons, ride seated in carriages, wearing clothing chosen with care, and serve banquets so lavish that their entertainments outdo the tables of kings". Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon
remarked that "the soldiers' pay was lavished on the useless multitudes of both sexes who could only plead the merits of abstinence and chastity", though there are no figures for the monks and nuns nor for their maintenance costs. Pagan rituals and buildings had not been cheap either; the move to Christianity may not have had significant effects on the public finances.[21] Some public disorder also followed competition for prestigious posts; Pope Damasus I
Pope Damasus I
was installed in 366 after an election whose casualties included a hundred and thirty-seven corpses in the basilica of Sicininus.[56] Valentinian died of an apoplexy while personally shouting at envoys of Germanic leaders. His successors in the West were children, his sons Gratian
Gratian
(r. 375–383) and Valentinian II
Valentinian II
(r. 375–392). Gratian, "alien from the art of government both by temperament and by training" removed the Altar of Victory
Altar of Victory
from the Senate House, and he rejected the pagan title of Pontifex Maximus.[57] 376–395; invasions, civil wars, and religious discord[edit] Battle of Adrianople[edit] In 376 the East faced an enormous barbarian influx across the Danube, mostly Goths
Goths
who were refugees from the Huns. They were exploited by corrupt officials rather than effectively resettled, and they took up arms, joined by more Goths
Goths
and by some Alans
Alans
and Huns. Valens
Valens
was in Asia with his main field army, preparing for an assault on the Persians, and redirecting the army and its logistic support would have required time. Gratian's armies were distracted by Germanic invasions across the Rhine. In 378 Valens
Valens
attacked the invaders with the Eastern field army, perhaps some 20,000 men – possibly only 10% of the soldiers nominally available in the Danube provinces[58] – and in the Battle of Adrianople, 9 August 378, he lost much of that army and his own life. All of the Balkan provinces were thus exposed to raiding, without effective response from the remaining garrisons who were "more easily slaughtered than sheep".[58] Cities were able to hold their own walls against barbarians who had no siege equipment, and they generally remained intact although the countryside suffered.[59] Partial recovery in the Balkans[edit] Gratian
Gratian
appointed a new Augustus, a proven general from Hispania called Theodosius. During the next four years, he partially re-established the Roman position in the East.[60][61] These campaigns depended on effective imperial coordination and mutual trust – between 379 and 380 Theodosius controlled not only the Eastern empire, but also, by agreement, the diocese of Illyricum.[62] Theodosius was unable to recruit enough Roman troops, relying on barbarian warbands without Roman military discipline or loyalty. In contrast, during the Cimbrian War, the Roman Republic, controlling a smaller area than the western Empire, had been able to reconstitute large regular armies of citizens after greater defeats than Adrianople, and it ended that war with the near-extermination of the invading barbarian supergroups, each recorded as having more than 100,000 warriors (with allowances for the usual exaggeration of numbers by ancient authors).[63] Theodosius's partial failure[64][65] may have stimulated Vegetius
Vegetius
to offer advice on re-forming an effective army (the advice may date from the 390s[66] or from the 430s[67]):

From the foundation of the city till the reign of the Emperor Gratian, the foot wore cuirasses and helmets. But negligence and sloth having by degrees introduced a total relaxation of discipline, the soldiers began to think their armor too heavy, as they seldom put it on. They first requested leave from the Emperor to lay aside the cuirass and afterwards the helmet. In consequence of this, our troops in their engagements with the Goths
Goths
were often overwhelmed with their showers of arrows. Nor was the necessity of obliging the infantry to resume their cuirasses and helmets discovered, notwithstanding such repeated defeats, which brought on the destruction of so many great cities. Troops, defenseless and exposed to all the weapons of the enemy, are more disposed to fly than fight. What can be expected from a foot-archer without cuirass or helmet, who cannot hold at once his bow and shield; or from the ensigns whose bodies are naked, and who cannot at the same time carry a shield and the colors? The foot soldier finds the weight of a cuirass and even of a helmet intolerable. This is because he is so seldom exercised and rarely puts them on.[68]

The final Gothic settlement was acclaimed with relief,[61] even the official panegyrist admitting that these Goths
Goths
could not be expelled or exterminated, nor reduced to unfree status.[69] Instead they were either recruited into the imperial forces, or settled in the devastated provinces along the south bank of the Danube, where the regular garrisons were never fully re-established.[70] In some later accounts, and widely in recent work, this is regarded as a treaty settlement, the first time that barbarians were given a home within the Empire in which they retained their political and military cohesion.[71] No formal treaty is recorded, nor details of whatever agreement was actually made, and when "the Goths" re-emerge in our records they have different leaders and are soldiers of a sort.[72] In 391 Alaric, a Gothic leader, rebelled against Roman control. Goths attacked the emperor himself, but within a year Alaric was accepted as a leader of Theodosius's Gothic troops and this rebellion was over.[73] Theodosius's financial position must have been difficult, since he had to pay for expensive campaigning from a reduced tax base. The business of subduing barbarian warbands also demanded substantial gifts of precious metal.[74] Nevertheless, he is represented as financially lavish, though personally frugal when on campaign.[75] At least one extra levy provoked desperation and rioting in which the emperor's statues were destroyed.[76] He was pious, a Nicene Christian
Nicene Christian
heavily influenced by Ambrose, and implacable against heretics. In 392 he forbade even private honor to the gods, and pagan rituals such as the Olympic Games. He either ordered or connived at the widespread destruction of sacred buildings.[77] Civil wars[edit] Theodosius had to face a powerful usurper in the West; Magnus Maximus declared himself Emperor in 383, stripped troops from the outlying regions of Britannia
Britannia
(probably replacing some with federate chieftains and their war-bands) and invaded Gaul. His troops killed Gratian
Gratian
and he was accepted as Augustus in the Gallic provinces, where he was responsible for the first official executions of Christian heretics.[78] To compensate the Western court for the loss of Gaul, Hispania, and Britannia, Theodosius ceded the diocese of Dacia
Dacia
and the diocese of Macedonia to their control. In 387 Maximus invaded Italy, forcing Valentinian II
Valentinian II
to flee to the East, where he accepted Nicene Christianity. Maximus boasted to Ambrose
Ambrose
of the numbers of barbarians in his forces, and hordes of Goths, Huns, and Alans
Alans
followed Theodosius.[79] Maximus negotiated with Theodosius for acceptance as Augustus of the West, but Theodosius refused, gathered his armies, and counterattacked, winning the civil war in 388. There were heavy troop losses on both sides of the conflict. Later Welsh legend has Maximus's defeated troops resettled in Armorica, instead of returning to Britannia, and by 400, Armorica
Armorica
was controlled by Bagaudae rather than by imperial authority.[80] Theodosius restored Valentinian II, still a very young man, as Augustus in the West. He also appointed Arbogast, a pagan general of Frankish origin, as Valentinian's commander-in-chief and guardian. Valentinian quarreled in public with Arbogast, failed to assert any authority, and died, either by suicide or by murder, at the age of 21. Arbogast and Theodosius failed to come to terms and Arbogast nominated an imperial official, Eugenius
Eugenius
(r. 392–394), as emperor in the West. Eugenius
Eugenius
made some modest attempts to win pagan support,[76] and with Arbogast led a large army to fight another destructive civil war. They were defeated and killed at the Battle of the Frigidus, which was attended by further heavy losses especially among the Gothic federates of Theodosius. The north-eastern approaches to Italy were never effectively garrisoned again.[81]

The Eastern and Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
at the death of Theodosius I
Theodosius I
in 395

Theodosius died a few months later in early 395, leaving his young sons Honorius (r. 395–423) and Arcadius
Arcadius
(r. 395–408) as emperors. In the immediate aftermath of Theodosius's death, the magister militum Stilicho, married to Theodosius's niece, asserted himself in the West as the guardian of Honorius and commander of the remains of the defeated Western army. He also claimed control over Arcadius
Arcadius
in Constantinople, but Rufinus, magister officiorum on the spot, had already established his own power there. Henceforward the Empire was not under the control of one man, until much of the West had been permanently lost.[65] Neither Honorius nor Arcadius
Arcadius
ever displayed any ability either as rulers or as generals, and both lived as the puppets of their courts.[82] Stilicho
Stilicho
tried to reunite the Eastern and Western courts under his personal control, but in doing so achieved only the continued hostility of all of Arcadius's successive supreme ministers.

