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Forum Lockedwhy did marcus and basil destory their empires

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    Posted: 05-Jun-2009 at 18:02

at his death marcus auralies had the germans beaten had be chosen a decent man to follow him the romans would have taken germany as  a new province that would have revitalised the empire and the civil wars that desroyed it could have been avioded. in 1025 basil died had he chosen a decent man to follow him then italy and egypt would have been taken and the empire would have brushed aside the turks and probably have lasted as long as the ottoman empire did. yet both these great men chose to leave their empires to complete incompetants.  DOES ANYONE KNOW WHY

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Jun-2009 at 19:41
I am not sure that you have a good enough grasp on either period.

The two shouldn't be compared in such a manner. Marcus Aurelius faced a completely different situation than Basil II.

The Roman Empire of the late 170s was already at the peak of expansion since Trajan, decades earlier. Aurelius faced issues of consolidation, especially in the Northeast. The Danube and Rhine had been a continuous issue for decades. He simply coordinated the state's resources of ridding the state of a problem that was pestering the area for a while.

Basil was intent of restoring boundaries, but also creating buffers.

Both had terrible successors, one an aged brother that had more interest in social delights over governance, and the other a son with expectations greater than his talent and eventual mental state.

These two things that tie them didn't lead to ruin however.

The Civil War that lead to the rise of Severus worsened defenses, but those were built up again.

Simply the situation politically in 200AD was completely different than in 100AD.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Jun-2009 at 19:42
What makes you think Aurelius had the Germans beat?

Basil made a mistake in not providing a proper heir, it was probably his greatest error. Perhaps he just hoped that with 3 nieces, everything would turn out ok. Clearly he messed up. Even if he was not inclined towards women (we can't be certain), he should still have provided a worthy successor.

I don't believe that if the Byzantines kept Anatolia in the 11th century they would have done as well at the Ottomans. They were simply too conservative a culture, and that sooner or later was bound to collapse against more vigorous and innovative rivals. Too defensive, too conservative, too effete, too fatalistic, too myopic - Byzantine culture aborted any chance of Ottoman geopolitical achievements.
It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Jun-2009 at 22:30
How does one address complex problems that would have taxed a genius and then assign failure to the incompetence of successors. As Constantine queried over "Germans" and Marcus Aurelius, who beat whom and where? To be honest, the policies of the Antonines and the Severans actually overlapped and essentially represented a retrenchment of the policies pursued by Trajan and Hadrian. To throw in a nebulosity such as "the Germans" actually confuses the historical process. Better to understand the actual nature of the Goths and their relationship with the Empire at the close of the 3rd century.
 
Even more strange is the juxtaposition of of these former with Byzantium on the eve of Manzikert.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hiddenhistory Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 00:03
im the first to admit im no expert but from what i have read i think you are being to hard to the byzantines when you say they were effete and fatalistic. the byzantines had been expanding saved europe from the arabs by defeating two attacks on constantinople. also sice the mid 9th century they had been expanding steadily had taken all the balkans syria lebenon and southern italy. the army under basil had no equal. at the time of his death basil was preparing for the conquest of the rest of italy. also had he chosen one of the maritial landowning familes like the commeni as his succesor this expansion would have continued. after seeing of the turkswho would have threatened them in the east. after taking italy who would have threatend in the west. as for marcus had he chosen an emporer of the quality of trajian or hadrian they would have kept the army under control and the civil wars could have been avioded
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Jun-2009 at 17:38
Another thing, if Aurelius "destroyed" "his" empire, then you wouldn't have had a Basil II to talk about. The "Byzantines" were the Roman Empire. Especially in terms of imperial successor-ship. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hiddenhistory Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 08:54
well the roman empire was destoryed, yes a part of it (the eastern half held on for a while before the arabs and bulgars decimated that too. the result was the byzantine empire. they can call themselves romans all they wanted but their was no likeness between the two in size power or even attitude. but had the expansion into germany continued, had their been a real successor instead of that mental case commudos then as i said the civil wars that were the main cause for the fall of the empire could have been avioded
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 11:33
Originally posted by hiddenhistory hiddenhistory wrote:

well the roman empire was destoryed, yes a part of it (the eastern half held on for a while before the arabs and bulgars decimated that too. the result was the byzantine empire. they can call themselves romans all they wanted but their was no likeness between the two in size power or even attitude. but had the expansion into germany continued, had their been a real successor instead of that mental case commudos then as i said the civil wars that were the main cause for the fall of the empire could have been avioded
 
Destroyed? Why even the Romantic historians spoke of its "fall" and certainly did not mean to imply obliteration! The principal assumption behind this thread, driven as it is with the coloring of suspect adjectives, says little of "Rome", either East or West. The Goths certainly were not the principal cause for the close of the Classical World in the Mediterranean, and if one visits the archaeological museum in Madrid those fancy doodads worn by the Visigothic kings are damned replicas of late Roman imperial filarets! We should not denigrate the actual factors involved in the transformation of late Antiquity in the Mediterranean to chimerical barbarians rampaging over an effete and decadent society because such actually demeans the socio-political phenomenon then actually underway. Both Goth and Arab succeeded because they represented the greater potential for continuity in the established societies, exhausted as they were by arbitrary governance and unrealistic taxation of the agrarian world that sustained empire.
 
