Fall of the Roman Empire

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The Western Roman and Eastern Roman Empire around 476

The fall of the Roman Empire in the west is a much discussed topic in ancient studies . It is about the reasons for the gradual decline of the Western Roman Empire , which ended with the deposition of the Western Roman Emperor Romulus Augustulus in the year 476 (or with the death of the last Emperor Julius Nepos recognized by Ostrom in 480), whereby very different theories are drafted were and will be. The central question here is whether primarily internal factors (e.g. structural problems, alleged decadence , religious and social upheavals, civil wars ) or pressure from external aggressors ( Germanic peoples , Huns , Persians ) are responsible for the development .

The Eastern Roman / Byzantine Empire survived the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. It did not happen until almost a thousand years later, in 1453, with the conquest of Constantinople by Sultan Mehmed II , during which the last Byzantine emperor Constantine XI. death came to an end.


The positions that were and are represented in historical research at the end of the Roman Empire are very diverse. Most of them, however, can be roughly assigned to the following four approaches:

  • Decadence: This view, especially widespread in older research and popular scientific publications, assumes that the Roman Empire had been exposed to a (also moral) process of decline since the 3rd century at the latest ; In the long term, power and prosperity would have led to a decline in values, which slowly made the economic and military strength of the empire dwindle. Since the Enlightenment , Christianity has often been named as an essential factor in this context, while Marxist- influenced scholars in particular blamed socio-economic crises. External attacks, on the other hand, were only given secondary importance.
  • Catastrophe: In contrast to the theory of decadence, this approach, which was also formulated at an early stage, still has representatives in specialist science today. They assume that it was the increased external pressure that led to the fall of West Rome in the 4th and 5th centuries. An important role is attributed to the appearance of the Huns , whose advance to the west triggered a migration of peoples , which the sparsely populated western empire, weakened by falling yields, fiscal weakness and the special interests of the provincial nobility, could not withstand. In addition, the advance of the Huns and Teutons from the Eastern Empire was deliberately diverted to the West. If one follows this point of view, Westrom was conquered by (predominantly Germanic) invaders; its end is therefore primarily the result of catastrophic events that broke in from outside a weakened western empire. Current representatives of this position include Peter J. Heather and Bryan Ward-Perkins .
  • Transformation: In current research, the view is widespread that it is misleading to infer the downfall of Rome from the political changes . Instead, a slow process of change can be observed in cultural, social and economic terms, at the end of which the Roman Empire transformed into the world of the Middle Ages without any radical breaks being observed. Current representatives of this position include Peter Brown , who is primarily concerned with the development of religion and the Eastern Roman Empire, as well as Walter A. Goffart and Averil Cameron . Max Weber also advocated the thesis that the Roman Empire transformed into a pre-feudal society in the late imperial era ; however, he emphasized the critical nature of this development.
  • Civil war: In recent times, the position has increasingly been taken that the end of West Rome was caused neither by a peaceful transformation nor by external attacks, but was rather a consequence of decades of civil wars, which eroded the power and reputation of the West Roman government so much. that after their collapse the leaders ( active ) of mercenary armies ( foederati ) outside the empire took their place and established local rulers. Current advocates of this position, already partially represented by Hans Delbrück , include Guy Halsall, Henning Börm and Christian Witschel .

