I Say Celts!! Why??!
They're just Badass Awesome and cool all around like my TioJaguaress Char, and just like her, always in and ready for a fight! What's not to Love about Celts?!!
Romans, hmmm ok, they have their place, but Celts Always Rule, they are Raw, Brutal, Honestly Hardcore Fighters, Like my TioJaguaress Kaage'ey!
Agreed. That, and the fact alone is that the Romans ARE THE TRUE BARBARIANS. I mean look at how they CRUELLY EXECUTE people. They themselves oughta be condemned in everlasting torment for nearly extinguishing an entire people like ours here.
The Romans were "barbarians" to the peoples they encountered just as the Romans considered "Barbarians" the peoples they encountered which spoke neither Latin nor Greek, the main mediterranean languages, the languages of the "civilized" World. In general during Antiquity, the "Barbarian" is the Other, the Stranger, the Man who doesn't dress like us, who doesn't speak our language, who does'nt follow our customs nor our Gods.
Yes, the Romans were "barbarians" to the celtic peoples they encountered, but so were these peoples to the Sons of Mars.
Do you think the celtic peoples were any nicer than the Romans ? Get down on Earth right now. Antiquity was a time of violence and cruelty everywhere, and not just because of one people. Various atrocities were common back then. The numerous celtic tribes living in the areas of the celtic world, from Galatia to Hibernia and Caledonia, fought each-other and their neighbors for ressources, slaves, lands, survival, in bloody tribal wars where mass-slaughters, slavery and other atrocities. Some came to dominate in confederations which fell and reformed under another chief, etc...
Then again, most of these "celtic" peoples didn't really match in genetics and culture with the original Proto-Celts of the Hallshtatt Period whose people didn't spread as widely and as massively as previous researchers though. The "Celts" we know of are more of a made by default regroupement of various indo-european peoples sharing minor similarities, seldom genetics and some common traits.
As for the Romans being very cruel, it was also normal for the time. They were as cruel as the Judeans, the Greeks, the Ancient Egyptians, the Persians, etc... The victors had all rights on the vainquished. And should the conquered still be rebellious, and even openly revolt, the conqueror could and had to use the bloodiest methods to assert hid domination over them, making examples of their important figures and, in some cases, reducing their populations to more "manageable" number.
"VAE VICTIS !" told the Senone chieftain Brennus as he threw his great sword upon the weights of the balance, imposing a surplus of gold to the already heavy tribute paid by the early Romans, who accused the Gauls of cheating. Tribute planned, weighted and paid after the sacking of Rome by the Gauls in 390 BC, the burning of its archives, the slaughter of its wisest senators and the unfructuous siege of the Capitol.
Ironically, this traumatizing event played a role in the beginning of the roman expansion in Italy. The Romans later showed no mercy to the gallic tribes of Italy partly in memory of the humiliation they suffered.
In the end, pretty much everyone was the barbarian of someone else in these times.
Yes but not much could ever be known as Rome was the main center of attention that dished out the most barbaric acts. You're a bit right on most of these but there is still Celtic heritage. Annnd Rome righteously got what she deserved in the end. The very thing she feared came right on her doorstep and changed her existence into another culture. Gone were the once almighty empire and in her place, was a thing she loathed and now has to be submitted to: a Barbarian.
Subjetive notions such as righteousness must be thrown into the closet when people talk seriously of History. History is based on objective view of fact and most probable theories built from researches and crossing of multiple litterary sources and archeological finds.
If Rome is the main center of intention, it is because its civilization definitely dominated the Ancient World for nearly five centuries. The Legions conquered many lands from the rainy lands of Britannia to the fertile Nile Valley of Egypt, from Hispania to the Caucasus maountains and Mesopotamia. They spread the language of latin upon which all our own speeches found the same alphabet and, for all of latin Europe, the common origin.
