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Old March 31st, 2007, 09:01 AM   #1

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Decline of the Roman Empire?


I was thinking this afternoon, if there was one clear sign of the beginning of the end for the Roman empire; when everything began to go downhill, and the bad times progressively outnumbered the good. I had in mind, idly, the capture of Valerian in the 260s (267?) by the Persians, but was wondering what point others would choose.
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Old April 4th, 2007, 05:07 PM   #2

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Re: Decline of the Roman Empire?


Nobody?
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Old April 4th, 2007, 05:27 PM   #3
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Re: Decline of the Roman Empire?


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I was thinking this afternoon, if there was one clear sign of the beginning of the end for the Roman empire; when everything began to go downhill, and the bad times progressively outnumbered the good. I had in mind, idly, the capture of Valerian in the 260s (267?) by the Persians, but was wondering what point others would choose.
I would say that it was in about the year 180. In that year, the philosopher-emporer Marcus Aurelius actually left the empire in the hands of his own biological son (who, not surprisingly, turned out to be totally incompetent) rather than doing like the earlier of the Five Good Emporers, who followed the practice of adopting an adult son & heir who had already proven his competence.
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Old April 4th, 2007, 09:21 PM   #4

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Re: Decline of the Roman Empire?


I happen to have a question pertaining to the Roman Empire.
Last night I was watching a movie called Attilla.
In the movie, the Empire is already divided. An Emperor named Valentino rules the West and his uncle rules the East.
What exactly was the relationship between the two empires? Was it like a mutual defense pact? They seemed to have different foreign policies. Did they use the same currency? Did one Emperor outrank the other?
In the movie, they sent the Supreme Commander of the Western Roman Legions to Constantinople to meet with the Eastern Emperor. Were the armies the same? Could a Roman General from the East command legions in the west? Was a citizen of the West also a citizen of the East? etc.

Also, during the movie, Attila visits Rome for a while and seems to be friends with the Supreme Roman General. He also spends his time banging the Emperor's sister. Was this true?
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Old April 5th, 2007, 02:43 AM   #5
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Re: Decline of the Roman Empire?


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I happen to have a question pertaining to the Roman Empire. Last night I was watching a movie called Attilla. In the movie, the Empire is already divided. An Emperor named Valentino rules the West and his uncle rules the East. What exactly was the relationship between the two empires? Was it like a mutual defense pact? They seemed to have different foreign policies. Did they use the same currency? Did one Emperor outrank the other? In the movie, they sent the Supreme Commander of the Western Roman Legions to Constantinople to meet with the Eastern Emperor. Were the armies the same? Could a Roman General from the East command legions in the west? Was a citizen of the West also a citizen of the East? etc. Also, during the movie, Attila visits Rome for a while and seems to be friends with the Supreme Roman General. He also spends his time banging the Emperor's sister. Was this true?
Attilla invaded Rome in AD 451 and, yes, the Empire was divided by then. Attilla's reason for invading was that he believed that he was supposed to marry the Emporer's sister (I'm not sure whether the Roman Emperor would've agreed with him or no). Diocletian (r. 284-305) was the first to notice that the Empire was so big that one man couldn't rule it all by himself. So, Diocletian set up a system whereby he himself was Augustus (senior emporer) of the East and Maximian was Augustus of the West and there were two Caesars (junior emporers) Constantius (Constantine's father) and Galerius, one of whom was Caesar of the East and the other of whom was Caesar of the West. In 305, Diocletian abdicated and forced the other Augustus to abdicate as well leaving both Caesars as the new Augusti. One of the new Caesars was Constantine, son of Constantius. Eventually, Constantine (r. 306-337) became sole emporer and his three sons Constantine II (r. 337-340), Constans (r. 337-350), and Constantius (r. 337-361) ruled after him. Then there were Julian (r. 361-362) and Jovian (r. 363-364). Then, Valens (r. 364-378) became Emporer of the East while Valentinian I (r. 364-375) became Emporer of the West. Theodosius I (r. 379-395) succeeded Valens as Emporer of the East. Meantime, Valentinian's successors as Emporer of the West were Gratian (r. 367-383), Valentinian II (r. 383-392), Eugenius (r. 392-394), and, guess who?, Theodosius I (r. 394-395). Thus, when Emporer Theodosius died in 395, he left the Western Empire to his son Honorius and the Eastern Empire to his son Arcadius. The division of 395 was when it became final and the empires became two separate political entities. I'm not sure how long Theodosius' lineage remained in power in either the Western Empire or the Eastern Empire. I'm fairly sure the eastern and western portions of the empire had common currency, common defense, etc., from Diocletian to Theodosius (284-395) and the longer-reigning Augustus was then considered senior of the four emporers then. But, after 395, the two had different defense policies, indeed, it has been pointed out on one of the history forums I belong to (forget which one) that the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire outlasted the Western Roman Empire by 977 years because the Eastern Empire's foreign policy was to talk (or, more likely, bribe) the invaders into going and attacking the Western Empire (or, I suppose, anyone else).

