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When did the Roman Empire Fall? A fun thread.

For discussion and debate about anything. (Not a roleplay related forum; out-of-character commentary only.)

What Year did the Empire fall?

476 AD
30
24%
Between 476 AD and the 800's AD
7
6%
1204 AD
7
6%
1453 AD
52
42%
1461 AD
10
8%
Other (state in thread)
19
15%
 
Total votes : 125

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United Muscovite Nations
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When did the Roman Empire Fall? A fun thread.

Postby United Muscovite Nations » Sun May 12, 2019 1:46 pm

Traditionally in Western historiography, the Roman Empire is viewed as having fallen in 476 end of the Western Roman Empire as a polity, but more nuanced views in Late Antiquity scholars have arisen to challenge this view, and I have some of my own views on it as well. I will lay out some of the best candidates and their arguments for fun, then post which I think is the best candidate.

476 AD
476 was the year that the Western Roman Empire ceased to exist, Roman power had been in contraction in the Western provinces of the Empire since the division of the Empire. This is traditionally viewed as the end of the Empire because the Roman Empire ceased to include the city of Rome and it was the end of Roman power in western Europe.

Between 476 and the 9th century
The problem with 476 is that the Roman Empire continued to exist in its Eastern provinces well after the fall of the Western half of the empire, and had political continuity with the empire. Some, however, such as Peter Heather, argue that the empire underwent such cultural change in this period that it loses the cultural continuity with the Roman Empire of old and can no longer be considered the Roman Empire.

1204 AD
An issue with the above idea is that cultures evolve over time and are not static, and you could certainly use such an argument to say that any state has no continuity with its past. The Byzantine Empire maintained political continuity and only evolved culturally, and they maintained this continuity until 1204 when Frankish crusaders, allied with a pretender to the throne, sacked the Roman/Byzantine capital of Constantinople, seizing it for themselves and establishing the Latin Empire which would last until 1261.

1453 AD
After the fall of Constantinople in 1204, many Roman/Byzantine leaders established in the empire's provinces rump states from which they continued the war against the Frankish crusaders. In 1261, they finally defeated the crusaders, recapturing Constantinople and crowning a new Emperor. It is often held that this state holds continuity with the Roman Empire, and continued to be so until its dissolution at the hands of Ottoman invaders in 1453.

1461 AD
Another Byzantine/Roman rump state, the Empire of Trebizond, continued to exist in the East, politically independent of the revitalized empire in Constantinople and later the Ottoman Empire, and continued in this manner until its defeat in 1461. Some Byzantine/Roman regional powers also continued to exist in Achea until this time.


My opinion is that 1204 is the date. The empire reestablished in 1453 doesn't have continuity of political institutions with the one that fell in 1204, so it cannot go past 1204 in my mind. You can argue that the Byzantine polity established in 1261 is a Roman state, but not the Roman Empire. As for earlier dates, I don't think the argument that gradual cultural change means the end of a polity holds water. If this is true, then we could easily argue that many countries have no continuity with their past due to cultural change.

Discuss, and remember to have fun with it, as this isn't a very serious thread.
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Postby Pino Grand Fenwick » Sun May 12, 2019 1:50 pm

As a historian, in common conscience in Greece, Rome ended in 1461 when Trebizond fell.

In historiography, on 29 May 1453
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Postby Decu Caine » Sun May 12, 2019 1:51 pm

I think 476 AD would be the most accurate date. If any major country, the USA for example, were to split in half, it really couldn't be considered the USA anymore. Tensions would probably be too high between the 2 parts like in the Western and Eastern Roman Empire, so neither would probably want to combine with each other, pretty much meaning the downfall of said empire/country/whatever.
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Postby Aeritai » Sun May 12, 2019 1:51 pm

For me I think the Roman Empire ended when the Eastern Roman Empire fell, but do they count as true Romans?
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Postby United Muscovite Nations » Sun May 12, 2019 1:52 pm

Decu Caine wrote:I think 476 AD would be the most accurate date. If any major country, the USA for example, were to split in half, it really couldn't be considered the USA anymore. Tensions would probably be too high between the 2 parts like in the Western and Eastern Roman Empire, so neither would probably want to combine with each other, pretty much meaning the downfall of said empire/country/whatever.

