Roman infantry tactics
Roman infantry tactics refers to the theoretical and historical deployment and maneuvers of the Roman infantry from the start of the Roman Republic to the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The article first presents a short overview of Roman training. Roman performance against different types of enemies is analyzed. A summation of what made the Roman tactics and strategy militarily effective through their long history is given below, as is a discussion of how and why this effectiveness disappeared; the focus below is on Roman tactics - the "how" of their approach to battle, how it stacked up against a variety of opponents over time. It does not attempt detailed coverage of things like army equipment. Various battles are summarized to illustrate Roman methods with links to detailed articles on individual encounters. For in depth background on the historical structure of the infantry relevant to this article, see Structure of the Roman military. For a history of Rome's military campaigns see Campaign history of the Roman military.
For detail on equipment, daily life and specific legions see Roman legion and Roman military personal equipment. Roman military tactics and strategy evolved from that typical of a small tribal host seeking local hegemony, to massive operations encompassing a world empire; this advance was affected by changing trends in Roman political and economic life, that of the larger Mediterranean world, but it was undergirded by a distinctive "Roman way" of war. This approach included a tendency towards standardization and systematization, practical borrowing and adapting from outsiders, flexibility in tactics and methods, a strong sense of discipline, a ruthless persistence that sought comprehensive victory, a cohesion brought about by the ideal of Roman citizenship under arms - embodied in the legion; these elements waxed and waned over time. Some key phases of this evolution throughout Rome's military history include: Military forces based on heavy citizen infantry with tribal beginnings and early use of phalanx-type elements Growing sophistication as Roman hegemony expanded outside Italy into North Africa and the Middle East Continued refinement and streamlining in the period associated with Gaius Marius including a broader based incorporation of more citizenry into the army, more professionalism and permanence in army service Continued expansion and sophistication from the end of the republic into the time of the Caesars Growing barbarization and weakening of the heavy infantry units in favour of cavalry and lighter troops Demise of the Western Empire and fragmentation into smaller, weaker local forces.
This included the reversal of status of infantry in the Eastern Empire. Cataphract forces formed an elite, with infantry being reduced to auxiliaries. Numerous scholarly histories of the Roman military machine note the huge numbers of men that could be mobilized, more than any other Mediterranean power; this bounty of military resources enabled Rome to apply crushing pressure to its enemies, stay in the field and replace losses after suffering setbacks. One historian of the Second Punic War states: "According to Polybius, the total number of Roman and allied men capable of bearing arms in 225BC exceeded 700,000 infantry and 70,000 cavalry. Brunt adjusted Polybius’ figures and estimated that the population of Italy, not including Greeks and Bruttians, exceeded 875,000 free adult males, from whom the Romans could levy troops. Rome not only had the potential to levy vast numbers of troops, but did in fact field large armies in the opening stages of the war. Brunt estimates that Rome mobilized 108,000 men for service in the legions between 218BC and 215BC, while at the height of the war effort Rome was able to mobilize 230,000 men.
Against these mighty resources Hannibal led from Spain an army of 50,000 infantry and 9,000 cavalry... Rome’s manpower reserves allowed it to absorb staggering losses yet still continue to field large armies. For example, according to Brunt, as many as 50,000 men were lost between 218BC and 215BC, but Rome continued to place between 14 and 25 legions in the field for the duration of the war. Moreover, as will be discussed below, Roman manpower allowed for the adoption of the so-called "Fabian strategy", which proved to be an effective response to Hannibal’s apparent battlefield superiority. Put the relative disparity in the number of available troops at the outset of the conflict meant that Hannibal had a much narrower margin for error than the Romans." See Roman military personal equipment and Roman legion for more information on equipment, individual legions and structure A legionary carried around 27 kilograms of armour and equipment. This load consisted of armour, a sword, called a gladius, a shield, two pila and 15 days' food rations.
