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Roman Empire and Middle Ages

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posted on Aug, 13 2004 @ 02:36 PM
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As we all know, the Germanic tribes eventually toppled the Roman Empire. A shadow of its former glory, it is arguable that the Byzantine Empire at its height never lived up to compete with the Roman Empire at her height.

Now as we all know, much of the Middle Ages were basically wasted for lack of better words. There were constant wars and the majority of the population was forced into peasantry. Intelligence and science were making no advancements whatsoever.

Anyway, enough with the background information. Do you think that we would be more advanced today if the Roman Empire never fell thus plunging Europe into the Dark Ages? Before immediately jumping to conclusions and answering yes, keep in mind that during the classical age (Greece/Rome) many people had such a strong belief in the Greek/Roman gods that they did not want to question it. It was Socrates and a few other scholars which actually did. Thus, while Rome was more advanced, do you think they may advance slower due to their religions? They did not have a Renaissance where everyone thought it was cool to gain knowledge and set religion aside.




posted on Aug, 13 2004 @ 04:08 PM
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I think the world would have to be an entirely different place for the roman empire not to fall. The roman empire was not that stable at all. Politically it wasn't very stable, which is the reason for the civil wars. Almost every emperor died due to violence. The roman empire also had a problem with the distribution of land. Almost all the land was owned by a few very rich nobiles and equites. That's what started the whole trouble with the populares and the optimates. In the last few centuries of the western roman empire there were large periods of chaos. Rome was not a perfect empire.

They also tried to control way too much land. I think they should have used the technique they used in gallia narbonensis in the rest of the empire. The richest and most powerful from the indigenous people of gallia narbonensis could get jobs in the roman administration and I believe there were even senators from gallia narbonensis.

However, I disagree with your point about the religions of Rome. Rome was not religiously strict. They had no problem with other religions, like the jews or sects like the Isis and Mithras culti, as long as they still payed their tribute to the Roman gods. The christians wouldn't do that and that, in combination with the fact that the christians became a large group, got the christians into trouble. The roman attitude towards gods is different from ours: do ut des, I do something so that you will do something.

It is my unproven opinion also that polytheistic religions are much more tolerant to other religions, because they can mix with and adapt to new religions much more easier than monotheistic religions.

There was no religious censorship I know of, like in christianity, and there were quite a few secularizing voices. In Epicurus' works the gods don't interfere with men at all. I believe it was Cicero that attacked the ancient art of predicting the future with the organs of animals, the flight of birds and the stars.



posted on Aug, 14 2004 @ 08:40 AM
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Sometimes stability is not good. The human race needs something to awake their habilities, even if this something is a war.

The Greeks allready knew how to make steam engines, but they had slaves, so there was not really a reason to make steam engines.

The situation could be compared, maybe, with the current situation in the USA. In another thread someone was hasking "what has happened to the US culture", or something like that.



posted on Aug, 14 2004 @ 09:10 AM
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I think if the massacre of two full Legions under the command of Publius Quinctilius Varus in 9 A.D. had not happened then i think that Europe would have been a very different place. After the Massacre by the united germanic tribes led by Arminius, who once served as an Officer in the Legions, Rome withdrew almost all her forces from Germanica there by allowing the Germanic Tribes to strike into Roman territory Centuries later when the Empire was at its weakest.
The Empire was always going to fall, of that i have no doubt, Riven by Political infighting and a sucession of failed Emperors and ultimataly split in two and destroyed.
But if the Empire had managed to push through and subdue the tribes then in the 4 centuries up until the Empire finally fell Roman culture and laws would have been absorbed by the Germanic peoples and perhaps the decent into the Middle Ages would not have happened.
But i think that the dark Ages after the Rule of Rome was inevitable. Rome was beset by enemies on all sides, not just the Germanic people but from forces on virtualy all her borders. I still think that the Dark Ages would have happened but perhaps if the Romans had not failed so utterly in Germanica then perhaps it wouldnt have been so bad.
As the Emporor was often heard to wail after the defeat " Damn you Publius Quinctilius Varus! Give me back my Legions! "



posted on Aug, 14 2004 @ 09:13 AM
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I don't think that the Roman Empire ever really fell.
Look at the way that we live today. It's almost identical.



posted on Aug, 14 2004 @ 09:15 PM
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Originally posted by ArMaP
Sometimes stability is not good. The human race needs something to awake their habilities, even if this something is a war.

