The Decline Of The Roman Empire

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The decline of the Roman Empire marked an end to an age of peace and prosperity. Between the years 121 AD to 161 AD, Roman society was ruled under the “five good emperors” Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antonius Pius, and Marcus Aurelius. Embodied with a wealth of wisdom and competence, the emperors brought Rome to its height of territorial expansion and stability. As the third century rolled around, the empire succumbed to a state of chaos and instability. Under the rule of the barrack emperors, Roman society was weakened by the greed and corruption of the leaders, as well by the ineffective public policy that was implemented. Aside from internal affairs, Rome also struggled with foreign pressures. Having one of the longest borders in history,…show more content…
Aside from his discussion on the details surrounding the fall of the empire, Gibbon also ties in the causes to the decline of learning and genius during this period. It was a time when “a cloud of critics, of compilers, of commentators, darkened the face of learning, and the decline of genius was soon followed by the corruption of taste (Gibbon, 64).” Since the transition from the old Republic to the new empire, learning thrived throughout the land. Following the death of Mark Antony in 30 B.C., Octavian took control of the Senate and became Imperator, Augustus, and Principate. He held both political and divine power. More importantly, under the rule of Octavian we see the flourishing of literature, art and intellectual life. Having advanced communication and travel, the Romans were able to send letters and classical texts throughout different geographical regions. We witness a diffusion of Greek and Roman culture that would help to expand scientific, literate, and even philosophic thought as understood by the people. The Augustus age, spanning from 43 B.C to 18 A.D, signified a “golden age of literature”. As Gibbon describes it, “Homer as well as Virgil were transcribed and studied on the banks of the Rhine and Danube (Gibbon, 63). The contributions of earlier intellectual thinkers, such as Aristotle and Plato diffused all throughout Roman society. As the Phil-Hellenist movement heightened the awareness of Greek

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