When did the disciplined Romans turn into disorganized Italians?

Nov 2014
So when and why did the organized Romans who were always known for their discipline, ability to do things consistently in a competent manner, and good logistics, turn into disorganized and dysfunctional Italians? I mean Phyruss once said of Romans, that if he had these soldiers, he could have conquered the world, and one could not say the same of WW2 Italian soldiers.
Sep 2012
Tarkington, Texas
Actually the Italians in WWII were pretty good. One problem is I don't recall them ever fighting an Allied Army as badly armed as they were.



Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
Las Vegas, NV USA
They would rather make fine cars than tanks.

Edit: Much of Rommel's enlisted force in Africa were Italian. They fought well under German command. Italian officers were selected from the aristocracy with little regard for ability. Italians also fought well in Russia taking heavy loses at Stalingrad before being forced to retreat.
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Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Curious question ... Italians are not Ancient Romans. A part traditions and national legends, Romans [meaning those Latin populations that conquered the Mediterranean region and beyond] substantially disappeared during the centuries of Germanic domination of the peninsula and modern Italians are actually a sum of different populations with well different roots. For example my roots are German Celtic [so not Germanic, technically], but then here, in Northern Piedmont, we have had also a relevand German and French influence [The Savoy Royal Family was French].

This said, it's true that the Italian Kingdom has taken part to two World Wars without the suitable preparation. Modern Italy hasn't develope a great military aptitude, this is a matter of fact, despite what Mussolini thought [or hoped].


Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Did they mostly disappear due to low birth rate, intermixing, death, or a mix of these?
In early Middle Ages there were some main causes which generated demographic problems in the Italian peninsula. After the end of the Ostroghot Kingdom [which had a positive effect] the new Germanic invaders, the Lombards, for decades didn't mind about local economy [someone has suggested that they were "warrior locusts"], they lived in the fortified towns with their "Dukes" exploiting local resources and population. When the Franks reached Northern Italy in 6th century they accepted to reach an agreement with the Lombars [so historians suggest] also because they noted that the land was extremely poor and to fight for it wasn't a great idea.

Only with King Authari the Lombards begun to take care of the territory and the population [they finally realized that a poor kingdom cannot stand!]. But that was the period when the Eastern Romans reconquered part of the peninsula, so that war made the situation even worse. And a great plague came to complete the negative scenario.

In such a context Germanic populations kept on arriving from North and Eastern Romans from East.

To this add that after the Ostroghot Kingdom [when the Romans kept administrative offices in a good general social environment] the new Germanic conquerors didn't like the Romans that much. And Lombards, at the beginning weren't Christians like the Romans: they were Arians [from Arius].

The "Germanic migration" went on for all the Middle Ages [Italy was part of the Holy Roman Empire and in South Italy Arabs, Normans and French totally changed the composition of the local population.
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Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
The Venetians were always amazingly organized. Northern Italy ticks over with German-like precision.

Italy's problems is how to a large extent it was never properly unified. The regionalism and differences in how things work are astounding.

Part of the problem is also about the implicit bias of the style of nation-state-based history that has dominated since the 19th c. Italy was late to unify. One of the things that leads to are assumptions of precisely things like "inefficiency" relative the early modern unified nation states like France or England. In reality large tracts of Italy were rich, powerful and well-functioning relative most of the rest or Europe for centuries.

If the question is about war-fighting there is a curious aspect to Italian history in how after fighting each other continuously through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the north Italian states stopped making war on each other, Italy became (relatively) peaceful. Still, the Venetians for instance went on to fight some massive wars with the Ottomans, conquering large parts of Greece.
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