Is this quote about fall of Rome true?

Jun 2018
9
EU
https://biblebased.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/the-five-reasons-for-the-collapse-of-the-roman-empire-by-edward-gibbon/

In this link the author of the blog says that according to Gibbon, one of the reasons for the fall of Rome was:

The rapid increase of divorce, with the undermining of the sanctity of the home, which is the basis of society.

So here's a few more specific questions:

1. Is this Gibbon's opinion or the author's interpretation of Gibbon?

2. If yes (on any), is it supported by current historical evidence?

3. Aside from Gibbon, is there any other reasonably respected (supported by sources or evidence) historian that has a similar opinion about Rome and/or it's fall?

4. How big of a role women (especially the upper classes) held in Rome, when it comes to making political decisions or at least influencing their husbands into making one?

5. Assuming the aforementioned opinion/quote is true (even if it's not) - how important of a reason in the fall of Rome would it be/is compared to other factors?

6. What do the historical sources or evidence say about divorce in Rome, specifically, is it true that most divorces in Rome were initiated by men?

7. Are there any sources or even general opinions thought to be accurate, about promiscuity in Rome, both by men and women?

8. Are there any other (credible) examples of women's behavior in general (not individual examples, I'm asking about large groups, classes of people), divorces and "undermining of the sanctity of the home" in other countries/empires that had meaningful impact on it's history?

9. What is your "historical" opinion about this blog entry (especially the "ancient" part): https://heartiste.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/feminism-responsible-for-the-fall-of-rome/
 
Jun 2018
9
EU
This smells like "it's impossible to find the relevant chapters in Gibbon by searching for <women>". Which I did and came up with anecdotes, not depictions of large historical movements or groups of people.

This also smells like I googled for "rome fall women" and came up with either nothing serious or the variations of second link, not any reasonable sources.

This also smells like I read MOST of /r/askhistorians FAQ about fall of Rome, read a LOT from general google search results for why Rome fell and still found no reasonable description of the topics I'm interested in.

Therefore, I'm asking the people who might know something I can't easily find by googling it and can either answer the questions or at least point me to some materials that will allow me to find the reasonably accurate answers myself.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,398
Italy, Lago Maggiore
This smells like "it's impossible to find the relevant chapters in Gibbon by searching for <women>". Which I did and came up with anecdotes, not depictions of large historical movements or groups of people.

This also smells like I googled for "rome fall women" and came up with either nothing serious or the variations of second link, not any reasonable sources.

This also smells like I read MOST of /r/askhistorians FAQ about fall of Rome, read a LOT from general google search results for why Rome fell and still found no reasonable description of the topics I'm interested in.

Therefore, I'm asking the people who might know something I can't easily find by googling it and can either answer the questions or at least point me to some materials that will allow me to find the reasonably accurate answers myself.

Reading the OP I have had the impression of a curious joke.


Divorce has been legal in ancient Rome since the time of the Republic. The degree of freedom of women of the aristocracy was quite visible and this was causing a low birh rate in Roman aristocracy. This was a problem ... for the aristocracy.


Augustus even issued a law to limit and control divorce, the "lex de ordinibus maritandis". In the meanwhile the Republic had grown and the Empire would have kept on growing and prospering for centuries after Augustus [divorces or not divorces].
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
None of those questions can be answered simply without massive generalizing, which the author of that blog was equally guilty of.

Rome lasted from about 700 BC to 500 AD, much much longer if one rightly keeps counting the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire. The "Fall of Rome" is way overplayed, any conjecture as a to why it happened would need a massive volume of books dating back to its founding to support it properly. Because it was a massive and extremely longstanding empire that was constantly evolving, to include its social norms.

So you wont find a good answer here, unless you just want talking points to shut down the blogger. Is that what you are looking for? Talking points?
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,398
Italy, Lago Maggiore
I'm typing in a bad way ...


Now, I have taken a look around as well and, as for I have found, I cannot find where Gibbon would have written such a list of causes of the fall of the Roman Empire.


Regarding feminism and the fall of the Empire ... how can I comment this?


Probably comparing Rome with KmT, Ancient Egypt: that civilization lasted more than 3,000 years regardless the condition of the woman [which was, in some contexts, even better than in Roman civilization].


Like for divorce, the social status of the woman is just that: a social matter. When a civilization lasts for 1,000 years, like the Roman one, the causes of its fall are well wider than mere social matters.
 
Jun 2018
9
EU
So you wont find a good answer here, unless you just want talking points to shut down the blogger. Is that what you are looking for? Talking points?
I expected historians to flock the thread with replies relevant to my questions.

I'm aware that fall of Rome is a very broad subject, therefore I tried to ask semi-specific questions pertaining to the role of women (or lack of it) in the decline/fall of Rome.
 
Feb 2016
5,049
Atlantic Ocean
I expected historians to flock the thread with replies relevant to my questions.

I'm aware that fall of Rome is a very broad subject, therefore I tried to ask semi-specific questions pertaining to the role of women (or lack of it) in the decline/fall of Rome.
Being rude is not going to endear you to anyone here.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
I expected historians to flock the thread with replies relevant to my questions.

I'm aware that fall of Rome is a very broad subject, therefore I tried to ask semi-specific questions pertaining to the role of women (or lack of it) in the decline/fall of Rome.
Go read Gibbon. After you're done, you'll know the answer. Hopefully you can read it before your homework assignment is due.