Older research opinions

For a long time it was largely taken for granted by historians and scholars to speak of a “decline and decline” of the Roman Empire during late antiquity ; only the reasons for this were disputed. In older research, Edward Gibbon in particular set the tone. In his epochal work The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire , Gibbon postulated the view as early as the 18th century that (Western) Rome did not perish as a result of external influences, but rather because of internal weakness. He blamed Christianity in no small part. This weakened the old forces of the Roman Empire . He also joined Montesquieu's theory of decadence , while his reflections on Christianity followed Voltaire's ideas . The ultimate collapse was ultimately a result of the pressure from external enemies on the empire, which was already decisively weakened internally. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Christianity and the external pressure exerted by the Teutons on the empire were often blamed for the fall of Rome (although German and British scholars in particular did not always rate this negatively). Even Otto Seeck saw the late antiquity as a mere expiration time, while Henri Pirenne as the reason for the collapse of the late ancient Mediterranean world did not the Germans, but only the onslaught of Islam led (see Islamic expansion and Pirenne Thesis ). Even Alfred Rosenberg pointed Late Antiquity as expiration time, but made for this purpose in accordance with the Nazi ideology an alleged growing influence of oriental and Semitic peoples responsible: The Germans would have saved the Western world by conquering the decadent by miscegenation become Roman Empire and then the "Chaos “Had finished.

Although not all scholars were of the opinion that inner decay was at least prominent at the end of Rome, the idea of ​​decadence still dominated historical research for a long time. The idea that great empires - like living beings - regularly go through a cycle of rise, blossom and decline was already formulated in antiquity, for example by Herodotus and Xenophon with reference to Persia, by Sallust and Ovid (sequence of ages: from golden to iron) in relation to the Roman Republic. It has left deep traces in Western thought to this day. It was therefore natural to interpret the end of the Western Roman Empire according to this simple pattern. Oswald Spengler also saw a cyclical course as a basic principle of world history in his main work The Downfall of the West : The rise of a great empire is followed by decline. Arnold Joseph Toynbee saw a failure of the moral authorities, but also chance that played a role. This cyclical school is still partly followed today, but hardly by ancient historians . In this sense, late antiquity is still often interpreted as a reflection of one's own society, to which decay tendencies are also ascribed.

The doctrinal liberalism and the late Enlightenment - especially Edward Gibbon, who at the same time regretted the collapse of the Roman institutions - saw in state regulation and over-taxation, in the increasing ties of the peasants to the plaice and of the producers to the guilds and the many state enterprises the cause of the fall of the Roman Empire; but in the early 5th century these factors made themselves felt negatively, especially in the west of the empire. The eastern empire, which was considerably more developed and more populous in terms of its urban industry and trade, survived for centuries with state intervention and fiscalism. Here the high administrative offices were not owned by the land nobility to the same extent as in the west; its tax privileges were less pronounced and more finances were available for the military and administration, as well as workers and soldiers.

Max Weber and Hans Delbrück attributed the decline of the Roman Empire to a relapse into natural economy . Weber assumed that the transformation of the expansive Roman Empire from a maritime trade into a landlocked country with a predominantly agricultural population and the dominance of the large agrarians who had their latifundia managed by slaves, as well as the increasing ties of the small tenants ( colonies ) to the land Decline in production for the market, the rise of natural economy and the increasing autonomy of manors. Agricultural production was dependent on the constant purchase of slaves, as these did not live in families and did not reproduce. According to Weber, the “decommunalization” of large, increasingly self-sufficient goods, that is, their removal from the urban economy, and the increasingly natural financial constitution led to the decline of the cities and the monetary economy as well as to urban flight. Even the officials in Diocletian's time were partly remunerated from natural resources. On the other hand, already at the time of Tiberius there was a clear shortage of workers and recruits, more and more frequent slave hunts, the use of noxii (criminals) as slaves and the lending of the border peoples with land in exchange for compulsory military services for border security. Many slaves had to be released from the barrack-like manor system and returned to the family in order to secure the next generation; their status approached that of the colonists - that is, the slave-dependent peasants - while these became more and more dependent. Tax increases resulted in low productivity land being set aside and agricultural labor productivity falling. Society, which used to be structured by the contrast between free and unfree, approached the early feudal conditions of the Merovingian period with the colonial system . In fact, this system was partly adopted in the post-Roman kingdoms of the Goths, Vandals, Burgundians, and Franks.

