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Failure of EmpireValens and the Roman State in the Fourth Century A.D.$
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Noel Lenski

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780520233324

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520233324.001.0001

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The Disaster at Adrianople

The Disaster at Adrianople

(p.320) Chapter 7 The Disaster at Adrianople
Failure of Empire

Lenski Noel

University of California Press

This chapter presents a discussion on the Gothic migration in 376 and the military problems it precipitated. The collapse of the Gothic settlement and the disaster at Adrianople are described. Ammianus clearly states that Valens granted permission to cross only to the followers Fritigern and Alavivus. The most obvious causes of the Roman defeat are the tactical and strategic errors made in the days and hours before the battle itself. Angry with his impudent nephew and determined to win the victory for himself, Valens then plunged his troops into the fateful battle of Adrianople, a military disaster that shook the foundations of the Roman Empire for decades to come, some would say forever, Adrianople not only ended his life but sealed his reputation as a deeply flawed and tragically failed emperor.

Keywords:   Adrianople, Gothic migration, military disaster, Valens, Gothic settlement, Roman defeat, Roman Empire

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