The Greeks allready knew how to make steam engines, but they had slaves, so there was not really a reason to make steam engines.

The situation could be compared, maybe, with the current situation in the USA. In another thread someone was hasking "what has happened to the US culture", or something like that.


Where did you find the info that the Greeks were aware of steam power? I'd like to read up on that.



posted on Aug, 14 2004 @ 10:36 PM
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I Dont think the Roman Empire was totally destroyed it became the Roman Catholic Church, just my thoughts I have no proof



posted on Aug, 15 2004 @ 06:04 AM
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Originally posted by Blackout
Where did you find the info that the Greeks were aware of steam power? I'd like to read up on that.


It was Heron, from Alexandria, who made that first steam engine, more like a turbine.

You can read more here:

Heron of Alexandria



posted on Aug, 16 2004 @ 06:30 AM
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I would like to point out that advancement did not make a complite stop in europe, and certanly not elswere. significant advancement in farming land were made.

but even so, as the rise of the arabian empire expanded as far as spain, the general view of islam at the time was that the pursuit of knowlege was vital for undestanding the greatness of allah.
the main reason that we can read the works of the greeks is that they were translated to arabic and preserved in their liberaries.
the advancements in medicin were kept and percected, the arabian numbers that we used today were put in use and a couple of other stuff that I cant remember right now.

during the time as they were puched out of spain did a more conservative view of the koran become standard and europe could catch up....

[edit on 16-8-2004 by disturbence]



posted on Aug, 16 2004 @ 08:27 AM
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One of the things invented in the Middle Ages was the modern harness (for the horses
).

The original harness was put around the neck of the horse, and the change of position so the harness could rest on the horse's "shoulders" made a big difference in the strenght the horse could use and the time the horse could work.

Also from the Middle Ages was the use of 3 different fields in agriculture. The farmers planted 2 fields while the other was left to rest, so when this field was used again, the crops where better.

This 2 inventions changed a lot of the agriculture capacity of Europe.



posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 11:17 AM
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Originally posted by Blackout
As we all know, the Germanic tribes eventually toppled the Roman Empire.


While I wouldn't dispute that they were an inmportant contribution to the fall of the empire, I would definitly be wary of listing them as the main reason for it. The huns, for example, weren't germanic, neither were the alans and many other barbarian groups. Also, the danger of barbarians had allways been present, so other factors were important torwards the end of the empire too.


A shadow of its former glory,[...] the Byzantine Empire at its height never lived up to compete with the Roman Empire at


In terms of terrirtory of course, but I would say that the Byzantine Empire was very much advanced, socially culturally scientifically religiously and politically.


[quote\ Do you think that we would be more advanced today if the Roman Empire never fell thus plunging Europe into the Dark Ages?

I think that, overall, the history and civilization of europe as a whole would've very much resembled the history and civilization of the byzantine empire, had the roman empire continued.


They did not have a Renaissance where everyone thought it was cool to gain knowledge and set religion aside.


Keep in mind that the 'Renaissance' (meaning 'rebirth') was the 'rediscovery' of classical greek/roman/and arab texts on medecine, 'science', and philosophy.

It certainly is argueable that, without a period of 'loss', that the continued knowledge of these texts might not have lead to the 'enlightenment' and the modern world. The arab/islamic kingdoms certainly retained this classical knowledge, but it didn't result in their becomming hyperadvanced. As far as religion goes, in europe I think that greco-roman beleifs wouldn't have been very important, and that at the end of the empire there were more christians than greco-roman pagans of various sorts.


here is a link to a google newsgroup archive search on this subject in the group soc.history.what-if
makeashorterlink.com...

The subject is something that comes up everyonce in a while and the threads on it can be very informative.


sauron:
I Dont think the Roman Empire was totally destroyed it became the Roman Catholic Church


The Church and the Empire were two different organizations. The Pope was never an imperial official, and the church officials weren't either. Of course, later on, there might've been people who held offices in both. The RC Church certianly does carry over lots of stuff from the empire tho, such as the use of 'dioceses' and the like. But to say that the church is a continuation of the empire is a bit of a stretch, to say the least.



posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 12:02 PM
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The Roman empire as an entity might have fallen but it's legacy never really went away. Remember a lot of these barbarian warlords wanted a slice of the cake not to obliterate it. Lots of germanic peoples set about building thier societies on the foundations of the former empire and constructed similar models but along more primitive lines, this was especially so after the mass importation of christianity to the pagan tribes. Places like Ireland, which due to it's minimal contact with Rome might on first assumption have been thought of as the epitome of dark age celtic barbarity, was in fact a place of great learning and culture with highly enlightened laws such as the Brehon laws, and great monastic centres of learning, much of which it exported to dark age Europe. Where dark age/medieval society did not match up was in it's technological advances, of which the Islamic world had a far better grasp. Who knows though if a strictly Roman model had continued to apply we might still be in the process of dismantling slavery now as this was so central to the economy of the empire, so it might not have been all good.



posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 12:15 PM
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The Germanic Tribes were the primary outside force that contributed to the Fall of the Empire. I'm not saying they were the only ones: they just had the proximity to Rome proper. After the tribes began to unite( under the common name Alemanni), that's when the real trouble began. The Goths were harassing up and down the Danube, all the way to the Grecian Coast. The Persians began an offensive(in the 200's CE), and drove to Antioch. It was when the Romans began to employ the Germanic tribes as soldiers, that more problems began. They took what they learned of tactics back to their viallges( as noted by a previous poster), and later used it against Rome.



posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 12:25 PM
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Without the middle ages, we would have likely destroyed ourselves by now. Why? We likely would have advanced quicker, but it's doubtful our temperaments would have. Eventually (and likely sooner I'd argue...) we would be where we are now, with the power to destroy ourselves and our planet, but without the temperament that comes with societal evolution over time.

The middle ages was to society, what a bad day is in your life. It allows you to move ahead, being wary of repeating it, but ultimately making you stronger.


Intelligence and science were making no advancements whatsoever.


I wouldn't go that far... One of the prime advances was in architecture, such as the Gothic cathedrals. Techniques such as vaulting, buttressing, etc. were defined, and some of the art and architecture of the period is breathtaking to say the least. Many more underground advancements were made in medicine, and astronomy (they simply didn't go around announcing it) that formed the basis for more publicized work in the Renaissance later. There was also a keen interest in making books...most notably the bible, in illuminated manuscripts, etc.

Sorry if I'm a bit biased, it's one of my favorite periods of history...Men were men, women were ladies, honor meant something and was respected, etc.
It may have been one of our darker times, but that doesn't mean all was dark.....



posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 05:52 PM
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Originally posted by nathraq
After the tribes began to unite( under the common name Alemanni), that's when the real trouble began.


I don't recall ever hearing of all the german tribes uniting. The Alemanni are one particular tribe.


Again, I wouldn't argue that the germans weren't important, but keep in mind that not all barbarians were germans and that even the barbarians themselves don't appear to have been sufficient, on their own, to bring the empire down.

Personally, I would say that a major problem Roman society had was the withdrawl from public/secular life that seemed to affect so much of the populace. People literally stopped caring about what it meant to be 'Roman' and progressively lost interest in that society.

Also, consider the barbarians. They had allways been attacking the empire, and the empire had been able to withstand them. However, some have argued that, torwards the end, the general mode of dealing with invasions changed. Instead of using deterence to keep them from raidng the provinces in the first place, and having effective local forces to boot them out when they did invade, and then relentlessly pursuing them in their own territory on punitive expeditions to let them know that attacking the empire wasn't worth it, the empire started to 'centralize' its military strenght. Not centralize on an empire wide scale (ie hoarding legions in italy and sending them out from there) or even on the regional scale, but perhaps rather province wide. When the barbarians would attack, the public would hole itself up in the cities (which the german tribes especially had a hard time sacking, probably due to lack of effective seige equipment) and leave the countryside (with its towns and population) to the ravages of the invaders. The local militias/levess couldn't stop the barbarians, and the main line legions and auxillaries would require -time- to get to the problem zones, time in which the barbarians would leave with plenty of 'booty' and such.

So the people in the countryside must've been wondering, what exactly are they paying these taxes and submiting to military recruitment for?

Likewise, the imperial administration must've been wondering, why are we wasting troops and resources on backwards provincials, especially when they are needed in other areas.

So they pulled out, like in Britain. And by leaving, the barbarians were able to come in, and repeat the process for the next province, and ultimately were able to threaten Italy and Greece itself.

The Byzantine Empire, it must be remebered, was able to effectively deal with the babarians until, when, the 1400's no?