Their litterature, written by roman and greek authors, is full of many subjective points of view about their World, their rulers, etc...and often served political purposes. Suetonius for example, he had a taste for scandal and served as a secretary to the Emperor Hadrian, of the Antonine dynasty. In consequenses, The Twelve Caesars dresses all the preceding dynasties as touched by degeneracy, with the good deeds of emperors seriously opposed to the senate, such as Caligula and Nero, forgotten in favor of making them appear as cruel, morally depraved lunatics.
There are also the christian chroniclers of Late Antiquity and Middle Ages who describe the Martyrdom of their "heroes" with great details to impress the reader and expose the strength of their faith, resisting even the most horrible pains and torments of their pagan executioners.
And lastly, as a people knwon for their owerful military, the Romans weren't known for being soft and nice with rebellious conquered peoples and ravenous barbarian raiders lurking at their doorstep. Punishment was merciless towards those who defied the rule of Rome, and the frequent expeditions of legions in barbarian lands served as a reminder of whom they were dealing with. If they decided to trade hits iinstead of merchandise with the Empire, the consequences would be dire.
But the relations were not always tense with the peoples of the borders, they often traded with the Romans and their elites were fond of roman products. Until the end of the 4th century AD, the Empire was respected for its military might and provided barbarian nobles with luxuries in exchange for raw materials and more precious merchandises such as amber.
You talk of celtic heritage. Sorry but most of it was made of nothing most recently in the 18th to 20th cnetury and does not date back to the real Celtic peoples. The more authentic elements, like the Gods' names, some legends as well as important celebrations were preserved all thanks to litterature, a thing brought to the celtic World by roman civilization and later by its main inheritor in this domain, the christian monks. The main celtic celebrations, such as Lugnasad, Samain, Imbolc and Beltaine, are known to us thanks to celto-ROMAN calendars indicating the months and celebrations of the mixed cultures. The best example is the gallo-roman Calendar of Coligny, a large fragmented bronze Tabula dating from the 2nd century AD exposed in the museum of Gallo-Roman antiquities in Lyon.
Parts of these celebrations were also christianized and passed on with generations as traditional festivities and folklore, but are now very different from the original celebrations of pagan celts.
The aspect, functions and name of many celtic Dieites is mostly unknown but certain celto-roman archeological finds, as fragments of stone monuments and diverse objects, either make them known or confirms the scarse pre-roman aspects of these Gods and their names. The Pillar of the Boatmen, a gallo-roman monumental column erected by the brotherhood of Lutecia's boatmen at the location of Notre-Dame-de-Paris and exposed in the Thermae of Cluny's frigidarium, associate both roman and gallic Dieties. To the depiction of Mars is associated a mace or sword wielding gallic God of War named Smertrios. The mysterious God Esus is depicted as a gallo-roman in a wood, cutting a tree with an axe, which allows the historians to teorize that he was a warrior God and a patron of woodsmen and hunters. Beside his relief, on another face appears a relief of the same wood where prolws a large bull with three cranes on his back, the Tarvos Trigaranus, who also appears several times in two scenes on the Cauldron of Gundestrup. The pre-roman and frequent gallo-roman depictions let us suppose that the Bull was a symbol of strength, elite and perhaps even a God. Plus, the similarity of the wood backgrounds of the neighboring reliefs of Tarvos and Esus associates them, perhaps as a ritual hunt or something. Last but not least, Cernunnos is confirmed as having been preserved as a purely celtic God on the pillar, only dressed with a tunic he sitll has horns, his attributes, his sitting posture,his animals, etc... He is frequently depicted in roman Gaul.
All this to say that you can thank the Romans and their successors for assimilating authentic parts of the celtic culture and preserving them as their own. The romanized cets considered temselves a s part of the Roman World, and became Romans while still keeping a part of their ancient customs.
At last, Rome did not get "what they deserved in the end" in the sense you hear. Their empire just fell, like all empires do as it is a natural process. And like all empire, such a fall is not due to one unique factor, like the Barbarian Odoacer, Oh no, no, no. The fall of an Empire can only be analyzed on a long time with multiple factors.
