Category:Decline and Fall

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When thinking about Rome, it is easy to see that something, and something very big indeed, was, but no longer is. Something that no longer is has clearly ended, so natural curiosity brings several rather obvious questions to mind. "When did it end?" and "Why did it end?" Asking and attempting to answer these questions has been an industry of writers and historians for a very long time.

Books

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. 1

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Edward Gibbon (Author), David P. Womersley (Contributor). (1996). Penguin Classics. ISBN 0140433937
Paperback. Includes first 2 original volumes.
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City of God

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Augustine of Hippo (Author), Henry Bettenson (Translator). (2003). Penguin Classics. ISBN 0140448942
Paperback
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The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization

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Bryan Ward-Perkins. (2006). Oxford. ISBN 0192807285
Paperback. Argues against the theory of Rome's "peaceful transformation".
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Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World

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G. W. Bowersock, Peter Brown (Eds.). (1999). Harvard Univ Press. ISBN 0674511735
Hardcover
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The Origins Of The Middle Ages: Pirenne's Challenge to Gibbon

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B. Lyon. (1971). W. W. Norton and Company, Inc.. ISBN 0393099938
Part of Norton's "Historical Controversies" series. Paperback.
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Mohammed and Charlemagne

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Henri Pirenne. (1937 (Dover Ed, 2001)). Dover Publications. ISBN 0486420116
Paperback
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One problem with these questions is the deceptive ease with which one can pose them. A much more difficult thing is to define what "Rome" means when we ask when or why "it" fell, or even to clearly state what "fall" means. "Rome" can mean the city itself, the governance of the city and the people in it, the larger cultural world the these people projected around them, the political structure that maintained a widespread system of taxation, communication and military defense, the large number of communities that came to function locally under that system and that were inspired or influenced by cultural influences flowing out from one or more centers, and many more possibilities. Terms such as "Rome" "the Republic" and "the Roman Empire" mask a degree of diversity and decentralization that is foreign to modern people. Furthermore, when something is and later is not, it begs the question to say that something "fell" until the idea of "change" has been fully explored. Learn more ...

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