The Adriatic Sea is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto to the northwest and the Po Valley; the countries with coasts on the Adriatic are Albania and Herzegovina, Italy and Slovenia. The Adriatic contains over 1,300 islands located along the Croatian part of its eastern coast, it is divided into three basins, the northern being the shallowest and the southern being the deepest, with a maximum depth of 1,233 metres. The Otranto Sill, an underwater ridge, is located at the border between the Adriatic and Ionian Seas; the prevailing currents flow counterclockwise from the Strait of Otranto, along the eastern coast and back to the strait along the western coast. Tidal movements in the Adriatic are slight, although larger amplitudes are known to occur occasionally; the Adriatic's salinity is lower than the Mediterranean's because the Adriatic collects a third of the fresh water flowing into the Mediterranean, acting as a dilution basin.
The surface water temperatures range from 30 °C in summer to 12 °C in winter moderating the Adriatic Basin's climate. The Adriatic Sea sits on the Apulian or Adriatic Microplate, which separated from the African Plate in the Mesozoic era; the plate's movement contributed to the formation of the surrounding mountain chains and Apennine tectonic uplift after its collision with the Eurasian plate. In the Late Oligocene, the Apennine Peninsula first formed, separating the Adriatic Basin from the rest of the Mediterranean. All types of sediment are found in the Adriatic, with the bulk of the material transported by the Po and other rivers on the western coast; the western coast is alluvial or terraced, while the eastern coast is indented with pronounced karstification. There are dozens of marine protected areas in the Adriatic, designed to protect the sea's karst habitats and biodiversity; the sea is abundant in flora and fauna—more than 7,000 species are identified as native to the Adriatic, many of them endemic and threatened ones.
The Adriatic's shores are populated by more than 3.5 million people. The earliest settlements on the Adriatic shores were Etruscan and Greek. By the 2nd century BC, the shores were under Rome's control. In the Middle Ages, the Adriatic shores and the sea itself were controlled, to a varying extent, by a series of states—most notably the Byzantine Empire, the Croatian Kingdom, the Republic of Venice, the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire; the Napoleonic Wars resulted in the First French Empire gaining coastal control and the British effort to counter the French in the area securing most of the eastern Adriatic shore and the Po Valley for Austria. Following Italian unification, the Kingdom of Italy started an eastward expansion that lasted until the 20th century. Following World War I and the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, the eastern coast's control passed to Yugoslavia and Albania; the former disintegrated during the 1990s. Italy and Yugoslavia agreed on their maritime boundaries by 1975 and this boundary is recognised by Yugoslavia's successor states, but the maritime boundaries between Slovenian, Bosnian-Herzegovinian, Montenegrin waters are still disputed.
Italy and Albania agreed on their maritime boundary in 1992. Fisheries and tourism are significant sources of income all along the Adriatic coast. Adriatic Croatia's tourism industry has grown faster economically than the rest of the Adriatic Basin's. Maritime transport is a significant branch of the area's economy—there are 19 seaports in the Adriatic that each handle more than a million tonnes of cargo per year; the largest Adriatic seaport by annual cargo turnover is the Port of Trieste, while the Port of Split is the largest Adriatic seaport by passengers served per year. The origins of the name Adriatic are linked to the Etruscan settlement of Adria, which derives its name from the Illyrian adur meaning water or sea. In classical antiquity, the sea was known as Mare Adriaticum or, less as Mare Superum, " upper sea"; the two terms were not synonymous, however. Mare Adriaticum corresponds to the Adriatic Sea's extent, spanning from the Gulf of Venice to the Strait of Otranto; that boundary became more defined by Roman authors – early Greek sources place the boundary between the Adriatic and Ionian seas at various places ranging from adjacent to the Gulf of Venice to the southern tip of the Peloponnese, eastern shores of Sicily and western shores of Crete.
