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The Fall of the Roman Empire

This is the place to discuss the past, its study, and those who study it. Discussion about events that happened less than twenty years ago should go go in Politics instead.
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Roo St. Gallus
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Post by Roo St. Gallus » Tue Jan 10, 2017 5:27 pm

[quote=""Kookaburra Jack""]
lpetrich;662855 wrote: Or did Prof. Toynbee mean something broader?
IDK.[/QUOTE]

If you follow Tainter, the source of the collapse is embedded in how problems are solved...ever greater complexity which, in itself, relies upon innovation which meets its own limitations and complexity returns rapidly to a simpler state, which is what collapse is. The problem which 'caused' the collapse of the Western Roman Empire was embedded in how the Roman infrastructure dealt with its 'problems'. I get the impression Tainter thinks this condition applies to most complex societies.
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MattShizzle
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Post by MattShizzle » Tue Jan 10, 2017 6:02 pm

The Catholic Church...

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Post by Hermit » Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:47 pm

Kaiser = Caesar

In my opinion the Roman Empire finally expired when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustulus on 4 September AD 476. In a way, though, putting a concrete year, let alone a specific day, on its demise is of no more than symbolic significance. The Roman empire had ceased to function as an empire for decades before that date.

As for parallel as well as later organisations assuming the mantle of "Roman Empire" I think even a river no longer being the same river it was before is an inadequate metaphor. The changed river retains more constancy and integrity of identity than those other empires. Yes, in the roughly four centuries following Iulius Caesar's death the empire underwent changes too - and those changes were largely cumulative - but in my untutored opinion, it had not turned from blue to grue, let alone a deadly green in that period.

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Pierrot
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Post by Pierrot » Thu Jan 12, 2017 5:48 pm

Actually the Roman Empire ended in 1453, not 476. We call the Eastern Empire Byzantine and it spoke Greek not Latin, but its inhabitants called themselves Romaioi , and one of the Ottoman Sultan's titles was Sultan of Rum. Only the weaker Western Empire went under.

Our view is parochial, because Western Europe and its colonial offshoots still (just) dominate the world. When western Europe was at the trough in its "dark ages" civilisation was flourishing in Byzantium, the Caliphate, India and Tang dynasty China - not to mention the Mayas, which no one in Eurasia knew about.

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Post by DMB » Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:37 pm

[quote=""Pierrot""]Actually the Roman Empire ended in 1453, not 476. We call the Eastern Empire Byzantine and it spoke Greek not Latin, but its inhabitants called themselves Romaioi , and one of the Ottoman Sultan's titles was Sultan of Rum. Only the weaker Western Empire went under.

Our view is parochial, because Western Europe and its colonial offshoots still (just) dominate the world. When western Europe was at the trough in its "dark ages" civilisation was flourishing in Byzantium, the Caliphate, India and Tang dynasty China - not to mention the Mayas, which no one in Eurasia knew about.[/quote]

But the fact that the Byzantines called their empire "Roman" isn't in itself proof that it was. After all the Holy Roman Empire went on beyond that. but we don't usually take it as evidence of the survival of the western empire.

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:24 am

The Byzantine Empire was essentially the eastern half of the Roman Empire. What memorably fell was the Roman Empire's western half. The Byzantine Empire used Latin as its official language until 620 CE, when Emperor Heraclius decreed that that language should be Greek.

The Holy Roman Empire, however, lacked such continuity.

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Post by MattShizzle » Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:15 am

IIRC the Byzantine Empire actually controlled Rome for a short time when they tried to reconquer Italy (after the fall of the Western Empire.)

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Pierrot
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Post by Pierrot » Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:00 am

[quote=""MattShizzle""]IIRC the Byzantine Empire actually controlled Rome for a short time when they tried to reconquer Italy (after the fall of the Western Empire.)[/quote]

Yes, Justinian tried to rebuild the whole empire. He managed to reconquer North Africa easily, but Italy was devastated by a war between Constantinople and the then ruling Goths, indeed under Gothic rule Italian urban civilisation had more or less survived till then. The coup de grace was a great plague, comparable in scale to the Black Death.