Military, financial, and political ineffectiveness: the process of failure[edit] The ineffectiveness of Roman military responses from Stilicho
Stilicho
onwards has been described as "shocking",[83] with little evidence of indigenous field forces or of adequate training, discipline, pay, or supply for the barbarians who formed most of the available troops. Local defence was occasionally effective, but was often associated with withdrawal from central control and taxes; in many areas, barbarians under Roman authority attacked culturally-Roman "Bagaudae".[84][85][86] Corruption, in this context the diversion of public finance from the needs of the army, may have contributed greatly to the Fall. The rich senatorial aristocrats in Rome
Rome
itself became increasingly influential during the fifth century; they supported armed strength in theory, but did not wish to pay for it or to offer their own workers as army recruits.[87][88] They did, however, pass large amounts of money to the Christian Church.[89] At a local level, from the early fourth century, the town councils lost their property and their power, which often became concentrated in the hands of a few local despots beyond the reach of the law.[90] The fifth-century Western emperors, with brief exceptions, were individuals incapable of ruling effectively or even of controlling their own courts.[82] Those exceptions were responsible for brief, but remarkable resurgences of Roman power. 395–406; Stilicho[edit]

The emperor Honorius, a contemporary depiction on a consular diptych issued by Anicius Petronius Probus
Anicius Petronius Probus
to celebrate Probus's consulship in 406, now in the Aosta
Aosta
museum

Without an authoritative ruler, the Balkan provinces fell rapidly into disorder. Alaric was disappointed in his hopes for promotion to magister militum after the battle of the Frigidus. He again led Gothic tribesmen in arms and established himself as an independent power, burning the countryside as far as the walls of Constantinople.[91] Alaric's ambitions for long-term Roman office were never quite acceptable to the Roman imperial courts, and his men could never settle long enough to farm in any one area. They showed no inclination to leave the Empire and face the Huns
Huns
from whom they had fled in 376; indeed the Huns
Huns
were still stirring up further migrations which often ended by attacking Rome
Rome
in turn. Alaric's group was never destroyed nor expelled from the Empire, nor acculturated under effective Roman domination.[84][85][90] Stilicho's attempts to unify the Empire, revolts, and invasions[edit] Stilicho
Stilicho
moved with his remaining mobile forces into Greece, a clear threat to Rufinus' control of the Eastern empire. The bulk of Rufinus' forces were occupied with Hunnic incursions in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
and Syria, leaving Thrace
Thrace
undefended. He opted to enlist Alaric and his men, and sent them to Thessaly
Thessaly
to stave off Stilicho's threat, which they did.[81] No battle took place. Stilicho
Stilicho
was forced to send some of his Eastern forces home.[92] They went to Constantinople
Constantinople
under the command of one Gainas, a Goth with a large Gothic following. On arrival, Gainas murdered Rufinus, and was appointed magister militum for Thrace by Eutropius, the new supreme minister and the only eunuch consul of Rome, who controlled Arcadius
Arcadius
"as if he were a sheep".[93] Stilicho obtained a few more troops from the German frontier and continued to campaign ineffectively against the Eastern empire; again he was successfully opposed by Alaric and his men. During the next year, 397, Eutropius personally led his troops to victory over some Huns
Huns
who were marauding in Asia Minor. With his position thus strengthened he declared Stilicho
Stilicho
a public enemy, and he established Alaric as magister militum per Illyricum. A poem by Synesius advises the emperor to display manliness and remove a "skin-clad savage" (probably Alaric) from the councils of power and his barbarians from the Roman army. We do not know if Arcadius
Arcadius
ever became aware of the existence of this advice, but it had no recorded effect.[94] Synesius, from a province suffering the widespread ravages of a few poor but greedy barbarians, also complained of "the peacetime war, one almost worse than the barbarian war and arising from military indiscipline and the officer's greed."[95]

The Favorites of the Emperor Honorius, by John William Waterhouse, 1883

The magister militum in the Diocese of Africa
Diocese of Africa
declared for the East and stopped the supply of grain to Rome.[81] Italy had not fed itself for centuries and could not do so now. In 398, Stilicho
Stilicho
sent his last reserves, a few thousand men, to re-take the Diocese of Africa, and he strengthened his position further when he married his daughter Maria to Honorius. Throughout this period Stilicho, and all other generals, were desperately short of recruits and supplies for them.[96] In 400, Stilicho
Stilicho
was charged to press into service any "laetus, Alamannus, Sarmatian, vagrant, son of a veteran" or any other person liable to serve.[97] He had reached the bottom of his recruitment pool.[98] Though personally not corrupt, he was very active in confiscating assets;[93] the financial and administrative machine was not producing enough support for the army.

An ivory diptych, thought to depict Stilicho
Stilicho
(right) with his wife Serena and son Eucherius, ca. 395 ( Monza
Monza
Cathedral)

In 399, Tribigild's rebellion in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
allowed Gainas to accumulate a significant army (mostly Goths), become supreme in the Eastern court, and execute Eutropius.[99] He now felt that he could dispense with Alaric's services and he nominally transferred Alaric's province to the West. This administrative change removed Alaric's Roman rank and his entitlement to legal provisioning for his men, leaving his army – the only significant force in the ravaged Balkans – as a problem for Stilicho.[100] In 400, the citizens of Constantinople
Constantinople
revolted against Gainas and massacred as many of his people, soldiers and their families, as they could catch. Some Goths at least built rafts and tried to cross the strip of sea that separates Asia from Europe; the Roman navy
Roman navy
slaughtered them.[101] By the beginning of 401, Gainas' head rode a pike through Constantinople while another Gothic general became consul.[102] Meanwhile, groups of Huns
Huns
started a series of attacks across the Danube, and the Isaurians marauded far and wide in Anatolia.[103] In 401 Stilicho
Stilicho
travelled over the Alps
Alps
to Raetia, to scrape up further troops.[104] He left the Rhine
Rhine
defended only by the "dread" of Roman retaliation, rather than by adequate forces able to take the field.[104] Early in spring, Alaric, probably desperate,[105] invaded Italy, and he drove Honorius westward from Mediolanum, besieging him in Hasta Pompeia
Hasta Pompeia
in Liguria. Stilicho
Stilicho
returned as soon as the passes had cleared, meeting Alaric in two battles (near Pollentia and Verona) without decisive results. The Goths, weakened, were allowed to retreat back to Illyricum where the Western court again gave Alaric office, though only as comes and only over Dalmatia
Dalmatia
and Pannonia
Pannonia
Secunda rather than the whole of Illyricum.[106] Stilicho
Stilicho
probably supposed that this pact would allow him to put Italian government into order and recruit fresh troops.[96] He may also have planned with Alaric's help to relaunch his attempts to gain control over the Eastern court.[107]

Christian pendant of Empress Maria, daughter of Stilicho, and wife of Honorius. Musée du Louvre. The pendant reads, around a central cross (clockwise): HONORI MARIA SERHNA VIVATIS STELICHO. The letters form a Christogram