As for the "civil" wars so talked about, such were hardly more than highly localized squabbles among competitors for urban dominance and a central bureaucracy already losing the bulk of its authority over the more vibrant comitas preserving the illusions of empire.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 23:18
Originally posted by hiddenhistory hiddenhistory wrote:

well the roman empire was destoryed, yes a part of it (the eastern half held on for a while before the arabs and bulgars decimated that too. the result was the byzantine empire. they can call themselves romans all they wanted but their was no likeness between the two in size power or even attitude. but had the expansion into germany continued, had their been a real successor instead of that mental case commudos then as i said the civil wars that were the main cause for the fall of the empire could have been avioded


Again,

If you have Rome falling, then there would have been no Basil II to speak off.

Especially if Aurelius destroyed his "Empire."

Your line of reasoning makes no sense, hence why it is hard to continue on the discussion from that very first flawed point.

If you have point A and B that are absolutely needed in entirety to reach conclusion C - then you will need point A and B to be just that, not A.5, or B.5, because the conclusion will not be C.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Jun-2009 at 23:22
You really need to read up on history of this subject, this vast subject to point out again, and then think about it for a while before you make points that don't lead to conclusions.

Aurelius had one choice - Commodus - unless he had him killed, which he didn't nor for which there was enough reason at the time of his death. Commodus like a lot of Emperors started out on a normal path.

Again, why expand even more than your logistics, resources, and man power can allow?



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hiddenhistory Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2009 at 02:39
ok guys point number one, when basil came to the throne it was as the head of a byzantine empire not a roman one. all he controlled was part of turkey and part of greece. you can talk all you like about how much the goths were the inheritors of rome and how the took adopted some customs etc. the mongols did the same when they took over china. its natural when a less advanced culture meets a more advanced one that they wil adopt some things that they think will suit there needs. yet the fact remains there was no emporer sitting in rome, there were no roman legions defending what had been romes borders cause these things did not exsist anymore. they had been destroyed. now about these so called insicnificant struggles over urban dominance these hed the effect of draining the resources of the empire in terms of manpower and finances and making popular generals more important than the emporer. thus weakening the empire. all this started after the death of marcus because before that for 100 years there had been competant men who commmanded respect in charge. look at the situation before vespasian same thing. the empire could easily have disintgrated then but they adopted a policy of best man for the job. im sure marcus must have known many men on quality and had he chosen one of these as emporer. but he let family ties come before the needs of the empire
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2009 at 03:52
Again, you only prove my point. Byzantine is a term that was invented in Edward Gibbon's time relatively speaking, nor in Basil II's. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2009 at 04:23
Originally posted by es_bih es_bih wrote:

Again, you only prove my point. Byzantine is a term that was invented in Edward Gibbon's time relatively speaking, nor in Basil II's. 


Just thought I'd concur with es_bih here. Though there is some debate over when the term "Byzantine" was first employed, it is certainly not a term that the Eastern Roman emperors, themselves, would have even recognized.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2009 at 06:15
In the medieval Greek language, Byzantine (Byzantinos, if my Greek is correct) referred to a person who hailed from the city of Constantinople. It harkened back to the days when the city was called Byzantium. Anna Komnena certainly uses the term in her book, the Alexiad.

But it was applicable only to people from that city. The term was not applied to members of the empire as a whole until post mortem the empire, when Renaissance scholars took up the term.
It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2009 at 17:01
Originally posted by hiddenhistory hiddenhistory wrote:

ok guys point number one, when basil came to the throne it was as the head of a byzantine empire not a roman one. all he controlled was part of turkey and part of greece. you can talk all you like about how much the goths were the inheritors of rome and how the took adopted some customs etc. the mongols did the same when they took over china. its natural when a less advanced culture meets a more advanced one that they wil adopt some things that they think will suit there needs. yet the fact remains there was no emporer sitting in rome, there were no roman legions defending what had been romes borders cause these things did not exsist anymore. they had been destroyed. now about these so called insicnificant struggles over urban dominance these hed the effect of draining the resources of the empire in terms of manpower and finances and making popular generals more important than the emporer. thus weakening the empire. all this started after the death of marcus because before that for 100 years there had been competant men who commmanded respect in charge. look at the situation before vespasian same thing. the empire could easily have disintgrated then but they adopted a policy of best man for the job. im sure marcus must have known many men on quality and had he chosen one of these as emporer. but he let family ties come before the needs of the empire
 
To force assumptions and premises fpr the sake of a historical model does grave injustice to sound interpretative understanding. "Rome", even in the time of Trajan, was more than a city and by the time of Marcus Aurelius it could best be characterized as an ethos. Even the victors at Manzikert, those pesky Seljuks, proclaimed the Sultanate of Rum in their dominions, quite a feat given the geographic anomaly.
 