So, again, I agree with your point, that barbarians were a large part of the problem, but I personally think that the other issues are very interesting.



posted on Aug, 27 2004 @ 10:19 PM
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If the Roman Empire had not fallen we'd be behind in technology. The Roman Empire would have had to destroy or subdue the Germanic tribes, drive back the Huns, and have virtually no internal problems. With that happening, the Romans would have had no need for technological advancement. There would have been small leaps here and there, but, without the need for more advanced technology, the Romans would have stayed nearly the same. I am almost assured that electricity, modern weaponry, and many of the things we use today would have never been invented, though, maybe I'm cmpletely wrong. The Romans had medical techniques that we use today. The Romans had machinery that used pulleys and hydraulics, I believe. Society in Rome was close to our society.



posted on Aug, 27 2004 @ 10:35 PM
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There is a theory that no regime or dynasty can endure forever, for the simple reason that too much comfort mandatorily breeds complacency. By the time it fell in 1453, what was left of the thousand-year-old Byzantine empire was a bloated, corrupt and inefficient state. Which begs the question - what is the natural state of history, change or stability?

Unless the Roman Empire had found a way to achieve stability and a satisfactory and strong mode of government, I doubt it would have withstood the Muslim onslaught beginning with Spain in the early 8th century. Ultimately, it was Charles Martel, leader of the leaner and meaner Frankish kingdom, who stopped the Arabs at Poitiers in 732. We have to wonder also how the Roman Empire would have fared with the viking invasions of the 9th century, where even Charlemagne's successors failed to defend Europe...

Invasions aside... historians usually divide the Roman Empire in two periods - the latter period, starting somewhere in the 3rd century, is commonly called the "Lower Empire", and has a pejorative connotation attached to it. It's usually seen as wanting in terms of artistic and scientific achievements compared to the first period of the Roman Empire. In other words, by the 4th century the Roman Empire had attained a state where innovations and new thought had slowed to a trickle. So one has to wonder whether the Roman Empire enduring in this way would have changed anything.



posted on Sep, 13 2004 @ 01:52 PM
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The main reason why the Roman Empire fell was that there was that Rome itself had succumbed into decay caused by wealth. And Romans were squabbling while the barbarians were sacking the countryside. The Western Roman Empire had an unworthy emperor at the wrong time (400 AD) too. Also the Eastern Roman Empire (which became Vyzantine later) in order to get rid of the barbarian hordes (like the Goths and the Huns) bribed them in order to move out of its borders to the west.

However the Pope in Rome prevented many barbarian raids. And the (later called) Catholic church became soon the behind the scenes empire. The barbarians were converted to Christians and their kings had to be approved by the church. The church kept the knowledge (and science) locked in monasteries thus no real progress was made in many subjects. That's why the advancements from that age are the Goth Cathedrals (and the Vyzantine churches on the eastern Roman Empire). The Arabs later rediscovered the older knowledge and advanced it.



posted on Sep, 13 2004 @ 08:10 PM
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Originally posted by AndrewxaniaAlso the Eastern Roman Empire (which became Vyzantine later) in order to get rid of the barbarian hordes (like the Goths and the Huns) bribed them in order to move out of its borders to the west.


Actually they never identified themselves as the Byzantines. The term "Byzantine" was coined by historians for the sake of differentiation. The Byzantines at that time always labelled themselves as Romans
.



posted on Oct, 31 2004 @ 12:44 PM
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This is a background of [Eastern Roman|Byzantine] Empire.

Note: It is difficult to determine when exactly the Western Roman Empire ends and the Eastern Roman Empire begins; Diocletian split the Roman Empire into eastern and western halves for administrative purposes in 284. The state now commonly referred to as the Byzantine Empire was never known by that name in its own time. It was called the Roman Empire or, in later centuries, Romania. The term Byzantine Empire was invented and popularized by the 18th century French historian Montesquieu. Like many classicists of his time, he took pain to recognize that the Muslims destroyed Roman Empire. So he coined a new name Byzantine Empire, taken from Byzantium, the original name of the city of Constantinople (now it is called Istanbul). Also like other historians, clergy and politicians, he was greatly dismayed to see that the Muslims who follow the Koran, the divine book actually destroyed the Roman Empire and fulfilled Bible prophecy that says a divine stone will strike and destroyed Roman Empire. To acknowledge this historical fact is to acknowledge that The Koran is a divine book. This breaks their hearts. So instead of accepting the truth and change themselves, they coiled back into their own belief and changed the name Roman Empire to Byzantine Empire.



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