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Western Roman Empire Discussion

Discussion in 'Total War' started by AgentHunk, Feb 13, 2017.

  1. AgentHunk

    AgentHunk Chieftain

    Feb 13, 2017
    I came here hoping to find some people that want to talk history about the WRE.I could not decide which site to sign up for and start a Discussion about History.
    I also play Total War too.

    Ok,First I want to try and do a discussion about history and the sources that is not already uploaded on the internet.
    What I mean is Big Hardback Encyclopedia's.There has to be some record of Western Rome written down somewhere and all the forts and locations of the Legions and and a better picture...while it was crumbling....
    leading up to Justinian age...and beyond.

    What happend to the Legions that were around at the time of Odoacer takeover?How many Legions were there in the West?

    Why weren't they trying to make counter-attacks?

    How many WRE Provinces were still trying to hold on to what they called the Provinces back in those days...

    and for how long?
  2. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

    Nov 29, 2006
    First, welcome!
    Second, you really should read Guy Halsall's Barbarian Migrations and the Roman West: 376-568 as it covers the period you are interested in exactly.
    Third, this should probably get moved to the World History section.

    The late Roman military didn't disappear just because a puppet Emperor was overthrown, it was still there under Odoacer and largely retained under Theoderic. Odoacer was simply following what had become the standard procedure in the West Roman Empire following the debacle at Cape Bon in 468; oust the emperor or whoever happened to be the generalissimo at the time when you disagreed with them. Odoacer still kept the Roman administration in place and presented himself as an administrator for the Roman Emperor, this one living in Constantinople. "Barbarian"* army officers exercising real power with a puppet Emperor was standard practice by this point in time; and the fact the Odoacer didn't bother with a seat-warmer to stick on the throne wasn't a big deal for the Roman Empire and those living in Italy. We saw a similar situation with Theoderic; presenting himself as a Roman leader with at times appearing to adopt the title of augustus. The idea that 476 and the ousting of Romulus Augustulus comprising some sort of light-switch where everything Roman went away is not very accurate.

    *What constituted a "barbarian" is a fiendishly complicated issue especially given how barbarian-ness, ethnicity, and fighting got all wrapped up in one another.

    There had been quite a bit of fighting under Marjorian and Avitus, but after 468 the Empire just didn't have the resources. Also, you can't treat the collapse of the Roman Empire as some sort of nice, formal war with battle lines and clearly defined sides. It was basically a long running civil war that saw a steady erosion in central Imperial authority to local potentates in Gaul, Hispania, and North Africa.

    Again, there was no sort of historical light-switch that went out in 476. Odoacer, Theoderic, and Clovis all adopted the trappings of the Roman state and retained both the administration and rhetoric. We only really see a move away from "roman-ness" in the "barbarian" states during the Italian Wars when Justinian began emphasizing and promoting the idea that western Europe was no longer Roman and needed to be reconquered by the Roman Empire.
    The Romano-Frankish "Kingdom of Soissons" lasted until about 486 when, as far as we can tell from fragmentary sources, Syagrius lost out in a civil war to Clovis.
    Julius Nepos ruled a statelet in Dalmatia after he was ousted when the magister militum/generalissimo Orestes ousted him.
    Gothic-Hispanic-Roman nobility would probably count as the Gallo-Roman aristocracy carried on the traditional structure of Roman city-based society until arguable the mid 600s when they another couple rounds of civil war.

    tl:dr: The Western Roman Empire had a long series of civil wars that resulted in a breakdown of Imperial authority in favor of local authority. The disruptions simultaneously put stress on Imperial ideology and saw an increased emphasis placed on non-Roman identities, largely in regard to fighting.
    Owen Glyndwr likes this.

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