Security and control were dominant issues from the late Roman period onward. The narratives of the period AD 300-550 are centred on names and conflicts and provide the strong impression of societies burdened by invasions and battles; even if later sources spend more time on the lives of bishops, saints and martyrs, on the administrations of the Church and on theological debate, the backdrop continues to be one of insecurity promoted by warfare. As the Empire strained to maintain order and to endure invasions, raids and internecine conflicts so society and settlement were forced to adapt. Warfare and status required physical responses: adequate response would allow for survival of people and sites; inadequate response could prove fatal. Late Roman society was accordingly in flux, mutating in a changing world: on the one hand the increasing army presence across and behind frontiers, within provinces, and even within towns led to gradual militarization; on the other hand, Christianity formed a more personal response, offering individual security, and, at the same time, broader unity. But whilst the Church (through its bishops and through the agency of martyr-saints) could indeed provide spiritual protection and guidance, not always could its prayers save populations from the atrocities of war – although Pope Leo’s claimed intercessions against the Vandals and against Attila in the mid-fifth century demonstrated that words could counter bloodshed (see Chapter 2). Thus most Christians will have fully appreciated the need for secular or state military intervention to create the conditions for stability, even if this entailed many citizens having to cope with an increasingly barbarized Roman army being billeted on their thresholds, disturbing and disrupting in their role of protectors. Indeed, the traumas of the fifth century in Italy readily testify to the relative ineffectiveness of the Roman army and its non-deliverance of threatened towns and villages – little wonder then that the communities themselves needed to militarize, and to defend their own walls, and that the Church came to play ever more prominent roles in this defence.