Third - Third, it is important to ponder what Rome was....

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Unformatted text preview: Third, it is important to ponder what Rome was. Conventionally it was a state, and one can locate a reasonably linear decline on the state level. Of course, the Diocletian and Constantine years showed new vitality on the state level, though that vitality changed the polity forever. Still, on the merely political level, Roman decline is clear, and uni-directional. But then, there is the category of Rome as culture and society. Here it is instructive to ask: to what degree were those living within Roman borders Romanized in culture, language, and notions of political order? The answer to this question is impossible to quantify, but it is clear that there was some disjunction between political elites, political structures, cultural elites, and the rest of the masses, which of course outnumbered the elites. What did Rome mean for them, and did that meaning disappear in course outnumbered the elites....
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