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Why did the Roman empire fall?

Daghini
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7/15/2014 5:46:00 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Was it just too big? Was it too dependent on the provinces? Was it the empires adoption of Christianity? There are many reasons why people think the Roman empire fell, i would like to hear all your ideas! ;)
suttichart.denpruektham
Posts: 1,115
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7/15/2014 7:35:36 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/15/2014 5:46:00 AM, Daghini wrote:
Was it just too big? Was it too dependent on the provinces? Was it the empires adoption of Christianity? There are many reasons why people think the Roman empire fell, i would like to hear all your ideas! ;)

It wasn't too big, there are all but a far bigger Empire before or after its time who can manage just well for a century (Chinese Empire, Mongol Empire, Persian Empire, British Empire).

And we are probably disagree on how the Roman Empire fall. For me Rome Empire never truly fall well until the age of enlightenment and the formation of British Empire. Rome decentralized her political system to allow her provinces to better respond to the threat the central government couldn't respond. The result is the formation of medieval Europe where several duke and kingdoms are created to protected the interest of Roman and her subject. In a sense this medieval kingdoms is part of Rome, loosely unified in the banner of Christianity and existed well until the American and French Revolution that replaced it with modern nation state.

So if you asked me, Roman Empire didn't fall with the Fall of Rome, nor the Fall of Constantinople. It's completely evolved with the French and American Revolution, and in spiritual sense, never actually fall with the continuation of its culture embraced by both the American and the French following the revolution.
Daghini
Posts: 31
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7/15/2014 12:14:00 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I understand where you are coming from with the survival of the Roman empire through medieval European state, as Rome had great influence over there future history post empirical period, but the definition of an empire is an extensive group of states ruled over by a monarchy, oligarch or a sovereign state. Medieval Europe certainly was not that, with kingdoms like France and England (both formally territories of The Roman Empire) at each others throats during the 100 years war. I think this shows that the Roman Empire fell as the Germanic Chieftain Odoacer smashed through the gates of Rome in 476 AD

As with regards as not being too big the decentralization of the state led to greater autonomy in the provinces, in turn leading to the disestablishment of the empire. As Rome got bigger it had to decentralize because the empire was too large for the institutions based in Rome to manage everything, Legions and governors in the region gained more authority, combined with the fact that they had military power allowed them to challenge the central Roman state, which they did and we see in the formation of the Palmyrene Empire, and the revolt by the queen Zenobia who resisted Roman rule for over 10 years!
lannan13
Posts: 23,107
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7/15/2014 5:00:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/15/2014 5:46:00 AM, Daghini wrote:
Was it just too big? Was it too dependent on the provinces? Was it the empires adoption of Christianity? There are many reasons why people think the Roman empire fell, i would like to hear all your ideas! ;)

Byzantum adopted Christianity. It was just to large to rule from one location. that's why now we have state and local governments.
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ChosenWolff
Posts: 3,361
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7/15/2014 5:01:59 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/15/2014 5:00:09 PM, lannan13 wrote:
At 7/15/2014 5:46:00 AM, Daghini wrote:
Was it just too big? Was it too dependent on the provinces? Was it the empires adoption of Christianity? There are many reasons why people think the Roman empire fell, i would like to hear all your ideas! ;)

Byzantum adopted Christianity. It was just to large to rule from one location. that's why now we have state and local governments.
Byzantium was always Christian. They were Christian before most of the Roman empire was. Jesus taught in Constantinople often.
How about NO elections?

#onlyonedeb8
Oromagi
Posts: 857
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7/15/2014 6:48:03 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/15/2014 5:46:00 AM, Daghini wrote:
Was it just too big? Was it too dependent on the provinces? Was it the empires adoption of Christianity? There are many reasons why people think the Roman empire fell, i would like to hear all your ideas! ;)

Isn't it strange that the most popular subject regarding possibly the most widespread, stable, and durable model of government in human history is its decline? If we accept Gibbon and define the collapse as the process of 4 centuries, then the collapse of Rome alone outlasted the entire rise and fall of most civilizations.

My estimation is that Rome's decline happened too gradually to credited to some simple summary of causes. It's like asking what causes a mountain to erode. If someone answers "lichen" we can see that answer is true but incomplete. Rain and snow, summer and winter, wind and quake, plants and animals all play some role over time.