That doesn't really apply to the Roman Empire. They considered each other to be administrative divisions of the same polity, and were considered as such by everyone around them.
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Postby 21st Century Rome » Sun May 12, 2019 1:52 pm

The Roman Empire still liiiiivveeesss!
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Postby Bezkoshtovnya » Sun May 12, 2019 1:53 pm

Aeritai wrote:For me I think the Roman Empire ended when the Eastern Roman Empire fell, but do they count as true Romans?

I would say up until 1204 they could be argued to be continuing the roman Empire in the east, but after that I would say it was too different an entity to be considered any more Roman than the HRE.
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Postby Risottia » Sun May 12, 2019 1:59 pm

The Roman Empire died on III KAL. MAR. ANNO V GRATIANO ET I THEODOSIO CONSOLIBVS MCXXXIII AB VRBE CONDITA.
On that day, the Middle Age begins, and it lasts until 1453 AD.
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Postby Kowani » Sun May 12, 2019 2:01 pm

United Muscovite Nations wrote:
Decu Caine wrote:I think 476 AD would be the most accurate date. If any major country, the USA for example, were to split in half, it really couldn't be considered the USA anymore. Tensions would probably be too high between the 2 parts like in the Western and Eastern Roman Empire, so neither would probably want to combine with each other, pretty much meaning the downfall of said empire/country/whatever.

That doesn't really apply to the Roman Empire. They considered each other to be administrative divisions of the same polity, and were considered as such by everyone around them.

But as administrative divisions, they effectively became different states.
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Postby United Muscovite Nations » Sun May 12, 2019 2:02 pm

Risottia wrote:The Roman Empire died on III KAL. MAR. ANNO V GRATIANO ET I THEODOSIO CONSOLIBVS MCXXXIII AB VRBE CONDITA.
On that day, the Middle Age begins, and it lasts until 1453 AD.

What makes you say that?
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Postby United Muscovite Nations » Sun May 12, 2019 2:03 pm

Kowani wrote:
United Muscovite Nations wrote:That doesn't really apply to the Roman Empire. They considered each other to be administrative divisions of the same polity, and were considered as such by everyone around them.

But as administrative divisions, they effectively became different states.

That's not how they considered themselves or how others considered them. They were each the Roman Empire, and they were together the Roman Empire. Just with two Emperors.
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Postby -Ocelot- » Sun May 12, 2019 2:04 pm

Byzantine is the continuation of ancient Rome so when Constantinople fell, the Roman Empire came to an end.

With that being said, the idea of Rome persisted. Way after the fall of Constantinople, many nations aspired to be the "3rd Reich", such as Nazi Germany, the Russian Empire and even the Ottomans. Some would argue that Rome will never truly die because it's an unique idea. Judging from the HRE which was neither Holy nor Roman, everything is possible.
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Postby Kowani » Sun May 12, 2019 2:07 pm

United Muscovite Nations wrote:
Kowani wrote:But as administrative divisions, they effectively became different states.

That's not how they considered themselves or how others considered them. They were each the Roman Empire, and they were together the Roman Empire. Just with two Emperors.

And the HRE considered itself to be the Third Rome.
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Postby Risottia » Sun May 12, 2019 2:08 pm

United Muscovite Nations wrote:
Risottia wrote:The Roman Empire died on III KAL. MAR. ANNO V GRATIANO ET I THEODOSIO CONSOLIBVS MCXXXIII AB VRBE CONDITA.
On that day, the Middle Age begins, and it lasts until 1453 AD.

What makes you say that?
On that day the satraps ruling on the Roman lands rejected the Capitoline Triad and declared their power to be founded on the will of a Middle-Eastern deity, rejecting the due respect for the Lares and the Penates, and for the Senate.
Last edited by Risottia on Sun May 12, 2019 9:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby United Muscovite Nations » Sun May 12, 2019 2:08 pm

Kowani wrote:
United Muscovite Nations wrote:That's not how they considered themselves or how others considered them. They were each the Roman Empire, and they were together the Roman Empire. Just with two Emperors.

And the HRE considered itself to be the Third Rome.

It doesn't have continuity with the Roman Empire. Both divisions of the Roman Empire were approved by previous Emperors and had Roman political structure.
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Postby United Muscovite Nations » Sun May 12, 2019 2:09 pm

Risottia wrote:
United Muscovite Nations wrote:What makes you say that?
On that day the satraps ruling on the Roman lands rejected the Capitoline Triad and declared their power to be founded on the will of a Middle-Eastern deity, rejecting the due respect for the Lares and the Penati.