The beginning of the Empire'fall can be traced back to the Third century Crisis, or rather the succession of overlapping crisis of the Third Century, which both magnified and fed on each-other.
The base was that the Empire had become too big, and the roman military couldn't muster enough men to protect all the borders, nor circulate quickly enough from one corner to another with the means at their disposal. Shoring up one part of the Empire often meant neglecting another, and the reinforcements of legions to the local troops of said neglected parts often arrived too late.
Another problem was the lack of codified instructions for imperial succession. According to traditions, an Emperor could chose a successor, train him for years, adopt him as his son and name him co-emperor. But tehcnically, if yo could get a legion to declare you emperor and then hzve the Senate confirm it, then you were raised to the imperial purple. Problem is that the army, even more than the Praetorian Guard, served as king makers, placing a popular general which could defend the policies they agreed with or more often offer them a great pay. You could get even richer by chaining up puppet emperos repeatedly and get paid for murdering them for the next.
The long line of soldier-Emperors also had to face the problems of paying heir troops and basically printing money. And in order to make more money, they debased roman currency, lowering the amount of silver content in each coin. A coin from 235 AD was 83% of silver while one of 274 AD only had 5% of silver. As a result, came an economic crisis, for people hoarded the coins which had valor and only spent those who were worthless, causing inflation.
The plague of smallpox came around 250 AD and decimated the roman population, lowering the amount of recruits in the armies. In consequence, more and more germanic tribesmen were engaged in the roman military.
In order to have a better gestion of the Empire, Emperor Diocletian put in place the Tetrarchy government, with two main Emperors, the Augusti : he and Maximian Hercules, and their respective second emperors, the Caesares : Constantius Clorus and Galerius. For a time, it stabilized the Empire, but when the succession of certain emperors became messy it turned into a civil war from which Constantine I came victor. The introduction of Christianity and the favoritism towards the nicaean Church was another problem, for the Emperor was no longer the sole religious authority. The founding of Constantinople accelerated the urban decline of the western half of the Empire and Rome iself, losing influence and dynamism compared the old cities of the old Hellenistic World such as Antioch and Alexandria, and the new Rome of Constatine.
Another turning point was the gothic migration crisis, which the eastern roman Empire had aborded very badly. The migrating Goths and Alani, pushed across the Danube by the Huns, were ill-treated starved and even sold to slavery in 376, so they rose in revolt and ravaged Thracia. The Emperor Valens assembled his best troops in Antioch, signed a peace treaty with the Persians and went to Adrianople to defeat the Goths. There, the 9th of August 378, a roman army composed of the best troops on the eastern side was defeated by Barbarians. The roman army had long maintained a reputation of invincibility towards the barbarians by many successful military campaign and now they had lost it in a single battle.
But the consequences of this defeat and the death of Valens would come as a disaster for the western side of the Empire instead. With the rising tensions between the new eastern Emperor Theodosius and the mainly pagan Senate of Mediolanum and the western military of barbarian generals reaching its peak with the nomination of Eugene as puppet Emperor by the general Arboghast led to the battle of the Frigidus River in 395 AD. The defeat of the Western roman army achieved to destroy most of its effectives.
And with the separation of the Empire between the sons of Theodosius I in 395, the West and East were definitely two separate entities.
The East could stand its own. It was well urbanized, very populated, with a standing, strong military and plenty of recruits. Their provinces had diverse ressources and access to the trade roads towards the East, which ensured a well-fed economy. And their main threat was concentrated on their syrian and levantine borders in the unique form of te Sassanid Empire.