My tendency is to look first at any culture as a franchise. Cultures tend to enlarge and perpetuate so long as there as many venues towards inclusion. When the doors are shut, culture shrinks unfed and unchanging. Consider how invincible the British Empire would be today if full citizenship had only been granted to those who begged for it: North Americans and Australians, Irish and Indians, Africans and Asians. What would Spain be today if the islanders of the Caribbean and the Philippines, the indigenous people and colonists of Central and South America considered themselves Spanish citizens rather than Spanish subjects? When Rome finally stopped at the Danube and the Rhine, at the Tigris and the Firth of Forth, and said "here is Rome, but there is not Rome" they created a barrier against which external powers needed to agitate and improve. Inside Rome, roads and aqueducts, slaves and soldiers made life easier for generations while outside Rome life was harder for each generation unless and until Rome's borders could be broken. Rome could have, should have expanded into Eastern Europe and the Rus, slowly co-opting Vandals and Goths, Parthians and Huns. No doubt, each wave of immigrants would have transformed the character of the Rome we remember. No doubt the internal struggles would have been very different and Roman Empire would have adapted in ways we can't determine. But if the goal is a durable state, then such transformations must be allowed to mold the culture. For any state in any time, stasis is fatal.
Daghini
Posts: 31
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7/16/2014 5:33:22 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
As for the Byzantium Empire, it is true that this was always christian, but the Western Roman empire also became a christian state. This created religious intolerance within the empire towards its latter years, something which, as has been mentioned, not only stopped the expansion of the Roman 'franchise' but reduced it. A god was forced upon subjects of Rome, in comparison with the tolerance of paganism which simply adopted new gods. Adopting new gods was seen as in conflict with one of the commandments ("thou shall worship no other god before me") This was fine for some, but created panic with others, cultural tension between Barbarians and Romans increased, and the empires adoption of Christianity was a catalyst. These tensions certainly participated in the fall of Rome in the regions occupied by a majority barbarians who became more willing to accept alternate rule.

I understand that Romes fall was caused by many factors, but it is the rate at which it falls is fascinating, with the western empire collapsing in little under 100 years!
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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7/16/2014 6:35:04 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/15/2014 6:48:03 PM, Oromagi wrote:
At 7/15/2014 5:46:00 AM, Daghini wrote:
Was it just too big? Was it too dependent on the provinces? Was it the empires adoption of Christianity? There are many reasons why people think the Roman empire fell, i would like to hear all your ideas! ;)

Isn't it strange that the most popular subject regarding possibly the most widespread, stable, and durable model of government in human history is its decline? If we accept Gibbon and define the collapse as the process of 4 centuries, then the collapse of Rome alone outlasted the entire rise and fall of most civilizations.

This is an erroneous statement. Compared to empires like Egypt, India, and China, Rome was anything BUT stable...anything BUT durable.

Rome may be the most stable and durable exemplar of government in Western history, but humanity as a whole? No.

My estimation is that Rome's decline happened too gradually to credited to some simple summary of causes. It's like asking what causes a mountain to erode. If someone answers "lichen" we can see that answer is true but incomplete. Rain and snow, summer and winter, wind and quake, plants and animals all play some role over time.

My tendency is to look first at any culture as a franchise. Cultures tend to enlarge and perpetuate so long as there as many venues towards inclusion. When the doors are shut, culture shrinks unfed and unchanging. Consider how invincible the British Empire would be today if full citizenship had only been granted to those who begged for it: North Americans and Australians, Irish and Indians, Africans and Asians. What would Spain be today if the islanders of the Caribbean and the Philippines, the indigenous people and colonists of Central and South America considered themselves Spanish citizens rather than Spanish subjects? When Rome finally stopped at the Danube and the Rhine, at the Tigris and the Firth of Forth, and said "here is Rome, but there is not Rome" they created a barrier against which external powers needed to agitate and improve. Inside Rome, roads and aqueducts, slaves and soldiers made life easier for generations while outside Rome life was harder for each generation unless and until Rome's borders could be broken. Rome could have, should have expanded into Eastern Europe and the Rus, slowly co-opting Vandals and Goths, Parthians and Huns. No doubt, each wave of immigrants would have transformed the character of the Rome we remember. No doubt the internal struggles would have been very different and Roman Empire would have adapted in ways we can't determine. But if the goal is a durable state, then such transformations must be allowed to mold the culture. For any state in any time, stasis is fatal.