There were tools for digging and constructing a castra, the legions' fortified base camp. One writer recreates the following as to Caesar's army in Gaul: Each soldier arranged his heavy pack on a T or Y-shaped rod, borne on his left shoulder. Shields were protected on the march with a hide cover; each legionary carried about 5 days worth of wheat, pulses or chickpeas, a flask of oil and a mess kit with a dish and utensil. Personal items might include a dyed horsehair crest for the helmet, a semi-water resistant oiled woolen cloak and breeches for cold weather and a blanke
The Roman army was the terrestrial armed forces deployed by the Romans throughout the duration of Ancient Rome, from the Roman Kingdom to the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, its medieval continuation the Eastern Roman Empire. It is thus a term that may span 2,206 years, during which the Roman armed forces underwent numerous permutations in composition, organisation and tactics, while conserving a core of lasting traditions.. The Early Roman army was the armed force of the Roman Kingdom and of the early Republic. During this period, when warfare chiefly consisted of small-scale plundering raids, it has been suggested that the army followed Etruscan or Greek models of organisation and equipment; the early Roman army was based on an annual levy. The infantry ranks were filled with the lower classes while the cavalry were left to the patricians, because the wealthier could afford horses. Moreover, the commanding authority during the regal period was the high king; until the establishment of the Republic and the office of consul, the king assumed the role of commander-in-chief.
However, from about 508 BC Rome no longer had a king. The commanding position of the army was given to the consuls, "who were charged both singly and jointly to take care to preserve the Republic from danger"; the term legion is derived from the Latin word legio. At first there were only four legions; these legions were numbered "I" to "IIII", with the fourth being written as such and not "IV". The first legion was seen as the most prestigious; the bulk of the army was made up of citizens. These citizens could not choose the legion. Any man "from ages 16–46 were selected by ballot" and assigned to a legion; until the Roman military disaster of 390 BC at the Battle of the Allia, Rome's army was organised to the Greek phalanx. This was due to Greek influence in Italy "by way of their colonies". Patricia Southern quotes ancient historians Livy and Dionysius in saying that the "phalanx consisted of 3,000 infantry and 300 cavalry"; each man had to provide his equipment in battle. Politically they shared the same ranking system in the Comitia Centuriata.
The Roman army of the mid-Republic was known as the "manipular army" or the "Polybian army" after the Greek historian Polybius, who provides the most detailed extant description of this phase. The Roman army started to have a full-time strength of 150,000 at all times and 3/4 of the rest were levied. During this period, the Romans, while maintaining the levy system, adopted the Samnite manipular organisation for their legions and bound all the other peninsular Italian states into a permanent military alliance; the latter were required to supply the same number of troops to joint forces as the Romans to serve under Roman command. Legions in this phase were always accompanied on campaign by the same number of allied alae, units of the same size as legions. After the 2nd Punic War, the Romans acquired an overseas empire, which necessitated standing forces to fight lengthy wars of conquest and to garrison the newly gained provinces, thus the army's character mutated from a temporary force based on short-term conscription to a standing army in which the conscripts were supplemented by a large number of volunteers willing to serve for much longer than the legal six-year limit.
These volunteers were from the poorest social class, who did not have plots to tend at home and were attracted by the modest military pay and the prospect of a share of war booty. The minimum property requirement for service in the legions, suspended during the 2nd Punic War, was ignored from 201 BC onward in order to recruit sufficient volunteers. Between 150-100 BC, the manipular structure was phased out, the much larger cohort became the main tactical unit. In addition, from the 2nd Punic War onward, Roman armies were always accompanied by units of non-Italian mercenaries, such as Numidian light cavalry, Cretan archers, Balearic slingers, who provided specialist functions that Roman armies had lacked; the Roman army of the late Republic marks the continued transition between the conscription-based citizen-levy of the mid-Republic and the volunteer, professional standing forces of the imperial era. The main literary sources for the army's organisation and tactics in this phase are the works of Julius Caesar, the most notable of a series of warlords who contested for power in this period.
