The Decay Of Ancient Civilization By Michael Rostovtzeff And Mohammed And Charlemagne By Henri Pirenne

The Decay Of Ancient Civilization By Michael Rostovtzeff And Mohammed And Charlemagne By Henri Pirenne

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This assignment is both a comparison and an analysis of two essays; The Decay of Ancient Civilization written by Michael Rostovtzeff and Mohammed and Charlemagne by Henri Pirenne. The two essays offer varying perspectives on the fall of the Roman Empire and more specifically the transition between late antiquity to the beginning of the middle ages. The collapse of the Roman Empire is generally known to have concluded through one particular event; the sack of the great city of Rome. Although both essays give different accounts as the eventual collapse of the Roman Empire entails more than the “Barbaric” invasion as they further delve into from different perspectives. When further examining the Historiography and perception of the Authors we get a much different outlook and it allows us to understand why the historic event was viewed in this way from their eyes.

Michael Rostovtzeff views the fall of the Roman Empire as having two aspects; the economic, social, and political facets of the Roman Empire as well as the intellectual and spiritual aspects. He explains that the deterioration of Ancient Rome had occurred particularly because of occurrences happening in the Western empire which he referred to as “barbarization from within” by the Sarmatian and German invasion. Before the invasion by the barbarians Rostovtzeff points out that social systems in the cities were slowly crumbling as the social systems within many of the roman cities had begun deteriorating along with the roman way of life after the barbarian influence. Rostovtzeff often refers to “the masses” which is ultimately the lower class as he explains began to be engulfed by the “barbarism” which decayed the sensibility of the masses and society which was the backbone...


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...factor during the early medieval period. Due to Pirenne’s outlook on the Germans he ignored the effect that the Germanic powers had during their invasion of ancient Rome but rather he substituted their influence by focusing on the Greco-roman world and the conquests of the Moslems.
Rostovtzeff and Pirenne’s essays do not directly conflict with each other, however when examined in comparison there is clear dissension within their individual perspectives. Clearly when reviewing the historiography and the lives of both authors we can see how each of their lives had affected their general outlook but also through the opinions of their work. Both were reviewing the same historical moment but had such varying and different opinions on the causes. Noticeably the occurrences in their personal lives had a direct effect on their historical outlooks when reviewing their essays.

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