This makes a lot of sense on several levels. I fully agree that this sense of inclusion creates friends as opposed to enemies.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Daghini
Posts: 31
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7/16/2014 6:42:01 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I agree Rome was only stable during the early years of the republic, the constitution was only meant to support a small state, not an empire. That lead to the collapse of the republic and the empire as endless civil wars raged through the empire
suttichart.denpruektham
Posts: 1,115
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7/16/2014 7:17:35 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/15/2014 12:14:00 PM, Daghini wrote:
I understand where you are coming from with the survival of the Roman empire through medieval European state, as Rome had great influence over there future history post empirical period, but the definition of an empire is an extensive group of states ruled over by a monarchy, oligarch or a sovereign state. Medieval Europe certainly was not that, with kingdoms like France and England (both formally territories of The Roman Empire) at each others throats during the 100 years war. I think this shows that the Roman Empire fell as the Germanic Chieftain Odoacer smashed through the gates of Rome in 476 AD

They are "legally" ruled under Rome though. France and England rivalry is not so different from the rivalry of 5 Roman Empires in the late Roman era, the fought for influence over "Rome" and if possible, hegemony over the right to become emperor.

England is special though, with the formation of the Church of England, they are formally relinquish claim over the legal successor of the Roman Empire - represent by the Pope. This is not a hypothetical assumption, it's how the medieval hierarchy in Europe works. Lord are subjected to kings, kings are subjected to emperor, and emperor are subject to pope. The Holy See is not just a spiritual seat of the catholic world, it is also a formal continuation of Roman authority ever since her convert to Christianity.

But of course, since there is on one who can wield this authority and enforce it at the same time, the definition become blurry and many begun to create its own version of Roman authority. Eventually it ceased to become relevant, overtime it is the hegemony over Europe that defined the right to be Rome and the European monarchs had paid for it in blood for a centuries until the first world war eventually finished them off.

As with regards as not being too big the decentralization of the state led to greater autonomy in the provinces, in turn leading to the disestablishment of the empire. As Rome got bigger it had to decentralize because the empire was too large for the institutions based in Rome to manage everything, Legions and governors in the region gained more authority, combined with the fact that they had military power allowed them to challenge the central Roman state, which they did and we see in the formation of the Palmyrene Empire, and the revolt by the queen Zenobia who resisted Roman rule for over 10 years!

I would counted that in part of the Roman institution being unable to govern their expanding empire, rather than the empire being too big. She wasn't too big, she wasn't even big enough to rival the Alexander Empire which precede her for at least a century ago. Rather it was the Roman institution being too small.
suttichart.denpruektham
Posts: 1,115
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7/16/2014 7:24:45 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/16/2014 5:33:22 AM, Daghini wrote:
As for the Byzantium Empire, it is true that this was always christian, but the Western Roman empire also became a christian state. This created religious intolerance within the empire towards its latter years, something which, as has been mentioned, not only stopped the expansion of the Roman 'franchise' but reduced it. A god was forced upon subjects of Rome, in comparison with the tolerance of paganism which simply adopted new gods. Adopting new gods was seen as in conflict with one of the commandments ("thou shall worship no other god before me") This was fine for some, but created panic with others, cultural tension between Barbarians and Romans increased, and the empires adoption of Christianity was a catalyst. These tensions certainly participated in the fall of Rome in the regions occupied by a majority barbarians who became more willing to accept alternate rule.

I understand that Romes fall was caused by many factors, but it is the rate at which it falls is fascinating, with the western empire collapsing in little under 100 years!

Rome infighting started well before the adoption of Christianity though. Rome subjects seem to always find a reason to revolt and Rome noble, treachery. It happens with or without the adoption of Christianity. In fact, in my opinion, Christianity "helps" stabilized the empire. It brought a magnitude of people from various ethnicity and culture together, under Rome which made mush governance mush easier and revolt mush less often compare to her pegan period.
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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7/16/2014 7:56:57 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/16/2014 7:24:45 AM, suttichart.denpruektham wrote:
At 7/16/2014 5:33:22 AM, Daghini wrote:
As for the Byzantium Empire, it is true that this was always christian, but the Western Roman empire also became a christian state. This created religious intolerance within the empire towards its latter years, something which, as has been mentioned, not only stopped the expansion of the Roman 'franchise' but reduced it. A god was forced upon subjects of Rome, in comparison with the tolerance of paganism which simply adopted new gods. Adopting new gods was seen as in conflict with one of the commandments ("thou shall worship no other god before me") This was fine for some, but created panic with others, cultural tension between Barbarians and Romans increased, and the empires adoption of Christianity was a catalyst. These tensions certainly participated in the fall of Rome in the regions occupied by a majority barbarians who became more willing to accept alternate rule.

I understand that Romes fall was caused by many factors, but it is the rate at which it falls is fascinating, with the western empire collapsing in little under 100 years!

Rome infighting started well before the adoption of Christianity though. Rome subjects seem to always find a reason to revolt and Rome noble, treachery. It happens with or without the adoption of Christianity. In fact, in my opinion, Christianity "helps" stabilized the empire. It brought a magnitude of people from various ethnicity and culture together, under Rome which made mush governance mush easier and revolt mush less often compare to her pegan period.