Mare Superum on the other hand encompassed both the modern Adriatic Sea and the sea off the Apennine peninsula's southern coast, as far as the Strait of Sicily. Another name used in the period was Mare Dalmaticum, applied to waters off the coast of Dalmatia or Illyricum; the names for the sea in the languages of the surrounding countries include Albanian: Deti Adriatik. In Croatian and Slovene, the sea is referred to as Jadran; the Adriatic Sea is a semi-enclosed sea, bordered in the southwest by the Apennine or Italian Peninsula, in the northwest by the Italian regions of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, in the northeast by Slovenia, Croatia, B
Lombardy is one of the twenty administrative regions of Italy, in the northwest of the country, with an area of 23,844 square kilometres. About 10 million people, forming one-sixth of Italy's population, live in Lombardy and about a fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in the region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest regions in Europe. Milan, Lombardy's capital, is the largest metropolitan area in Italy; the word Lombardy comes from Lombard, which in turn is derived from Late Latin Longobardus, derived from the Proto-Germanic elements *langaz + *bardaz. Some sources derive the second element instead from Proto-Germanic *bardǭ, *barduz, related to German Barte. During the early Middle Ages "Lombardy" referred to the Kingdom of the Lombards, a kingdom ruled by the Germanic Lombards who had controlled most of Italy since their invasion of Byzantine Italy in 568; as such "Lombardy" and "Italy" were interchangeable. The Kingdom was divided between Longobardia Major in the north and Langobardia Minor in the south, which were until the 8th century separated by the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna and the Papacy.
During the late Middle Ages, after the fall of the northern part of the Kingdom to Charlemagne, the term shifted to mean Northern Italy.. The term was used until around 965 in the form Λογγοβαρδία as the name for the territory covering modern Apulia which the Byzantines had recovered from the Lombard rump Duchy of Benevento. With a surface of 23,861 km2, Lombardy is the fourth-largest region of Italy, it is bordered by Switzerland and by the Italian regions of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont. Three distinct natural zones can be easily distinguished in Lombardy: mountains and plains—the latter being divided in Alta and Bassa; the orography of Lombardy is characterised by the presence of three distinct belts: a northern mountainous belt constituted by the Alpine relief, a central piedmont area of pebbly soils of alluvial origin, the Lombard section of the Padan plain in the southernmost part of the region. The most important mountainous area is an Alpine zone including the Lepontine and Rhaetian Alps, the Bergamo Alps, the Ortler Alps and the Adamello massif.
The plains of Lombardy, formed by alluvial deposits, can be divided into the Alta—an upper, permeable ground zone in the north and a lower zone—and the Bassa—dotted by the so-called line of fontanili, spring waters rising from impermeable ground. Inconsistent with the three distinctions above made is the small subregion of Oltrepò Pavese, formed by the Apennine foothills beyond the Po River; the mighty Po river marks the southern border of the region for a length of about 210 km. In its progress it receives the waters of the Ticino River, which rises in the Bedretto valley and joins the Po near Pavia; the other streams which contribute to the great river are, the Olona, the Lambro, the Adda, the Oglio and the Mincio. The numerous lakes of Lombardy, all of glacial origin, lie in the northern highlands. From west to east these are Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano, Lake Como, Lake Iseo, Lake Idro Lake Garda, the largest in Italy. South of the Alps lie the hills characterised by a succession of low heights of morainic origin, formed during the last Ice Age and small fertile plateaux, with typical heaths and conifer woods.
