DNA study shows Greeks clustering with Africans.

Rome's expansion peaked in 117 AD during the early empire. This was the most militarily dominant period of its history and it is estimated that the empire fielded 400,000 regular professional Italian drawn legionaries to maintain control over 33% of the world's population.

It has already been studied and evidenced that Rome's military remained majority Italian derived up until about 200AD. The reason for this is pretty obvious. The Edict of Caracalla was put into effect 212AD at which point most free inhabitants of the empire could enlist as legionaries. Citizenship prior to this point was nearly exclusive to Italians living in Italy and the descendents of Italians living in veteran colonies with few exceptions.

On this topic the decline of the empire in terms of military strength occurred precisely during this time period as seats of power began to move eastward and with the ascendance of barbarian emperors who took their seats of power through civil wars funded by mass monetary inflation. This also coincided with the same period which decoupled Rome's national interests to Italy and broadened its citizenry body to the rest of the empire, eventually leading to barbarian incursions and barbarian control of Italy, itself. The Roman Italy that "lost" such wars to the barbarians on its borders was one that was practically undefended and seriously neglected by the ruling Byzantine class of its since co-opted empire.

In contrast the Romans during the Iron age they were a small war like city state that was seen as mostly insignificant by the much larger and more powerful Etruscan and Greek city states of the day. Their competitive advantage was that they were willing to assimilate the Italics they conquered which allowed them to swell their numbers rapidly as they consistantly made oppurtunistic wars of expansion. They only really became a large regional power in Italy after the Pyrrhic Wars (275BC), and they only became dominant in the western Mediterranean after the Second Punic War (201BC). So if you're looking to pinpoint a date in which Rome became an international heavy hitter, the iron age is not it. You're looking at a period that comprises roughly the last half of the republic and the first half of the principate (275BC-200AD).

You mentioned Byzantine but not Western Roman empire which completely fell much earlier and was gone before 500AD. This is after the near east migration which can also be traced in Roman Britain and shortly after Christianity became the main focus and was imposed upon the locals. I think these 2 things led to general unrest and "civil wars"
 
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But why did they pay mercenaries? Because the locals refused to fight for Rome after imposing Christianity and bringing in migrants from near east?
I am not here looking to get into Theological discussions, that is more appropriate for other sections here or at a religion site. Nevertheless, some important historical clarifications are needed. 1) Christianity was started in the context of the Roman empire, that is for certain given the Levant was part of the Roman empire at the time of Christ. It is clear from the Canonical Gospels that both Latin and Greek were spoken in Jerusalem based on the Crucifixion narratives (John 19:19). 2) While Christianity was prevalent in the Roman empire, it was for the most part not present in areas North of the Alps, save perhaps in areas of what is present day France and some early evidence in the British Isles. Pretty much everything East of the Rhine, no. At the time of the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, the Latin Church representatives were from Italy (2 Priests from the Church in Rome, and 1 Bishop from what is Calabria), Hosius from Cordoba Spain, 1 Bishop from what is today Southern France and 1 Latin Church Bishop from North Africa and the Roman province of Dalmatia, which today other than Croatia is more tied to the Eastern Orthodox Church. 3) At the time of the Edict of Milan, which only legalized Christianity, Historians are in general consensus that only about 10% of the Roman population was Christian. 4) Only at the time of the Emperor Theodosius was Christianity adopted as the official religion of the Roman empire, and by this I mean that which was in continuity with the Council of Nicea in 325 AD.

The Roman empire was well in decline by the end of the 4th century AD well before Christianity was made the official religion of the empire by Theodosius who died in 395 AD.
 
I am not here looking to get into Theological discussions, that is more appropriate for other sections here or at a religion site. Nevertheless, some important historical clarifications are needed. 1) Christianity was started in the context of the Roman empire, that is for certain given the Levant was part of the Roman empire at the time of Christ. It is clear from the Canonical Gospels that both Latin and Greek were spoken in Jerusalem based on the Crucifixion narratives (John 19:19). 2) While Christianity was prevalent in the Roman empire, it was for the most part not present in areas North of the Alps, save perhaps in areas of what is present day France and some early evidence in the British Isles. Pretty much everything East of the Rhine, no. At the time of the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, the Latin Church representatives were from Italy (2 Priests from the Church in Rome, and 1 Bishop from what is Calabria), Hosius from Cordoba Spain, 1 Bishop from what is today Southern France and 1 Latin Church Bishop from North Africa and the Roman province of Dalmatia, which today other than Croatia is more tied to the Eastern Orthodox Church. 3) At the time of the Edict of Milan, which only legalized Christianity, Historians are in general consensus that only about 10% of the Roman population was Christian. 4) Only at the time of the Emperor Theodosius was Christianity adopted as the official religion of the Roman empire, and by this I mean that which was in continuity with the Council of Nicea in 325 AD.

The Roman empire was well in decline by the end of the 4th century AD well before Christianity was made the official religion of the empire by Theodosius who died in 395 AD.

Fair enough, I'm not as well read on history of Christianity but it seemed that Rome collapsed around the sort of time Christianity became main the focus of the empire. I was wondering maybe it wasn't just a coincidence
 
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I came across this, it looks like Christianity was the cause of some civil wars which greatly damaged the Roman Empire due to becoming the main focus and using resources/manpower -

"Roman Emperors fought long and hard to stop or reverse the spread of Christianity. These efforts culminated in the “Great Persecution” under the Tetrarchy in the 3rd Century BC. Tens of thousands of Christians were exiled or executed, entire Church hierarchies were destroyed. But the Christians came out of the woodwork as soon as Constantine I issued the Edict of Milan, formally ending the persecution.

By most estimates, the Empire was 1/3 to 1/4 Christian by the time the Edict of Milan dropped. The majority of Roman Christians lived in the Eastern provinces, with Syria and Egypt being the main centers.