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:08 am

Emperor Justinian's response was apparently to issue New Law 77 (New Laws, called novellae and novels in various sources; The Novels of Justinian : Novel 77 ( Scott )):
( S. P. Scott, The Civil Law, XVI, Cincinnati, 1932 ).

The Emperor Justinian to the People of Constantinople.

PREFACE.

We think that it is clear to all men of good judgment that Our principal solicitude and prayer is, that those who have been entrusted to Us by God may live properly, and obtain Divine favor. And as God does not desire the perdition of men, but their conversion and salvation, and as He receives those who, having committed sin, have repented, We invite all Our subjects to fear God and invoke His clemency, for We know that all those who love the Lord and are deserving of His pity do this.

CHAPTER I.

Therefore, as certain persons, instigated by the devil, devote themselves to the most reprehensible vices, and commit crimes contrary to nature, We hereby enjoin them to fear God and the judgment to come, to avoid diabolical and illicit sensuality of this kind; in order that, through such acts, they may not incur the just anger of God, and bring about the destruction of cities along with their inhabitants; for We learn from the Holy Scriptures that both cities as well as men have perished because of wicked acts of this kind.

(1) And as, in addition to those who commit these offences which We have mentioned, there are others who utter blasphemous words, and swear by the sacraments of God, and provoke Him to anger, We enjoin them to abstain from these and other impious speeches, and not swear by the head of God, or use other language of this kind. For if blasphemy when uttered against men is not left unpunished, there is much more reason that those who blaspheme God himself should be deserving of chastisement. Therefore We order all men to avoid such offences, to have the fear of God in their hearts, and to imitate the example of those who live in piety; for as crimes of this description cause famine, earthquake, and pestilence, it is on this account, and in order that men may not lose their souls, that We admonish them to abstain from the perpetration of the illegal acts above mentioned. But if, after Our warning has been given, anyone should continue to commit these offences, he will in the first place render himself unworthy of the mercy of God, and will afterwards be subjected to the penalties imposed by the laws.

(2) We order the Most Glorious Prefect of this Royal City to arrest any persons who persist in committing the aforesaid crimes, after the publication of Our warning; in order that this city and the State may not be injured by the contempt of such persons and their impious acts, and inflict upon them the punishment of death. If, after the publication of this law, any magistrates should become aware of such offences, and not take measures to punish them, they shall be condemned by God. And even if the Most Glorious Prefect himself should find any persons doing anything of this kind, and not punish them in accordance with Our laws, he will, in the first place, be subjected to the judgment of God, and afterwards sustain the weight of Our indignation.
Sometimes summarized as saying that sodomy causes earthquakes.

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:31 am

About Eudokia Makrembolitissa, her Wikipedia article says
Attributed to Eudokia is a dictionary of history and mythology, called Ἰωνιά (i.e. Collection or Bed of Violets). It is prefaced by an address to her husband Romanos Diogenes, and the work is described as "a collection of genealogies of gods, heroes, and heroines, of their metamorphoses, and of the fables and stories respecting them found in the ancients; containing also notices of various philosophers." However, the book is now thought to be a modern (16th-century) compilation, falsely attributed to Eudoxia, and compiled by the counterfeiter Constantine Paleocappa around 1540.[4] The sources from which the work was compiled include Diogenes Laërtius and the Suda.[5]
(Wikipedia)Suda was a massive 10th-cy. Byzantine encyclopedia of the ancient world.
(Wikipedia)Diogenes Laërtius was a biographer of Greek philosophers.

Some other comments about her:
The historian Nicephorus Gregoras, a century later, described Eudokia as a "second Hypatia".

Michael Psellos was very close to the family, and Eudokia considered him an "uncle". According to Psellos she was very noble, beautiful, and intelligent.[6]

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Post by dancer_rnb » Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:47 pm

For a comparison, Mexico lost a large portion of it's territory to the US. Mexico still exists.

Losing the Western Roman empire was like Mexico losing Texas and California.
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Post by DMB » Fri Jan 13, 2017 5:51 pm

When there was a united empire, Rome was its cultural and administrative centre. So losing it would be more like Mexico being reduced to just Texas and California, or perhaps the USA being reduced to just the western states.

