The fall of the Roman empire and the rise of Islam | Books | The Guardian
In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the city of Rome in . The Etruscans apparently lost power by the late 6th century BC, and at this point, the original Latin and Sabine .. Augustus intended to extend the Roman Empire to the whole known world, and in his reign, Rome conquered . Apr 29, The Roman invasion of Britain is an old, old story. than the Romans who first marched into this unexplored world? in years of Roman occupation, Britain never truly lost its identity as a military frontier province? armour, leaving them in no state to meet the local warriors who were waiting for them. Mar 30, Yet it is a curious feature of the transformation of the Roman world into . the fall of the Roman empire, even a millennium and a half on, had lost . What happened and what might have happened swirl, and meet, and merge.
Meanwhile, social and economic stresses continued to build; Rome had become a metropolis with a super-rich aristocracy, debt-ridden aspirants, and a large proletariat often of impoverished farmers. The latter groups supported the Catilinarian conspiracy — a resounding failure, since the consul Marcus Tullius Cicero quickly arrested and executed the main leaders of the conspiracy. Onto this turbulent scene emerged Gaius Julius Caesarfrom an aristocratic family of limited wealth.
His aunt Julia was Marius' wife,  and Caesar identified with the populares. To achieve power, Caesar reconciled the two most powerful men in Rome: Marcus Licinius Crassuswho had financed much of his earlier career, and Crassus' rival, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus anglicized as Pompeyto whom he married his daughter. He formed them into a new informal alliance including himself, the First Triumvirate "three men".
This satisfied the interests of all three: Crassus, the richest man in Rome, became richer and ultimately achieved high military command; Pompey exerted more influence in the Senate; and Caesar obtained the consulship and military command in Gaul. The Triumvirate disintegrated at Crassus' death. Crassus had acted as mediator between Caesar and Pompey, and, without him, the two generals manoeuvred against each other for power.
Caesar conquered Gaulobtaining immense wealth, respect in Rome and the loyalty of battle-hardened legions. He also became a clear menace to Pompey and was loathed by many optimates. Confident that Caesar could be stopped by legal means, Pompey's party tried to strip Caesar of his legions, a prelude to Caesar's trial, impoverishment, and exile.Did Han China and Roman Legionaries Clash?
Pompey and his party fled from Italy, pursued by Caesar. The Battle of Pharsalus was a brilliant victory for Caesar and in this and other campaigns he destroyed all of the optimates' leaders: Caesar was now pre-eminent over Rome, attracting the bitter enmity of many aristocrats.
He was granted many offices and honours. In just five years, he held four consulships, two ordinary dictatorships, and two special dictatorships: Soon afterward, Octaviuswhom Caesar adopted through his will, arrived in Rome. Octavian historians regard Octavius as Octavian due to the Roman naming conventions tried to align himself with the Caesarian faction.
This alliance would last for five years. Upon its formation, — senators were executed, and their property was confiscated, due to their supposed support for the Liberatores.
The Second Triumvirate was marked by the proscriptions of many senators and equites: However, Lucius was pardoned, perhaps because his sister Julia had intervened for him.
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Lepidus was given charge of AfricaAntony, the eastern provinces, and Octavian remained in Italia and controlled Hispania and Gaul. Antony's affair with Cleopatra was seen as an act of treason, since she was queen of another country. Additionally, Antony adopted a lifestyle considered too extravagant and Hellenistic for a Roman statesman.
Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide. Now Egypt was conquered by the Roman Empire, and for the Romans, a new era had begun. Empire — the Principate Main article: In that year, he took the name Augustus.
The proximity of the sea tempted the Greeks to range far and wide exploring it, but the fact of their living on islands or on peninsulas or in valleys separated by mountains on the mainland confined the formation of states to small areas not easily accessible from other parts. This fateful individualism in political development was also a reflection of the Hellenic temperament. Though it prevented Greece from becoming a single unified nation that could rival the strength of the Middle Eastern monarchies, it led to the evolution of the city-state.
This was not merely a complex social and economic structure and a centre for crafts and for trade with distant regions; above all it was a tightly knit, self-governing political and religious community whose citizens were prepared to make any sacrifice to maintain their freedom.
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Colonies, too, started from individual cities and took the form of independent city-states. Fusions of power occurred in the shape of leagues of cities, such as the Peloponnesian Leaguethe Delian Leagueand the Boeotian League.
The efficacy of these leagues depended chiefly upon the hegemony of a leading city Sparta, Athens, or Thebesbut the desire for self-determination of the others could never be permanently suppressed, and the leagues broke up again and again. The Hellenes, however, always felt themselves to be one people. They were conscious of a common character and a common language, and they practiced only one religion.
Furthermore, the great athletic contests and artistic competitions had a continually renewed unifying effect. The Hellenes possessed a keen intellect, capable of abstraction, and at the same time a supple imagination.
