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The Fall of the Roman Empire and the Transformation of Europe - Essay Example

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The Roman Empire was undoubtedly one of the most influential states that western Eurasia has ever known. It's legacy is experienced in the architecture principles we take for granted to the languages that more than half of the world communicates in. …
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The Fall of the Roman Empire and the Transformation of Europe
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Download file to see previous pages Taking into account the modes of transportation in comparison to today's technology - the sheer size of the empire is even more breathtaking. How is it then that such a well-oiled machine that came as close to perfecting a governmental system out of all the ancient empires, one that is still partially mimicked in governments today, collapsed? Some would say that the legacy left after the physical decline of Rome was so influential, that the Roman Empire never collapsed to begin with, but rather remained in ideology. Others would argue that the Roman Empire merely relocated to the east and continued to live in prosperity there. To observe how the Roman Empire has affected civilization through its rise and fall, we shall look at the transformation Europe underwent in the centuries following the Capital's demise. The question to initially ponder would be: what caused the decline and fall of the Roman Empire? On this issue, scholars have and continue to differ in option. A general consensus is that it was a multitude of reasons. The most popular being the adoption of Christianity, the continual invasion of barbarian hordes, and the gradual decline of social structure. In 410 AD, after 800 years of security, Rome was conquered and sacked by the Visigoths lead by Alaric I. Only 30 years after the adoption of Christianity as the state religion, it is hard to argue that this did not play into its destruction. Barbarians, however, were by no means a new threat. Rome struggled for centuries before containing the threats of pagan tribes such as the Visigoths, Vandals, Alani, Allemanni, and even the Huns lead by the notorious Attila. The Empire, at least the western half, had been in decline for a while and the sacking of Rome was the final nail in the coffin. In 476 AD, Romulus Augustulus, the final Roman emperor of the west, was removed from power by Prince Odavacar, a Germanic ruler who controlled the remnants of the Roman army. He then banished the regalia to Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. The Roman Empire was then broken up and governorship was given to dozens of princes and kings. Power was based on military forces comprised of immigrants from former Roman provinces. The impact this revolution had on life in the former western Empire is immense. The spread of the Roman Empire was, for many, a symbol of education, literacy, advanced economic policies, sophisticated architecture, and a established and successful judicial system. The end of the Roman Empire, at least the western front, signified a death of the above and an entrance into a dark age. The eastern portion of the empire, however, went on to survive the collapse of the western portion, and became known as the Eastern Roman Empire. It went on to thrive in the sixth century under the reign of Justinian I. (Okamura 489). The specific dates of the fall of the Roman Empire can be attributed to the period 337 - 476 AD. Although this in itself could be a oversimplification. Firstly, this is specifically referring to the fall of the Western Roman Empire and that New Rome was to stand for a further thousand years. Secondly, the fall of Rome was not instantaneous. There was no specific event which led to the immediate downfall of the Empire. The first contributor to the downfall of Rome was the spread of Christianity and Christian thought amongst the Empire. Following Theodosius the Great's death in 396 AD, the Empire was divided into East and West amongst his sons. The progression of Christianity meant that new churches and Christian influenced architecture were built and buildings from the classical period were left to decay. The Emperor was met with increased difficulty and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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