Thursday, April 19, 2012

German Commanders of the Roman Empire

In the last few posts we have been exploring the period at the end of the Roman Empire. I plan to continue down this road until we have laid it all out and analyzed it using several posts. It remains for us to discuss the reasons for the fall, the impact of Christianity on the empire, and the transition of Europe to the Dark Ages.
This post is narrow by design, intended to make a single point about the Roman army and its commanders. In the narrative below I have constructed a chronology of the last ninety years of the empire. Each commander who is German has his name in bolded text. You will see for yourself how the Germans permeated the Roman military.
Following the death of Valens, the co-emperor in the west, Gratian, appointed a Spanish officer, Theodosius, to serve as emperor of the eastern provinces. His sixteen year reign was efficient but marked by the dubious decision to let the Goths settle south of the Danube in Roman territory (382 A.D.) under their own commanders rather than those of the empire.