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The Impact Of 'Barbarization' On The Roman Army

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Chapter Summary

The number and the intensity of the threats directed against the Roman state increased during the middle of the third century, creating an entirely new situation with which the Augustan frontier system could not cope. The Roman frontiers have been the focus of much scholarly research in recent years. The frontier was largely an area where the Roman world confronted the outsider in the form of trade. Historians often use the reign of Diocletian (284-305) as a convenient starting point for the later Roman empire or Late Antiquity. The Notitia Dignitatum shows that the bulk of the army was now dispersed along the frontier in units much smaller than the 6,000 man sized legions of the second century. Scholars since the time of Gibbon have pointed to the barbarization of the Roman army as probably the key element in the loss of Roman control in the west.

Keywords: barbarization; Diocletian; Notitia Dignitatum ; Roman army; Roman state

10.1163/ej.9789004187313.i-458.56
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