The technological standstill in the period after the reign of Trajan , which was recognized early on by various authors, weighs heavily , because it not only led to the stagnation of handicrafts (weaving, pottery), but above all prevented the intensification of agriculture. Methods suitable for the Mediterranean region failed on heavier soils. There was as yet no harness for horses; instead oxen were used. Harvesting was done by hand with a sickle (with the exception of a mower used on flat fields in Gaul ). Not even wheelbarrows existed, although they had already been invented in Greece. Only water mills spread, albeit very slowly.

The contradiction between the growing importance of natural economy, which was associated with the considerable burden of bringing goods to the place where they were needed, and the transport requirements of an overstretched world empire that remained dependent on the money economy contributed to its collapse territorial special areas, which Weber referred to in the introduction and final chapter of Roman agricultural history , following Karl Rodbertus . According to Delbrück, this separation of special territorial areas from the central state is mainly due to the Germanization of the Roman military.

Newer research positions

The popular notion that “late Roman decadence” led to the end of the empire has not been upheld by the vast majority of specialist historians for decades. Today, late antiquity, during which the fall of Rome fell (around 300 to 600), is interpreted in a much more differentiated manner than, for example, by Otto Seeck . The theory of decadence , which has been dominant for a long time , is now regarded as largely obsolete in specialist circles, especially since many more recent works emphasize the vitality of the epoch, although accents (e.g. in the cultural area) have shifted. This reassessment is also related to the fact that "classical antiquity" is now far less idealized than it used to be; Although a serious decline in education can be observed at the latest from around 550 (i.e. only at the end of Late Antiquity) (first in the West, then in the East), it is probably more correct and scientifically more productive to speak of a transformation instead of decline and decline . This current majority opinion in research has been attacked by some scholars in recent years (e.g. Ward-Perkins 2005). These come, mainly based on the archaeological findings, to a much more negative finding and again speak of a decline that affected Western Rome in the 5th century and Eastern Rome in the early 7th century . These researchers, too, do not consider internal deterioration to be the cause of this development, but pressure from external enemies and economic difficulties.

But even the economic decline is probably only partially valid as a reason for the decline. On the contrary, late antiquity was not a frozen time, but a time of upheaval and often unbroken economic vitality, especially - but initially not only - in the East, even if there was a population decline in some regions. This factor can be ruled out as the sole explanatory model because not only in the generally more vital East, but for a long time also in the West, even after the numerous military campaigns in the 5th century, regional economic power was still strong, as recent research has shown. Examples are parts of Gaul or North Africa; But things looked different in Britain, for example.

The same applies to the derogatory term dominat , which corresponds more to the attitude of some liberal historians of the 19th century (like Theodor Mommsen ), who saw a military dictatorship or a despotism in the late Roman Empire. Bureaucratisation increased, even if the Roman Empire was rather under-administered compared to modern societies, but so did social mobility. In addition, many features of this development could be identified much earlier. The military often escaped the emperor's control, as did the church and parts of the aristocracy, which was far more serious. At that time, slavery may also decline , but this is not undisputed in research, while colonies have increased since the 4th century (i.e. the peasants' ties to the land, with the colonies also being able to function and marry were restricted).

The guilt that Christianity was often given in the past must also be viewed in a more differentiated manner. Many men of the highest integrity turned to Christianity and spent their lives in the service of the Church, but were lost to the state. On the other hand, the new religion stabilized the empire; that the east, which was still stronger and earlier Christian, survived the 5th century, speaks against the assumption that Christianity caused Rome's downfall. The state bureaucracy struggled with corruption problems, the importance of which is now controversial. All those researchers who primarily blame internal factors for the downfall of the empire must fundamentally ask themselves why the east of the empire survived the crises of the 5th and 6th centuries, unlike the west, practically unscathed, and then even the Islamic one Expansion (in drastically reduced size) survived. One possible answer to this is the reference to the long chain of civil wars that Westrom experienced in the 5th century and which permanently destroyed the authority of the western, but not the eastern, empire (e.g. Halsall 1999 and Börm 2013).

