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slave or an emperor, and no strong different between the government of the empire or of some Germanic warlord. As such, all that mattered was that the soul could be kept untarnished from sin, and that any leader or state did not coerce people into unbelief or sin. Socially, other groups might have sought to opt out and form autonomous communities, deflecting both invading tribes and the imperial tax-payer where possible (see Ward-Perkins 2005). The Bacaudaein the fifth century (especially active in Gaul through 407-448) may represent one such group, joined by peasants and slaves, though their exact nature is unclear in the sources (Wade-Perkins 2005, pp15-16, pp45-48)Michael Grant's analysis, taken globally, is quite powerful. However, he fails to spell out the interrelationship between these various causes in a systematic way, nor does he attempt to rank them in any order. To help explore this complex theme a little more, several key questions can be addressed. Was the main failure of the West a military failure, with the other causes related to this, or was the military defeat of western armies a purely secondary phenomena (as Thompson 1958 seems to suggest)? It seems that this military failure was interconnected with the more permanent division between the western and eastern empires that emerged in the fourth century.3. The Division Between East and WestThe division between the eastern and western portions of the empire was already presaged by the recognition that one emperor, situated in Rome, could not effectively administer all the provinces, nor the wide-flung frontiers with their external threats. Diocletian attempted to reduce this problem in the setting up the tetrarchic system, whereby two senior emperors and two junior caesars controlled four large regions of the empire, supported by a strong army of some 400-500,000 professional troops (Ferrill 1986, p42). However, these regions were not intended to be strict and exclusive zones of administration, and the four tetrarchs supposedly shared power on a voluntary and mutually supporting basis. However, a division between east and west could already be seen in this administrative move. Likewise, this trend had already begun with the establishment of the eastern capital of Constantinople in 342 C.E., well-situated to control the Danube frontier, with access via Asia Minor towards the Persian frontier. The final split, however, did not occur until 364 C.E. when the vigorous Valentinian I appointed his brother Valens to command the eastern empire. In 395 C.E. Theodosius managed for a time to 7
reunite the empires, but his dynastic policy, giving the east to his eldest son Arcadius, and the west to the younger Honorius, would spell the end of any possible unification (Grant 1976, p35). It was not so much dynastic disputes which tore these empires apart, as the competition of their respective Germanic military commanders, Stilicho for the west, Rufinus for the east, that would make it impossible for the two empires to deal adequately with the Goths (see below).