However, in 405, Stilicho
Stilicho
was distracted by a fresh invasion of Northern Italy. Another group of Goths
Goths
fleeing the Huns, led by one Radagaisus, devastated the north of Italy for six months before Stilicho
Stilicho
could muster enough forces to take the field against them. Stilicho
Stilicho
recalled troops from Britannia
Britannia
and the depth of the crisis was shown when he urged all Roman soldiers to allow their personal slaves to fight beside them.[107] His forces, including Hun and Alan auxiliaries, may in the end have totalled rather less than 15,000 men.[108] Radagaisus
Radagaisus
was defeated and executed. 12,000 prisoners from the defeated horde were drafted into Stilicho's service.[108] Stilicho continued negotiations with Alaric; Flavius Aetius, son of one of Stilicho's major supporters, was sent as a hostage to Alaric in 405. In 406 Stilicho, hearing of new invaders and rebels who had appeared in the northern provinces, insisted on making peace with Alaric, probably on the basis that Alaric would prepare to move either against the Eastern court or against the rebels in Gaul. The Senate deeply resented peace with Alaric; in 407, when Alaric marched into Noricum and demanded a large payment for his expensive efforts in Stilicho's interests, the senate, "inspired by the courage, rather than the wisdom, of their predecessors,"[109] preferred war. One senator famously declaimed Non est ista pax, sed pactio servitutis ("This is not peace, but a pact of servitude").[110] Stilicho
Stilicho
paid Alaric four thousand pounds of gold nevertheless.[111] Stilicho
Stilicho
sent Sarus, a Gothic general, over the Alps
Alps
to face the usurper Constantine III, but he lost and barely escaped, having to leave his baggage to the bandits who now infested the Alpine passes.[111] The empress Maria, daughter of Stilicho, died in 407 or early 408 and her sister Aemilia Materna Thermantia married Honorius. In the East, Arcadius
Arcadius
died on 1 May 408 and was replaced by his son Theodosius II; Stilicho
Stilicho
seems to have planned to march to Constantinople, and to install there a regime loyal to himself.[112] He may also have intended to give Alaric a senior official position and send him against the rebels in Gaul. Before he could do so, while he was away at Ticinum
Ticinum
at the head of a small detachment, a bloody coup against his supporters took place at Honorius's court. It was led by Stilicho's own creature, one Olympius.[113] 408–410; the end of an effective regular field army, starvation in Italy, sack of Rome[edit] Stilicho's fall and Alaric's reaction[edit] Stilicho
Stilicho
had news of the coup at Bononia (where he was probably waiting for Alaric).[114] His small escort of barbarians was led by Sarus, who rebelled. His Gothic troops massacred the Hun contingent in their sleep, and then withdrew towards the cities in which their families were billeted. Stilicho
Stilicho
ordered that these troops should not be admitted, but, now without an army, he was forced to flee for sanctuary, promised his life, and killed.[115] Alaric was again declared an enemy of the Emperor. The conspiracy then massacred the families of the federate troops (as presumed supporters of Stilicho, although they had probably rebelled against him), and the troops defected en masse to Alaric.[116] The conspirators seem to have let their main army disintegrate,[117] and had no policy except hunting down supporters of Stilicho.[118] Italy was left without effective indigenous defence forces thereafter.[83] Heraclianus, a co-conspirator of Olympius, became governor of the Diocese of Africa, where he controlled the source of most of Italy's grain, and he supplied food only in the interests of Honorius's regime.[119] As a declared 'enemy of the Emperor', Alaric was denied the legitimacy that he needed to collect taxes and hold cities without large garrisons, which he could not afford to detach. He again offered to move his men, this time to Pannonia, in exchange for a modest sum of money and the modest title of Comes, but he was refused as a supporter of Stilicho.[120] He moved into Italy, probably using the route and supplies arranged for him by Stilicho,[114] bypassing the imperial court in Ravenna
Ravenna
which was protected by widespread marshland and had a port, and he menaced the city of Rome
Rome
itself. In 407, there was no equivalent of the determined response to the catastrophic Battle of Cannae in 216 BCE, when the entire Roman population, even slaves, had been mobilized to resist the enemy.[121] Alaric's military operations centred on the port of Rome, through which Rome's grain supply had to pass. Alaric's first siege of Rome
Rome
in 408 caused dreadful famine within the walls. It was ended by a payment that, though large, was less than one of the richest senators could have produced.[122] The super-rich aristocrats made little contribution; pagan temples were stripped of ornaments to make up the total. With promises of freedom, Alaric also recruited many of the slaves in Rome.[123] Alaric withdrew to Tuscany and recruited more slaves.[123] Ataulf, a Goth nominally in Roman service and brother-in-law to Alaric, marched through Italy to join Alaric despite taking casualties from a small force of Hunnic mercenaries led by Olympius. Sarus was an enemy of Ataulf, and on Ataulf's arrival went back into imperial service.[124] Alaric besieges Rome[edit] In 409 Olympius fell to further intrigue, having his ears cut off before he was beaten to death. Alaric tried again to negotiate with Honorius, but his demands (now even more moderate, only frontier land and food[125]) were inflated by the messenger and Honorius responded with insults, which were reported verbatim to Alaric.[126] He broke off negotiations and the standoff continued. Honorius's court made overtures to the usurper Constantine III in Gaul and arranged to bring Hunnic forces into Italy, Alaric ravaged Italy outside the fortified cities (which he could not garrison), and the Romans refused open battle (for which they had inadequate forces).[127] Late in the year Alaric sent bishops to express his readiness to leave Italy if Honorius would only grant his people a supply of grain. Honorius, sensing weakness, flatly refused.[128] Alaric moved to Rome
Rome
and captured Galla Placidia, sister of Honorius. The Senate in Rome, despite its loathing for Alaric, was now desperate enough to give him almost anything he wanted. They had no food to offer, but they tried to give him imperial legitimacy; with the Senate's acquiescence, he elevated Priscus Attalus
Priscus Attalus
as his puppet emperor, and he marched on Ravenna. Honorius was planning to flee to Constantinople
Constantinople
when a reinforcing army of 4,000 soldiers from the East disembarked in Ravenna.[129] These garrisoned the walls and Honorius held on. He had Constantine's principal court supporter executed and Constantine abandoned plans to march to Honorius's defence.[130] Attalus failed to establish his control over the Diocese of Africa, and no grain arrived in Rome
Rome
where the famine became even more frightful.[131] Jerome
Jerome
reports cannibalism within the walls.[132] Attalus brought Alaric no real advantage, failing also to come to any useful agreement with Honorius (who was offered mutilation, humiliation, and exile). Indeed, Attalus's claim was a marker of threat to Honorius, and Alaric dethroned him after a few months.[133] In 410 Alaric took Rome
Rome
by starvation, sacked it for three days (there was relatively little destruction, and in some Christian holy places Alaric's men even refrained from wanton wrecking and rape), and invited its remaining barbarian slaves to join him, which many did. The city of Rome
Rome
was the seat of the richest senatorial noble families and the centre of their cultural patronage; to pagans it was the sacred origin of the empire, and to Christians the seat of the heir of Saint Peter, Pope Innocent I, the most authoritative bishop of the West. Rome
Rome
had not fallen to an enemy since the Battle of the Allia over eight centuries before. Refugees spread the news and their stories throughout the Empire, and the meaning of the fall was debated with religious fervour. Both Christians and pagans wrote embittered tracts, blaming paganism or Christianity respectively for the loss of Rome's supernatural protection, and blaming Stilicho's earthly failures in either case.[134][93] Some Christian responses anticipated the imminence of Judgement Day. Augustine
Augustine
in his book "City of God" ultimately rejected the pagan and Christian idea that religion should have worldly benefits; he developed the doctrine that the City of God in heaven, undamaged by mundane disasters, was the true objective of Christians.[135] More practically, Honorius was briefly persuaded to set aside the laws forbidding pagans to be military officers, so that one Generidus could re-establish Roman control in Dalmatia. Generidus did this with unusual effectiveness; his techniques were remarkable for this period, in that they included training his troops, disciplining them, and giving them appropriate supplies even if he had to use his own money.[136] The penal laws were reinstated no later than 25 August 410 and the overall trend of repression of paganism continued.[137]

Inscription honouring Honorius, as florentissimo invictissimoque, the most excellent and invincible, 417–418, Forum Romanum

Procopius
Procopius
mentions a story in which Honorius, on hearing the news that Rome
Rome
had "perished", was shocked, thinking the news was in reference to his favorite chicken he had named "Roma". On hearing that Rome itself had fallen he breathed a sigh of relief:

At that time they say that the Emperor Honorius in Ravenna
Ravenna
received the message from one of the eunuchs, evidently a keeper of the poultry, that Roma had perished. And he cried out and said, "And yet it has just eaten from my hands!" For he had a very large cockerel, Roma by name; and the eunuch comprehending his words said that it was the city of Roma which had perished at the hands of Alaric, and the emperor with a sigh of relief answered quickly: "But I thought that my fowl Roma had perished." So great, they say, was the folly with which this emperor was possessed. — Procopius, The Vandalic War (De Bellis III.2.25–26)

The Goths
Goths
move out of Italy[edit] Alaric then moved south, intending to sail to Africa, but his ships were wrecked in a storm and he shortly died of fever. His successor Ataulf, still regarded as an usurper and given only occasional and short-term grants of supplies, moved north into the turmoil of Gaul, where there was some prospect of food. His supergroup of barbarians are called the Visigoths in modern works: they may now have been developing their own sense of identity.[138] 405–418 in the Gallic provinces; barbarians and usurpers, loss of Britannia, partial loss of Hispania
Hispania
and Gaul[edit] The Crossing of the Rhine
Crossing of the Rhine
in 405/6 brought unmanageable numbers of German and Alan barbarians (perhaps some 30,000 warriors, 100,000 people[139]) into Gaul. They may have been trying to get away from the Huns, who about this time advanced to occupy the Great Hungarian Plain.[140] For the next few years these barbarian tribes wandered in search of food and employment, while Roman forces fought each other in the name of Honorius and a number of competing claimants to the imperial throne.[141] The remaining troops in Britannia
Britannia
elevated a succession of imperial usurpers. The last, Constantine III, raised an army from the remaining troops in Britannia, invaded Gaul and defeated forces loyal to Honorius led by Sarus. Constantine's power reached its peak in 409 when he controlled Gaul and beyond, he was joint consul with Honorius[142] and his magister militum Gerontius defeated the last Roman force to try to hold the borders of Hispania. It was led by relatives of Honorius; Constantine executed them. Gerontius went to Hispania
Hispania
where he may have settled the Sueves
Sueves
and the Asding Vandals. Gerontius then fell out with his master and elevated one Maximus as his own puppet emperor. He defeated Constantine and was besieging him in Arelate
Arelate
when Honorius's general Constantius arrived from Italy with an army (possibly, mainly of Hun mercenaries).[143] Gerontius's troops deserted him and he committed suicide. Constantius continued the siege, defeating a relieving army. Constantine surrendered in 411 with a promise that his life would be spared, and was executed.[144] In 410, the Roman civitates of Britannia
Britannia
rebelled against Constantine and evicted his officials. They asked for help from Honorius, who replied that they should look to their own defence. While the British may have regarded themselves as Roman for several generations, and British armies may at times have fought in Gaul, no central Roman government is known to have appointed officials in Britannia thereafter.[145] In 411, Jovinus
Jovinus
rebelled and took over Constantine's remaining troops on the Rhine. He relied on the support of Burgundians and Alans
Alans
to whom he offered supplies and land. In 413 Jovinus
Jovinus
also recruited Sarus; Ataulf
Ataulf
destroyed their regime in the name of Honorius and both Jovinus
Jovinus
and Sarus were executed. The Burgundians were settled on the left bank of the Rhine. Ataulf
Ataulf
then operated in the south of Gaul, sometimes with short-term supplies from the Romans.[146] All usurpers had been defeated, but large barbarian groups remained un-subdued in both Gaul and Hispania.[145]. The imperial government was quick to restore the Rhine
Rhine
frontier. The invading tribes of 407 had passed into Spain at the end of 409 but the Visigoths had exited Italy at the beginning of 412 and settled themselves in Narbo. Heraclianus
Heraclianus
was still in command in the diocese of Africa, the last of the clique that overthrew Stilicho
Stilicho
to retain power. In 413 he led an invasion of Italy, lost to a subordinate of Constantius, and fled back to Africa where he was murdered by Constantius's agents.[146] In January 414 Roman naval forces blockaded Ataulf
Ataulf
in Narbo, where he married Galla Placidia. The choir at the wedding included Attalus, a puppet emperor without revenues or soldiers.[147] Ataulf
Ataulf
famously declared that he had abandoned his intention to set up a Gothic empire because of the irredeemable barbarity of his followers, and instead he sought to restore the Roman Empire.[148][133] He handed Attalus over to Honorius's regime for mutilation, humiliation, and exile, and abandoned Attalus's supporters.[149] (One of them, Paulinus Pellaeus, recorded that the Goths
Goths
considered themselves merciful for allowing him and his household to leave destitute, but alive, without being raped.)[147] Ataulf
Ataulf
moved out of Gaul, to Barcelona. There his infant son by Galla Placidia
Galla Placidia
was buried, and there Ataulf
Ataulf
was assassinated by one of his household retainers, possibly a former follower of Sarus.[150][151] His ultimate successor Wallia
Wallia
had no agreement with the Romans; his people had to plunder in Hispania
Hispania
for food.[152] Settlement of 418; barbarians within the empire[edit]

