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Unformatted text preview: We are left asking how such an ignoble end could encompass the once glorious Western Empire. Countless reasons have been offered. In terms of immediate causality, it appears that policy incoherence and a lack of resolve by emperors and other elites combined to sap all resilience out of the Roman government. What was missing was the will-power to break the cycle of Germanic military strongmen in Roman ranks, the senseless intriguing of Roman politics, and the general relinquishment of government responsibilities. Indeed, for its last eighty years Rome appears to have been bereft of the spirit of past rulers, such as Augustus, Vespasian, Diocletian, or Constantine. Was it simply the magnitude of military and fiscal challenges that overwhelmed uninspired leaders? This is possible, though it should be recalled that the sedentary population of the Empire, while decreasing in the fourth and fifth centuries, was still much larger than the...
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This note was uploaded on 12/11/2011 for the course HIST 1320 taught by Professor Murphy during the Fall '08 term at Texas State.
- Fall '08