Comparative size of the Roman and German armies before and during the Invasions – The Germanic penetration of the Empire

The general result of inquiries into the size of the army after its radical re-organization by Diocletian and Constantine is that its total strength was between 600,000 and 650,000. Continue reading “Comparative size of the Roman and German armies before and during the Invasions – The Germanic penetration of the Empire”

Post-Roman Europe: The barbarian kingdoms

The barbarian states which arose on the ruins of the Western Empire were founded under widely different circumstances of time and place, by tribes and federations of tribes drawn from every part of Germany. We expect to find, and we do find, infinite varieties of detail in their laws, their social distinctions, their methods of government. But from a broader point of view they may be grouped in two classes, not according to affinities of race, but according to their relations with the social order which they had invaded. Continue reading “Post-Roman Europe: The barbarian kingdoms”

The fall of the Western part of the Roman Empire

Medieval history begins with the dissolution of the Western Empire, with the abandonment of the Latin world to German conquerors. Of the provinces affected by the catastrophe the youngest was Britain; and even Britain had then been Roman soil for more than three hundred years. For Italy, Spain, and Gaul, the change of masters meant the atrophy of institutions which, at first reluctantly accepted, had come by lapse of time to be accepted as part of the natural order. Continue reading “The fall of the Western part of the Roman Empire”

Breaking of the Rhine barrier – End of the Roman Empire in the West, 476 A.D.

After the departure of the Visigoths Rome and Italy remained undisturbed for nearly forty years. The western provinces were not so fortunate. At the time of Alaric’s first attack on Italy the legions along the Rhine had been withdrawn to meet him, leaving the frontier unguarded. In 406 A.D., four years before Alaric’s sack of Rome, a vast company of Germans crossed the Rhine and swept almost unopposed through Gaul. Some of these peoples succeeded in establishing kingdoms for themselves on the ruins of the empire. Continue reading “Breaking of the Rhine barrier – End of the Roman Empire in the West, 476 A.D.”

Beginnings of the dismemberment of the Empire – The rise of usurpers and the invasion of barbarians

Alaric’s brother-in-law Athaulf (Adolphus) succeeded him (410), and the Visigoths remained in Italy for two years longer, spoiling the land. In 412 they came to an understanding with Honorius, and Athaulf engaged to suppress the tyrants who had risen up in Gaul. This leads us to record the events which had agitated the Gallic provinces during the preceding six years. Continue reading “Beginnings of the dismemberment of the Empire – The rise of usurpers and the invasion of barbarians”

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