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Roman Republic: Res publica Romana • View topic - Fall of the Roman Empire

Fall of the Roman Empire

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Fall of the Roman Empire

Postby Marcus Minucius Audens » Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:02 pm


In my view, much has been given to the murder of Caesar, and I am not really sure about the importance of that activity in consideration of the Empire as a whole. If you are speaking of the Western Roman Empire, I would think that the Christian Church in Rome, the rise of Christian conquerors, by the year 300 AD to 350 AD, Caesar and the disaster which occurred would have been almost forgotten with the Persian threat. We know about Caesar because Caesar wrote about himself and his wars, and much information has come to us for that whole activity. However, I would think that much also has been lost, and many whose actions and activity were vital to the empire movement both in a positive and a negative way would have to do with the whole question of what really happened and why. Then too, the Eastern Roman Empire, sometimes known, in the present day, as Byzantium lasted 1,000 years after the fall of the Western Empire with the citizens still calling themselves Roman and speaking Greek in the street, right up to the final taking of Constantinople by the Muslim forces. In that thousand years there were many major battles, and the rise of many barbarian forces, as well as the sweeping force of Islam, all having a very big effect on what remained of the empire. To my way of thinking, the evolution of the Eastern countries within the old Eastern Empire had little to do with Caesar. The rise of Northern Europe, which was on the borders of the Empire moved along, not peaceably but much as did France, Germany, Italy, and Britain. Greece, of course, was the real hub of the Roman Idea Book. It was the Greek "discoveries" that very much propelled Rome to the point where it began to decline. Roman simply used those "ideas," perfected them, and then used them in various ways. The evolution of weapons within the legions tells that story, where weapons and tactics were borrowed and used where they were effective. I would imagine that other non-military ideas were borrowed as well. Perhaps, this was one of the Roman strengths. Then too, one has to consider the rarity in the Roman Emperors intelligence and leadership after Constantine. Actually, some before Constantine did their full share in the decline of the empire, with their spending, unnecessary wars, faulty dipomacy and on occasion downright crazy antics. Some were real leaders, but most, were at best, quite mediocre. There are many factors to the Fall of the Roman Empire and historians have labored hard on that question. However, to me, the Roman Empire did not fall, it simply changed, steadily and persistently, and in doing so, lasted another 1000 years before the Islamic Conquest. Those who have studied the history of the Eastern Empire (Byzantium) can find much to support that idea.

Respectfully;
Marcus Audens
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Re: Fall of the Roman Empire

Postby Gaia Cassia Longina » Sun Aug 28, 2016 3:56 pm

Very good, Audens!

In this case, I can also argue that the Republic never fell either - it simply changed. But then, we can argue that everything changes, and nothing ever "collapses." When does change mean collapse? Or when does collapse finally solidify? Does it ever in that case?
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Re: Fall of the Roman Empire

Postby Gaius Florius Lupus » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:55 am

Salvete!

I am a strong supporter of the translatio imperii interpretation of history. The Empire never collapsed, it changed.
It did not collapse with Romulus Augustulus, the West was simply reunited with the East.
It did not end with Charlemagne, it was just divided again because the West did not recognize the female Empress Irene in the East.
It did not collapse in 1806 together with the Holy Roman Empire, because Napoleon took the imperial crown and simply succeeded the Habsburg dynasty.
And it did not end when Emperor Napoleon was overthrow, because a Prussian (William I) took the title after him.
One could claim that it ended with the Great War (WWI), because the Western and Eastern Emperors (Tsar) were both overthrown in the course of the war, but a more proper interpretation would be that the Empire became simply a Republic again. The political leadership changed, the religious one remained. The pontifex maximus still rules from Rome.

The claim that the Eastern Empire (Byzantine Empire) was authentic, but the Western (Sacrum Romanum Imperium) was not, is somehow absurd. The East spoke Greek. In the Holy Roman Empire they spoke Latin and Rome was the religious capital (The Emperor was considered on permanent campaign and therefore did not have an own capital.).

While the Empire has itself never fallen, Roman culture has. The Roman period ended definitely in 296 by the order of Diocletian. He moved the capital away from Rome and started the division into a Western and Eastern half. The constitution was radically changed (dominate), the army restructured. Right after him the Roman state religion was abandoned, the Praetorian Guard dissolved and a second senate established in the East. The Empire after Diocletian had little in common with the Empire before him.

I thoroughly disagree with Oswald Sprengler's organic view of history. He sees civilizations as living beings, which are born, have a youth, get old and die. This is a reification fallacy and contradicts reality. No civilization comes out of nothing and is built from scratch. They are simply transformations of earlier civilizations. There is no discontinuity of human generations. It is a continuos succession of overlapping generations.
What Sprengler interprets as separate civilizations are times of slow changes alternating with times of fast changes. The translatio imperii takes this into consideration and is therefore a more acurate interpretation, which describes reality much better.

