How much can we blame barbarisation of the Roman army in leading to the end of the western empire in AD476?

Introduction

The ‘barbarisation’ of the Roman army has become a popular explanation for the end of the Roman Empire. While the empire possessed a strong army of professional Roman soldiers, it could not fail; therefore its end in AD476 was the result, directly or indirectly, of the failure of the army. And since by the fifth century AD the army had come to incorporate many non-Romans into its ranks, logic follows that this ‘de-romanisation’ of the army – the deterioration of Roman military discipline, the end of the legions of the Principate – made the army ineffective and weak.¹

Continue reading “How much can we blame barbarisation of the Roman army in leading to the end of the western empire in AD476?”

on William Wallace’s ghost

William Wallace is one of the great names of Scottish history, quite possibly the country’s George Washington (though unlike Washington he didn’t survive his War of Independence to rule the new country — that would fall to Robert the Bruce). Like Washington, Wallace’s ghost has been periodically called up to support this or that cause. This essay will briefly explore how Wallace’s legacy has been handled and manipulated in the centuries after his death. Continue reading “on William Wallace’s ghost”

on truth and blame

We’re at a delicate moment right now.

Now that the spectre of human extinction has passed – though there may yet be dark days ahead for many countries – we’re approaching the recovery phase, and most sensationally, the planning-who-to-tar-and-feather-for-this-whole-fiasco phase.

Two things we should think about looking ahead:

Disinformation is here to stay. Given that world leaders and state apparatuses at large have been guilty of this for the past five years or so, it’s not surprising at all that the sword of untruth has been wielded these past few months to silence dissent and rally wavering political foundations.

One thing though is now different. Continue reading “on truth and blame”

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