The numbers and effectiveness of the regular soldiers may have declined during the fourth century: payrolls were inflated so that pay could be diverted and exemptions from duty sold, their opportunities for personal extortion were multiplied by residence in cities, and their effectiveness was reduced by concentration on extortion instead of drill.  However, extortion , gross corruption , and occasional ineffectiveness  were not new to the Roman army; there is no consensus whether its effectiveness significantly declined before 376.  Ammianus Marcellinus , himself a professional soldier, repeats longstanding observations about the superiority of contemporary Roman armies being due to training and discipline, not to physical size or strength.  Despite a possible decrease in its ability to assemble and supply large armies,  Rome maintained an aggressive and potent stance against perceived threats almost to the end of the fourth century. 
In forming an estimate of the Inquisition, it is necessary to distinguish clearly between principles and historical fact on the one hand, and on the other those exaggerations or rhetorical descriptions which reveal bias and an obvious determination to injure Catholicism , rather than to encourage the spirit of tolerance and further its exercise. It is also essential to note that the Inquisition, in its establishment and procedure, pertained not to the sphere of belief , but to that of discipline . The dogmatic teaching of the Church is in no way affected by the question as to whether the Inquisition was justified in its scope, or wise in its methods, or extreme in its practice. The Church established by Christ , as a perfect society , is empowered to make laws and inflict penalties for their violation. Heresy not only violates her law but strikes at her very life, unity of belief ; and from the beginning the heretic had incurred all the penalties of the ecclesiastical courts . When Christianity became the religion of the Empire, and still more when the peoples of Northern Europe became Christian nations, the close alliance of Church and State made unity of faith essential not only to the ecclesiastical organization, but also to civil society . Heresy , in consequence, was a crime which secular rulers were bound in duty to punish. It was regarded as worse than any other crime, even that of high treason; it was for society in those times what we call anarchy . Hence the severity with which heretics were treated by the secular power long before the Inquisition was established. As regards the character of these punishments, it should be considered that they were the natural expression not only of the legislative power, but also of the popular hatred for heresy in an age that dealt both vigorously and roughly with criminals of every type. The heretic , in a word, was simply an outlaw whose offence, in the popular mind, deserved and sometimes received a punishment as summary as that which is often dealt out in our own day by an infuriated populace to the authors of justly detested crimes. That such intolerance was not peculiar to Catholicism , but was the natural accompaniment of deep religious conviction in those, also, who abandoned the Church , is evident from the measures taken by some of the Reformers against those who differed from them in matters of belief . As the learned Dr. Schaff declares in his "History of the Christian Church" (vol. V, New York, 1907, p. 524), To the great humiliation of the Protestant churches , religious intolerance and even persecution unto death were continued long after the Reformation . In Geneva the pernicious theory was put into practice by state and church , even to the use of torture and the admission of the testimony of children against their parents , and with the sanction of Calvin . Bullinger, in the second Helvetic Confession, announced the principle that heresy could be punished like murder or treason .