They developed, in the form of the belief in the unity of body and soul, a serene, sensuous conception of the world. Their gods were connected only loosely by a theogony that took shape gradually; in the Greek religion there was neither revelation nor dogma to oppose the spirit of inquiry.
The Hellenes benefited greatly from the knowledge and achievement of other countries as regards astronomy, chronologyand mathematics, but it was through their own native abilities that they made their greatest achievements, in becoming the founders of European philosophy and science. Their achievement in representative art and in architecture was no less fundamental.
Their striving for an ideal, naturalistic rendering found its fulfillment in the representation of the human body in sculpture in the round. Another considerable achievement was the development of the pillared temple to a greater degree of harmony.
Ancient Rome - Wikipedia
The parabola of Asimov's narrative closely follows that of Gibbon. Plenipotentiaries visit imperial outposts for the last time; interstellar equivalents of Frankish or Ostrogothic kingdoms sprout on the edge of the Milky Way; the empire, just as its Roman precursor had done under Justinian, attempts a comeback.
Most intriguingly of all, in the second novel of the series, we are introduced to an enigmatic character named the Mule, who emerges seemingly from nowhere to transform the patterns of thought of billions, and conquer much of the galaxy. Parallels with the tales told of Muhammad are self-evident in a second great epic of interstellar empire, Frank Herbert's Dune.
A prophet arises from the depths of a desert world to humiliate an empire and launch a holy war — a jihad. Herbert's hero, Paul Atreides, is a man whose sense of supernatural mission is shadowed by self-doubt. Without ever quite intending it, he founds a new religion, and launches a wave of conquest that ends up convulsing the galaxy.
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In the end, we know, there will be "only legend, and nothing to stop the jihad". There is an irony in this, an echo not only of the spectacular growth of the historical caliphate, but of how the traditions told about Muhammad evolved as well. Ibn Hisham's biography may have been the first to survive — but it was not the last. As the years went by, and ever more lives of the Prophet came to be written, so the details grew ever more miraculous.
Fresh evidence — wholly unsuspected by Muhammad's earliest biographers — would see him revered as a man able to foretell the future, to receive messages from camels, and to pick up a soldier's eyeball, reinsert it, and make it work better than before.
The result was yet one more miracle: Herbert's novel counterpoints snatches of unreliable biography — in which Paul has become "Muad'Dib", the legendary "Dune Messiah" — with the main body of the narrative, which reveals a more secular truth. Such, of course, is the prerogative of fiction. Nevertheless, it does suggest, for the historian, an unsettling question: Nor is it only western scholars who are prone to asking this — so too, for instance, are Salafists, keen as they are to strip away the accretions of centuries, and reveal to the faithful the full unspotted purity of the primal Muslim state.
But what if, after all the cladding has been torn down, there is nothing much left, beyond the odd receipt for sheep? That Muhammad existed is evident from the scattered testimony of Christian near-contemporaries, and that the Magaritai themselves believed a new order of time to have been ushered in is clear from their mention of a "Year 22". But do we see in the mirror held up by Ibn Hisham, and the biographers who followed him, an authentic reflection of Muhammad's life — or something distorted out of recognition by a combination of awe and the passage of time?
The deepest of all, perhaps, is the one that settled over the one-time province of Britannia. Around AD, at the same time as Ibn Hisham was drawing up a list of nine engagements in which Muhammad was said personally to have fought, a monk in the far distant wilds of Wales was compiling a very similar record of victories, 12 in total, all of them attributable to a single leader, and cast by their historian as indubitable proof of the blessings of God.
The name of the monk was Nennius; and the name of his hero — who was supposed to have lived long before — was Arthur. The British warlord, like the Arab prophet, was destined to have an enduring afterlife. The same centuries which would see Muslim historians fashion ever more detailed and loving histories of Muhammad and his companions would also witness, far beyond the frontiers of the caliphate, the gradual transformation of the mysterious Arthur and his henchmen into the model of a Christian court.
The battles listed by Nennius would come largely to be forgotten: The ideal was to prove a precious one — so much so that to this day, there remains a mystique attached to the name of Camelot. Nor was the world of Arthur the only dimension of magic and mystery to have emerged out of the shattered landscape of the one-time Roman empire. The English, the invaders against whom Arthur was supposed to have fought, told their own extraordinary tales. Gawping at the crumbling masonry of Roman towns, they saw in it "the work of giants".
These stories, in turn, were only a part of the great swirl of epic, Gothic and Frankish and Norse, which preserved in their verses the memory of terrible battles, and mighty kings, and the rise and fall of empires: Most of these poems, though, like the kingdoms that were so often their themes, no longer exist. They are fragments, or mere rumours of fragments. The wonder-haunted fantasies of post-Roman Europe have themselves become spectres and phantasms. The Lord of the Rings may not be an allegory of the fall of the Roman empire, but it is shot through with echoes of the sound and fury of that "awful scene".