In the late Roman era, especially in the West, the regular army was often no longer able to effectively protect the borders. Reasons were probably insufficient team strength compared to the challenges and progress in armament by the Germanic tribes; The bloody internal Roman disputes that led to the exposure of the external borders since 402, as in the 3rd century, were also very significant. The battle of Adrianople (378) was also an important bloodletting , but this defeat only affected the Eastern Roman army. In the east, however , the empire with the Sassanid Empire faced an almost equal enemy with a regular army, which meant that the west could only be helped to a limited extent. On the other hand, the Romans continued to be militarily superior to the barbarians. As a rule, the imperial troops retained the upper hand over the Hunnic and Germanic warrior associations; It is no coincidence that the Roman army suffered by far the greatest losses not in defending against external enemies but in internal conflicts, especially in the Battle of Mursa (351) and the Battle of Frigidus (394): lost between 350 and 400 the western Roman army in three very bloody civil wars, which considerably weakened the defenses of the west. Even the bloody battle on the Catalaunian fields (451) is interpreted by some historians as a primarily intra-Roman conflict in which Attila merely supported the enemies of Flavius ​​Aëtius .

The more recent research therefore mainly emphasizes the financing problems of the empire: Due to its economic strength and the largely peaceful internal conditions, even in the 5th and 6th centuries, Ostrom was able to maintain an army that was able to do justice to its tasks overall. In the west this was less and less the case after 400, mainly because the central government gradually forfeited control over important parts of the empire in the face of ongoing turmoil. The Vandals conquered the richest western Roman province, Africa , in the 430s , while eventually large parts of Hispania and Gaul fell to the Goths in the 460s and 470s . The tax revenue of West Rome sank dramatically accordingly, and the regular troops could no longer be financed.

The forced recruitment of non-Roman mercenaries ( foederati ) increased at the same time, as this was much cheaper and more time-saving than the maintenance of regular troops. Then there was the pressure on the borders. According to some researchers, Westrom finally failed to control the Teutons and integrate them into the Reich Association. The much talked about problem with "unreliable" barbarians but appeared almost exclusively in foederati on, that is the (as allies under their own leaders keen ) serving Germans (and even then only rarely), not with the integrated into the regular army Germans. About the role that the Germans ultimately played in the creation of the medieval world - did they take over the already collapsing Western Roman Empire rather than conquering it by force ? -, there is still no agreement. According to some researchers, the largely lacking resistance against the Teutons can actually only mean two things: Either the once warlike Romans in the West suddenly fell into apathy, or the barbarians were not perceived as threatening intruders at all, but as newcomers to the Services of Rome, which only took over the tasks of the regular army.

Incapable or too young emperors ( Honorius , Valentinian III. ) And the attitude of many a magister militum to raise arms against their own people in order to strengthen their own position, contributed to the loss of power of the western empire. Many emperors, such as Majorian or Anthemius , managed to regain the initiative at least temporarily in the final phase of West Rome. Even before 476 or 480, West Rome's power was temporarily only a shadow of its own - the imperial central government in Ravenna was ultimately undermined by the (not always Germanic) army masters. The turning point was the assassination of the western Roman general Flavius ​​Aëtius in 454, who (not altruistically) and his armies maintained Ravenna's rule in Italy, large parts of Gaul, as well as in Catalonia and Dalmatia . Then when Emperor Anthemius failed in 468 with the desperate attempt to forcefully subjugate rich North Africa again, the Western Roman Empire lost all remaining authority and was abolished as superfluous in 476.

The Germanic federates took over the administration of their territories themselves around 470, but as a rule they initially continued to recognize the Eastern Roman emperor as their overlord. Still Justinian was also able to militarily enforce the Roman claim to power in the West - at least partially and for a limited time. Only the Islamic expansion , which prevented the emperors in Constantinople from exerting effective influence in the West for all future, meant the final fall of the Roman Empire.

