Showing posts with label Rome. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rome. Show all posts

Saturday, July 13, 2013

History mystery: The Fall of Rome

Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor did it crumble in a day. In a sense, the empire had begun to fall as soon as it began to rise. History has attributed Rome’s downfall to numerous causes, not the least of which was the relentless pressure exerted by barbarian tribes along its frontiers. From the time of its founding, Rome had successfully repelled myriad attackers and, by the 2nd century AD, the security of its European borders required little military effort. But this was not to last. When those many Vandals, Huns, and miscellaneous ruffians began arriving in ever greater numbers, Rome was growing smaller and weaker, making defense decidedly more difficult. Stretching from northern England to the Middle East, the Roman Empire fluctuated in extent but it always encompassed the Mediterranean, which the Romans called mare nostrum (“our sea”). But Rome found that the gigantic and extraordinary empire it had so successfully created was too unwidely to administer and protect. Its size awakened ambitious dreams of power in megalomaniacal generals and senators who waged wasteful internal wars to gain imperial control. Until the late 2nd century AD, the smooth succession emperors had ensured the stability of the empire. But this golden age ended with the death of the emperor and stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius (161- 180 AD), who bequeathed the throne to his foolish son Commodius, whose assassination provoked a civil war. The Roman legions proclaimed their candidates as successors, but Septimius Severus, the commander of the largest battalions, was the winner. During his reign (193-211 AD), he diminished Rome as the imperial center and initiated a military despotism. His campaigns secured the imperial borders, and his last years were spent fighting in Britain. After his death at Eborcum (present-day York), the empire passed to his relatives, notable for their cruel and dissolute behavior. The last of his successors was assassinated in 235 AD. There followed three decades of anarchy as one emperor after another briefly came to power. The army chose an emperor for benefits he might bestow. His short reign was spent fighting his rivals, and his life ended in battle or at the hands of his erstwhile supporters. These struggles weakened imperial authority, bankrupted the empire, and left the frontiers poorly defended. In Western Europe, barbarians crossed the Rhine, overran Gaul, and penetrated as far as Spain and Italy. In the East, they invaded the Balkans and Turkey, while the rival Persian Empire conquered Armenia. After 270 AD, Rome crushed al rebels, rivals, and barbarians, restoring unity in the empire. But the military was not what it had been. The troops, firmly rooted in their provincial bases, were reluctant to serve elsewhere. The emperor’s presence was required to maintain his authority with his troops and, at the same time, he was expected to fight barbarians all along the frontier from England to Egypt. To ease this burden, the Emperor Diocletein (284-305 AD) divided the empire into eastern and western sectors, each with its own emperor, and in 285 AD moved the western capital to Milan to be closer to the northern frontier. So began the empire’s internal breakup. In 330 AD, Constantine, a Christian convert, made a Turkish city founded by Greeks, Byzantium, the East’s capital. Rebuilt by Constantine, the city was renamed Constantinople. Constantine’s new faith quickly took root and, despite religious disputes, strengthened a state destined to survive a thousand years more. In the Western Sector, the collapse of the military and financial systems was more damaging than the barbarian threat. Diocletian, seeking to reestablish the currency, ordered balanced budgets and higher taxes. When defense spending outran revenues, the government devalued the coinage to hide the deficit. The resulting inflation destroyed the government’s credit and crippled its power. When Diocletian moved the capital to Milan, Rome became provincial backwater. With the division of the empire, Rome lost the wealth of the East, which flowed instead to Constantinople. As trade and industry dwindled away, people reverted to subsistence living. Towns were abandoned. Wealthy townspeople, weary of taxes and martial law, retreated to country estates. Impoverished rural folk left their own small farms to find work on these estates or in the fortified, if increasingly empty, towns. By the late 4th century, many barbarians had converted to Christianity. At the same time, barbarian turmoil beyond Rome’s frontiers drove Visigoths, Vandals, and others to seek sanctuary within the empire, where they were permitted to settle. As a defensive measure, the Romans employed the new arrivals as mercenaries, and barbarian generals soon assumed military and political control. In 402 AD, Rome’s army led by Stilicho the Vandal beat back the Visigoths’ invasion of Italy.

But when Stilicho was murdered by the Emperor Honorius, the Visigoths poured in unopposed, demanding land and subsidies. Rome’s refusal to negotiate signaled its ruin. The Visigoths besieged the walled city, where plague and famine had already run rampant through the citizenry. Finally, in August 410 AD, the Visigoths, with help from slaves within the city, marched through its gates. Their sack of Rome was mild, almost respectful. But it dimmed Rome’s prestige, and the city became prey for more ruthless barbarians. The year 476 is usually given as the date for the fall of the Roman Empire. In that year, the barbarian general Odoacer deposed the last western emperor and, refusing to acknowledge the power of the emperor in the East, proclaimed himself King of Italy. The event passed almost unnoticed.

By this time, the regions in the West had been swallowed up by belligerent barbarians. Rome – often called “the eternal city” – revived, of course, and survives in much of its glory. In the Dark Ages, the Papacy established its importance as a spiritual center, and Roman ruins and monuments that include the Pantheon – a church for 1,000 years – now dominate the cityscape. In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Rome’s citizens recycled stones and statues from ancient structures to build beautiful palaces and churches. Whither Rome today? At the beginning of the 21st century, the city is engaged in a massive effort to renovate its ancient structures, piazzas, and multifaceted treasures. When the scaffolding is pulled down, Rome may be revealed as the true caput mundi – the head of the world – if not in power, then certainly in splendor.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

History mystery: The Rise Of Rome

Romans believed their city originated with gods and heroes, But what were the real origins of its greatness? Ancient Rome gloried in its mythic origins. According to legend, the city was founded in 753 BC by twin brothers, Romulus, and Remus, offspring of the god Mars and a vestal virgin named Sylvia. A villainous usurpet threw the twins in the River Tiber, but they were washed ashore and cared for by a she-wolf. After many vicissitudes, the twins were returned to their grandfather.

