Wednesday, December 30, 2020


Explanations for the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Bryan Ward-Perkins, The Fall of Rome and the End of Civiization (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 32-33, with note on p. 195 (click image once  or twice to enlarge):
3.1 A list of 210 reasons, from A to Z, that have been suggested, at one time or another, to explain the decline and fall of the Roman empire.

'Anarchy, Anti-Germanism, Apathy ... Bankruptcy, Barbarization, Bathing ...'—a German scholar recently produced a remarkable and fascinating list of the 210 explanations of the fall of the Roman empire that have been proposed over the centuries (Fig. 3.1).1 In German they sound even better, and certainly more portentous: Hunnensturm, Hybris, Hyperthermia, moralischer Idealismus, Imperialismus, Impotenz. (For those who are intrigued, Hyperthermia, brought about by too many visits to overheated baths, could cause Impotenz.)

1. A. Demandt, Der Fall Roms: Die Auflösung der römischen Reiches im Urteil der Nachwelt (Munich, 1984).
For an English translation of the list see here.

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