A minor mountainous area, the Oltrepò Pavese, lies south of the Po, in the Apennines range. In the plains, intensively cultivated for centuries, little of the original environment remains; the most commons trees are elm, sycamore, poplar and hornbeam. In the area of the foothills lakes, grow olive trees and larches, as well as varieties of subtropical flora such as magnolias, acacias. Numerous species of endemic flora in the Prealpine area include some kinds of saxifrage, the Lombard garlic, groundsels bellflowers and the cottony bellflowers; the highlands are characterised by the typical vegetation of the whole range of the Italian Alps. At a lower levels oak woods or broadleafed trees grow. Shrubs such as rhododendron, dwarf pine and juniper are native to the summital zone. Lombardy counts many protected areas: the most important are the Stelvio National Park, with alpine wildlife: red deer, roe deer, chamois, foxes and golden eagles. L
Tuscany is a region in central Italy with an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.8 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence. Tuscany is known for its landscapes, artistic legacy, its influence on high culture, it is regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and has been home to many figures influential in the history of art and science, contains well-known museums such as the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace. Tuscany produces wines, including Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Morellino di Scansano and Brunello di Montalcino. Having a strong linguistic and cultural identity, it is sometimes considered "a nation within a nation". Tuscany is a popular destination in Italy, the main tourist spots are Florence, Lucca, Versilia and Chianti; the village of Castiglione della Pescaia is the most visited seaside destination in the region, with seaside tourism accounting for 40% of tourist arrivals. Additionally, Lucca, the Chianti region and Val d'Orcia are internationally renowned and popular spots among travellers.
Seven Tuscan localities have been designated World Heritage Sites: the historic centre of Florence. Tuscany has over 120 protected nature reserves, making Tuscany and its capital Florence popular tourist destinations that attract millions of tourists every year. In 2012, the city of Florence was the world's 89th most visited city, with over 1.834 million arrivals. Triangular in shape, Tuscany borders the regions of Liguria to the northwest, Emilia-Romagna to the north, Marche to the northeast, Umbria to the east and Lazio to the southeast; the comune of Badia Tedalda, in the Tuscan Province of Arezzo, has an exclave named Ca' Raffaello within Emilia-Romagna. Tuscany has a western coastline on the Ligurian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea, among, the Tuscan Archipelago, of which the largest island is Elba. Tuscany has an area of 22,993 square kilometres. Surrounded and crossed by major mountain chains, with few plains, the region has a relief, dominated by hilly country used for agriculture. Hills make up nearly two-thirds of the region's total area, covering 15,292 square kilometres, mountains, a further 25%, or 5,770 square kilometres.
Plains occupy 8.4% of the total area—1,930 square kilometres —mostly around the valley of the Arno. Many of Tuscany's largest cities lie on the banks of the Arno, including the capital Florence and Pisa; the climate is mild in the coastal areas, is harsher and rainy in the interior, with considerable fluctuations in temperature between winter and summer, giving the region a soil-building active freeze-thaw cycle, in part accounting for the region's once having served as a key breadbasket of ancient Rome. The pre-Etruscan history of the area in the late Bronze and Iron Ages parallels that of the early Greeks; the Tuscan area was inhabited by peoples of the so-called Apennine culture in the late second millennium BC who had trading relationships with the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations in the Aegean Sea. Following this, the Villanovan culture saw Tuscany, the rest of Etruria, taken over by chiefdoms. City-states developed in the late Villanovan before "Orientalization" occurred and the Etruscan civilization rose.
The Etruscans created the first major civilization in this region, large enough to establish a transport infrastructure, to implement agriculture and mining and to produce vibrant art. The Etruscans lived in the area of Etruria well into prehistory; the civilization grew to fill the area between the Arno and Tiber from the eighth century BCE, reaching its peak during the seventh and sixth centuries B. C. succumbing to the Romans by the first century BCE. Throughout their existence, they lost territory to Magna Graecia and Celts. Despite being seen as distinct in its manners and customs by contemporary Greeks, the cultures of Greece, Rome, influenced the civilization to a great extent. One reason for its eventual demise was this increasing absorption by surrounding cultures, including the adoption of the Etruscan upper class by the Romans. Soon after absorbing Etruria, Rome established the cities of Lucca, Pisa and Florence, endowed the area with new technologies and development, ensured peace.
