Chapter

The Late Roman Army and the Defence of the Balkans

MICHAEL WHITBY

in The Transition to Late Antiquity, on the Danube and Beyond

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2007 | ISBN: 9780197264027
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734908 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197264027.003.0004

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

The Late Roman Army and the Defence of the Balkans

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In Late Antiquity, the Balkans were transformed from a relatively prosperous region to one of great insecurity, with emperors increasingly inclined to ignore problems as long as they did not threaten the security of Constantinople itself; the Roman troops in the Balkans might appear inadequate in both quality and quantity for dealing with the challenges from beyond the Danube, particularly those posed by the great federations of Huns and Avars. Huns and Avars both shattered the Roman Empire's defences, but the process took time. Overall, the performance of the Roman army in the defence of the Balkans might seem mixed for such a significant area, although periods of considerable success should be recognized. Logistics as well as strategic and tactical thinking were powerful advantages for the Romans, and were exploited right through until the early seventh century.

Keywords: Late Antiquity; Balkans; Roman Empire; army; defence; Constantinople; Danube; Huns; Avars; logistics

Chapter.  13517 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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