Enemies of Rome: Barbarians Through Roman Eyes

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Enemies of Rome: The Goths

Page 1 of 1. Well-defined study of Roman art through the dynastic periods. The book could have been enhanced by photos or illustrations of the artworks. Close Dialog Are you sure? Also remove everything in this list from your library. Army recruitment took a similar path. Whereas Italy still supplied 65 percent of legionary troops during the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, and Caligula, by the mid-second century the contribution of the Italian heartland had dwindled to less than 1 percent.

Rome had begun recruiting its soldiers from the least civilized areas of the empire—a policy that would remain in place in late Roman times. Recruiters seem to have believed that the best soldiers, the real fighting men, could only be found outside the cities. During the third century, the empire experienced a series of invasions and civil wars.

The late third- and early fourth-century emperors Diocletian and Constantine essentially remade the army, doubling its size and dividing it into two types of forces: the limitanei , or frontier troops, stationed along the borders of the empire, and the comitatenses , or mobile field forces, held in reserve for major conflicts. The army now swelled to some six hundred thousand men, which created severe recruitment pressures.

To fill its ranks, the late Roman army resorted to unprecedented measures. Sons of soldiers were required to take up the vocation of their fathers.

Foreigners served in record numbers. Some were drawn from defeated barbarian groups that had been settled as subject peoples on Roman lands. Not entirely free, these laeti had no choice but to supply soldiers to the Roman army, where they traditionally served under Roman commanders. Increasingly, however, the army filled its ranks by attracting volunteers from outside the empire. In the fourth century, huge numbers of Germans enlisted, and many of them attained high rank.

The army itself—once the most powerful Romanizing force in the world—was rapidly becoming Germanized by its own recruits. German terminology and even German customs—such as the barritus , the old German battle cry—became widespread. Contemporary writers used the terms barbarus barbarian and miles soldier interchangeably. To many Romans, the same barbarians so admired for their military prowess were also the enemy. Since the early third century, the empire had been locked in a violent and essentially continuous struggle against barbarian raiders.

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They had seen their fields pillaged, their treasures plundered, and their neighbors killed. If they felt a certain distrust of barbarian soldiers, they came by it naturally. By the mid-fourth century, that distrust had begun to manifest itself in an open xenophobia. Delivery times may vary, especially during peak periods.

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