Valete!
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Re: Fall of the Roman Empire

Postby Gaia Cassia Longina » Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:05 pm

Gaia Cassia Longina
 

Re: Fall of the Roman Empire

Postby Gaia Cassia Longina » Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:07 pm

But with this logic, we can also say that the Republic never fell -- it evolved. However, it became so different than the traditional Republic that we can no longer call it "The Republic." So what makes this different than, let's say, the Empire? The Empire surely was not the Republic. Yet, you can say that the Empire never fell, although it is vastly different than it once was. So, with this logic, did the Republic fall, did the Empire fall? How, and when - following this logic still - can we classify something as something different?

We give names to rivers, yet, everyday there is new water in it. It is different from day to day, yet we still call it the same.
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Re: Fall of the Roman Empire

Postby Publius Sextius Laevus » Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:42 pm

Salvete Cives!
Speaking of rivers, this is getting watered down. "Republic", "Empire", "Civilization" are over loaded words but we have used them as if each has the same fixed meaning in the writer and each reader. Context can not always clear this up. People have been living together in 'civilization' since way before Rome, so we say "Roman Civilization". Yet this too must be further qualified. In first respect the "Roman Republic" is long gone, but in second respect it has been reinvented many times since in various governments, and in the imaginations of each person who is inspired by Cicero. However, each instantiation is different in significant ways. I confess I do try to imagine going to stay in a 750 AUC Roman Town (I live without electricity of early rural 20th century in my summer cottage), but there is no way I want to go back to all aspects of even a few years ago.

Here, on line, we have reestablished Res Publica Romana. This is our instantiation of the "Roman Republic". Here it has not fallen. It is alive in our corporate imaginations and actions on line and in life (alone or with others). The question becomes: What are we going to make of it?
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Re: Fall of the Roman Empire

Postby Marcus Minucius Audens » Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:01 pm

Master Lupus and Lady Longina;

I guess my reply in this thread , as you call it, would be to Master Lupus:
While in the East most of populace spoke Greek, as you say, but Latin was still the official language, the people still maintained that they were Roman, and they were ruled by an Emperor who died on the wall of Constantinople fighting for an empire, until the final Muslim Domination. Now, I tend to agree with you about the Western Empire never falling, but rather, simply changing drastically, but those changes were very significant. The "Pontifex Maximus,' however, is now merely a top religous figure for a slowly disappearing religion and does not 'rule' as the original did. Now, if you wish to use the term 'culture,' rather than 'empire' then I would agree that the culture ended, as you indicate. However, I must apologize that I am not educated enough to follow your arguments in detail nor do I undertand Latin so, I cannot expound, in some of the minor aspects, nor to your applicatons in total.

Lady Longina;
In my view, regardless of how corrupt the Republic was, when the Senate became merely a group of 'yes men' to the emperor, then the Republic fell. In regard to rivers and the question about the their names and what flows in them, I would say that there is a significant difference between water and the world populations with their ability to make decisions. To my mind, that is what makes the difference between nature and man. Again to my mind, whatever 'GOD' really is; man was gven the right to decide, in order to advance mankind or to destroy it. At the moment, this final determination seems to be somewhat in doubt, but that is another view entirely.

Respectfully Submitted;
Marcus Audens
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Re: Fall of the Roman Empire

Postby Gaius Florius Lupus » Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:39 pm

Indeed it can be argued that the Republic never fell, because it was never formally dissolved during the principate. The people who we call Emperor today did not actually hold such a title. Imperator was originally used by any successful general. Caesar was a name before it was used as a title and it was sometimes not used for the emperor himself bur just for his designated successor. Augustus was also not really a title but merely used as we use "majesty" in English.
The principate was formally still a republic and the two consuls were formally the highest offices. This can be seen by the fact that the years of the calendar were during the principate still named after the consuls, not after the Emperor. The office of "emperor" was like the first triumvirate an informal institution without formal title.
In Latin texts, where it reads "Roman Empire" in English, we can read "res publica", not "imperium romanum" in the original text.
Only the dominate was a true monarchy.

By the way Greek became indeed the official language of the Empire in the year 620 by edict of Emperor Heraclius. There was no Western Emperor in this time, only the two exarchs in Ravenna and Africa. The pope had a strong influence in the West, probably more than the exarch of Ravenna, and maintained Latin in formal use. With the coronation of a separate Emperor in the West in the year 800 Latin got at least in the West its formal status back. This is why we write in Latin letters today, while the East (Russia, Greece etc.) uses derivates of Greek letters.
About everything else I agree with Magister Audens.
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Re: Fall of the Roman Empire

Postby Appius Claudius Tuscus » Wed Aug 31, 2016 10:24 pm

Salvete, omnes -

Florii Lupe - By "the Dominate", we understand emperors from Diocletianus forward?

Valete.
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Re: Fall of the Roman Empire

Postby Gaius Florius Lupus » Thu Sep 01, 2016 11:43 am

Sic est. The era of the Roman Empire is usually divided into the principate (from Augustus to Diocletian) and the dominate (from Diocletian onward). The name derives from the title in use for the emperors.
Principate - princeps civitatis (= first citizen)
Dominate - dominus (= master/lord)
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