Areas allotted to or claimed by barbarian groups in 416–418

In 416 Wallia
Wallia
reached agreement with Constantius; he sent Galla Placidia back to Honorius and received provisions, six hundred thousand modii of wheat.[153] From 416 to 418, Wallia's Goths campaigned in Hispania
Hispania
on Constantius's behalf, exterminating the Siling Vandals
Vandals
in Baetica
Baetica
and reducing the Alans
Alans
to the point where the survivors sought the protection of the king of the Asding Vandals. (After retrenchment they formed another barbarian supergroup, but for the moment they were reduced in numbers and effectively cowed.) In 418, by agreement with Constantius, Wallia's Goths
Goths
accepted land to farm in Aquitania.[154] Constantius also reinstituted an annual council of the southern Gallic provinces, to meet at Arelate. Although Constantius rebuilt the western field army to some extent – the Notitia Dignitatum
Notitia Dignitatum
gives a list of the units of the western field army at this time—he did so only by replacing half of its units (vanished in the wars since 395) by re-graded barbarians, and by garrison troops removed from the frontier.[155] Constantius had married the princess Galla Placidia
Galla Placidia
(despite her protests) in 417. The couple soon had two children, Honoria
Honoria
and Valentinian III, and Constantius was elevated to the position of Augustus in 420. This earned him the hostility of the Eastern court, which had not agreed to his elevation.[156] Nevertheless, Constantius had achieved an unassailable position at the Western court, in the imperial family, and as the able commander-in-chief of a partially restored army.[157][158] This settlement represented a real success for the Empire—a poem by Rutilius Namatianus celebrates his voyage back to Gaul in 417 and his confidence in a restoration of prosperity. But it marked huge losses of territory and of revenue; Rutilius travelled by ship past the ruined bridges and countryside of Tuscany, and in the west the River Loire had become the effective northern boundary of Roman Gaul.[159] In the east of Gaul the Franks
Franks
controlled large areas; the effective line of Roman control until 455 ran from north of Cologne (lost to the Ripuarian Franks
Franks
in 459) to Boulogne. The Italian areas which had been compelled to support the Goths
Goths
had most of their taxes remitted for several years.[160][161] Even in southern Gaul and Hispania
Hispania
large barbarian groups remained, with thousands of warriors, in their own non-Roman military and social systems. Some occasionally acknowledged a degree of Roman political control, but without the local application of Roman leadership and military power they and their individual subgroups pursued their own interests.[162] 421–433; renewed dissension after the death of Constantius, partial loss of the Diocese of Africa[edit] Constantius died in 421, after only seven months as Augustus. He had been careful to make sure that there was no successor in waiting, and his own children were far too young to take his place.[157] Honorius was unable to control his own court and the death of Constantius initiated more than ten years of instability. Initially Galla Placidia sought Honorius's favour in the hope that her son might ultimately inherit. Other court interests managed to defeat her, and she fled with her children to the Eastern court in 422. Honorius himself died, shortly before his thirty-ninth birthday, in 423. After some months of intrigue, the patrician Castinus installed Joannes
Joannes
as Western Emperor, but the Eastern Roman
Eastern Roman
government proclaimed the child Valentinian III instead, his mother Galla Placidia
Galla Placidia
acting as regent during his minority. Joannes
Joannes
had few troops of his own. He sent Aetius to raise help from the Huns. An Eastern army landed in Italy, captured Joannes, cut his hand off, abused him in public, and killed him with most of his senior officials. Aetius returned, three days after Joannes' death, at the head of a substantial Hunnic army which made him the most powerful general in Italy. After some fighting, Placidia and Aetius came to an agreement; the Huns
Huns
were paid off and sent home, while Aetius received the position of magister militum.[163] Galla Placidia, as Augusta, mother of the Emperor, and his guardian until 437, could maintain a dominant position in court, but women in Ancient Rome
Rome
did not exercise military power and she could not herself become a general. She tried for some years to avoid reliance on a single dominant military figure, maintaining a balance of power between her three senior officers, Aetius (magister militum in Gaul), Count Boniface
Count Boniface
governor in the Diocese of Africa, and Flavius Felix magister militum praesentalis in Italy.[164] Meanwhile, the Empire deteriorated seriously. Apart from the losses in the Diocese of Africa, Hispania
Hispania
was slipping out of central control and into the hands of local rulers and Suevic bandits. In Gaul the Rhine
Rhine
frontier had collapsed, the Visigoths in Aquitaine may have launched further attacks on Narbo
Narbo
and Arelate, and the Franks, increasingly powerful although disunited, were the major power in the north-east. Aremorica was controlled by Bagaudae, local leaders not under the authority of the Empire.[165] Aetius at least campaigned vigorously and mostly victoriously, defeating aggressive Visigoths, Franks, fresh Germanic invaders, Bagaudae in Aremorica, and a rebellion in Noricum.[166] Not for the first time in Rome's history, a triumvirate of mutually distrustful rulers proved unstable. In 427 Felix tried to recall Boniface from Africa; he refused, and overcame Felix's invading force. Boniface probably recruited some Vandal troops among others.[167] In 428 the Vandals
Vandals
and Alans
Alans
were united under the able, ferocious, and long-lived king Genseric; he moved his entire people to Tarifa near Gibraltar, divided them into 80 groups nominally of 1,000 people, (perhaps 20,000 warriors in total),[139] and crossed from Hispania
Hispania
to Mauretania
Mauretania
without opposition. (The Straits of Gibraltar
Straits of Gibraltar
were not an important thoroughfare at the time, and there were no significant fortifications nor military presence at this end of the Mediterranean.) They spent a year moving slowly to Numidia, defeating Boniface. He returned to Italy where Aetius had recently had Felix executed. Boniface was promoted to magister militum and earned the enmity of Aetius, who may have been absent in Gaul at the time. In 432 the two met at the Battle of Ravenna
Ravenna
which left Aetius's forces defeated and Boniface mortally wounded. Aetius temporarily retired to his estates, but after an attempt to murder him he raised another Hunnic army (probably by conceding parts of Pannonia
Pannonia
to them) and in 433 he returned to Italy, overcoming all rivals. He never threatened to become an Augustus himself and thus maintained the support of the Eastern court, where Valentinian's cousin Theodosius II
Theodosius II
reigned until 450.[168] 433–454; ascendancy of Aetius, loss of Carthage[edit] Aetius campaigned vigorously, somewhat stabilizing the situation in Gaul and in Hispania. He relied heavily on his forces of Huns. With a ferocity celebrated centuries later in the Nibelungenlied, the Huns slaughtered many Burgundians on the middle Rhine, re-establishing the survivors as Roman allies, the first Kingdom of the Burgundians. This may have returned some sort of Roman authority to Trier.[169] Eastern troops reinforced Carthage, temporarily halting the Vandals, who in 435 agreed to limit themselves to Numidia
Numidia
and leave the most fertile parts of North Africa in peace. Aetius concentrated his limited military resources to defeat the Visigoths again, and his diplomacy restored a degree of order to Hispania.[170] However, his general Litorius was badly defeated by the Visigoths at Toulouse, and a new Suevic king, Rechiar, began vigorous assaults on what remained of Roman Hispania. At one point Rechiar
Rechiar
even allied with Bagaudae. These were Romans not under imperial control; some of their reasons for rebellion may be indicated by the remarks of a Roman captive under Attila
Attila
who was happy in his lot, giving a lively account of

the vices of a declining empire, of which he had so long been the victim; the cruel absurdity of the Roman princes, unable to protect their subjects against the public enemy, unwilling to trust them with arms for their own defence; the intolerable weight of taxes, rendered still more oppressive by the intricate or arbitrary modes of collection; the obscurity of numerous and contradictory laws; the tedious and expensive forms of judicial proceedings; the partial administration of justice; and the universal corruption, which increased the influence of the rich, and aggravated the misfortunes of the poor.[171]

A religious polemic of about this time complains bitterly of the oppression and extortion[82] suffered by all but the richest Romans. Many wished to flee to the Bagaudae or even to foul-smelling barbarians.

