"The techniques of accomodation": A viable thesis or not? This thread is devoted to Walter Goffart's hugely influential thesis that the classical explanation of the "fall of Rome" as primarily a direct result of barbarian invasions in the fifth century is wrong, in significant aspects. In particular, W.G. contends that insofar as we should speak of the fall of Rome, we should rather regard it as "an imaginative experiment that got a little out of hand", i.e, that the Roman state was a major, active player in its own dissolution, rather than an impotent by-stander unable to withstand the crumbling of the ground beneath him. The mechanism of dissolution that W.G. points to is that the Roman state made treaties with (some) tribes of Germanic origin (or at least label), in which the Germanic soldiers became stipendiaries who partook of the tax revenue normally given to the state, but now levied by the troops themselves from the taxpayers. To be sure, over time, this meant that power became concentrated in the hands of the Germanic soldiery, but W.G. contends that this power tranfer happened within a framework of legality (as defined by Roman law and custom), rather than concessions granted at gunpoint. In particular, W.G. militates against the traditional view that the "hospitalitas" granted to the barbarians involved a transfer of property from land-owners; rather, THEY experienced no significant losses, the state absorbed most of the costs, by cutting itself from the tax flow (now re-directed in a local manner to the barbarians). Personally, I am deeply skeptical to the major thrust of Goffart's thesis, and I would like to write down in this thread (in a very off-and-on manner) a close reading of W.G's work "Barbarians and Romans: The Techniques of Accomodation, AD 418-584", Princeton University Press, 1980. In particular, I would like to clarify the argumentative structure of that work, so as to see how the marshalled evidenced by Goffart matches up to the content of his thesis (,theses) I don't hope that this will remain a soliloquy on my side, please feel free to join up and hjave your say. If the theme warrants interest, that is..