Decline and Fall

Decline and Fall - a Oswald Spengler The Decline of the...

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Decline and Fall Quick recap: Julian dies in 363 Theodosius I (379-395); 392: Christianity becomes the only recognized religion 395: formal division of empire into east and west 476: "Fall" of western Roman Empire 1453: Fall of eastern Roman empire I. Two guiding perspectives a. Edward Gibbon ( The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire , 6 vols., 1776-1788): "We should not be surprised that the Empire fell but that it lasted so long." b. Not fall, but transformation and change: Ravenna Theoderic (A.D. 493-526); Justinian (A.D. 527-565); Baptisteries ; Churches of San Vitale, San Apollinare, San Apollinare in Classe II. And three more a. external vs. internal causes; Polybius (2nd cent. B.C.) b. overkill: 210 reasons ; Santayana ; broad perspectives vs. narrow analogies c. diversity: multiple causes, regional factors, cause and effect (e.g. population decline) III. Some Specialist theories (among many others) a. too much lead and you're dead b. too much hot bathwater and you're sterilized IV. Some historical theories
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Unformatted text preview: a. Oswald Spengler : The Decline of the West b. Arnold Toynbee : challenge and response c. Edward Gibbon : immoderate greatness d. Paul Kennedy : imperial overstretch V. Too many games and Rome fell: gladiators in perspective (cf. Course Packet, pp. 225-229) a. origins and development of games; some operative terms: pollice verso, missus, sine missione, ferrum recipere, habet!, Th (anatos) b. equipment categories (e.g. Thracian , retiarius ); balance of protective gear and vulnerability c. the psychology behind it (Etruscans; cruel fathers; lack of expansionist wars, etc.); affirmation of Roman values: courage, death defiance, clemency; does viewing violence lead to violent behavior? d. more fun yet: beast hunts and execution of criminals e. Gladiator to the Max(imus ): the essence of Roman civilization? f. the real deal: chariot racing (cf. Course Packet 229-233); teams, owners, fans - cf. NFL The alltime winner: Ben Hur...
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