Although these men differ in customs and language from those with whom they have taken refuge, and are unaccustomed too, if I may say so, to the nauseous odor of the bodies and clothing of the barbarians, yet they prefer the strange life they find there to the injustice rife among the Romans. So you find men passing over everywhere, now to the Goths, now to the Bagaudae, or whatever other barbarians have established their power anywhere ... We call those men rebels and utterly abandoned, whom we ourselves have forced into crime. For by what other causes were they made Bagaudae save by our unjust acts, the wicked decisions of the magistrates, the proscription and extortion of those who have turned the public exactions to the increase of their private fortunes and made the tax indictions their opportunity for plunder?[172]

From Britannia
Britannia
comes an indication of the prosperity which freedom from taxes could bring.

No sooner were the ravages of the enemy checked, than the island was deluged with a most extraordinary plenty of all things, greater than was before known, and with it grew up every kind of luxury and licentiousness.[173]

Nevertheless, effective imperial protection from barbarian ravages was eagerly sought. About this time authorities in Britannia
Britannia
asked Aetius for help:

"To Aetius, now consul for the third time: the groans of the Britons." And again a little further, thus: – "The barbarians drive us to the sea; the sea throws us back on the barbarians: thus two modes of death await us, we are either slain or drowned." The Romans, however, could not assist them ...[173]

The Visigoths passed another waymark on their journey to full independence; they made their own foreign policy, sending princesses to make (rather unsuccessful) marriage alliances with Rechiar
Rechiar
of the Sueves
Sueves
and with Huneric, son of the Vandal king Genseric.[174] In 439 the Vandals
Vandals
moved eastward (temporarily abandoning Numidia) and captured Carthage, where they established an independent state with a powerful navy. This brought immediate financial crisis to the Western Empire; the diocese of Africa was prosperous, normally required few troops to keep it secure, contributed large tax revenues, and exported wheat to feed Rome
Rome
and many other areas.[175] Roman troops assembled in Sicily, but the planned counter-attack never happened. Huns attacked the Eastern empire,[176] and

the troops, which had been sent against Genseric, were hastily recalled from Sicily; the garrisons, on the side of Persia, were exhausted; and a military force was collected in Europe, formidable by their arms and numbers, if the generals had understood the science of command, and the soldiers the duty of obedience. The armies of the Eastern empire were vanquished in three successive engagements ... From the Hellespont
Hellespont
to Thermopylae, and the suburbs of Constantinople, [Attila] ravaged, without resistance, and without mercy, the provinces of Thrace
Thrace
and Macedonia.[177]

Attila's invasions of the East were stopped by the walls of Constantinople, and at this heavily fortified Eastern end of the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
there were no significant barbarian invasions across the sea into the rich southerly areas of Anatolia, the Levant, and Egypt.[178] Despite internal and external threats, and more religious discord than the West, these provinces remained prosperous contributors to tax revenue; despite the ravages of Attila's armies and the extortions of his peace treaties, tax revenue generally continued to be adequate for the essential state functions of the Eastern empire.[179][180] Genseric
Genseric
settled his Vandals
Vandals
as landowners[181] and in 442 was able to negotiate very favourable peace terms with the Western court. He kept his latest gains and his eldest son Huneric
Huneric
was honoured by betrothal to Princess Eudocia, who carried the legitimacy of the Theodosian dynasty. Huneric's Gothic wife was suspected of trying to poison her father-in-law Genseric; he sent her home without her nose or ears, and his Gothic alliance came to an early end.[182] The Romans regained Numidia, and Rome
Rome
again received a grain supply from Africa. The losses of income from the Diocese of Africa
Diocese of Africa
were equivalent to the costs of nearly 40,000 infantry or over 20,000 cavalry.[183] The imperial regime had to increase taxes. Despite admitting that the peasantry could pay no more, and that a sufficient army could not be raised, the imperial regime protected the interests of landowners displaced from Africa and allowed wealthy individuals to avoid taxes.[184][185] 444–453; attacks by the empire of Attila
Attila
the Hun[edit] In 444, the Huns
Huns
were united under Attila. His subjects included Huns, outnumbered several times over by other groups, predominantly Germanic.[186] His power rested partly on his continued ability to reward his favoured followers with precious metals,[187] and he continued to attack the Eastern Empire until 450, by when he had extracted vast sums of money and many other concessions.[188] Attila
Attila
may not have needed any excuse to turn West, but he received one in the form of a plea for help from Honoria, the Emperor's sister, who was being forced into a marriage which she resented. Attila claimed Honoria
Honoria
as his wife and half of the Western Empire's territory as his dowry. Faced with refusal, he invaded Gaul in 451 with a huge army. In the bloody battle of the Catalaunian Plains the invasion was stopped by the combined forces of the barbarians within the Western empire, coordinated by Aetius and supported by what troops he could muster. The next year, Attila
Attila
invaded Italy and proceeded to march upon Rome, but an outbreak of disease in his army, lack of supplies, reports that Eastern Roman
Eastern Roman
troops were attacking his noncombatant population in Pannonia, and, possibly, Pope Leo's plea for peace induced him to halt this campaign. Attila
Attila
unexpectedly died a year later (453) and his empire crumbled as his followers fought for power. The life of Severinus of Noricum
Noricum
gives glimpses of the general insecurity, and ultimate retreat of the Romans on the Upper Danube, in the aftermath of Attila's death. The Romans were without adequate forces; the barbarians inflicted haphazard extortion, murder, kidnap, and plunder on the Romans and on each other.

So long as the Roman dominion lasted, soldiers were maintained in many towns at the public expense to guard the boundary wall. When this custom ceased, the squadrons of soldiers and the boundary wall were blotted out together. The troop at Batavis, however, held out. Some soldiers of this troop had gone to Italy to fetch the final pay to their comrades, and no one knew that the barbarians had slain them on the way.[189]

In 454 Aetius was personally stabbed to death by Valentinian, who was himself murdered by the dead general's supporters a year later.[190]

(Valentinian) thought he had slain his master; he found that he had slain his protector: and he fell a helpless victim to the first conspiracy which was hatched against his throne.[191]

A rich senatorial aristocrat, Petronius
Petronius
Maximus, who had encouraged both murders, then seized the throne. He broke the engagement between Huneric, prince of the Vandals, and Princess Eudocia, and had time to send Avitus
Avitus
to ask for the help of the Visigoths in Gaul[192] before the Vandals
Vandals
sailed to Italy. Petronius
Petronius
was unable to muster any effective response and was killed by a mob as he tried to flee the city. The Vandals
Vandals
entered Rome, and plundered it for two weeks. Despite the shortage of money for the defence of the state, considerable private wealth had accumulated since the previous sack in 410. The Vandals
Vandals
sailed away with large amounts of treasure and also with the Princess Eudocia, who became the wife of one Vandal king and the mother of another.[193] The Vandals
Vandals
conquered Sicily, and their fleet became a constant danger to Roman sea trade and to the coasts and islands of the western Mediterranean.[194] 455–456; failure of Avitus, further losses in Gaul, rise of Ricimer[edit] Avitus, at the Visigothic court in Burdigala, declared himself Emperor. He moved on Rome
Rome
with Visigothic support which gained his acceptance by Majorian
Majorian
and Ricimer, commanders of the remaining army of Italy. This was the first time that a barbarian kingdom had played a key role in the imperial succession.[195] Avitus's son-in-law Sidonius
Sidonius
wrote propaganda to present the Visigothic king Theoderic II as a reasonable man with whom a Roman regime could do business.[196] Theoderic's payoff included precious metal from stripping the remaining public ornaments of Italy,[197] and an unsupervised campaign in Hispania. There he not only defeated the Sueves, executing his brother-in-law Rechiar, but he also plundered Roman cities.[196] The Burgundians expanded their kingdom in the Rhone valley and the Vandals took the remains of the Diocese of Africa.[198] In 456 the Visigothic army was too heavily engaged in Hispania
Hispania
to be an effective threat to Italy, and Ricimer
Ricimer
had just destroyed a pirate fleet of sixty Vandal ships; Majorian
Majorian
and Ricimer
Ricimer
marched against Avitus
Avitus
and defeated him near Placentia. He was forced to become Bishop of Placentia, and died (possibly murdered) a few weeks later.[199] 457–467; resurgence under Majorian, attempt to recover Africa, control by Ricimer[edit]

During his four-year reign Majorian
Majorian
reconquered most of Hispania
Hispania
and southern Gaul, meanwhile reducing the Visigoths, Burgundians and Suevi to federate status.