By contrast, the West had become the weak link. Its army was decimated and Flavius Stilicho had to empty the garrissons of the Rhine to create an army strong enough to repel the attacks of numerous germanic tribes all across the border from Belgica to Panonnia (modern day Hungary). The lack of defenses allowed the intrusion of many germanic hordes in Gaul, with unnumerable groups aiming either to raid and gather loot, conquer pieces of land and settle away from the Huns, taking anything from the agonizing Western Roman Empire. And these troubles pushed people to flee and leave the large agricultural lands, the main source of income for the Western Roman Empire, uncultivated, which contributed toits decline. The sack of Rome by the Wisigoths was another critical blow, for the City held a certain importance even if the capital was now in Ravenna. Stilicho was blamed for failing to defend Rome sexecuted by the idiotic emperor Honorius who then lost his best general.
In order to defend itself, the Western Empire multiplied the treaties of federation with the barbarian elites, which were for a long time educated to roman culture, spoke a good latin, were christianized and also held high position in the roman senate and military. Thes treaies gave imperial lands to the peoples which, in exchange, hadto provide troops to defend the empire. in the long terms, the western Emperor's influence declined just as the influence of these barbarian kings rose, as they held the armies, the lands.
The last capbale roman in the West, Aetius, managed to hold all the Barbarians settled in Gaul by a series of victories and treaties and even defeatd the Huns at the Catalaunian field with his coalition of Romans and Barbarians. But in the mean time, the Vandals conquered Africa and ransomed the grain exportations towards Rome. Aetius was murdered by Valentinian III who feared to be overthrown, befre being killed by Aetius's men. The following emperors lost importance and saw their little control over the empire declining until Romulus Augustulus got deposed by Odoacer in 476.
As you can see this is a long story. And yet, the Roman Empire did not fall with Augustulus. Why ? Because the Eastern Roman Empire still stood. And for a millenium it grinded in a slow but epic decline. It took a lot of enemies for them to loose small terrain. And the city of Constantinople and its last Emperor only fell nearly 1,000 years after the last western Emperor. The Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων/Basileía Rhōmaíōn/Imperium Romanum held against all until 1453 AD as the direct continuation of the anncient Roman Empire, its survivng part. It preserved the arts and culture of Antiquity and transmited them to Europe by the migration of shcolars and artists to Italy from the 13th- to 15th century. And it was only during the Renaissance that italian scholar called this medieval, greek-speaking, orthodox christian roman Empire situated to the East, without Rome in its borders and recently fallen as "Byzantine Empire" to draw a line separating it from the classical, latin-speaking, pagan Roman Empire which had Rome for capital. They were mostly jealous of their rediscovery of Antiquity and refused to admit that there was a continuation of the Empire during the Middle Ages, robbing them of their prestige.
The Roman Empire only dfinitely fell more recently than what most people think, and yet its culture still stand as our own, to all of Europe in the forms of language, writing, civic laws, arts, architecture... For such a grand Empire to have an egualy golden decline is truly what htey deserved to their merit as our model. And it still lives in our own culture today.
To understand the fall of an empire precisely you need to dig deep and understand the details. Because the collapse of a powerful geopolitical entity is never so simple.
But there are constant : economical crisis, internal political and social troubles, external pressures at multiple points,... a series of problems feeding and magnifying each-other.
History and ancient Arts are my passions so I tend to get interested in questions such as "Why did the Roman Empire fall in the West ?"
I am also a fan of old indo-european cultures : Greek, Roman, Celtic, Germanic, etc... So I also awonder about what we know of them, where they did come from...
And no, I am not the only one to know about these, far from it. Apart from my father, also a big History fan, there are plenty of archeologists, researchers and historians who know far more about the History of the Roman Empire and Celtic Culture from its orgins to today than me.
The summary I wrote of Western Rome's collaps and its reasons barely scratches the surface.
Well, I'll admit that is true and you've really impressed me with all the details here and there. But I'm fully aware of these also. Being a big history fan as well as historian, everything is nebulous and difficult to discern as we still have lots to learn as well.
I'm sure tho, as curt as I wanna be coz I've actually had all the same convos before and I'm just tired of repeating myself on these same topics of discussion about history and truth in history. Wether there's fact or evidence there to prove if our knowledge or theories on whatever subject is correct we'll never know for sure save for God.