Roman Empire Decline
Eastern Roman Empire aptly named the Byzantine Empire had already lost most of the far Eastern lands by the 8th century to the advancing Turk’s and it looked as if it was going to be annihilated (The high middle age, P. 432). This was not to be as the Empire, in many forms and as many rulers, held on for close to another quarter half Millennia.
There were many differences between the Eastern and Western parts of the Roman Empire, even before the sub division of the Empire for ease of administration. While the East was more sophisticated, the west was still arcane. The Eastern part of the Roman Empire had come across civilization in the past while the western part was composed of barbaric tribes that roamed the western part of the world, raiding and massacring (Nelson Para 4).
Again, the Eastern past of the Roman Empire consisted of mainly urbanized populations which were easier to control as opposed to the rural population of the Westerners. The issue of harmonic cohabiting or being under one power, or being subjugated to one ruler was one new to the Westerners whose life was based on constant expansionism. The westerners shared neither language nor culture which made for them to unite.
Another factor that led to the lasting of the Eastern Roman Empire was the fact that Constantinople was located on trade routes that served the Eastern and western parts. The fact that it was a heavily fortified City meant there was always wealth coming in the City to sustain it and the more it flourished.
Constant jostling for power by the Romans translated to a sense of anarchy among the people (Gibbon et al Pg 280). From the East the Persian kept attacking the Romans, making it hard for them to concentrate on keeping the Western part of the Empire under rule (Heather, P. 386).
The Greek way of life, their approach to daily life had an impact on the Roman Empire that was to last for Centuries. While the Romans were the conquerors, the Greeks had pride in their knowledge and festivals that were hard to ignore and the Romans had to emulate this proud people, and for close to a thousand years (Kreis Para 2). By complementing each other the two produced a school of thought that can only be termed as classic.
The fall of the Eastern Empire came as the result of not only the invading Turks from the East but the expanding Western Europe. People were moving from West to the Holy land and with expanding populations while others sought new adventure in far off lands was a contributing factor.
With Christianity entrenching itself in the west, the Papacy sought to consolidate power by either annihilating the Eastern Roman Empire of assimilating it and when the chance came, in the form of Crusading, the Eastern Roman Empires die was cast. Marauding westerners and raiding Turks sealed the final bolt that was to bring an end to the long reign of the Eastern Roman Empire.
Historians claim that Constantinople didn’t do enough to save the western Empire, same as the western powers never did to save the Eastern Empire in the end. The end of the Roman Empire ushered in a new force, that of Christianity and the powers the Papacy allied itself with.
- “Eastern Roman Empire.” Search.com. 2010. 04 May 2010. http://www.search.com/reference/Eastern_Roman_Empire.
- Gibbon, Edward and Milman Hart H. The History of the Decline and the fall of the Roman Empire. Claxton, Remsen, & Haffelfinger. 1868. 04 May. 2010. http://books.google.co.ke/books?id=zZ8LAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=fall+of+the+roman+empire&cd=4#v=onepage&q&f=false
- Heather, Peter. The fall of the Roman Empire: a new History of the Romans and the Barbarians. Oxford, Oxford University Press. 2006. 04 May. 2010. http://books.google.co.ke/books?id=wCOJfTB7HtgC&printsec=frontcover&dq=fall+of+the+roman+empire&source=bl&ots=JMFb39sYit&sig=yWQW1ivt_Izs2s5GSJwnnt1ceWE&hl=en&ei=vvPfS5qREozc7AOR6YH1BA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CBcQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false .
- Kreis, Steven. “The rise and fall of Rome: Lectures on ancient and medieval European History:” The History Guide. 2006. 04 May 2010. http://www.historyguide.org/ancient/lecture14b.html.
- Nelson, Lynn H. “The Roman Empire at Its Height.” Lectures for a Medieval Survey. 1999. 04 May 2010. http://www.the-orb.net/textbooks/nelson/roman_empire.html.