The Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire by MgiBAEjV

VIEWS: 32 PAGES: 10

									            GENA 2112   The Characteristics of Western Culture




              The Decline & Fall of
               the Roman Empire



2012/6/13                 Prof. Frederick Hok-ming
The Decline and Fall of Roman Empire
     o Edward Gibbon, The Decline & Fall of the
       Roman Empire
     o (吉朋)
     o (6 volumes)

     o Donald Kagan, ed., Decline & Fall of the
       Roman Empire
     o
     o Lynn White, Jr., ed., The Transformation of
       the Roman World
The Decline and Fall of Roman Empire
     o Edward Gibbon (1737-94)
     o Historical background (Age of Reason)

     o What (define)
     o Where (Western R.E.)
     o When 476      (180? 410? Or 800?) Henri
       Pirenne (“Pirenne’s Thesis”)
     o (Arnold Toynbee 湯恩比)
     o How & Why?
The Decline and Fall of Roman Empire

 Internal                   External

 Christianity?              Barbarian invasions
 Political disintegration   + infiltration
 Population ↓ : lead        (barbarization)
 poisoning,
 homosexuality, tax?
 Social & economic↓
 Slavery↓
 Intellectual↓
 Climate & soil↓
Socio-Economic Historians
o Lynn White, Jr.,
o Henri Pirenne,
o Marc Bloch
        Henri Pirenne
o Henri Pirenne (1920s)
o “the Roman Empire survived in all its
  essentials until the coming of Islam---
  (800)destroyed the unity of the
  Mediterranean & ended the Roman World.”
The Decline and Fall of Roman Empire
     o Literary history: (180) = death of Aurelius
     o a Roman historian wrote: “Our history now
       descends from a kingdom of gold to one of
       iron & rust.”
     o Barbarian invasions:
     o Huns pushing in the rear (from Central Asia)
       → Attila, r. 434-53 Vandals
     o Goths
        o Visigoths
        o Ostrogoths

     o (Alaric 410 Sack of Rome)
     o Finally, 476 Odovacar (a Germanic general
       in R.E.)
     o Deposed Romulus Augustulus & became
       the King of the Romans
Effects of the Barbarian Invasion
   1.    Short-range / immediate results: not
         revolutionary
        o ∵ life was similar
        o still Roman – administration, & law (+
            Germanic)
        o (since the Germanic barbarians had no
            distinctive culture of their own, they
            accepted what they found in Italy)
Effects of the Barbarian Invasion
   2.    Medium-long range effects:
        o a further acceleration of the decline in
           the west
        o ∴ “West” = the “barbarian West”
        o (the beginning of the Middle Ages)
        o the Germanic principle of “personal
           loyalty”人治 prevailed in the west in the
           Middle Ages
Four Applicable Categories
1.   Death by accident (J.B. Bury)
2.   Natural causes (Gibbon, Boak, & Walbank)
3.   Murder (: barbarians ) (Gibbon & Toynbee)
4.   Suicide (Westermann)

o    (+ psychologically, strategically, &
     philosophically) stop expansion = the
     beginning of the end of the Roman
     Empire
Q:
o Causes for the rise of Christianity
o To what extent did Christianity cause the
   decline & fall of the Roman Empire?

								
To top