Later, Romulus killed Remus in a dispute over the best site for a settlement, then established the city that still bears his name. Seven centuries later, Virgil adapted another legend about Rome’s origins for his epic poem The Aeneid. It told the story of Aeneas, who fled from Troy after it had been destroyed by the Greeks. Aeneas’s adventurous wanderings led him to Italy, where he received a prophetic vision of Roman history from the spirit of this dead father, Anchises.

Aeneas’s mother was the goddess Venus, and he was a forebear of Romulus and Remus. Virgil’s version of this story satisfied Rome’s dream of a link with the divine world. It was also a paean to the Emperor Augustus and the newly created Roman Empire. In reality, Rome had humble beginnings. About 1000 BC, herdsmen settled in the region of present-day Rome. By the 7th century BC, their settlements combined into larger communities, of which Rome became the dominant center. At his time, the city fell under the benign control of Italy’s chief power, the Etruscans, whose culture and language had a vital impact on the city. Greek culture, also introduced by the Etruscans, cast an even more enduring spell over the Romans.

 Despite these influences, Rome developed its own institutions. In 509 BC, the Romans created a republican form of government that lasted 500 years. The early Republic preserved the Romans’ simple rural way of life. Unlike their neighbors, they were a hard-working people who resisted the corrupting effects of ease and luxury. Their disciplined attitude helped them to assert control over the weaker states in the rest of Italy. In a conflict over Sicily, Rome clashed with the North African power Carthage, waging intermittent warfare with the Carthaginians from 264 to 146 BC. 

The worst time came when invading Carthaginians, led by Hannibal, wreaked havoc throughout Italy. But Rome would survive, crush Carthage, and gain control of the western Mediterranean. The Republic was initially controlled by the Patricians (aristocrats). But the Plebians (commoners) acquired their own elected leaders. The plebian leaders were discredited after their defeats during the Carthaginian invasions, and patrician generals, who saved Rome, took over as political leaders.

The Senate, which made the republican system work, retained the right to appoint generals, but found it best to have these bellicose commanders fighting wars abroad in order to avoid conflict in Rome. With its relentless war machine, Rome conquered Greece and the eastern Mediterranean, and its boundaries soon stretched from Egypt to the English Channel. Fabulous plunder poured into the capital, but its effect was disastrous: It opened up a vast gap between rich and poor. Troubles grew as the Republic gave way to civil strife and military dictatorship.

Julius Caesar seized power, but his plans to reorganize the government alarmed the Senate. The assassination of Caesar by a senatorial clique in 44 BC was supposed to bring about a return to republican government. Instead, it sparked a civil war, in which Caesar’s adopted son, Augustus, triumphed. Although he kept some republican forms, he set up an empire with himself as emperor in 27 BC. As foretold in The Aeneid, Augustus gave Rome peace – a despotic peace – which lasted two centuries. When it ended in the late 2nd century AD, Rome’s decline and downfall began.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Rome, Was theKing Nero arsonist or any other ideal suspects?

Mid night of July 18 or19 in 64BC a great fire broke out in the capital city Rome. It raged for several days and nights. The flame consumed 40,000 blocks of apartments; 132villas all belonged to the Nobles of Roman Emperor even a major part of the Emperor’s palace and many shrines and temples were burnt in to ashes.

When the fire broke out the Roman Emperor Nero was not in the capital city. Later he returned to the capital and had taken the emergency measures like temporary shelters for the homeless, supplies of food and supply of Wheat for the fair prize. The Romans were deeply hurtled by the catastrophe and held ceremonies of penance to appease the Gods.

There was a great mystery surrounded the real cause of the fire. Some suggested that was an accident because of in adequate town planning. There was no proper plan adapted to the expansion the seven hill city that expanded beyond the hills. The poor construction methods also another major reason for the rapid spread of the fire. Apart from these reasons the metropolis was over populated.

During 470-427 BC the speculation the real estate fuelled by high rents, had compounded the problem of over crowing.

Not surprisingly the fire occurred more frequently and that too spread easily, as the houses were built very close together. Cooking even done in the open, fire places and the families used pans filled charcoal for heating, those increased the risk of fire. Many houses adjoined temples and the roofs rested on thick wooden beams.

Hanging over all this was the unbalanced personality of the Emperor Nero. He was described as the tyrant, eccentric king. He had a long track of evil deeds. He got only murdered his mother and his wife. These give the ground for suspicion. Many people doubted him as the reason behind the fire.

The emperor had a great passion for the theatre leads the rumors that he wanted an opportunity to sing a poem about the burning of Troy. By coincidence the fire cleaned the land that Nero needed to build his golden palace ,of which hardly anything remains today.

The colonnade was built 1.5 Km length. He laid the responsibility at the Christians the minority people. It was easy to blame Christians because they were small in number and they were poor and they were poor and they were considered as foreigners by the Romans .The Christianity was banned in Rome but it was practiced secretly the fire gave the Emperor a good opportunity to prosecute the Christians to divert the peoples opinion in his favor.

The Christians were cruelly killed and made to torn in to pieces by the wild animals in the arenas, nailed them to the cross or set alight as living torches to illuminate the emperors garden at night.

Still the question of guilt was not completely settled. Not only the peoples belongings but also Nero’s palace also was badly damaged. The symbol of Imperial power” THE CIRCUS MAXIMUS” was reduced to rubble. After this great disaster the next coming emperors followed the Urban planning to minimize the risk of another fire.

A Costly Lesson Indeed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!