….The Romans did have a system of collective defense. By the 4th century, there was an extensive network of walls, forts, and watchtowers along the border, as well as defense in depth—legions stationed farther behind to contain any incursions. But this system failed to allow for a situation where large numbers of barbarians would be invited to cross the militarized border zone with no opposition whatsoever. At that point, they entered the so-called ‘civil zone,’ where defenses were much weaker.
Ancient Border Control sucked too.
The resulting crisis tended to feed on itself. When large numbers of barbarians were invited in, even more decided to invite themselves. The border ceased to exist. There was no longer any barrier between the barbaric outer world and the pacified Roman world, which was home to millions of people who didn’t know how to defend themselves and who had not done so for generations.
soft-handed ninnies, we call them
And so the inevitable happened. The barbarians didn’t wish to destroy Roman society—they just wanted to help themselves to its wealth—-but their very presence made the survival of Roman society impossible. No, they didn’t completely destroy the heritage of Rome.
No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible ~ Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
They came to plunder, not to destroy; moreover, they were already semi-Roman and semi-Christian, and in time the kingdoms they founded would preserve some of that heritage. But the Empire did collapse, as a French historian has wryly pointed out:
Low IQ must be excluded from high IQ societies like aggressive drunks from a club.
Certainly they might have a good time there but that’s not the point.
For the decisive point is that Rome had shown its weakness by admitting peoples onto its territory whom it had been unable to subordinate and whose presence it had regularized without having vanquished them in the field. Contrary to what is commonly said today, the invasions really did happen. The Barbarians were in no way “invited” to settle in the empire. They entered in large numbers by immigration and also, at least in equal numbers, by violent invasion, by piercing the defense lines, plundering the cities, and massacring people as much in Italy and Greece as in Gaul, Spain, and Africa. (Voisin, 2014)….
I was reading about laconic wit earlier;
When asked whether it would be prudent to build a defensive wall enclosing the city, Lycurgus answered, “A city is well-fortified which has a wall of men instead of brick.”