How Roman Were the Successor States
How Roman Were the Successor States

How Roman Were the Successor States

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  • Pages: 7 (3483 words)
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How Roman were the successor states in the former western Empire? 500ad to 800ad (GENERAL) The successor kingdoms are homogenous forms of power in terms of culture, administration, military power, etc. and were all variations of the former Empire. The barbarian forces were able to effectively invade the roman empire and the military fighting was used to show the power of the ruler. Traditionally the Roman forces were paid in fee regularly whilst the Barbarians were not due to the lack of a tax system. The men enlisted to fight were often men from the aristocrats’ army and the king’s men (a small proportion of the total population).

If a war leader was successful they are able to set up a post- roman regime like Clovis. In this period there is a great empathises on war with unsuccessful war leaders being unsuccessful kings, the two were intertwined. The barbarians need resources and wealth to sustain the display of wealth and to keep men loyal to them – Ostentation. The kings needed to display power which was also shared with the aristocrats. However the kings are now working on a less impressive scale compared to the Roman empire with the warlords poorer than the previous emperors.

The economic power decreased and the king had fewer resources. Unlike the RE the barbarian warlords were less intrusive into the lives of the inhabitants. The barbarian kings funded their state by: * Systematic theft with the army but this caused ad hoc and this was a weaknesses in that led to chaos and arguments. * Taxation- still continued in some states but it ended in

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most * Trade (much easier to control) * Land ownership, easiest to exploit and charge rent to those who worked on the land- basic Agrarian system.

Some historians argue the BWL were allowed to access the land and exploit its resources whilst some argue they simply invaded and usurped the land- either way they exploited the resources of the area. By this time, the western Empire was divided into the numerous successor states established by the Germanic invasions and Roman culture was disintegrating. To argue how ‘Roman’ were the successor states, Heather has empathised that it need to be split into ‘Roman’ in the sense of the central state, and ‘Roman’ in the sense of characteristic patterns of life revailing within its borders. At the state level, the empire was not just replaced by mini versions of itself, even where Roman landowners survived. Within two generations of 476 AD, a new and weaker type of state structure had emerged right across the former Roman west. The old empire had employed two key levers of central power – large-scale taxation, two-thirds of which was then spent on maintaining the second lever, a large professional army.

This high-tax, high-spend structure meant that the Roman state both intruded itself bureaucratically into localities to raise taxation, and was also able, if necessary, to compel obedience to its demands by employing the army, which the taxation supported. The new states of post-Roman Europe were much weaker affairs. Even where other less important Roman institutions survived, the new king

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had only much-diminished revenue rights and their armies were composed of semi-professional contingents of local landowners.

On the level of local ‘Roman-ness’ too, the revolution could not have been more profound. The characteristic patterns of local Roman life were in fact intimately linked to the existence of the central Roman state, and, as the nature of state structures changed in the post-Roman world, so too did local life. The Roman city, for instance, was the basic unit of local administration through which taxation was raised. As central tax raising powers disappeared, so too did the need to keep the city, and by 700 AD it was history.

Many of the more advanced elements of the Roman economy, such as specialised production and long-distance trade, quickly disappeared too. The Roman state had subsidised large-scale transport structures for its own purposes, but these had also been used by traders. As this command economy collapsed, so did much of the trade dependent upon it. Cultural patterns were also transformed beyond recognition. Roman elites learned to read and write classical Latin to highly-advanced levels through a lengthy and expensive private education, because it qualified them for careers in the extensive Roman bureaucracy.

The end of taxation meant that these careers disappeared in the post-Roman west, and elite parents quickly realised that spending so much money on learning Latin was now a waste of time. As a result, advanced literacy was confined to churchmen for the next 500 years. Heather accepts that in some parts of the western Empire the wealthy held on to their land and social position. Some aspects of Roman culture survived, but, he thinks that it would be a mistake to minimize the importance of the disappearance of the western Roman state.

Roman political domination involved the rapid spread of urbanization as local elites adopted Roman public and domestic styles of building. This was the concrete manifestation of a cultural change that was also expressed in the spread of education that would equip the next generation with the polished Latin that would qualify them to participate in the ruling circles of the Empire. Once that state ceased to exist there was no reason to have one’s children expensively educated. Even where Roman landowners survived, they had to learn new ways to impress the semi-literate local king on whom their status now depended.

Literary culture survived to some degree in the Church, but even the Church had to adapt and evolve institutionally. The local organization of the Church began to reflect the new boundaries of kingdoms that cut across the old administrative structures. Centrally, the Popes assumed an importance that would have been inconceivable if the western emperors had survived. In the eastern Empire the Patriarchs of Constantinople never achieved the degree of political authority that the Popes of Rome secured for themselves.

The Barbarian kings were keen to keep the roman elite such as Theoderic. This is seen in Conssedorous- writing the histories of the Goths. The Barbarian elites engage in the Roman lifestyle such as speaking Latin, writing and adherence to law and order. The Warlords needed to cooperate with the Roman elite due to it

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