As a result of the Social War, all Italians were granted Roman citizenship, the old allied alae were abolished and their members integrated into the legions. Regular annual conscription remained in force and continued to provide the core of legionary recruitment, but an ever-increasing proportion of recruits were volunteers, who signed up for 16-year terms as opposed to the maximum 6 years for conscripts; the loss of ala cavalry reduced Roman/Italian cavalry by 75%, legions became dependent on allied native horse for cavalry cover. This period saw the large-scale expansion of native forces employed to complement the legions, made up of numeri recruited from tribes within Rome's overseas empire and neighbouring allied tribes. Large numbers of heavy infantry and cavalry were recruited in Spain and Thrace, archers in Thrace and Syria. However, these native units were not integrated with the legions, but retained th
The Rape of the Sabine Women
The Rape of the Sabine Women was an incident in Roman mythology in which the men of Rome committed a mass abduction of young women from the other cities in the region. It has been a frequent subject of artists during the Renaissance and post-Renaissance eras; the word "rape" is the conventional translation of the Latin word raptio used in the ancient accounts of the incident. Modern scholars tend to interpret the word as "abduction" or "kidnapping" as opposed to a sexual assault. Controversy remains, as to how the acts committed against the women should be judged; the Rape occurred in the early history of Rome, shortly after its founding by Romulus and his male followers. Seeking wives in order to establish families, the Romans negotiated unsuccessfully with the Sabines, who populated the surrounding area; the Sabines feared the emergence of a rival society and refused to allow their women to marry the Romans. The Romans planned to abduct Sabine women during a festival of Neptune Equester, they announced a marvelous festival to attract people from all nearby towns.
According to Livy, many people from Rome's neighboring towns attended, including folk from the Caeninenses and Antemnates, many of the Sabines. At the festival, Romulus gave a signal, at which the Romans grabbed the Sabine women and fought off the Sabine men; the indignant abductees were soon implored by Romulus to accept Roman husbands. Livy claims that no direct sexual assault took place, albeit the fuller evidence, when compared with the history, suggests a seduction based on promises by the Romans and betrayal of those promises. Livy says that Romulus promised civic and property rights to women. According to Livy, Romulus spoke to them each in person, declaring "that what was done was owing to the pride of their fathers, who had refused to grant the privilege of marriage to their neighbours. Outraged at the occurrence, the king of the Caeninenses entered upon Roman territory with his army. Romulus and the Romans met the Caeninenses in battle, killed their king, routed their army. Romulus attacked Caenina and took it upon the first assault.
Returning to Rome, he dedicated a temple to Jupiter Feretrius and offered the spoils of the enemy king as spolia opima. According to the Fasti Triumphales, Romulus celebrated a triumph over the Caeninenses on 1 March 752 BC. At the same time, the army of the Antemnates invaded Roman territory; the Romans retaliated, the Antemnates were defeated in battle and their town captured. According to the Fasti Triumphales, Romulus celebrated a second triumph in 752 BC over the Antemnates; the Crustumini started a war, but they too were defeated and their town captured. Roman colonists subsequently were sent to Antemnae and Crustumerium by Romulus, many citizens of those towns migrated to Rome; the Sabines themselves declared war, led into battle by their king, Titus Tatius. Tatius succeeded in capturing Rome, thanks to the treason of Tarpeia, daughter of Spurius Tarpeius, Roman governor of the citadel on the Capitoline Hill, she opened the city gates for the Sabines in return for "what they bore on their arms", thinking she would receive their golden bracelets.
Instead, the Sabines crushed her to death with their shields, her body was thrown from a rock known since by her name, the Tarpeian Rock. The Romans attacked the Sabines; the Roman advance was led by the Sabine defence by Mettus Curtius. Hostus fell in battle, the Roman line gave way, they retreated to the gate of the Palatium. Romulus rallied his men by promising to build a temple to Jupiter Stator on the site, he led them back into battle. Mettus Curtius was unhorsed and fled on foot, the Romans appeared to be winning. At this point, the Sabine women intervened:, from the outrage on whom the war originated, with hair dishevelled and garments rent, the timidity of their sex being overcome by such dreadful scenes, had the courage to throw themselves amid the flying weapons, making a rush across, to part the incensed armies, assuage their fury. If you are dissatisfied with the affinity between you, if with our marriages, turn your resentment against us, it were better that we perish than live widowed or fatherless without one or other of you."
