By Jonathan Theodore
This booklet investigates the ‘decline and fall’ of Rome as perceived and imagined in features of British and American tradition and inspiration from the past due 19th in the course of the early twenty-first centuries. It explores the ways that writers, filmmakers and the media have conceptualized this approach and the parallels they've got drawn, intentionally or unconsciously, to their modern global. Jonathan Theodore argues that the decline and fall of Rome isn't any basic historic truth, yet a ‘myth’ in phrases coined by way of Claude Lévi-Strauss, that means no longer a ‘falsehood’ yet a fancy social and ideological build. as an alternative, it represents the fears of eu and American thinkers as they confront the perceived instability and pitfalls of the civilization to which they belonged. the fabric collected during this booklet illustrates the price of this concept as a spatiotemporal concept, instead of a historical event – a story with its personal special ethical objective.
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Extra info for The Modern Cultural Myth of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
No other explanation is acceptable according to these parameters. Nor is any real attention paid to the Eastern Empire that survived another thousand years in some form. 72 The fall of Rome in the fifth century is the end of the Roman Empire, and, consequently, suggests the termination of Roman civilization as a whole. Such an analysis lends itself to being cast much more widely than a local historical concern. If the (Western) Roman Empire was not brought down due to the arrival of the Huns, or the loss of North Africa, or simple bad luck, but slowly rotted from the inside, then the lessons of its collapse may be transferrable to other empires, cultures and societies.
It is an ideologically charged approach to culture that adheres to certain implicit or overt maxims; namely, that HISTORIOGRAPHY, MYTH AND VISUAL CULTURE 37 Rome was decadent; that it declined and was destroyed by this inner weakness; and that the society, nation, culture, or civilization of the author is falling in the same direction. It is one with little academic precedent. 70 It is a usage reminiscent of the one here, though the remit is focused very selectively on the preservation of “higher” cultural ideals.
The process is described thus: In return for tax payments, the machinery of the state, military and legal, protected a relatively small landowning class from both outside enemies and internal ones. Because their dominance was based on landowning, these people were vulnerable. They could not up sticks should the imperial centre cease to be able to guarantee their security, so it is hardly surprising that they tended to ingratiate themselves with the rising barbarian powers. 48 The empire had a limited capacity to respond to multiple threats.
The Modern Cultural Myth of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Jonathan Theodore