Majorian
Majorian
and Ricimer
Ricimer
were now in control of Italy. Ricimer
Ricimer
was the son of a Suevic king and his mother was the daughter of a Gothic one, so he could not aspire to an imperial throne. After some months, allowing for negotiation with the new emperor of Constantinople
Constantinople
and the defeat of 900 Alamannic invaders of Italy by one of his subordinates, Majorian
Majorian
was acclaimed as Augustus. Majorian
Majorian
is described by Gibbon as "a great and heroic character".[200] He rebuilt the army and navy of Italy with vigour and set about recovering the remaining Gallic provinces, which had not recognized his elevation. He defeated the Visigoths at the Battle of Arelate, reducing them to federate status and obliging them to give up their claims in Hispania; he moved on to subdue the Burgundians, the Gallo-Romans around Lugdunum
Lugdunum
(who were granted tax concessions and whose senior officials were appointed from their own ranks) and the Suevi and Bagaudae in Hispania. Marcellinus, magister militum in Dalmatia
Dalmatia
and the pagan general of a well-equipped army, acknowledged him as emperor and recovered Sicily from the Vandals.[201] Aegidius
Aegidius
also acknowledged Majorian
Majorian
and took effective charge of northern Gaul. ( Aegidius
Aegidius
may also have used the title "King of the Franks".[202]) Abuses in tax collection were reformed and the city councils were strengthened, both actions necessary to rebuild the strength of the Empire but disadvantageous to the richest aristocrats.[203] Majorian
Majorian
prepared a fleet at Carthago Nova
Carthago Nova
for the essential reconquest of the Diocese of Africa. The fleet was burned by traitors, and Majorian
Majorian
made peace with the Vandals
Vandals
and returned to Italy. Here Ricimer
Ricimer
met him, arrested him, and executed him five days later. Marcellinus in Dalmatia, and Aegidius around Soissons
Soissons
in northern Gaul, rejected both Ricimer
Ricimer
and his puppets and maintained some version of Roman rule in their areas.[204] Ricimer
Ricimer
later ceded Narbo
Narbo
and its hinterland to the Visigoths for their help against Aegidius; this made it impossible for Roman armies to march from Italy to Hispania. Ricimer
Ricimer
was then the effective ruler of Italy (but little else) for several years. From 461 to 465 the pious Italian aristocrat Libius Severus reigned. There is no record of anything significant that he even tried to achieve, he was never acknowledged by the East whose help Ricimer
Ricimer
needed, and he died conveniently in 465. 467–472, Anthemius; an Emperor and an army from the East[edit]

Tremissis
Tremissis
of Anthemius

After two years without a Western Emperor, the Eastern court nominated Anthemius, a successful general who had a strong claim on the Eastern throne. He arrived in Italy with an army, supported by Marcellinus and his fleet; he married his daughter to Ricimer, and he was proclaimed Augustus in 467. In 468, at vast expense, the Eastern empire assembled an enormous force to help the West retake the Diocese of Africa. Marcellinus rapidly drove the Vandals
Vandals
from Sardinia and Sicily, and a land invasion evicted them from Tripolitania. The commander in chief with the main force defeated a Vandal fleet near Sicily and landed at Cape Bon. Here Genseric
Genseric
offered to surrender, if he could have a five-day truce to prepare the process. He used the respite to prepare a full-scale attack preceded by fireships, which destroyed most of the Roman fleet and killed many of its soldiers. The Vandals
Vandals
were confirmed in their possession of the Diocese of Africa
Diocese of Africa
and they retook Sardinia and Sicily. Marcellinus was murdered, possibly on orders from Ricimer.[205] The Praetorian prefect of Gaul, Arvandus, tried to persuade the new king of the Visigoths to rebel, on the grounds that Roman power in Gaul was finished anyway, but he refused. Anthemius
Anthemius
was still in command of an army in Italy. Additionally, in northern Gaul, a British army led by one Riothamus, operated in imperial interests.[206] Anthemius
Anthemius
sent his son over the Alps, with an army, to request that the Visigoths return southern Gaul to Roman control. This would have allowed the Empire land access to Hispania again. The Visigoths refused, defeated the forces of both Riothamus and Anthemius, and with the Burgundians took over almost all of the remaining imperial territory in southern Gaul. Ricimer
Ricimer
then quarreled with Anthemius, and besieged him in Rome, which surrendered in July 472 after more months of starvation.[207] Anthemius
Anthemius
was captured and executed (on Ricimer's orders) by the Burgundian prince Gundobad. In August Ricimer
Ricimer
died of a pulmonary haemorrhage. Olybrius, his new emperor, named Gundobad as his patrician, then died himself shortly thereafter.[208] 472–476; the final emperors, puppets of the warlords[edit] After the death of Olybrius
Olybrius
there was a further interregnum until March 473, when Gundobad proclaimed Glycerius
Glycerius
emperor. He may have made some attempt to intervene in Gaul; if so, it was unsuccessful.[209]

Tremissis
Tremissis
of Julius Nepos

In 474 Julius Nepos, nephew and successor of the general Marcellinus, arrived in Rome
Rome
with soldiers and authority from the eastern emperor Leo I. Gundobad had already left to contest the Burgundian throne in Gaul[209] and Glycerius
Glycerius
gave up without a fight, retiring to become bishop of Salona
Salona
in Dalmatia.[209] In 475, Orestes, a former secretary of Attila, drove Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos
out of Ravenna
Ravenna
and proclaimed his own son Flavius Momyllus Romulus Augustus (Romulus Augustulus) to be Emperor, on October 31. His surname 'Augustus' was given the diminutive form 'Augustulus' by rivals because he was still a minor, and he was never recognized outside of Italy as a legitimate ruler.[210] In 476, Orestes refused to grant Odoacer
Odoacer
and the Heruli
Heruli
federated status, prompting an invasion. Orestes fled to the city of Pavia on August 23, 476, where the city's bishop gave him sanctuary. Orestes was soon forced to flee Pavia when Odoacer's army broke through the city walls, and his army ravaged the city. Odoacer's army chased Orestes to Piacenza, where they captured and executed him on August 28, 476. On September 4, 476, Odoacer
Odoacer
forced then 16-year-old Romulus Augustulus, whom his father Orestes had proclaimed to be Rome's Emperor, to abdicate. After deposing Romulus, Odoacer
Odoacer
did not execute him. The Anonymus Valesianus wrote that Odoacer, "taking pity on his youth", spared Romulus' life and granted him an annual pension of 6,000 solidi before sending him to live with relatives in Campania.[211][212] Odoacer
Odoacer
then installed himself as ruler over Italy, and sent the Imperial insignia to Constantinople.[213] From 476; last Emperor, rump states[edit]

Europe and the Near East in 476 AD

By convention, the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
is deemed to have ended on 4 September 476, when Odoacer
Odoacer
deposed Romulus Augustulus
Romulus Augustulus
and proclaimed himself ruler of Italy, but this convention is subject to many qualifications. In Roman constitutional theory, the Empire was still simply united under one emperor, implying no abandonment of territorial claims. In areas where the convulsions of the dying Empire had made organized self-defence legitimate, rump states continued under some form of Roman rule after 476. Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos
still claimed to be Emperor of the West and controlled Dalmatia
Dalmatia
until his murder in 480. Syagrius
Syagrius
son of Aegidius
Aegidius
ruled the Domain of Soissons
Soissons
until his murder in 487.[214] The indigenous inhabitants of Mauretania
Mauretania
developed kingdoms of their own, independent of the Vandals, with strong Roman traits. They again sought Imperial recognition with the reconquests of Justinian I, and they put up effective resistance to the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb.[215] While the civitates of Britannia
Britannia
sank into a level of material development inferior even to their pre-Roman Iron Age ancestors,[216] they maintained identifiably Roman traits for some time, and they continued to look to their own defence as Honorius had authorized.[217][218]