The battle came to an end, the Sabines agreed to unite in one nation with the Romans. Titus Tatius jointly ruled with Romulus until Tatius's death five years later; the new Sabine residents of Rome settled on the Capitoline Hill, which they had captured in the battle. Many treatments of the incident combined a suitably inspiring example of the hardiness and courage of ancient Romans with the opportunity to depict multiple figures, including heroically semi-nude figures, in intensely passionate struggle; the subject was popular during the Renaissance as symbolising the importance of marriage for the continuity of families and cultures. It was an example of a battle subject in which the artist could demonstrate his skill in depicting female as well as male figures in extreme poses, with the added adva
The Roman Kingdom referred to as the Roman monarchy, or the regal period of ancient Rome, was the earliest period of Roman history, when the city and its territory were ruled by kings. Little is certain about the kingdom's history, as no records and few inscriptions from the time of the kings survive, the accounts of this period written during the Republic and Empire are thought to be based on oral tradition. According to these legends, the Roman Kingdom began with the city's founding circa 753 BC, with settlements around the Palatine Hill along the river Tiber in central Italy, ended with the overthrow of the kings and the establishment of the Republic circa 509 BC; the site of the founding of the Roman Kingdom had a ford where one could cross the river Tiber in central Italy. The Palatine Hill and hills surrounding it provided defensible positions in the wide fertile plain surrounding them; each of these features contributed to the success of the city. The traditional version of Roman history, which has come down to us principally through Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, recounts that a series of seven kings ruled the settlement in Rome's first centuries.
The traditional chronology, as codified by Varro, allows 243 years for their combined reigns, an average of 35 years. Since the work of Barthold Georg Niebuhr, modern scholarship has discounted this schema; the Gauls destroyed many of Rome's historical records when they sacked the city after the Battle of the Allia in 390 BC, what remained fell prey to time or to theft. With no contemporary records of the kingdom surviving, all accounts of the Roman kings must be questioned; the kings, excluding Romulus, who according to legend held office by virtue of being the city's founder, were all elected by the people of Rome to serve for life, with none of the kings relying on military force to gain or keep the throne. The insignia of the kings of Rome were twelve lictors wielding the fasces bearing axes, the right to sit upon a Curule chair, the purple Toga Picta, red shoes, a white diadem around the head. Of all these insignia, the most important was the purple toga; the king was invested with supreme military and judicial authority through the use of imperium, formally granted to the king by the Comitia Curiata with the passing of the Lex curiata de imperio at the beginning of each king's reign.
The imperium of the king was held for life and protected him from being brought to trial for his actions. As being the sole owner of imperium in Rome at the time, the king possessed ultimate executive power and unchecked military authority as the commander-in-chief of all Rome's legions; the laws that kept citizens safe from magistrates' misuse of imperium did not exist during the monarchical period. Another power of the king was the power to either nominate all officials to offices; the king would appoint a tribunus celerum to serve as both the tribune of Ramnes tribe in Rome and as the commander of the king's personal bodyguard, the Celeres. The king was required to appoint the tribune upon entering office and the tribune left office upon the king's death; the tribune was second in rank to the king and possessed the power to convene the Curiate Assembly and lay legislation before it. Another officer appointed by the king was the praefectus urbi; when the king was absent from the city, the prefect held all of the king's powers and abilities to the point of being bestowed with imperium while inside the city.
The king received the right to be the only person to appoint patricians to the Senate. What is known for certain is that the king alone possessed the right to the auspice on behalf of Rome as its chief augur, no public business could be performed without the will of the gods made known through auspices; the people knew the king as a mediator between them and the gods and thus viewed the king with religious awe. This made the king the head of its chief executive. Having the power to control the Roman calendar, he conducted all religious ceremonies and appointed lower religious offices and officers, it is said that Romulus himself instituted the augurs and was believed to have been the best augur of all. King Numa Pompilius instituted the pontiffs and through them developed the foundations of the religious dogma of Rome. Under the kings, the Senate and Curiate Assembly had little power and authority, they could only be called together by the king and could only discuss the matters the king laid before them.
