Michael Grant's The Fall Of The Roman Empire

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As Rome’s government began to change, the leadership became much less consistent. According to a chart compiled from various resources that lists the Roman emperors between 235 BCE and 285 BCE (Document 1), a majority of these emperors ruled for roughly two to three years, however some reigned for as little as or less than a year and some as much as seven to eight years. This constant change in leadership left the Roman army questioning their leadership often times more devoted to their earnings than to the man paying them. These leaders became careless as time went on, as stated in Vegetius’ Concerning Military Matters (Document 2), and the conflicting and constantly changing opinions on military strategy left the rigor and morale of the army in shambles. He states “...because of negligence and laziness, parade ground drills were abandoned, the customary armor began to seem heavy since the soldiers rarely ever wore it. Therefore, they first asked the emperor to set aside the breastplates… and then the helmets.” Because of this, the Roman army fell easy prey to enemy archers. Additionally, not only were the Roman soldiers dying at a much higher rate, thus increasing the demand for soldiers, but the number of individuals affected by mandatory conscription was also decreasing.
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