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Pierrot
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Post by Pierrot » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:22 pm

Rome wasn't even the capital of the western half of the Empire by the end, but it had emotional value - hence the shock of the sack of Rome by Alaric in 410 AD.

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Post by dancer_rnb » Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:11 pm

I wonder how much our view of whether the Roman empire fell early or late is influenced by the Catholic/Orthodox split. The Catholics lost their part of the empire. The Orthodox didn't until much later.

Our culture comes from the Catholic branch.
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Post by DMB » Sat Jan 14, 2017 6:40 pm

[quote=""dancer_rnb""]I wonder how much our view of whether the Roman empire fell early or late is influenced by the Catholic/Orthodox split. The Catholics lost their part of the empire. The Orthodox didn't until much later.

Our culture comes from the Catholic branch.[/quote]

In addition, our culture partially survived, whereas the Greek culture was more or less wiped out by the Turks and other Muslims, and this is a process that is still continuing, as Christianity is being destroyed in its original lands.

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Post by dancer_rnb » Sun Jan 15, 2017 10:50 pm

Orthodoxy is doing well in Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Romania. Plus it is regaining power in Russia.
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Post by DMB » Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:19 pm

[quote=""dancer_rnb""]Orthodoxy is doing well in Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Romania. Plus it is regaining power in Russia.[/quote]

But it is not surviving in the Middle East. My daughter's MIL is a Christian Palestinian. Her family had lived for hundreds of years in Palestine and Syria. You won't find many like her in those parts of the world nowadays.

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Post by dancer_rnb » Mon Jan 16, 2017 3:09 pm

How is that relevant to how the Catholic/Orthodox split effects how we view when the Roman Empire ended?
There is no such thing as "politically correct." It's code for liberalism. The whole idea of "political correctness" was a brief academic flash-in-the-pan in the early 1990's, but has been a good conservative bugaboo ever since.

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Post by dancer_rnb » Mon Jan 16, 2017 3:17 pm

Too bad Russia didn't have a freer hand in the 1870-1880s with the Ottoman Empire.
On the other hand Russia's creation of muslim refugees like the Circassians caused bad problems for xtians where those refugees settled
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Post by DMB » Mon Jan 16, 2017 3:45 pm

[quote=""dancer_rnb""]How is that relevant to how the Catholic/Orthodox split effects how we view when the Roman Empire ended?[/quote]

I'm simply pointing out that the Greek part of the empire was more wiped out ideologically than the Roman part.

No-one in this thread made explicit reference to the rise and spread of Islam. It did, however, have a great deal to do with the destruction of the Empire.

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Post by dancer_rnb » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:28 pm

If the Arabs and Turks had adopted Xtianity instead of Islam they would have still attacked Byzantium. The Mongols became muslims only after they ravaged Russia.
If I remember correctly the Slavs, Bulgarians and Magyars became Xtians after they tore large chunks from the Empire. (I love the history of that region)
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Post by Pierrot » Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:35 pm

[quote=""dancer_rnb""]If the Arabs and Turks had adopted Xtianity instead of Islam they would have still attacked Byzantium. The Mongols became muslims only after they ravaged Russia.
If I remember correctly the Slavs, Bulgarians and Magyars became Xtians after they tore large chunks from the Empire. (I love the history of that region)[/quote]

Realpolitik nearly always trumped religion or ideology. Catholic France had an informal alliance with Turkey in 17C, as their main threat was the Hapsburgs - for the same reason, they supported the Protestants in the Thirty Years War.

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Post by dancer_rnb » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:14 pm

I do wonder how history would have turned out if the Mongols had adopted some other religion than Islam. Would the conflict between Russia and the Circassians, Chechens, and Ottomans been less vicious?
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Post by Roo St. Gallus » Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:14 pm

[quote=""dancer_rnb""]I do wonder how history would have turned out if the Mongols had adopted some other religion than Islam. Would the conflict between Russia and the Circassians, Chechens, and Ottomans been less vicious?[/quote]

I think it doubtful. The Russians had expansive imperial interests. They were in to playing the subjugate, fracture, and dominate game on a huge scale.
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Post by dancer_rnb » Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:36 pm

I guess they would have still seen themselves as champions of Orthodox Christians as well.
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