Even after Constantine I, there was Julian the Apostate who tried unsuccessfully again to reverse the spread of the new faith. It wasn’t until Theodosius I that Christianity was deemed the state religion, and the mass destruction of paganism began."

"Pagan teachers (who included philosophers) were banned and their license, parrhesia, to instruct others was withdrawn. Parrhesia had been used for a thousand years to denote "freedom of speech."[7][8]: 87, 93  Despite official threats, sporadic mob violence, and confiscations of temple treasures, paganism remained widespread into the early fifth century, continuing in parts of the empire into the seventh century, and into the ninth century in Greece.[9] During the reigns of Gratian, Valentinian II and Theodosius I anti-pagan policies and their penalties increased."

Kind of reminds me of modern issues in some western countries such as LGBT and BLM and influx of immigration from middle east. These loud minorities are in pursuit for "change" instead of focusing on their jobs/careers. This is probably causing the current decline of western world because a lot of resources are being used on things like this, though I guess this is what happens when you have slavery and then not integrate their descendents properly or deport them if they don't like the country.
 
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TaktikatEMalet: Whatever the estimate is about how many in the Roman empire were in fact Christian during the 4th century, civil wars in the Roman empire predate Christianity. Caesar and Pompei's War for example. Constantine was at War with Rivals in 313 and he attributed his victory to the God of the Christians which caused him to issue the Edict after his victory. Civil Wars in the 4th century were at times between those holding to Pagan religions (Julian the Apostate) vs. orthodox Christians (Those holding to the Nicene Creed) and at times the secular Romans would align with the anti-Nicene Christians against the Nicene groups.
 
You mentioned Byzantine but not Western Roman empire which completely fell much earlier and was gone before 500AD. This is after the near east migration which can also be traced in Roman Britain and shortly after Christianity became the main focus and was imposed upon the locals. I think these 2 things led to general unrest and "civil wars"
I was speaking on the topic of specifically Roman Italy. The "Western Empire" had little to no real power by late antiquity and the first two of its barbarian conquests (first by Odoacer and then later Theodoric) were both supported by the Eastern Byzantine Emperor Zeno.

There was no near east mass migration and the genetic changes that occurred do not show input or continuity with the middle east, but instead the LBA Aegean. Only the northern 1/3 of imperial samples from Moots' study show continuity with the late antiquity roman samples and these profiles are all stereotypically LBA Greek like, not near eastern. Simultaneously this is the same profile that remains today in Southern Italy.

As to how you came to the conclusion that Christianity was "imposed" on the people of Rome or that this led to "civil wars" is beyond me. There is not a single Roman civil war I'm aware of that was fought over the topic of Christianity. There were intellectuals who disdained christians and there were Christian persecutions but none of these included wars.
 
I am not here looking to get into Theological discussions, that is more appropriate for other sections here or at a religion site. Nevertheless, some important historical clarifications are needed. 1) Christianity was started in the context of the Roman empire, that is for certain given the Levant was part of the Roman empire at the time of Christ. It is clear from the Canonical Gospels that both Latin and Greek were spoken in Jerusalem based on the Crucifixion narratives (John 19:19). 2) While Christianity was prevalent in the Roman empire, it was for the most part not present in areas North of the Alps, save perhaps in areas of what is present day France and some early evidence in the British Isles. Pretty much everything East of the Rhine, no. At the time of the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, the Latin Church representatives were from Italy (2 Priests from the Church in Rome, and 1 Bishop from what is Calabria), Hosius from Cordoba Spain, 1 Bishop from what is today Southern France and 1 Latin Church Bishop from North Africa and the Roman province of Dalmatia, which today other than Croatia is more tied to the Eastern Orthodox Church. 3) At the time of the Edict of Milan, which only legalized Christianity, Historians are in general consensus that only about 10% of the Roman population was Christian. 4) Only at the time of the Emperor Theodosius was Christianity adopted as the official religion of the Roman empire, and by this I mean that which was in continuity with the Council of Nicea in 325 AD.

The Roman empire was well in decline by the end of the 4th century AD well before Christianity was made the official religion of the empire by Theodosius who died in 395 AD.
Well said, Palermo.
 
I was speaking on the topic of specifically Roman Italy. The "Western Empire" had little to no real power by late antiquity and the first two of its barbarian conquests (first by Odoacer and then later Theodoric) were both supported by the Eastern Byzantine Emperor Zeno.

There was no near east mass migration and the genetic changes that occurred do not show input or continuity with the middle east, but instead the LBA Aegean. Only the northern 1/3 of imperial samples from Moots' study show continuity with the late antiquity roman samples and these profiles are all stereotypically LBA Greek like, not near eastern. Simultaneously this is the same profile that remains today in Southern Italy.

As to how you came to the conclusion that Christianity was "imposed" on the people of Rome or that this led to "civil wars" is beyond me. There is not a single Roman civil war I'm aware of that was fought over the topic of Christianity. There were intellectuals who disdained christians and there were Christian persecutions but none of these included wars.

"Pagan teachers (who included philosophers) were banned and their license, parrhesia, to instruct others was withdrawn. Parrhesia had been used for a thousand years to denote "freedom of speech."[7][8]: 87, 93  Despite official threats, sporadic mob violence, and confiscations of temple treasures, paganism remained widespread into the early fifth century, continuing in parts of the empire into the seventh century, and into the ninth century in Greece.[9] During the reigns of Gratian, Valentinian II and Theodosius I anti-pagan policies and their penalties increased."

Other than the bans there were also civil wars related to Christianity within the Roman empire, look up some of the conflicts between 300-500AD. I think this focus on Christianity may have depleted Roman resources as is always the case with big projects involving change
 
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