This is a very interesting sub-discussion. I've taken the position that Christianity did exactly what you said it did...it did help to stabilize the empire and "brought a magnitude of people from various ethnicity and culture together...." It is interesting though what Daghini states about how this occurred in the East, but not in the West....a lot of Christian iconography and even the story of Christ bears resemblance to what was an extremely popular Eastern mythology of the time, that of Isis/Osirus, and at the same time Christianity did end up railing against pagan traditions, many of which were Celtic in origin.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Daghini
Posts: 31
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7/16/2014 8:55:36 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Hmm... so what you are saying is that Christianity brought stability to the empire, and i am beginning to understand why you say this, because it fused cultures together to make the empire easier to rule.

Knowing this, my new position is that, in the long run, Christianity would have brought greater stability to the empire by 'fusing' cultures. However, before this happened, the Roman state would have to eliminate the majority of other cultures, in order for the adoption of Christianity to be successful. This meant that in the short term, the adoption of Christianity would cause chaos, because of the tensions between new Christians and old cultures, but eventually, Christianity (backed by the state) would surpass all other cultures. To do this Rome needed a stable platform that could survive the chaos created by the adoption. This, Western Rome didn't have, but the east did.

This is shown by the rapid collapse of the western roman empire, but the prolonged survival of the eastern empire.

As for the continuation of the empire into the medieval era, the idea most kings were obedient to the pope is interesting. perhaps id say they were heavily influenced by the pope, united under the idea that they all once belonged to the Roman state. Would you agree?
Juan_Pablo
Posts: 2,052
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7/16/2014 9:18:08 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/16/2014 9:17:13 AM, Juan_Pablo wrote:
Best answer: because God wanted it to.

It's the same reason why people are killed in earthquakes or terrorist attacks happen.
Juan_Pablo
Posts: 2,052
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7/16/2014 9:34:04 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/16/2014 9:26:40 AM, Daghini wrote:
Thats nice... he will also kill you too

Yes he will . . . and he's doing it in the most painful way imaginable.

(But he's going to get you one day, too.)
Juan_Pablo
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7/16/2014 9:45:18 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/16/2014 9:38:41 AM, Daghini wrote:
) looking forward to it, anyways...

Honestly, so am I. Earth, as well as God, should be shoved into the GOD-DAMN sun!

The sooner it happens the merrier.
Daghini
Posts: 31
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7/16/2014 10:01:40 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Look i respect your beliefs, but please let us discuss this in a logistical way, with reasoning and debates. If thats the root you want to take, tell us how, logistically god did this, how did he cause the empire to collapse. Otherwise could you please not get involved
Juan_Pablo
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7/16/2014 10:12:17 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/16/2014 10:01:40 AM, Daghini wrote:
Look i respect your beliefs, but please let us discuss this in a logistical way, with reasoning and debates. If thats the root you want to take, tell us how, logistically god did this, how did he cause the empire to collapse. Otherwise could you please not get involved

Daghini, I will get involved whether you like it or not. This thread isn't set-up so that only those you approve of can get in a word. If you don't like my input, TOO BAD!
Juan_Pablo
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7/16/2014 10:15:47 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/16/2014 10:13:07 AM, Daghini wrote:
Fair enough, so you believe god did it, yes?

Yes. God absolutely did it. And he has his dirty little hands in a lot of things in our world. He's a vile, evil-hearted piece of sh*t! I'll be glad when he's incapable of creating life. May his death happen quickly.
Daghini
Posts: 31
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7/16/2014 10:20:34 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
The same god that gave people free will to make there own mistakes, and to judge them on the day of reckoning, that one? decided he wanted to bring the newly christian state of Rome down? Not in the previous 500 years of a pagan state, not in the reign of Nero where Christians were persecuted . He did it when Rome started to worship him?
Juan_Pablo
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7/16/2014 10:33:57 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/16/2014 10:20:34 AM, Daghini wrote:
The same god that gave people free will to make there own mistakes, and to judge them on the day of reckoning, that one? decided he wanted to bring the newly christian state of Rome down? Not in the previous 500 years of a pagan state, not in the reign of Nero where Christians were persecuted . He did it when Rome started to worship him?

Well, maybe God just likes to play games with peoples lives. Why should God have to be good? Maybe he's a rotten diety that just wants to hurt people for entertainment. You never know.
Daghini
Posts: 31
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7/16/2014 10:36:12 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Never said he was good, but you don't know if he is, so how can you be sure he brought the empire down?