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Cheese Grits
Col. of Charleston Fan
Wherever I lay my hat is my home
Member since Apr 2012
35307 posts

Non athletic points to ponder thread
Since this is a Vanderbilt Board just a thread to discuss points of academic thoughts and ideas not related to sports.

With all the folks added to the board perhaps they have some interesting thoughts to pose or ponder.


Athanatos
Vanderbilt Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Sep 2010
7266 posts

re: Non athletic points to ponder thread
Not a "point to ponder," I suppose, but just an interesting article I was reading today.

quote:

The end of this lucky climate regime did not immediately, or in any simple deterministic sense, spell the doom of Rome. Rather, a less favorable climate undermined its power just when the empire was imperilled by more dangerous enemies—Germans, Persians—from without. Climate instability peaked in the sixth century, during the reign of Justinian. Work by dendro-chronologists and ice-core experts points to an enormous spasm of volcanic activity in the 530s and 540s CE, unlike anything else in the past few thousand years. This violent sequence of eruptions triggered what is now called the ‘Late Antique Little Ice Age,’ when much colder temperatures endured for at least 150 years. This phase of climate deterioration had decisive effects in Rome’s unravelling. It was also intimately linked to a catastrophe of even greater moment: the outbreak of the first pandemic of bubonic plague.


LINK /


Cheese Grits
Col. of Charleston Fan
Wherever I lay my hat is my home
Member since Apr 2012
35307 posts

re: Non athletic points to ponder thread
Weather really does affect stuff but a bigger part of Rome was internal decline. Seems most cultures are brought down by internal power struggles based on the self over the population as a whole. You have the guy who builds the empire by trade or conquest but eventually the decline comes when the folks at the top have the wrong folks whispering in their ear at court.

Last emperor of China never left the Forbidden City and listened to advisors wanting personal gain. When the country fell he had no clue about the rest of the empire as he had never seen it or the average citizen ever.


Athanatos
Vanderbilt Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Sep 2010
7266 posts

re: Non athletic points to ponder thread
I disagree as to the Eastern Roman Empire. The Justinian Roman Empire was flourishing until it was hit by plague and climate change. Then, very shortly thereafter, it and the Sassanid Empire were steamrolled by the Caliphate

As to the Western Roman Empire, i agree.


Cheese Grits
Col. of Charleston Fan
Wherever I lay my hat is my home
Member since Apr 2012
35307 posts

re: Non athletic points to ponder thread
I was speaking of the Western, as by your response you are correct.

As to the Eastern, I think as an empire they were more of a glorified city / state blessed with the trade advantage of a geographic moat (when moat is used in the business sense and not the castle sense). While climate would alter the end goods of trade the place and war deaths of a holy war would be difficult for most empires to withstand scarcity and resulting death is pretty established throughout world history.

I might think of the trade (with merchants and mixed races of trade) the Eastern Roman Empire reminds me a bit of is the power of Spain (and Portugal) as the gatekeeper empire of the New World trade.

Would you agree or disagree with this assessment?


Athanatos
Vanderbilt Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Sep 2010
7266 posts

re: Non athletic points to ponder thread
quote:

While climate would alter the end goods of trade the place and war deaths of a holy war would be difficult for most empires to withstand scarcity and resulting death is pretty established throughout world history.


Could you expound on this?

quote:

As to the Eastern, I think as an empire they were more of a glorified city / state blessed with the trade advantage of a geographic moat (when moat is used in the business sense and not the castle sense)


I think the Eastern Roman Empire existed as an entity in phases. First, as a subdivision of the Roman Empire as a whole under Diocletian. Second, as the seat of the entire empire under Constantine. Third, as a "coequal" but superior entity relative to the Western Roman Empire. In this phase, the Eastern Roman Empire was rich in trade, military prowess, art, etc. It had its flaws and its dips, but it was by no means a glorified city/state. It stretched from Bulgaria south to Sudan, from Libya east to Palmyra. It was huge, it was populous, and it was rich.I would say that this phase ran from the death of Constantine to the defeat of Valens at Adrianople. From that point on, the East and West were separate entities more and more until the fall of Rome to the Goths in 476 C.E.

During this phase, the Roman Empire in the West dwindled significantly, and the Eastern Roman Empire dwindled and lost various holdings. Then, Emperor Justinian expanded the Eastern Roman Empire again back into Italy, the western Balkans, Sicily, North Africa, etc. At this point, the Eastern Roman Empire was by no means the Roman Empire of the 2nd or even 4th centuries, but it was very large and a massive player in the Eastern Med./Middle East.

The climate change, demographic change, and plaques drastically diminished the strength of this empire as well as their Sassanid neighbors. Then, the Muslim expansion could not have come at a worse time for these empires. This was all still 350 years before the Crusades. The fact that the east survived the Umayyad Expansion was a testament to its strength. It was not until the loss at Manzikert to the Seljuk Turks that I would classify the East as a glorified city-state.
This post was edited on 5/9 at 7:39 pm


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