While the Curiate Assembly did have the power to pass laws, submitted by the king, the Senate was an honorary council. It by no means could prevent him from acting; the only thing that the king could not do without the approval of the Senate and Curiate Assembly was to declare war against a foreign nation. The king's imperium both granted him military powers and qualified him to pronounce legal judgment in all cases as the chief justice of Rome. Though he could assign pontiffs to act as minor judges in some cases, he had supreme authority in all cases brought before him, both civil and criminal; this made the king supreme in times of both peace. While some writers believed there was no appeal from the king's decisions, others believed that a proposal for appeal could
The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. Ruled by emperors, it had large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome; the Roman Empire was ruled by multiple emperors and divided in a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and Ravenna, an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus after capturing Ravenna and the Roman Senate sent the imperial regalia to Constantinople; the fall of the Western Roman Empire to barbarian kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages. The previous Republic, which had replaced Rome's monarchy in the 6th century BC, became destabilized in a series of civil wars and political conflict.
In the mid-1st century BC Julius Caesar was appointed as perpetual dictator and assassinated in 44 BC. Civil wars and proscriptions continued, culminating in the victory of Octavian, Caesar's adopted son, over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC; the following year Octavian conquered Ptolemaic Egypt, ending the Hellenistic period that had begun with the conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedon in the 4th century BC. Octavian's power was unassailable and in 27 BC the Roman Senate formally granted him overarching power and the new title Augustus making him the first emperor; the first two centuries of the Empire were a period of unprecedented stability and prosperity known as the Pax Romana. It reached its greatest territorial expanse during the reign of Trajan. A period of increasing trouble and decline began with the reign of Commodus. In the 3rd century, the Empire underwent a crisis that threatened its existence, but was reunified under Aurelian. In an effort to stabilize the Empire, Diocletian set up two different imperial courts in the Greek East and Latin West.
Christians rose to power in the 4th century following the Edict of Milan in 313 and the Edict of Thessalonica in 380. Shortly after, the Migration Period involving large invasions by Germanic peoples and the Huns of Attila led to the decline of the Western Roman Empire. With the fall of Ravenna to the Germanic Herulians and the deposition of Romulus Augustulus in 476 AD by Odoacer, the Western Roman Empire collapsed and it was formally abolished by emperor Zeno in 480 AD; the Eastern Roman Empire, known in the post-Roman West as the Byzantine Empire, collapsed when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks of Mehmed II in 1453. Due to the Roman Empire's vast extent and long endurance, the institutions and culture of Rome had a profound and lasting influence on the development of language, architecture, philosophy and forms of government in the territory it governed Europe; the Latin language of the Romans evolved into the Romance languages of the medieval and modern world, while Medieval Greek became the language of the Eastern Roman Empire.
Its adoption of Christianity led to the formation of Christendom during the Middle Ages. Greek and Roman art had a profound impact on the late medieval Italian Renaissance, while Rome's republican institutions influenced the political development of republics such as the United States and France; the corpus of Roman law has its descendants in many legal systems of the world today, such as the Napoleonic Code. Rome's architectural tradition served as the basis for Neoclassical architecture. Rome had begun expanding shortly after the founding of the republic in the 6th century BC, though it did not expand outside the Italian peninsula until the 3rd century BC, it was an "empire" long before it had an emperor. The Roman Republic was not a nation-state in the modern sense, but a network of towns left to rule themselves and provinces administered by military commanders, it was ruled, not by annually elected magistrates in conjunction with the senate. For various reasons, the 1st century BC was a time of political and military upheaval, which led to rule by emperors.
The consuls' military power rested in the Roman legal concept of imperium, which means "command". Successful consuls were given the honorary title imperator, this is the origin of the word emperor since this title was always bestowed to the early emperors upon their accession. Rome suffered a long series of internal conflicts and civil wars from the late second century BC onward, while extending its power beyond Italy; this was the period of the Crisis of the Roman Republic. Towards the end of this era, in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was perpetual dictator before being assassinated; the faction of his assassins was driven from Rome and defeated at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC by an army led by Mark Antony and Caesar's adopted son Octavian. Antony and Octavian's division of the Roman world between themselves did not last and Octavian's forces defeated those of Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, ending the Final War of the Roman Republic. In 27 BC the Senate and People of Rome made Octavian princeps ("first citi
The Lautertal Limes is a Roman limes section of the early 2nd century, located between the River Neckar and the Swabian Jura. It extends for a distance of 23 kilometres, straight as a die, from the present-day municipality of Köngen on the Neckar in the northwest to Donnstetten in the Swabian Jura to the southeast; the 600-metre long crop mark in the form of a long strip, known in German as the Sibyllenspur, in the Lauter valley between Dettingen and Owen under Teck has been known about for a long time. It was interpreted differently in the past, there is a legend according to which it was the track of a cart belonging to a sibyl. Soil scientists and geologists thought the strip of land might be a geological discontinuity or an old processional way or a road; the first investigations were carried out in 1976 by soil scientist and geologist, Siegfried Müller, in collaboration with the Schwäbischer Albverein. The results of this study revealed an archaeological site consisting of a straight ditch system, classified as Roman as the result of the discover of sherds.