These developments included extensions of existing roads, introduction of aqueducts and sewers, the construction of many buildings, both public and private. However, many of these structures have been destroyed by erosion due to weather; the Roman civilization in the West of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire collapsed in the fifth century, the region fell to barbarians migrating through the Empire from Eastern Europe and Central Asia of the Goths was re-conquered by the revived Eastern Roman Empire under the strong Emperor Justinian. In the years following 572, the Lombards arrived and designated Lucca the capital of their subsequent Tuscia. Pilgrims travelling along the Via Francigena between Rome and France brought wealth and development during the medieval period; the food and shelter required by the
Kingdom of the Lombards
The Kingdom of the Lombards known as the Lombard Kingdom. The king was traditionally elected by the highest-ranking aristocrats, the dukes, as several attempts to establish a hereditary dynasty failed; the kingdom was subdivided into a varying number of duchies, ruled by semi-autonomous dukes, which were in turn subdivided into gastaldates at the municipal level. The capital of the kingdom and the center of its political life was Pavia in the modern northern Italian region of Lombardy; the Lombard invasion of Italy was opposed by the Byzantine Empire, which retained control of much of the peninsula until the mid-8th century. For most of the kingdom's history, the Byzantine-ruled Exarchate of Ravenna and Duchy of Rome separated the northern Lombard duchies, collectively known as Langobardia Maior, from the two large southern duchies of Spoleto and Benevento, which constituted Langobardia Minor; because of this division, the southern duchies were more autonomous than the smaller northern duchies.
Over time, the Lombards adopted Roman titles and traditions. By the time Paul the Deacon was writing in the late 8th century, the Lombardic language and hairstyles had all disappeared; the Lombards were Arian Christians or pagans, which put them at odds with the Roman population as well as the Byzantine Empire and the Pope. However, by the end of the 7th century, their conversion to Catholicism was all but complete, their conflict with the Pope continued and was responsible for their gradual loss of power to the Franks, who conquered the kingdom in 774. Charlemagne, the king of the Franks, adopted the title "King of the Lombards", although he never managed to gain control of Benevento, the southernmost Lombard duchy; the Kingdom of the Lombards at the time of its demise was the last minor Germanic kingdom in Europe, aside from the Frankish Empire. Any genetic legacy of the Lombards was diluted into the Italian population owing to their small number and their geographic dispersal in order to rule and administer their kingdom.
Some regions were never under Lombard domination, including Sardinia, Calabria, southern Apulia and the Latium. In all these regions the Byzantines brought more Greco-Anatolian lineages, which were the dominant lineages from the Magna Graecia period. A reduced Regnum Italiae, a heritage of the Lombards, continued to exist for centuries as one of the constituent kingdoms of the Holy Roman Empire corresponding to the territory of the former Langobardia Maior; the so-called Iron Crown of Lombardy, one of the oldest surviving royal insignias of Christendom, may have originated in Lombard Italy as early as the 7th century and continued to be used to crown Kings of Italy until Napoleon Bonaparte in the early 19th century. The earliest Lombard law code, the Edictum Rothari, may allude to the use of seal rings, but it is not until the reign of Ratchis that they became an integral part of royal administration, when the king required their use on passports; the only evidence for their use at the ducal level comes from the Duchy of Benevento, where two private charters contain requests for the duke to confirm them with his seal.
The existence of seal rings "testifies to the tenacity of Roman traditions of government". In the 6th century Byzantine Emperor Justinian attempted to reassert imperial authority in the territories of the Western Roman Empire. In the resulting Gothic War waged against the Ostrogothic Kingdom, Byzantine hopes of an early and easy triumph evolved into a long war of attrition that resulted in mass dislocation of population and destruction of property. Problems were further exacerbated by a devastating plague pandemic. Although the Byzantine Empire prevailed, the triumph proved to be a pyrrhic victory, as all these factors caused the population of the Italian Peninsula to crash, leaving the conquered territories underpopulated and impoverished. Although an invasion attempt by the Franks allies of the Ostrogoths, late in the war was repelled, a large migration by the Lombards, a Germanic people, allied with the Byzantine Empire, ensued. In the spring of 568 the Lombards, led by King Alboin, moved from Pannonia and overwhelmed the small Byzantine army left by Narses to guard Italy.
