Read the “Fall” of the Roman Empire. What are the chief theories? Do you agree with Peter Brown that the end of the Roman Empire should be considered a “change and continuity rather than a “decline and fall”?
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2 Students discussions for replies :
1- I agree with Peter Brown that the end of the Roman Empire should be considered a “change and continuity rather than a decline and fall” because the new political leaders in Rome, including Theodoric, an Ostrogoth who ruled the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy from 493 to 526 CE, was trying to bridge the culture of the Romans and those of the Goths. Rather than try to destroy Roman government and culture, Theodoric “divided the governmental functions of Italy to allow for Roman and Ostrogothic customs…it was not a violent break from Roman tradition.” The Anonymous Valesianus writes about Theodoric, “He governed two races at the same time, Romans and Goths.” In addition, Peter Wells, an archaeologist, writes, “few people at the time would have noticed or felt that their world was declining.” This points to continuity more than to decline and fall.
2-I agree with Peter Brown that the end of the Roman Empire should be considered a “change and continuity” rather than a “decline and fall” because the change occurred over time, not instantly. The West in Question: Chapter Eight states “There was a brief moment when it looked as if the Empire would revive under the tough-minded Spaniard Theodosius, who assumed charge over the East after Valens. “. This shows that there was a point in time that people thought the empire would come back, so it was not so far gone that it “fell”. I believe that the invasion of the Barbarians partly had to do with the change of the Roman Empire because though they are considered refugees, they were not loyal to the Roman Empire, as they defeated the army. The Barbarians are spoken about in a negative way because they planned a successful invasion, and years later, felt like they were being treated poorly, so they “harried forces in both East and West”.