The Kirchheim local historian, Eugen Schweitzer, brought to the table the thesis that the Sibyllenspur was a limes and thus part of the great European network of Roman centuriation. In the dry summer of July 1976, aerial archaeology by Walter Sölter discovered the fortlet on the hill of Hasenhäuslesberg near Donnstetten; this find reinforced the theory of a Roman limes between Donnstetten. This was confirmed that same year by the archaeological monument conservationist of the administrative region of Stuttgart, Dieter Planck, who evaluated the 1976 aerial photographs by Alfred Brugger. However, the thesis of the centuriation network was not able to be proven archaeologically. In 1978 the Sibyllenspur was first named by Eugen Schweitzer as the Limes in the Lautertal, connecting the Neckar Limes from the Roman fort of Köngen to the Alb Limes at Donnstetten Roman Fort. Subsequent studies showed that the "Lautertal Limes" consisted of a palisade and three parallel ditches. Unlike the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes, protected by two ditches, the ditches here run on the outside of the palisade.
Aerial photographs by Alfred Brugger uncovered another Roman fort behind the limes at Dettingen unter Teck. Subsequent archaeological finds by the Landesdenkmalamt Baden-Württemberg in 1982 showed that the archaeological find was a Roman military camp intended for the direct protection of the Lautertal Limes. An excavation by the Landesdenkmalamt Baden-Wurttemberg in 1982 uncovered the following: the Sibyllenspur comprises three parallel ditches, the outer one in the northeast being a 3.20-metre-wide and 1.60-metre-deep V-shaped ditch. To the southwest, at a distance of 6 metres, is a 2.60-metre-wide and 1.4-metre-deep V-shaped ditch and, behind it, 1.5 metres away, is a 70-cm-wide and 1.10-metre-deep U-shaped ditch, into which the wooden posts of a palisade were driven. This presented a wooden obstacle on the enemy side; the excavation confirmed the presence of the Roman fortlet, seen on the aerial photograph taken by Dieter Planck, behind the ditches. During these excavations, two fragments of terra sigillata vessels were found in the ditch.
The sigillata were able to be dated to around 120 to 130 AD, based on the manufacturer's seal by the potter, who worked at the terra sigillata pottery in Chémery-lès-Faulquemont near Faulquemont in Gallia Belgica. These artefacts classify the Sibyllenspur with its V-shaped ditches and the wood and earth rampart as the long-sought connection between the Domitian Neckar Limes and the Alb Limes. Limes Monographies Rolf Götz: Die Sibylle von der Teck, Die Sage und ihre Wurzeln im Sibyllenmythos.. Gottlieb und Osswald, Kirchheim unter Teck, 1999. ISBN 3-925589-23-6Articles Philipp Filtzinger: Limesmuseum Aalen.. Gesellschaft für Vor- u. Frühgeschichte in Württemberg und Hohenzollern e. V. Stuttgart, 1971. Walter A. Koch: Der Sagenkranz um Sibylle von der Teck. In: Sonderdruck aus der Teck-Rundschau Jahrgang 1951, Nos. 293, 297 und 300. Gottlieb & Oswald, Kirchheim/Teck, 1951. Walter A. Koch: Der Sagenkranz um Sibylle von der Teck. 4th edition, Stuttgart, 1986. ISBN 3-88093-001-5 Ernst Meier: Deutsche Sagen, Sitten und Gebräuche aus Schwaben.