When Basil II achieved the imperial "purple", his policies and objectives harkened back to Heraclius, just as his successors in the Comnenian world appealed to the Basilean legacy as its concept of the "Roman". The analogy sought in terms of either Germanic "barbarians" or the Mongol invaders is illusory, since both at their advent lacked the administrative cohesion essential to the notion of "empire". Therein the attempt to preserve the needed institutional mechanisms consolidating power, a base impossible to maintain through sheer military exploitation. If history teaches anything, it teaches that one does not forge an empire solely through the perpetuation of military force. Even Napoleon understood this maxim or how else would you explain that strange coronation at Notre Dame on Paris on 2 December 1804?
 
As for this fixation on Byzantium and the byzantine, the name has no reality either to the political life of the eastern Mediterranenan or to Basil and his contemporaries, or for that matter to anyone save the Romantics of Western European historiography, who of course believed that "true" Rome lay in Italy and not with those pesky and decadent Easterners! If Rome "fell" in 476 then what "continued" must have been something else. Quite a feat given the fact that what even Basil II "defended" and sought to secure was the "Roman" frontier in the Balkans and Armenia as had the founder of his dynasty, Heraclius. For similar reasons, Slavic historians such as A. A. Vasiliev speak of the "Byzantine" Empire and its capital Byzantium and date it to the time of Constantine! Perhaps, only the Turks got it right when they coined Istanbul: The City. From the time of Theodosius II (d. AD 450), offiicial usage for Constantine's Nova Roma was Constantinopolis. Shall we speak of the Constantinopolitan Empire? After all it would be just as logical a fiction.


Edited by drgonzaga - 08-Jun-2009 at 17:03
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hiddenhistory Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2009 at 20:59
ok i think we are getting side tracked here into quibbling about terms. can we agree that there was an empire in 180 AD that was strong content and this was a result of able leaders who had been chosen because they were competent. can we agree that if marcus had continued this policy this empire would have continued as it had
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2009 at 22:55
Originally posted by hiddenhistory hiddenhistory wrote:

ok i think we are getting side tracked here into quibbling about terms. can we agree that there was an empire in 180 AD that was strong content and this was a result of able leaders who had been chosen because they were competent. can we agree that if marcus had continued this policy this empire would have continued as it had
 
One can hardly be blamed for riding a sidetrack, when the main rail can not bear the freight! There were a host of factors that proved dangerous to political and economic activity and stability not least of which was the aftermath of the Parthian War (AD 161-166). Further, the military training of Commodus was scarcely different than that received by both Marcus Aurelius and Aurelius Verus during the principiate of Antoninus, that is to say none! The distinct difference between the imperiums of Antoninus and that of Marcus Aurelius was that the imperial system specially along the frontiers had an abundance of competent legates that not only handled the German threat but achieved the Parthian victory. Whatever the effects of disease on the Empire in the years after 166, one has to understand that the military campaigns of Marcus Aurelius represented a great burden. Not in itself a novelty, given that the major reason the Dacians were put to the knife under Trajan was to bring gold into the treasury and it was this treasure that enabled the Roman state to function even under the vagaries of Hadrian! However, the financial burden of empire was taking its toll on the civic life of the provinces. Therein the true tale for Commodus was neither the first nor the last profligate to assume the purple.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Jun-2009 at 23:06
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

In the medieval Greek language, Byzantine (Byzantinos, if my Greek is correct) referred to a person who hailed from the city of Constantinople. It harkened back to the days when the city was called Byzantium. Anna Komnena certainly uses the term in her book, the Alexiad.

But it was applicable only to people from that city. The term was not applied to members of the empire as a whole until post mortem the empire, when Renaissance scholars took up the term.
 
I learn something new every day here. Thanks for the information, Constantine. Smile
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hiddenhistory Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 08:23
interesting so you mean that if trajan had not invaded dacia the roman state would have entered a crisis during his or hadrians time
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jun-2009 at 14:00
Be it Dio Cassius or Pliny, the fragments of Trajan's rule in the historical record are scant, however, any perusal of Trajan's column in Rome would lead one to question "who the barbarians". It is a masterpiece of gore and violence with the Dacians the principal victims. The one object lesson, however, is obvious: The pressures of militarization has taxed the economic resources of empire to such a degree that no matter how much due diligence was paid to administrative efficiency, the machinery of government was insufficient to bear the on-going cost. The Mesopotamian campaign provides ample evidence of this exhaustion. It is interesting to note that it is in the time of Trajan that residence in Rome by the princeps moves into irrelevancy.

Edited by drgonzaga - 11-Jun-2009 at 14:34
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