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When Did Rome Fall?


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There's something so incongruous about the ultra-modern butting up against the ultra-ancient. Like, I can handle seeing a McDonalds in London right by a building from the 18th century, but when you start reaching into millennia, it feels somehow disrespectful.

The first time I visited Rome, I was surprised to see a MacDonald's opposite the Pantheon.

And the best view of the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphynx was from the Pizza Hut by the car park.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
There's something so incongruous about the ultra-modern butting up against the ultra-ancient. Like, I can handle seeing a McDonalds in London right by a building from the 18th century, but when you start reaching into millennia, it feels somehow disrespectful.

Rome doesn't have much of a choice in the matter. 1800 year old structures are littered all over the place. They can't have a city if they can't put modern stuff next to it...
 

There's something so incongruous about the ultra-modern butting up against the ultra-ancient. Like, I can handle seeing a McDonalds in London right by a building from the 18th century, but when you start reaching into millennia, it feels somehow disrespectful.

I have the opposite reaction: it is part of the local environment. We aren't nearly as ancient in terms of architecture but here in New England we have a lot of old houses, old buildings, right up next to modern ones. It is just part of our history. If you go to Italy, Rome is part of the history and there is going to be a blending between ancient and modern. It can also be very artificial to create boundaries around this stuff. We have places like that in New England as well (lots of places have an 'old town' section). They are fun, and very touristy but there is also something not quite real about them.
 

Jmarso

Adventurer
476 is accepted as the 'official' historical date, but the truth is that it was a long, painful process that began with the fall of the Republic and rise of Empire all the way through to the Renaissance. I've actually read Gibbon's 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' from start to finish, and it is a morass I wouldn't wish on anyone else. 4 months worth of reading time I wish I could have back. Not recommended, mostly because its a sad tale of generation after generation repeating the mistakes of their forebears.
 

Cities, perforce, must have the old and the new rubbing elbows. And there's some charm to that, absolutely. But I have no love for chain restaurants, and find them generally an intrusive blight. One that is all the more evident when situated opposite a church that's been in the same spot for 500 years.

Rome doesn't have much of a choice in the matter. 1800 year old structures are littered all over the place. They can't have a city if they can't put modern stuff next to it...

I have the opposite reaction: it is part of the local environment. We aren't nearly as ancient in terms of architecture but here in New England we have a lot of old houses, old buildings, right up next to modern ones. It is just part of our history. If you go to Italy, Rome is part of the history and there is going to be a blending between ancient and modern. It can also be very artificial to create boundaries around this stuff. We have places like that in New England as well (lots of places have an 'old town' section). They are fun, and very touristy but there is also something not quite real about them.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
476 is accepted as the 'official' historical date, but the truth is that it was a long, painful process that began with the fall of the Republic and rise of Empire all the way through to the Renaissance. I've actually read Gibbon's 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' from start to finish, and it is a morass I wouldn't wish on anyone else. 4 months worth of reading time I wish I could have back. Not recommended, mostly because its a sad tale of generation after generation repeating the mistakes of their forebears.

It's also a product if it's time taking the available sources at face value.

I don't think the decline was irreversible until the third century iirc.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Cities, perforce, must have the old and the new rubbing elbows. And there's some charm to that, absolutely. But I have no love for chain restaurants, and find them generally an intrusive blight. One that is all the more evident when situated opposite a church that's been in the same spot for 500 years.

Same ipiniin but they seem to tone down the signs etc in historical places.

Old here is basically anything from the Victorian era. They pulled a lot of it down in the 60s and earthquakes as well wiped some out.

Mother used to guide tourists it was funny sometimes. "This is our oldest building blah blah blah" tourist "my house is a hundred years older".
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Same opinion but they seem to tone down the signs etc in historical places.

Old here is basically anything from the Victorian era. They pulled a lot of it down in the 60ss and earthquakes as well wiped some out. One town is 1930's art deco, another city like ok's kind of modern, my city cbd is a snapshot of 1904.

Mother used to guide tourists it was funny sometimes. "This is our oldest building blah blah blah" tourist "my house is a hundred years older".
 

turnip_farmer

Adventurer
476 is accepted as the 'official' historical date, but the truth is that it was a long, painful process that began with the fall of the Republic and rise of Empire all the way through to the Renaissance. I've actually read Gibbon's 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' from start to finish, and it is a morass I wouldn't wish on anyone else. 4 months worth of reading time I wish I could have back. Not recommended, mostly because its a sad tale of generation after generation repeating the mistakes of their forebears.
What? Don't listen to this post, Enworld. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is a beautiful book. The historiography is outdated, but the prose is wonderful. It's a delight to read.

Added by edit: In fact, now that I think about it, I reread it after I visited Rome. I remember standing on the Capitoline Hill looking at the ruins of the old forum and being reminded of Gibbon's description of Poggius surveying the ruin of Rome from the same spot and contemplating the city's fall some 600 years previously. Gibbon talks then about the beginnings of the transformation of the ancient ruins into a tourist attraction for foreigners (this was in the 18th century):

"The map, the description, the monuments of ancient Rome, have been elucidated by the diligence of the antiquarian and the student: and the footsteps of heroes, the relics, not of superstition, but of empire, are devoutly visited by a new race of pilgrims from the remote, and once savage countries of the North."
 
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dragoner

Dying in Chargen
What was the whole Philip K Dick book where they were like "Rome never fell!" though that was getting weird about religion. I think by the crisis of the 3rd century, the Roman Empire ceases to be what we would consider the "classical" Rome. Later, with the plague of Justinian, it's the end of the classical urban culture that we attribute to the period. 476 is a good date, because the political control is finished, though to me, and Edward Gibbon's, probably the most tragic moment were entire libraries being burned due to the edicts against magic.
 

Yenrak

Explorer
I think it’s more useful to think of the question geographically. In some areas, Rome fell earlier than others. It was fallen by the 6th century in Britain, for instance, while it carried on elsewhere.
 








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