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As The Barbarians Took Control Of Territory, The Greatest

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As the barbarians took control of territory, the greatest cultural change was in who held power at the highest levels of society. Eventually, the Roman Empire grew too expansive for the imperial bureaucracy to govern the Western regions (Hitchner, Jan-May 2016). Both the fact that the imperial bureaucracy was so intrinsic to the everyday running of the empire and the fact that elites had lost both their local influence and military authority would have meant that any breakdown within the administration would have created a vacuum of power which allowed barbarian groups to take control of these areas both economically and politically. Most notably, the largest landowners in areas controlled by barbarian peoples were non-Romans…show more content…
This was also seen in the law that prevented Goths from being judged by non-Gothic magistrates (Ward-Perkins, 65). Presumably, a magistrate would be more lenient with those of the same culture, and because of this, it would be extremely difficult for a Roman to receive justice if he was wronged by a Goth. These facts clearly illustrate that identifying as a Roman of any level of society were at a disadvantage in an area controlled by barbarian groups. While these changes certainly would have impacted Romans, they do not indicate that the barbarians completely altered life within these areas. For instance, small landholders were likely to have retained their lands because barbarian populations were small enough that they did not need to take lands from the peasantry for themselves (Ward-Perkins, 67). In the case of the people, life would have remained relatively stable; they would just have to pay their taxes to a different group of people. Even some Romans in the government, or other positions of power, were able to retain their office. This was especially true in institutions such as city governments or the Church where it was important for authority to continue as if the region was still a part of the empire (Ward-Perkins, 68). Not only was there stability in who was performing these functions, but it also shows that many activities, both religious and secular, were able to continue to under barbarian rule. In these cases, Roman identity did have its own
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