Analyze the Cultural and Political Changes and Continuities in the Roman Empire During the Last Centuries of the Classical Era. Essay

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During the last centuries of the Classical Era, the world became witness to the downfall of leading civilizations such as Rome, China, and India. In western Rome, the government and society of the area, both previously considered to be at the apex of stability and creativity, devolved into positions of fragmentation and decline; however, in the eastern segments of the Roman Empire there was a political continuity of a centralized state later becoming the Byzantine Empire. At this time, the world also experienced new interaction between rural and urban people and the beginnings of the decline of empires such as the Han Dynasty. Due to a strong centralized government backed by an equally strong military, the Roman Empire experienced a golden age known as the Pax Romana in 100 C.E. The Roman Empire at this time was very large as it stretched from North Africa to the northern parts of the Britannica. Because of their vast amount of territory and relative peace in the empire, Roman emperors did not feel the need to expand and conquer further. Without the wealth that came about from conquests, the Roman government was forced to fund the army themselves, and although the military did not necessarily become weaker, the nature of the army changed from offensive to defensive. Men stopped joining the army due to this less glorious approach, and thus the army weakened. By the 4th century, a diminished military and the incompetence of new emperors eventually led to the downfall of the Roman Empire at the hands of invading Germanic people such as the Goths and Visigoths. During the Pax Romana, Rome was at its cultural zenith. Innovations such as the Coliseum, aqueducts, and roads and art including great mosaics and statues were staples of this time period and of the Roman legacy, and instilled a strong cultural sense of Roman virtue into citizens, one that taught that it

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