The Battle Of Adrianople: The End Of The Roman Empire

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The battle of Adrianople is a significant turning point in history and can be referred to as the beginning of the end for the Roman Empire. Before we can address the battle itself, it is important to narrate the events that led to the assault on the Goths assault on the Romans. The work of Ammianus Marcellinus, a fourth-century Roman soldier, is used by historians as a primary source in regards to the battle of Adrianople.
The Roman Empire was split into two domains, the Eastern and the Western. The Eastern Empire was headed by Emperor Valens and the Western was controlled by Valens nephew, Emperor Gratian. Valens was about 50 years old in the year 378, and Gratian was around 20. Valens was characterized as apathetic and careless, while Gratian
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The only thing that divided the two lands was the Danube River. Their homeland, modern day Germany, was being ravaged and over populated by new people. According to Ammianus, “the Huns, a mysterious and lethal new people, appear as if from no where, smash the only somewhat less savage, the Alans, and drive through the Greuthungian kingdom of Ermanaric, pressing a horde of Gothic refugees forward to the Danube.” The Goths’ animosity grew strong and their desperation to escape even stronger. They sought admission to the Roman Empire and began crossing the Danube in 376 “having done so with the full approval of the imperial government.” This was not the first time that barbarians were accepted into the empire. In fact, this was a common procedure and in the past it had proved to be successful. Although they were eventually admitted into the empire. It didn’t happen right away. Goths began by camping outside of the border of the empire. After being there for an extended period of time, their food ran out. They were starving and tired. Legend says that they traded their children as slaves and in return would receive dogs to eat. Their treatment after admitted into the empire was not any better. The passage of the Goths in overwhelming numbers (a definite number is unknown), and the admission by the Romans was the first crucial blunder that ultimately led to the demise of the …show more content…
It is not significant to point out all of the minor conflicts because they were all similar and there isn’t a specific act that started the battle of Adrianople. It is important to remember that the Goths were not one specific type of people, rather a mix. Their army was growing more and more each day, gaining the Alans and the Huns. Their increase in number, and unpredictable style began to worry the Roman emperors in 377. The first imperial response initiated by Valens was to send generals to Thrace to try and contain the Goths. Gratian worried that Valens underestimated the power of the Goths and sent support to the Eastern troops. Valens and Gratian’s troops joined forces and pushed the Goths outward to a region known as “Ad Salices (the Willows).” This is the last battle that is important enough to make note of preceding the battle of Adrianople. There was no clear winner: both sides endured massive loss. The Romans believed that the damage they inflicted was enough to halt the Goths. The casualties that the Goths suffered dented their army, but did not destroy it. Their army regained their numbers and began making their trek toward Adrianople where history would be

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