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The Transition to Late Antiquity, on the Danube and Beyond$
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Andrew Poulter

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264027

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264027.001.0001

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The Late Roman Army and the Defence of the Balkans

The Late Roman Army and the Defence of the Balkans

(p.135) 4 The Late Roman Army and the Defence of the Balkans
The Transition to Late Antiquity, on the Danube and Beyond


British Academy

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

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