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Posted by Ammianus Marcellinus on 03/09/02 - 10:56:06
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Don't mean to rain on your parade, or anything... but I don't see how decadence, debauchery, truculence, and pontification are properties of "right" or "left," or even "center"... nor how will they bring down an empire...

When it came down to it, wrote MacMullen, the problem was that the Emperor Valens _claimed_ to have all of these resources to fight the Goths (in the days leading up to the Battle of Adrianople, 378 CE), but that most of these resources were skimmed off by private entities and minor bureaucrats.  MacMullen makes it sound like the Roman state collapsed like Enron, and had to "downsize" its Western half to deal with the costs of its bloated military/ bureaucratic complex.

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