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Unformatted text preview: In this sense, then, the reign of Marcus Aurelius and its direct aftermath is the dividing point between the Roman zenith and decline. Key trends of fateful significance to later Roman rule emerged during his tenure. These include 1) large scale raiding by a shifting patchwork of Germanic Barbarian tribes as opposed to organized conflict with regular opposing armies; 2) tremendous fiscal challenges and burdensome government measures in order to financially support warfare; 3) military conflict on two frontiers separated by thousands of miles; 4) the emergence of the Palace Guard and field legions as king-makers; 5) destabilization in procedures of Imperial succession; and 5) the widening of the leadership class beyond those who grew up in a thoroughly Latinized milieu. It is thus ironic and sad that Marcus Aurelius was a superlative philosopher, Stoicist, and equitably-minded product of Roman culture, as he spent all of his...
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- Fall '08