Last edited by heikstheo; April 5th, 2007 at 02:47 AM.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 05:29 AM   #6

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Re: Decline of the Roman Empire?


The empire formally split into two political entities during the reigns of Valentinian and Valens. [364CE I think.(?)] It only temporarily reunited for a time Theodosius the Great but split back into its component parts on his death. It never reunited again, unless you count Belisarius’ conquest of Italy and Africa in the 6th century CE, during Justinian’s reign.

The imperial bureaucracy remained split between the regional capitals, Trier, Milan/Ravenna, Constantinople, and Antioch regardless of who was in power. Rome became a backwater of little political significance.

The military was split into various field armies and the frontier forces, each field army unit split into two, retaining its title but adding a “senior” and “junior” suffix. Differences were nominal at first, but later Eastern cavalry began to reflect the armament of their Persian enemies, and in the West the empire tended to employ more Foederati than the East.

Personally I’d argue that the Empire collapsed suddenly within a few decades, rather than declined over centuries.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 07:24 AM   #7

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Re: Decline of the Roman Empire?


I would choose 324 CE when Constantine declared Christianity as the only official relgion of the Empire...suddenly the army was no longer the best way to advance yourself, the Church was and to complicate things, Constantine withdrew those legions guarding the Germanic frontier, replacing them with the equivalent of the Nation Guard (or what the British would call the Home Guard), an ill trained, poorly equiped group of "citizen soldiers" who about as effective as a group of old ladies in a bar brawl!
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Old June 14th, 2007, 01:52 PM   #8

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Re: Decline of the Roman Empire?


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I would choose 324 CE when Constantine declared Christianity as the only official relgion of the Empire...suddenly the army was no longer the best way to advance yourself, the Church was and to complicate things, Constantine withdrew those legions guarding the Germanic frontier, replacing them with the equivalent of the Nation Guard (or what the British would call the Home Guard), an ill trained, poorly equiped group of "citizen soldiers" who about as effective as a group of old ladies in a bar brawl!
In some instances I would tend to agree with you. However, let's remember that Constantine never made Christianity the official religion of the Empire...this is a misconception. The Edict of Milan in 313 provided tolerance for Christianity, but it was never made the official religion. Although if you look at many of Constantine's actions it would definitely suggest an endorsement of Christianity. I can't remember off the top of my head which emperor made Christianity the official religion. If someone could provide a little help with this it would be greatly appreciated (I'm still at work so I can't look stuff up at the moment)
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Old June 14th, 2007, 10:24 PM   #9

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Re: Decline of the Roman Empire?


I think that's normally attributed to Theodosius, although Jovian also was a major supporter of Christianity and part of the Theodosian code is attributed to him.

The change in religion as a factor in the fall of the Roman Empire is overemphasised. This view was originally espoused by Edward Gibbon, but has largely been discredited.

Last edited by Belisarius; June 14th, 2007 at 10:57 PM.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 05:11 PM   #10

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Re: Decline of the Roman Empire?


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Originally Posted by Belisarius View Post
I think that's normally attributed to Theodosius, although Jovian also was a major supporter of Christianity and part of the Theodosian code is attributed to him.

The change in religion as a factor in the fall of the Roman Empire is overemphasised. This view was originally espoused by Edward Gibbon, but has largely been discredited.
Yes, Theodosius...later in the 4th century I believe...thanks again Belisarius
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