Fall of Rome

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The Legacy of Rome

During the period of time between 100 and 600 A.D., the Roman Empire experienced both cultural and political changes. Even after the western half fell because of internal collapse, immorality, and Germanic invasions, Rome’s culture and government was preserved in the Byzantine Empire and eventually carried on into modern society.

One notable change in the culture of Rome includes the adoption of Christianity. The Roman Empire was originally polytheistic, but over time the Romans accepted Christianity. This event was a major revival for believers as Roman officials had once persecuted the Christians. Eventually, Christianity even became the standard religion of Rome. St. Augustine, who was a bishop of a North African city called Hippo, became an influential leader in Rome. He was enlightened by Hellenistic philosophy and Manichaeism, one of the “mystery religions” that intrigued Roman society and taught other about his thoughts and about Christianity. As well as cultural change, there was also political demise.

Despite the authority and strong leadership of the emperor, there was a loss of loyalty within the Empire of Rome, which ultimately led to political corruption. Because of the lack of centralized control, others saw a chance to seize power. This led to “barracks emperors,” who were usually former generals who presented their legion as the “emperor’s army.” They held their rule only for a short time until other rivals defeated them. In 395 B.C., the emperor Diocletian attempted to solve the issue at hand by dividing the empire into two parts, the east and the west. Diocletian appointed a coemperor of each region as well as a personal lieutenant to rule over the empire. The four officials were called tetrarchs. The change that Diocletian brought about was his control of imperial forces and attempting to strengthen the economy. His son, Constantine, established the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire at...
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