The Ostrogothic Kingdom, which rose from the ruins of the Western Roman Empire

Odoacer
Odoacer
began to negotiate with the East Roman (Byzantine) Emperor Zeno, who was busy dealing with unrest in the East. Zeno eventually granted Odoacer
Odoacer
the status of patrician and accepted him as his own viceroy of Italy. Zeno, however, insisted that Odoacer
Odoacer
had to pay homage to Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos
as the Emperor of the Western Empire. Odoacer never returned any territory or real power, but he did issue coins in the name of Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos
throughout Italy. The murder of Julius Nepos in 480 ( Glycerius
Glycerius
may have been among the conspirators) prompted Odoacer
Odoacer
to invade Dalmatia, annexing it to his Kingdom of Italy. In 488 the Eastern emperor authorized a troublesome Goth, Theoderic (later known as "the Great") to take Italy. After several indecisive campaigns, in 493 Theoderic and Odoacer
Odoacer
agreed to rule jointly. They celebrated their agreement with a banquet of reconciliation, at which Theoderic's men murdered Odoacer's, and Theoderic personally cut Odoacer
Odoacer
in half.[219] Legacy[edit] Main article: Legacy of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire
Roman Empire
was not only a political unity enforced by violence. It was also the combined and elaborated civilization of the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
basin and beyond. It included manufacture, trade, and architecture, widespread secular literacy, written law, and an international language of science and literature.[219] The Western barbarians lost much of these higher cultural practices, but their redevelopment in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
by polities aware of the Roman achievement formed the basis for the later development of Europe.[220] Observing the cultural and archaeological continuities through and beyond the period of lost political control, the process has been described as a complex cultural transformation, rather than a fall.[221]

See also[edit]

Comparative studies of the Roman and Han empires Decline of the Byzantine Empire
Decline of the Byzantine Empire
(Fall of the Eastern Roman
Eastern Roman
Empire) Historiography
Historiography
of the fall of the Roman Empire Last of the Romans Late Roman army

Notes[edit]

^ Ward-Perkins 2007, p. 1. ^ e.g. Why Nations Fail. Acemoglu D and Robinson JA. Profile Books (Random House Inc.) 2012. ISBN 978-1-84668-429-6. pp. 166–175 ^ Glen Bowersock, "The Vanishing Paradigm of the Fall of Rome" Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
1996. vol. 49 no. 8 pp 29–43. ^ Dio Cassius 72.36.4, Loeb edition translated E. Cary ^ Momigliano 1973. ^ Alexander Demandt: 210 Theories Archived 2015-03-16 at the Wayback Machine., quoting A. Demandt, Der Fall Roms (1984) 695. ^ Galinsky 1992, pp. 53–73. ^ Morris, p. 184. ^ Brown 1978, pp. 2–3. ^ Hunt 2001, p. 256. ^ Randsborg 1991. ^ Cameron, 1993 & chapter 4. ^ Bowersock 2001. ^ Harper 2011. ^ Ward-Perkins 2005, pp. 87–121. ^ Goldsworthy 2003, pp. 68–73. ^ MacMullen 1988, p. 110. ^ Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon
Chapter 2. Fall In The West. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire http://www.ccel.org/ccel/gibbon/decline/files/volume1/chap2.htm ^ Gibbon, 1782 & Chapter I: The Extent Of The Empire In The Age Of The Antonines. Chapter II: The Internal Prosperity In The Age Of The Antonines. Chapter III: The Constitution In The Age Of The Antonines. ^ a b Heather 2005, p. 67. ^ a b c d Heather 2005, p. 123. ^ Letki 2012, pp. 52–53. ^ Aurelius Victor De Caesaribus. chapter XXXIII verse 34. "Et patres quidem praeter commune Romani malum orbis stimulabat proprii ordinis contumelia, 34 quia primus ipse metu socordiae suae, ne imperium ad optimos nobilium transferretur, senatum militia vetuit et adire exercitum. Huic novem annorum potentia fuit." http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/victor.caes.html (in Latin) ^ Heather 2005, pp. 63–64. ^ Macarius Magnes, Apocriticus IV: 23: "Therefore you make a great mistake in thinking that God is angry if any other is called a god, and obtains the same title as Himself. For even rulers do not object to the title from their subjects, nor masters from slaves." ^ MacMullen 1988, pp. 110, 147. ^ a b MacMullen 1988, pp. 137–142. ^ Matthews 2007, p. 253. ^ MacMullen 1988, p. 170. ^ Cameron 2012, p. 97. ^ Matthews 2007, p. 278. ^ Rathbone 2009, p. 324. ^ Matthews 2007, p. 284. ^ Heather 2005, p. 119. ^ a b c d Jones 1964, p. 131. ^ Heather 2005, pp. 115–116. ^ MacMullen 1988, pp. 181–183. ^ MacMullen 1988, pp. 23, 178, 186. ^ MacMullen 1988, p. 161. ^ MacMullen 1988, pp. 190–193. ^ MacMullen 1988, p. 176. ^ Heather 2005, pp. 112–115. ^ G. M. Klein Goldewijk and W. M. Jongman. They never had it so good. Roman stature and the biological standard of living. As quoted in: Willem Jongman. Gibbon was right: The decline and fall of the Roman economy. In: Crises and the Roman Empire, pp 183–200. Editors O. Hekster; G. Kleijn; Daniëlle Slootjes. Brill: 2007. Chapter DOI: 10.1163/ej.9789004160507.i-448.38 E-ISBN 978-90-474-2090-3 pages 194–195. https://books.google.com/books?id=nG-S-X_uI6EC&pg=PA183&lpg=PA18#v=onepage&q&f=false ^ MacMullen 1988, p. 175. ^ Tacitus, Annals, book 11, chapter 18. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Tacitus/Annals/11B*.html Corbulo ... recalled the legions, as lethargic in their toils and duties as they were ardent in pillage, to the old code with its prohibitions against falling out on march or beginning an action without orders. ^ Nicasie 1998, p. 187. ^ Ward-Perkins 2005, p. 37. ^ MacMullen 1988, pp. 173–175, 181. ^ Nicasie 1998, p. 261. ^ Ammianus 1935, book XVI, chapter V: "what good he did to Gaul, labouring as it was in utmost destitution, appears most clearly from this fact: when he first entered those parts, he found that twenty-five pieces of gold were demanded by way of tribute from every one as a poll and land tax; but when he left, seven only for full satisfaction of all duties. And on account of this (as if clear sunshine had beamed upon them after ugly darkness), they expressed their joy in gaiety and dances." ^ Gaddis 2005, pp. 94-95. ^ Burns 1990, p. 283. ^ Jones 1964, p. 147. ^ Jones 1964, p. 152. ^ MacMullen 1988, p. 51. ^ Gibbon & vol.2, p. 513. ^ Gibbon, 1782 & Chapter XXVII: Civil Wars, Reign Of Theodosius.—Part I. Death Of Gratian. ^ a b MacMullen 1988, p. 185. ^ Nicasie 1998, p. 263ff. ^ Nicasie 1998, p. 256. ^ a b Halsall 2007, p. 183. ^ Burns 1994, p. 48. ^ Ab Urbe Condita
Ab Urbe Condita
by Titus Livius. Translated from the Original with Notes and Illustrations by George Baker, A.M.. First American, from the Last London Edition, in Six Volumes (New York: Peter A. Mesier et al., 1823). Vol. 6, surviving summaries of books LXIII, LXV, LXVII, LXVIII, http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1758&layout=html#chapter_92709 accessed 4th July 2012 ^ Heather 2005, pp. 182–183,212. ^ a b Jones 1964, pp. 157–158, 169. ^ Milner NP. Vegetius: Epitome of Military Science, second edition, Liverpool University Press, 1996. pp. xxxvii ff ^ Seeck O. Die Zeit des Vegetius. Hermes 1876 vol.11 pp. 61–83. As quoted in Milner NP. Vegetius: Epitome of Military Science, second edition, Liverpool University Press, 1996. pp. xxxvii ff ^ De Re Militari. Flavius Vegetius
Vegetius
Renatus. Translated by Lieutenant John Clarke 1767. Etext version by Mads Brevik (2001) http://www.pvv.ntnu.no/~madsb/home/war/vegetius/dere03.php ^ Heather 2005, p. 188. ^ Burns 1994, p. 54. ^ Jones 1964, p. 157. ^ Halsall 2007, p. 185. ^ Burns 1994, pp. 102, 152. ^ Burns 1994, p. 65. ^ Jones 1964, pp. 162, 169. ^ a b Jones 1964, p. 162. ^ Jones 1964, pp. 166–167. ^ Jones 1964, p. 164. ^ Jones 1964, p. 159. ^ MacMullen 1988, p. 178. ^ a b c Burns 1994, p. 159. ^ a b c Jones 1964, p. 173. ^ a b Macgeorge 2002, p. 171. ^ a b Heather 2005, pp. 213–214, 217–218, 242, 255. ^ a b Jones 1964, p. 187. ^ MacMullen 1988, chapter 2: Power Effective pp=58–121. ^ Alföldy 2001, p. 17. ^ Macgeorge 2002, p. 171-172. ^ Macgeorge 2002, p. 172. ^ a b MacMullen 1988. ^ Burns 1994, p. 153. ^ Burns 1994, p. 154. ^ a b c Zosimus, book 5 http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/New_History/Book_the_Fifth ^ Burns 1994, pp. 162–163. ^ MacMullen 1988, p. 189. ^ a b Burns 1994, p. 183. ^ Burns 1994, p. 186. ^ Burns 1994, p. 187. ^ Burns 1994, p. 169. ^ Burns 1994, p. 175. ^ Ward-Perkins 2005, p. 60. ^ Burns 1994, p. 173. ^ Jones 1964, p. 192. ^ a b Burns 1994, p. 191. ^ Burns 1994, p. 190. ^ Burns 1994, p. 193. ^ a b Burns 1994, p. 195. ^ a b Burns 1994, p. 198. ^ Gibbon, 277 ^ Zosimus, Nova Historia, book 5. http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/zosimus05_book5.htm ^ a b Burns 1994, p. 215. ^ Burns 1994, p. 216. ^ Burns 1994, p. 218. ^ a b Burns 1994, p. 227. ^ Burns 1994, p. 219. ^ Burns 1994, pp. 224–225. ^ Burns 1994, p. 228. ^ Burns 1994, p. 236. ^ Halsall 2007, p. 216. ^ Burns 1994, pp. 226–227. ^ Connolly 1998, p. 189. ^ Burns 1994, pp. 233–234. ^ a b Burns 1994, p. 234. ^ Heather 2005, p. 227. ^ Heather 2005, p. 226. ^ Burns 1994, p. 239. ^ Burns 1994, pp. 238–239. ^ Burns 1994, p. 240. ^ Burns 1994, p. 242. ^ Burns 1994, p. 243. ^ Burns 1994, pp. 243–244. ^ Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series II/Volume VI/The Letters of St. Jerome/Letter 127 Philip Schaff et al. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Nicene_and_Post-Nicene_Fathers:_Series_II/Volume_VI/The_Letters_of_St._Jerome/Letter_127 ^ a b Heather 2005, p. 239. ^ Burns 1994, pp. 228–231. ^ Heather 2005, pp. 229–232. ^ Burns 1994, pp. 196, 237, 238. ^ Burns 1994, p. 238. ^ Burns 1994, p. 245. ^ a b Heather 2005, p. 198. ^ Heather 2005, pp. 202–205. ^ Jones, 1964 & 185–189. ^ Burns 1994, p. 128. ^ Heather 2005, p. 244. ^ Heather 2005, pp. 205–212. ^ a b Heather 2005, p. 251. ^ a b Burns 1994, p. 257. ^ a b Eucharisticus Paulinus Pellaeus English translation by H. G. Evelyn White, 1921, Loeb Classical Library's Ausonius, vol. II, pp 295‑351. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Paulinus_Pellaeus/Eucharisticus*.html ^ Burns 1994, pp. 258–259. ^ Burns 1994, p. 259. ^ Burns 1994, pp. 259–260. ^ Heather 2005, pp. 240–241. ^ Burns 1994, p. 260. ^ Heather 2005, p. 241. ^ Heather 2005, p. 242. ^ Heather 2005, pp. 246–248. ^ Matthews 1975, p. 378. ^ a b Heather 2005, p. 257. ^ Halsall 2007, p. 234. ^ Halsall 2007, pp. 231–232. ^ Heather 2005, p. 246. ^ Jones 1964, p. 204. ^ Heather 2005, pp. 274–278. ^ Heather 2005, p. 261. ^ Heather 2005, p. 260. ^ Heather 2005, p. 283. ^ Heather 2005, p. 285. ^ Halsall 2007, p. 240. ^ Heather 2005, p. 290. ^ Halsall 2007, p. 244. ^ Heather 2005, p. 288. ^ Gibbon, 1782 & Chapter XXXIV: Attila.—Part II. ^ De gubernatione Dei by Salvianus. The fifth book. verses 5–7. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/salvian/govt.iv.vi.html ^ a b Gildas. On The Ruin of Britain (De Excidio Britanniae). Translation by J. A. Giles https://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/1949/pg1949.html ^ Halsall 2007, p. 247. ^ Heather 2005, pp. 288–290. ^ Heather 2005, pp. 291–292. ^ Gibbon, 1782 & Chapter XXXIV: Attila.—Part I. ^ Ward-Perkins 2005, pp. 54–62. ^ Ward-Perkins 2005, pp. 58–62. ^ Jones 1964, pp. 206–207. ^ Heather 2005, pp. 293–294. ^ Gibbon, Chapter XXXV: Invasion By Attila.—Part I. & [http://www.gutenberg.org/files/25717/25717-h/files/733/733-h/gib3-35.htm]. ^ Heather 2005, p. 298. ^ Heather 2005, pp. 295–297. ^ Jones 1964, pp. 205–206. ^ Heather 2005, p. 330. ^ Heather 2005, p. 332. ^ Gibbon et al. ^ The Life of St. Severinus (1914) by Eugippius pp. 13–113, English translation by George W. Robinson, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. ^ Gibbon & Chapter XXXV: Invasion By Attila.—Part III. [http://www.gutenberg.org/files/25717/25717-h/files/733/733-h/gib3-35.htm]. ^ Bury, J. B., The Cambridge Medieval History Vol. I (1924), pages 418–419 ^ Heather 2005, pp. 375–377. ^ Halsall 2007, p. 256. ^ Gibbon, 1782 & Chapter XXXVI: Total Extinction Of The Western Empire. ^ Heather 2005, p. 379. ^ a b Heather 2005, p. 381. ^ Halsall 2007, p. 260. ^ Heather 2005, pp. 382–383. ^ Halsall 2007, p. 261. ^ Gibbon, 1782 & Chapter XXXVI: Total Extinction Of The Western Empire.—Part II. ^ Martindale 1980, pp. 708–710, Chapter Marcellinus 6. ^ Halsall 2007, p. 266–267. ^ Jones 1964, p. 241. ^ Halsall 2007, p. 391. ^ Halsall 2007, p. 273. ^ Halsall 2007, pp. 276–277. ^ Halsall 2007, p. 277. ^ Halsall 2007, p. 278. ^ a b c Halsall 2007, p. 279. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica online ^ De Imperatoribus Romanis  ^ Gibbon, p. 406 ^ Halsall 2007, pp. 280–281. ^ Jones 1964, p. 246. ^ Halsall 2007, pp. 405–411. ^ Ward-Perkins 2005, p. 118. ^ The Britons: from Romans to barbarians. Alex Woolf. pp 345–380 in Regna and Gentes. The relationship between Late Antique and Early Mediaeval Peoples and Kingdoms in the Transformation of the Roman World. Edited by Hans-Werner Goetz, Jörg Janut, and Walter Pohl with the collaboration of Sören Kaschke. Brill, Leiden, 2003. ISBN 90-04-12524-8 ^ Halsall 2007, pp. 284–319. ^ a b Halsall 2007, p. 287. ^ Ward-Perkins 2005, pp. 87–122. ^ Bowersock 2001, pp. 87–122.