In his book The Collapse of Complexe Societies , Joseph Tainter provides an explanatory approach based on sociology and complexity theory, which is not dissimilar to that advocated by Max Weber . While Weber sees the declining productivity of agriculture as a critical factor, Tainter considers the resource and "energy" supply of the empire as a whole. Energy means above all food and feed (primarily for the army), but also human energy, i.e. the supply of slaves. The expansive state, suffering from increasing resource problems, successfully “solved” these supply problems for a long time by conquering more and more new agricultural neighboring regions. With the gradual transition from the maritime to the landlocked state, the costs of transportation, communications and civil administration rose sharply. From the 3rd century on, occupation and garrison costs in particular rose; so had z. B. in the Parthian Wars an extensive armored cavalry ( Kataphrakt ) are built. In order to still be able to collect the taxes in kind from distant regions and to be able to procure slaves, the provincial administrations and the tax collection system had to be greatly expanded. However, the marginal returns on these enormous expenditures decreased. The mere maintenance and safeguarding of the overly complex, regionally overstretched state structure required more and more resources that could no longer be procured through new conquests. Under the domination, the population was taxed to the limit of what was possible. But the invasions could no longer be prevented. The empire disintegrated into smaller units, for which the benefit of autonomy was greater than that of belonging to the empire. The Germanic kingdoms had much lower administrative and military costs and were more resilient to invasion attempts.

So far it has not been possible to formulate a clear answer to the question of why the Western Roman Empire went under. According to the vast majority of today's researchers, the alleged "decadence" was not a decisive factor, even though there are sources that complain about the (alleged or actual) "moral decline" of the upper class - because such complaints have existed at all times and in all societies. While new forms dominated the cultural sphere, literary production, for example, was still considerable. In the area of ​​historiography, for example, important works were created in Eastern Europe in particular until the end of antiquity (see, among others, Ammianus Marcellinus , Olympiodoros of Thebes , Priskos , Prokopios of Caesarea ); to name are in addition also poets like Claudian and Gorippus or philosophers like Boethius , Simplikios and Damascius .

Certain systemic deficiencies in the administration and the army were certainly partly to blame for the fall of the Western Empire, but these basically also affected the more successful East, so that they are insufficient as an explanation. Above all, the West was probably not strong enough economically and militarily. This is at least where the (controversial) explanatory approach of researchers like Peter J. Heather comes in: Since the rise of the Sassanid Empire in the 3rd century, the Imperium Romanum, unlike before, has been constantly faced with a dangerous rival who has demanded the exertion of all forces; When, with the appearance of the Huns and, according to Heather, the start of large peoples' movements, the pressure on the northern Roman border increased sharply, at least the western empire was overwhelmed. It was hit with great severity by the force of this migration (375-568), especially since there were fewer troops there than on the Danube and Euphrates . The west probably did not have the population and high economic power of the eastern empire, and its provinces were more vulnerable than those of the east (see also Rhine crossing from 406 ) - and the western Roman state (e.g. Heather 2005 and Jones 1964) apparently succeeded less and less to access the sometimes enormous private fortunes of rich senators or to recruit enough Reich residents for military service.

The more recent explanations for the decline of the Roman Empire are expanded to include aspects of environmental history , such as those addressed by Kyle Harper. This is based on the process of political and economic change from the 2nd century AD, in which the Roman Empire formed a “populous, urbanized, networked political unit”, to the 7th century, when it became “fragmented , agrarian, economically weakened group of states ”. According to Harper, climate change and pandemics played a role in this. During the 300 years to 200 AD, the climate was relatively stable, humid and warm and favored high-yielding harvests. In the final phase of the Roman Empire, however, the climate became unstable, as paleoclimatic research shows. Since the late 160s, an epidemic, the so-called Antonine Plague , was the first pandemic to rage on several continents , leading to a sharp decline in population, among other things with the consequence of a shortage of soldiers and workers. The Cyprian plague in the 3rd century and the Justinian plague in the 6th century brought further setbacks .