Most though wouldn't identify the existence of a state with its state religion, though.
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Postby Kragholm Free States » Sun May 12, 2019 2:09 pm

Cultural evolution and perceived cultural continuity are so subjective as to not really be that much use, I think. I'd be inclined to go with 1453, as if I recall correctly Trebizond's rulers had relinquished the title of Emperor of the Romans well over a century before 1461.

I see your point about 1204, but I don't necessarily think a change in political institutions is enough to completely disqualify the later Byzantines from being classed as the Roman Empire. There was, after all, some degree of continuity in terms of rulers, as it was Byzantine aristocracy who refounded the Roman Empire after their spell in Nicaea - a different dynasty than the one which had previously ruled, sure, but we don't generally proclaim that nations have fallen whenever the ruling dynasty changes. Politically, they had proclaimed themselves Romans. Culturally - despite my objection to culture as the deciding factor - surely they can't have been that different in 1261 than they were in 1204, aside from being shaped by the experiences of the Fourth Crusade and the following decades.
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Postby Risottia » Sun May 12, 2019 2:11 pm

United Muscovite Nations wrote:
Risottia wrote:On that day the satraps ruling on the Roman lands rejected the Capitoline Triad and declared their power to be founded on the will of a Middle-Eastern deity, rejecting the due respect for the Lares and the Penati.

Most though wouldn't identify the existence of a state with its state religion, though.

A State religion provides the fundaments of the ideology of the ruling class.
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Postby Conserative Morality » Sun May 12, 2019 2:11 pm

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Postby United Muscovite Nations » Sun May 12, 2019 2:12 pm

Risottia wrote:
United Muscovite Nations wrote:Most though wouldn't identify the existence of a state with its state religion, though.

A State religion provides the fundaments of the ideology of the ruling class.

Sure, but a change in ideology doesn't mean a change in state. Would you say the People's Republic of China ceased to exist when Socialism with Chinese Characteristics was adopted?
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Postby Conserative Morality » Sun May 12, 2019 2:13 pm

Risottia wrote:
United Muscovite Nations wrote:Most though wouldn't identify the existence of a state with its state religion, though.

A State religion provides the fundaments of the ideology of the ruling class.

The influence of Roman religion on the imperial ideology is not particularly significant; I'd discount that as a factor.
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Postby Hammer Britannia » Sun May 12, 2019 2:17 pm

It ended in 1943 with the collapse of the Italian Empire
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Postby Former Citizens of the Nimbus System » Sun May 12, 2019 2:19 pm

It depends on what you consider 'the Roman Empire'. The whole thing really comes down to the Ship of Theseus problem - if a nation's military, culture, politics and religion all change and time has passed such that the people who once held the old iterations of these defining factors are no longer alive, is the nation the same nation? Indeed, if you answer 'yes' to this question, I think there's a case to be made that, politically and culturally speaking, Rome is alive and well!

My view is that the fall of the Roman Empire was a process that lasted for centuries and occurred at different rates both between regions and in different aspects - note the way that Britain, though abandoned by the legions, still saw itself as a Roman province for a period afterwards. For the West, it took place over the last two centuries of the first half of the first millennium CE; in the East, you could argue that the fall began in this period but, whether it did or not, it certainly accelerated during the first half of the second millennium CE. (Can't say I know too much about the Eastern Roman Empire, unfortunately.)
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Postby Upper Alterac » Sun May 12, 2019 2:26 pm

Most certainly 1453.
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Postby Former Citizens of the Nimbus System » Sun May 12, 2019 2:29 pm

Conserative Morality wrote:
Risottia wrote:A State religion provides the fundaments of the ideology of the ruling class.

The influence of Roman religion on the imperial ideology is not particularly significant; I'd discount that as a factor.

I'm afraid that I'll have to disagree with you. As someone currently studying Augustus, religion gave him significant legitimacy and promoting religious values was a core part of his imperial programme. He took on the office of Pontifex Maximus, Rome's chief priest, had his adoptive father Julius Caesar deified, established his ancestral links to Venus through works such as the Aeneid and statuary like the famous Prima Porta and took on Apollo as his patron after his victory at Actium in the sight of one of his temples; not only that, a huge amount of his reconstruction of Rome was dedicated to restoring and building temples, such as the Pantheon (through Agrippa) and the Temple of Mars Ultor in his forum. Religion provided a means for Augustus to establish his authority and influence Roman culture and as such formed a key part of imperial ideology from the beginning.
Last edited by Former Citizens of the Nimbus System on Sun May 12, 2019 2:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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