The Lombard arrival broke the political unity of the Italian Peninsula for the first time since the Roman conquest. The peninsula was now torn between territories ruled by the Lombards and the Byzantines, with boundaries that changed over time; the newly arrived Lombards were divided into two main areas in Italy: the Langobardia Maior, which comprised northern Italy gravitating around the capital of the Lombard kingdom, Ticinum. The territories which remained under Byzantine control were called "Romania" in northeastern Italy and had its stronghold in the Exarchate of Ravenna. Arriving in Italy, King Alboin gave control of the Eastern Alps to one of his most trusted lieutenants, who became the first Duke of Friuli in 568; the duchy, established in the Roman town of Forum Iulii fought with the Slavic population across the Gorizia border. Justified by its exceptional military needs, the Duchy of Friuli thus had greater autonomy compared to
Donation of Pepin
The Donation of Pepin in 756 provided a legal basis for the erection of the Papal States, which extended the temporal rule of the Popes beyond the duchy of Rome. In 751, king of the Lombards, conquered what remained of the exarchate of Ravenna, the last vestige of the Roman Empire in northern Italy. In 752, Aistulf demanded the submission of a tribute of one gold solidus, per capita. Pope Stephen II and a Roman envoy, John the Silentiary, tried by negotiations and bribes to convince Aistulf to back down; when this failed, Stephen sent envoys to Pepin the Short, king of the Franks, with a letter requesting his support and the provision of a Frankish escort so that Stephen could go to Pepin to confer. At the time, the Franks were on good terms with the Lombards. In 753, John the Silentiary returned to Rome with an imperial order that Pope Stephen accompany him to meet Aistulf in the Lombard capital of Pavia; the pope duly received a safe-conduct from the Lombards. With the Frankish envoys who had by arrived, the pope and the imperial envoy set out for Pavia on 14 October 753.
The Roman magnates did not accompany them past the border. At Pavia, Aistulf denied the requests of Stephen and John to return the conquered exarchate to the empire, but he did not prevent Stephen from continuing with the Frankish envoys to the court of Pepin. John the Silentiary did not accompany them; this was the first time. Pope Stephen met Pepin the Short at Quierzy-sur-Oise in 753; the Pope was first met by Pepin's eleven-year-old son, who conveyed him to his father at Ponthion. At Quierzy the Frankish nobles gave their consent to a campaign in Lombardy. Roman Catholic tradition asserts that it was and there that Pepin executed in writing a promise to convey to the Papacy certain territories that were going to be wrested from the Lombards. No original document has been preserved, but 8th century sources quote from it and the Fragmentum Fantuzzianum relied on it. On 28 July 754 Pope Stephen anointed Pepin, as well as his two sons Charles and Carloman, at Saint-Denis in a memorable ceremony, recalled in coronation rites of French kings until the end of the ancien régime in 1792.
In return, in 756, Pepin and his Frankish army forced the Lombard king to surrender his conquests, Pepin conferred upon the pope the territories belonging to Ravenna cities such as Forlì with their hinterlands, laying the deeds and keys to the cities upon the tomb of Saint Peter, according to traditional accounts. The gift included Lombard conquests in the Romagna and in the Duchy of Spoleto and Benevento, the Pentapolis in the Marche; the Donations made the Pope for the first time as a temporal ruler. This strip of territory extended diagonally across Italy from the Tyrrhenian to the Adriatic. Over these extensive and mountainous territories the medieval Popes were unable to exercise effective sovereignty, given the pressures of the times, the new Papal States preserved the old Lombard heritage of many small counties and marquisates, each centered upon a fortified rocca. Pepin confirmed his Donations in Rome in 756. In 774 Pepin's son Charlemagne again confirmed and reasserted the Donation.