A monocausal approach will never do justice to all difficult problems. Contemporaries probably understood the processes even less than modern research. Appropriate countermeasures could not be taken, and the literary sources can sometimes be misleading. Only one thing is certain: Rome continued to live culturally, the Greek-influenced Eastern Empire still existed until 1453 - and late antiquity, as devastating as certain events were for parts of the population, decisively shaped the future of Europe and also activated dynamic forces.

See also


  • Hartwin Brandt : The end of antiquity. History of the late Roman Empire . 2nd Edition. Beck, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-406-51918-0 (very brief, conventional introduction to the history of events from 284 to 565).
  • Henning Börm : Westrom. From Honorius to Justinian . 2nd Edition. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2018, ISBN 978-3-17-023276-1 (current overview, which primarily makes internal power struggles and civil wars responsible for the collapse of the empire).
  • Karl Christ (ed.): The fall of the Roman Empire . 2nd Edition. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1986.
  • Alexander Demandt : History of Late Antiquity . Beck, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-406-44107-6 , pp. 445-447.
  • Alexander Demandt: The Fall of Rome . Beck, Munich 1984, ISBN 3-406-09598-4 (readable, detailed presentation of the different explanatory models for the "fall of Rome").
  • Walter A. Goffart : Barbarians and Romans AD 418-584. The techniques of accommodation . Princeton University Press, Princeton 1980, ISBN 0-691-05303-0 (Goffart developed an influential but controversial theory that the barbarian warriors in the empire received no land but only a share of the taxes).
  • Guy Halsall: Barbarian Migrations and the Roman West 376-568 . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2007, ISBN 978-0521-435437 (Halsall considers primarily internal factors to be decisive for the developments and assumes that the disintegration of the western empire brought about the peoples shifts, not the other way around).
  • Henriette Harich-Schwarzbauer, Karla Pollmann (ed.): The fall of Rome and its resurrections in antiquity and the Middle Ages. De Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2013.
  • Kyle Harper: Fatum. The climate and the fall of the Roman Empire . Beck, Munich 2020, ISBN 978-3-406-74933-9 .
  • Peter J. Heather : The Fall of the Roman Empire. A New History . Oxford University Press, New York 2005, ISBN 0-19-515954-3 (Heather sees the appearance of the Huns and other external enemies as the reason for the end of Rome: The Huns would have triggered a migration of peoples that the empire, which has existed since Founding of the Sassanid Empire was under great external pressure, was succumbed; see also the article below).
  • Peter J. Heather: The Huns and the End of the Roman Empire in Western Europe . In: English Historical Review . Vol. 110, 1995, pp. 4-41 (English).
  • Alfred Heuss : Roman history . 7th edition. Schöningh, Paderborn 2000, in particular pp. 500-506, 601-603.
  • Arnold Hugh Martin Jones : The Later Roman Empire 284-602. A Social, Economic and Administrative Survey . 2 volumes, Baltimore 1986 (reprint of the edition in 3 volumes, Oxford 1964), especially volume 2, pp. 1025-1027 (important and detailed standard work on the construction of the late Roman empire, albeit partly outdated and difficult to read for the layman).
  • Henri Irénée Marrou: Decadence romaine ou antiquité tardive? IIIe – VIe siècle. Paris 1977.
  • Mischa Meier : History of the Great Migration . Beck, Munich 2019.
  • Walter Pohl : The Great Migration. Conquest and Integration . 2nd Edition. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2005. ISBN 3-17-018940-9 .
  • Bryan Ward-Perkins: The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization . Oxford University Press, Oxford 2005; ND 2006, ISBN 978-0-19-280728-1 (representation of the end of the Western Roman Empire, which, in contrast to Walter Goffart, understands this process as a brutal incision caused by external attackers. Ward-Perkins emphasizes, based on the archaeological findings, it was not a mere transformation but a decline and decay caused by "barbaric" attacks).
  • Christian Witschel : Empire in Transition. The end of the Roman Empire in the judgment of modern history . In: Praxis Geschichte 1/2014, pp. 4–11 (brief overview of the discussion).