References[edit]

Alföldy, Géza. Urban life, inscriptions,and mentality in late antique Rome. In Urban Centers and Rural Contexts in Late Antiquity, Thomas S. Burns and John W. Eadie (eds.). Michigan State University Press 2001. ISBN 0-87013-585-6. Ammianus. The History. Trans. J. C. Rolfe. Loeb Classical Library, Vol. I, 1935. Bowersock, Glen, Peter Brown, Oleg Grabar. Interpreting Late Antiquity: essays on the postclassical world. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-674-00598-8. Brown, Peter. The Making of Late Antiquity, Harvard University Press, 1978. Burns, Thomas S. Barbarians
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Within the Gates of Rome : A Study of Roman Military Policy and the Barbarians, ca. 375–425 A. D. Indiana University Press 1995. ISBN 978-0-253-31288-4. Börm, Henning. Westrom. Von Honorius bis Justinian. Kohlhammer 2013. ISBN 978-3-17-023276-1 (Review in English). Cameron, Averil. The Mediterranean
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Migrations and the Roman West, 376–568 (Cambridge Medieval Textbooks) Harper, Kyle. Slavery in the late Roman world AD 275–425. ISBN (hardback) 978-0-521-19861-5. Cambridge University Press 2011. Hunt, Lynn, Thomas R. Martin, Barbara H. Rosenwein, R. Po-chia Hsia, Bonnie G. Smith. The Making of the West, Peoples and Cultures, Volume A: To 1500. Bedford / St. Martins 2001. ISBN 0-312-18365-8. Hodges, Richard, Whitehouse, David. Mohammed, Charlemagne and the Origins of Europe: archaeology and the Pirenne thesis. Cornell University Press, 1983. Jones, A. H. M. The Later Roman Empire, 284–602: A Social, Economic, and Administrative Survey [Paperback, vol. 1] ISBN 0-8018-3353-1 Basil Blackwell Ltd. 1964. Letki Piotr. The cavalry of Diocletian. Origin, organization, tactics, and weapons. Translated by Pawel Grysztar and Trystan Skupniewicz. Wydawnictwo NapoleonV ISBN 978-83-61324-93-5. Oświęcim 2012. Macgeorge, Penny. Late Roman Warlords. Oxford University Press 2002. MacMullen, Ramsay. Corruption and the decline of Rome. Yale University Press, 1988. ISBN 0-300-04799-1. Martindale, J.R. The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire
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