Some chronicles falsely claimed that he expanded them, granting Tuscany, Emilia and Corsica. Donation of Constantine, a forged Roman imperial decree by which the 4th-century emperor Constantine the Great transferred authority over Rome and the western part of the Roman Empire to the Pope
The Tyrrhenian Sea is part of the Mediterranean Sea off the western coast of Italy. It is named for the Tyrrhenian people, identified since the 6th century BCE with the Etruscans of Italy; the sea is bounded by the islands of Corsica and Sardinia, the Italian peninsula to the east, the island of Sicily. The Tyrrhenian sea includes a number of small islands like Capri and Ustica; the maximum depth of the sea is 3,785 metres. The Tyrrhenian Sea is situated near where the Eurasian Plates meet; the eight Aeolian Islands and Ustica are located in the southern part of the sea, north of Sicily. The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Tyrrhenian Sea as follows: In the Strait of Messina: A line joining the North extreme of Cape Paci with the East extreme of the Island of Sicily, Cape Peloro. On the Southwest: A line running from Cape Lilibeo to the South extreme of Cape Teulada in Sardinia. In the Strait of Bonifacio: A line joining the West extreme of Cape Testa in Sardinia with the Southwest extreme of Cape Feno in Corsica.
On the North: A line joining Cape Corse in Corsica, with Tinetto Island and thence through Tino and Palmaria islands to San Pietro Point on the coast of Italy. There are four exits from the Tyrrhenian Sea: The Tyrrhenian Basin is divided into two basins, the Vavilov plain and the Marsili plain, they are separated by the undersea ridge known after Arturo Issel. The Tyrrhenian Sea is a back-arc basin that formed due to the rollback of the Calabrian slab towards South-East during the Neogene. Episodes of fast and slow trench retreat formed first the Vavilov basin and the Marsili basin. Submarine volcanoes formed because trench retreat produces extension in the overriding plate allowing the mantle to rise below the surface and melts; the magmatism here is affected by the fluids released from the slab. Its name derives from the Greek name for the Etruscans, who were said to be emigrants from Lydia and led by the prince Tyrrhenus; the Etruscans settled along the coast of modern Tuscany and referred to the water as the "Sea of the Etruscans".
Islands of the Tyrrhenian Sea include: Corsica Sardinia Sicily Elba Ischia Capri Ustica The main ports of the Tyrrhenian Sea in Italy are: Naples, Civitavecchia, Salerno and Gioia Tauro. In France the most important port is Bastia. Note that though the phrase "port of Rome" is used, there is in fact no port in Rome. Instead, the "port of Rome" refers to the maritime facilities at Civitavecchia, some 68 km to the northwest of Rome, not too far from its airport. Giglio Porto is a small island port in this area, it rose to prominence, when the Costa Concordia ran aground a few metres off the coast of Giglio and sank. The ship was refloated and towed to Genoa for scrapping. In Greek mythology, it is believed that the cliffs above the Tyrrhenian Sea housed the four winds kept by Aeolus; the winds are the Mistral from the Rhône valley, the Libeccio from the southwest, the Sirocco and Ostro from the south
Early Middle Ages
Historians regard the Early Middle Ages or Early Medieval Period, sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, as lasting from the 5th or 6th century to the 10th century CE. They marked the start of the Middle Ages of European history; the alternative term "Late Antiquity" emphasizes elements of continuity with the Roman Empire, while "Early Middle Ages" is used to emphasize developments characteristic of the earlier medieval period. As such the concept overlaps with Late Antiquity, following the decline of the Western Roman Empire, precedes the High Middle Ages; the period saw a continuation of trends evident since late classical antiquity, including population decline in urban centres, a decline of trade, a small rise in global warming and increased migration. In the 19th century the Early Middle Ages were labelled the "Dark Ages", a characterization based on the relative scarcity of literary and cultural output from this time. However, the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantine Empire, continued to survive, though in the 7th century the Rashidun Caliphate and the Umayyad Caliphate conquered swathes of Roman territory.
