Roman social decline : Social Development

Roman social decline

Rome fell through a

There are literally thousands of theories as to why the Roman Empire declined. I am happy you used the word "decline" and not "fall." There are arguments among historians whether the Roman Empire fell or went through gradual transitions. The reason for the numerous theories is the lack of evidence from the 4th and 5th centuries that would help provide more specific answers. One piece of evidence was the coinage found. The Romans coins were originally minted in silver but by the 5th century, the coinage was minted in basic metals as there is evidence that the silver mines had reached it's peak. This may have been a sign of technological decline as it may have affected trade with India via the Silk Route with China. Historians argue that the sudden expansion of the empire led to economic inflation, and in turn, high taxation led the to empire's downfall. According to the readings, it appears the Empire never had a budget for they were wasteful. The only way to up keep the empire afloat was to up keep the military through high taxation as they invade neighboring regions and plundering their resources. A Historian named Edward Gibbon wrote in the 18th century that the Roman citizens were in the process of "moral decay" due to the influx of Germanic "barbarians" in his book "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-88). This theory was later debunked by the writings by future historians. The decay he speaks about was the western Roman Empire neglecting to note the the eastern empire has prospered and it was more Christian than the western empire. Peter Heather in "The Fall of the Roman Empire, "(2005) that main trouble was the threat from the Sassanid Persian empire (226-651) for half a century. The Roman Empire had to maintain a strong military. He does agree with Gibbon that in order to cope with the Sassanid threat, they totally stripping the the western empire of the towns' and cities of their regional income tax. However, Heather disagrees with Gibbon on that Christianity and moral decay led to the decline. Life for the middle and lower classes were not easy during these times. It was they who celebrated when the Romans were defeated by an outside army according to Joseph Tainter in...

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I was thinking about Edward Hopper's vivid art, how I have a window into an era of black and white photos. The essential qualities of the human experience are transmitted through time, whether in Victorian hats, Roman togas, or 20th century suit. I realized that times change, but don't. Only in the essential social relations, do we experience the universal. They were dancing on the beach, midsummer, eighty years ago or so. His picture (in this month's Smithsonian mag?) of the women dancing on the beach, doesn't fixate upon the unusual swimwear, rather it fixates on the emotion of the moment. It's the feeling we've all had in the summer, on a beach at night, when we feel like something special is happening-- but that something even more special is about to occur

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... anything Kurt Vonnegut
... The Devil's Guide to Hollywood - Eszterhas
... For Whom the Bell Tolls - Hemingway
... Thus Spoke Zarathustra - Nietzsche
... To Kill a Mocking Bird - Harper Lee
... God Is Not Great - Hitchens
... anything August Wilson
... Collapse - Jared Diamond
... Guns, Germs, and Steel - Diamond
... More Cool than Reason - Lakoff/Turner
... Ulysses - Joyce
... A Tale of Love and Darkness - Oz
... The Shame of the Nation - Kozol
... Social Intelligence - Coleman

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