Web links


  1. ^ Bryan Ward-Perkins: The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization. Oxford 2005.
  2. Max Weber (1896): The social reasons for the decline of ancient culture . In: Jürgen Deininger (Ed.): Max Weber Complete Edition. Dept. I: writings and speeches. Volume VI: On the social and economic history of antiquity. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen u. a. 2006, pp. 82–127 (also in Collected Essays on Social and Economic History . Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 1924, pp. 289–311; first print in: The Truth . 3, Issue 63, Frommanns Verlag, Stuttgart 1896, p . 57–77; online at zeno.org ).
  3. Guy Halsall: Movers and Shakers. The Barbarians and the Fall of Rome. In: Early Medieval Europe 8, 1999, pp. 131-145.
  4. Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.89-150
  5. ^ Edward Adams: Liberal Epic: The Victorian Practice of History from Gibbon to Churchill. Victorian Literature and Culture. University of Virginia Press 2011.
  6. ^ Franz Georg Maier : The transformation of the Mediterranean world. (Fischer Weltgeschichte Volume 9.) Frankfurt 1968, p. 146 f.
  7. Hans Delbrück: The Middle Ages. Part 2. Edited by Konrad Molinski. Berlin 1929, p. 5 (new edition: Books on Demand 2011).
  8. Max Weber: The social reasons for the decline of ancient culture. (1896) In: Ders .: Sociology. Universal historical analyzes. Politics. Edited by Johannes Winckelmann. 6th edition Stuttgart 1992, pp. 1–26, in particular p. 11 ff.
  9. Franz Georg Maier 1968, p. 144.
  10. The Roman Agrarian History in its Significance for State and Private Law (1891), in: MWG , I / 2, pp. 101, 291.
  11. expertise. Meeting at H-Soz-u-Kult .
  12. Demandt, Spätantike , p. 453.
  13. Jones, LRE , Vol. 2, pp. 1038-1040.
  14. Demandt, Spätantike , p. 454.
  15. Jones, LRE , Vol. 2, pp. 1063-1064.
  16. See Guy Halsall: Movers and Shakers. The Barbarians and the Fall of Rome. In: Early Medieval Europe 8, 1999, p. 131 ff .; Börm, Westrom , p. 114 ff (English).
  17. So also Maier 1968, p. 146 ff.
  18. Demandt, Spätantike , p. 471; Heather, Fall of the Roman Empire , passim.
  19. Jones, LRE , Vol. 2, p. 1038.
  20. Cf. on this (openly) Goffart, Barbarians and Romans .
  21. So especially W. Goffart. Against this, however, see Heather and Ward-Perkins; Heather emphasizes, among other things, the role of the Huns , whose attacks he considers decisive, in line with older research.
  22. ^ Joseph A. Tainter: The Collapse of Complex Societies. Cambridge UP, 1988, pp. 11 ff., 49 ff., 128-151. Max Weber and Gerald Gunderson, Gerald: Economic Change and the Demise of the Roman Empire, have similar arguments . In: Explorations in Economic History 13 (196), pp. 43-68 (English).
  23. Cf. in general with regard to the assessment of late antiquity in recent research, the current contributions in Philip Rousseau (ed.): A Companion to Late Antiquity . Malden (Massachusetts) et al. a. 2009. Rene Pfeilschifter also offers an overview in German: Die Spätantike . Munich 2014.
  24. "It was the first pandemic." A worldwide plague ushered in the fall of the Roman Empire, says historian Kyle Harper - and tells us what can be learned from it for the present. In: Die Zeit , March 19, 2020, page 34.