Pp. 22f. Metzler, Stuttgart, 1852. Siegfried Müller: Altes und Neues von der Sibyllenspur. In: Blätter des Schwäbischen Albvereins, 83. Pp. 180ff. Schwäbischer Albverein, Stuttgart und Tübingen, 1977. Dieter Planck: Ein neuer römischer Limes in Württemberg. In: Landesdenkmalamt Baden-Württemberg u.a.: Archäologische Ausgrabungen Baden-Württemberg 1982. Pp. 97ff. Theiss, Stuttgart, 1983. Dieter Planck: Dettingen unter Teck. Lautertallimes. In: Dieter Planck: Die Römer in Baden-Württemberg. Pp. 61–63 Theiss, Stuttgart, 2005. ISBN 3-8062-1555-3 Dieter Planck: Dettingen unter Teck. Lautertallimes. In: Philipp Filtzinger, Dieter Planck, Bernhard Cämmerer: Die Römer in Baden-Württemberg. 3rd edn. pp. 268–270. Theiss, Stuttgart, 1986. ISBN 3-8062-0287-7 Eugen Schweitzer: Beiträge zur Erforschung römischer Limitationsspuren in Südwestdeutschland. S. 24ff. Dissertation, Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning of the University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 1983. Eugen Schweitzer: Vermutungen über die Sibyllenspur in: Schwäbische Heimat.
Zeitschrift des Schwäbische Heimatbundes. Jg. 29, Heft 1, p. 42. TC Druck, Stuttgart, 1978
Fall of the Western Roman Empire
The Fall of the Western Roman Empire was the process of decline in the Western Roman Empire in which the Empire failed to enforce its rule, its vast territory was divided into several successor polities. The Roman Empire lost the strengths that had allowed it to exercise effective control over its Western provinces. Increasing pressure from invading barbarians outside Roman culture contributed 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. Relevant dates include 117 CE, when the Empire was at its greatest territorial extent, the accession of Diocletian in 284. Irreversible major territorial loss, began in 376 with a large-scale irruption of Goths and others. In 395, after winning two destructive civil wars, Theodosius I died, leaving a collapsing field army and the Empire, still plagued by Goths, divided between the warring ministers of his two incapable sons. Further barbarian groups crossed the Rhine and other frontiers, like the Goths were not exterminated, expelled or subjugated.
The armed forces of the Western Empire became few and ineffective, despite brief recoveries under able leaders, central rule was never consolidated. By 476 when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustulus, the Western 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. Barbarian kingdoms had established their own power in much 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 Eastern Empire survived, though lessened in strength remained for centuries an effective power of the Eastern Mediterranean. While the loss of political unity and military control is universally acknowledged, the Fall is not the only unifying concept for these events. Since 1776, when Edward Gibbon published the first volume of his The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire 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, hence, as a symbol for our own fears." The Fall is not the only unifying concept for these events. The Fall of the Western Roman Empire was the process; the loss of centralized political control over the West, 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 in 180 CE marked the descent "from a kingdom of gold to one of rust and iron", while Gibbon began his narrative of decline from the reign of Commodus, after a number of introductory chapters. Arnold J. Toynbee and James Burke argue that the entire Imperial era was one of steady decay of institutions founded in republican times, while Theodor Mommsen excluded the imperial period from his Nobel Prize-winning History of Rome.
As one convenient marker for the end, 476 has been used since Gibbon, but other key dates for the fall of the Roman Empire in the West include the Crisis of the Third Century, the Crossing of the Rhine in 406, the sack of Rome in 410, the death of Julius Nepos in 480. Gibbon gave a classic formulation of reasons, he began an ongoing controversy by attributing a significant role to Christianity in the Western Roman Empire's fall, no longer accepted by modern Roman historians. However, he did give great weight to other causes of internal decline as well and to the attacks from outside the Empire; the story of its ruin is obvious. The victorious legions, who, in distant wars, acquired the vices of strangers and mercenaries, first oppressed the freedom of the republic, 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.
Alexander Demandt enumerated 210 different theories on why Rome fell, new ideas have emerged since. Historians still try to analyze the reasons for loss of political control over a vast territory. Comparison has been made with China after the end of the Han dynasty, which re-established unity under the Sui dynasty while the Mediterranean world remained politically disunited. From at least the time of Henri Pirenne scholars have described a continuity of Roman culture and political legitimacy long aft