Many of the listed trends reversed in the period. In 800 the title of "Emperor" was revived in Western Europe with Charlemagne, whose Carolingian Empire affected European social structure and history. Europe experienced a return to systematic agriculture in the form of the feudal system, which adopted such innovations as three-field planting and the heavy plough. Barbarian migration stabilized in much of Europe, although the Viking expansion affected Northern Europe. Starting in the 2nd century, various indicators of Roman civilization began to decline, including urbanization, seaborne commerce, population. Archaeologists have identified only 40 per cent as many Mediterranean shipwrecks from the 3rd century as from the first. Estimates of the population of the Roman Empire during the period from 150 to 400 suggest a fall from 65 million to 50 million, a decline of more than 20 per cent; some scholars have connected this de-population to the Dark Ages Cold Period, when a decrease in global temperatures impaired agricultural yields.
Early in the 3rd century Germanic peoples migrated south from Scandinavia and reached the Black Sea, creating formidable confederations which opposed the local Sarmatians. In Dacia and on the steppes north of the Black Sea the Goths, a Germanic people, established at least two kingdoms: Therving and Greuthung; the arrival of the Huns in 372–375 ended the history of these kingdoms. The Huns, a confederation of central Asian tribes, founded an empire, they had mastered the difficult art of shooting composite recurve bows from horseback. The Goths sought refuge in Roman territory; however many bribed the Danube border-guards into allowing them to bring their weapons. The discipline and organization of a Roman legion made it a superb fighting unit; the Romans preferred infantry to cavalry because infantry could be trained to retain the formation in combat, while cavalry tended to scatter when faced with opposition. While a barbarian army could be raised and inspired by the promise of plunder, the legions required a central government and taxation to pay for salaries, constant training and food.
The decline in agricultural and economic activity reduced the empire's taxable income and thus its ability to maintain a professional army to defend itself from external threats. In the Gothic War, the Goths revolted and confronted the main Roman army in the Battle of Adrianople. By this time, the distinction in the Roman army between Roman regulars and barbarian auxiliaries had broken down, the Roman army comprised barbarians and soldiers recruited for a single campaign; the general decline in discipline led to the use of smaller shields and lighter weaponry. Not wanting to share the glory, Eastern Emperor Valens ordered an attack on the Therving infantry under Fritigern without waiting for Western Emperor Gratian, on the way with reinforcements. While the Romans were engaged, the Greuthung cavalry arrived. Only one-third of the Roman army managed to escape; this represented the most shattering defeat that the Romans had suffered since the Battle of Cannae, according to the Roman military writer Ammianus Marcellinus.
The core army of the Eastern Roman Empire was destroyed, Valens was killed, the Goths were freed to lay waste to the Balkans, including the armories along the Danube. As Edward Gibbon comments, "The Romans, who so coolly and so concisely mention the acts of justice which were exercised by the legions, reserve their compassion and their eloquence for their own sufferings, when the provinces were invaded and desolated by the arms of the successful Barbarians."The empire lacked the resources, the will, to reconstruct the professional mobile army destroyed at Adrianople, so it had to rely on barbarian armies to fight for it. The Eastern Roman Empire succeeded in buying off the Goths with tribute; the Western Roman Empire proved less fortunate. Stilicho, the western empire's half-Vandal military commander, stripped the Rhine frontier of troops to fend off invasions of Italy by the Visigoths in 402–03 and by other Goths in 406–07. Fleeing before the advance of the Huns, the Vandals and Alans launched an attack across the frozen Rhine near Mainz.
There soon followed the bands of the Alamanni. In the fit of anti-barbarian hysteria which followed, the Western Roman Emperor Honorius had Stilicho summarily beheaded. Stilicho submitted his neck, "with a firmness not unworthy of t