After Theoderic the Great had effectively taken the place of the Western Roman Emperor, he based his border defence on late Roman designs, but adapted it to the new situation he faced. While claiming Raetia and Noricum for his realm he established little direct presence, relying on local troops and a shadow of hierarchy. This contributed to the northern
border being fuzzy. Contrasting this with the Balkans border highlights the effect a direct presence of Theoderic’s troops had in the long run. The attempt to establish clear borders against opposition from the Eastern Roman Empire forced many local powers to realign
their allegiances. Whereas the fuzziness of the northern border stabilized the region, the clear but contested borders on the Balkans eventually destabilized the region.