Wednesday, February 9, 2005
They had the mightiest armies ever seen up until that time. And yet the seemingly invincible legions of the Roman Empire eventually fell to ransacking hordes who were once confined to Rome's far borders. What happened? Actually, many things happened that led to their defeat, but one of them was clearly spelled out by one Fourth Century Roman General. He said: "When, because of negligence and laziness, parade ground drills were abandoned, the customary armor began to feel heavy since the soldiers rarely, if ever, wore it. Therefore, they asked the emperor to set aside the breastplates and mail and then the helmets. So our soldiers fought the Goths without any protection for the heart and head, and they were often beaten by archers. Although there were many disasters, which led to the loss of great cities, no one tried to restore the armor to the infantry. They took the armor off, and when the armor came off - so, too, came their integrity."