CC 302
Lecture 23 Images
Updated 4/27/2011

Lecture 23: Decline and Fall

Quick recap:
Julian dies in 363
Theodosius I (379-395); 392: Christianity becomes the only recognized religion
395: formal division of empire into east and west
476: "Fall" of western Roman Empire
1453: Fall of eastern Roman empire

I. Two guiding perspectives

a. Edward Gibbon (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 6 vols., 1776-1788): "We should not be surprised
that the Empire fell but that it lasted so long."
b. Not fall, but transformation and change: Ravenna

Theoderic (A.D. 493-526); Justinian (A.D. 527-565); Baptisteries; Churches of San Vitale, San Apollinare,
San Apollinare in Classe

II. And three more

a. external vs. internal causes; Polybius (2nd cent. B.C.)
b. overkill: 210 reasons; Santayana; broad perspectives vs. narrow analogies
c. diversity: multiple causes, regional factors, cause and effect (e.g. population decline)

III. Some Specialist theories (among many others)

a. too much lead and you're dead
b. too much hot bathwater and you're sterilized

IV. Some historical theories

a. Oswald Spengler: The Decline of the West
b. Arnold Toynbee: challenge and response
c. Edward Gibbon: immoderate greatness
d. Paul Kennedy: imperial overstretch

V. Too many games and Rome fell: gladiators in perspective (cf. Course Packet, pp. 225-229)

a.  origins and development of games; some operative terms:
            pollice verso, missus, sine missione, ferrum recipere, habet!,

b.  equipment categories (e.g. Thracian, retiarius); balance of protective
            gear and vulnerability

c. the psychology behind it (Etruscans; cruel fathers; lack of expansionist wars, etc.);
                  affirmation of Roman values: courage, death defiance, clemency;
                  does viewing violence lead to violent behavior?

d. more fun yet: beast hunts and execution of criminals

e. Gladiator to the Max(imus): the essence of Roman civilization?

f. the real deal: chariot racing (cf. Course Packet 229-233); teams, owners, fans - cf. NFL
The alltime winner: Ben Hur

Tuesday: mini-lecture on parallels U.S/Rome; course evaluation (please bring #2 pencils); review session
Thursday: Exam #3. That's our last exam; ignore the notice on Blackboard.