Roman Society in the Last Century of the Western Empire

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Macmillan, 1899 - Paganism - 459 pages

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OCLC: 4458656
Related Subjects: Rome -- Social life and customs.

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Page 427 - and "Ours "have been successfully revived — the one at the beginning, the other at the end of the season, while "Good for Nothing,
Page 257 - At the end of the fourth century, and the beginning of the fifth, Christianity was no longer a simple belief, it was an institution — it had formed itself into a corporate body.
Page 226 - At a time when every frontier was threatened, it will be found that the frontier posts are being abandoned, that there is wholesale desertion from the ranks of the army; while in the failure of free recruits, the slaves have to be called to arms. But the unscientific and inefficient financial system will chiefly attract the notice of the historical inquirer. The collection of imposts in kind opened the door to every species of corruption. Still more fatal to pure administration was the system which...
Page 132 - ... and to trade upon their credulity. He at least maintained no reserve about the vices of the clergy of his day. And the picture he draws of the state of female society among the Christians is so repulsive that, as a recent writer remarks, we would gladly believe it to be exaggerated ; but, he adds, " if the priesthood, with its enormous influence, was so corrupt, it is only too probable that it debased the sex which is always most under clerical influence.
Page 227 - That doomed order are at once branded as the worst oppressors, and invested with the melancholy glory of being the martyrs of a ruinous system of finance. Their lingering fate, recorded in 192 edicts, a tragedy prolonged through more than five generations, is one of the most curious examples of obstinate and purblind legislation, contending hopelessly with inexorable laws of society and human nature. In that contest the middle or bourgeois class was almost extinguished, Roman financial administration...
Page 279 - The system of bureaucratic despotism, elaborated finally under Diocletian and Constantine, produced a tragedy in the truest sense, such as history has seldom exhibited; in which, by an inexorable fate, the claims of fanciful omnipotence ended in a humiliating paralysis of administration; in which determined effort to remedy social evils only aggravated them until they became unendurable; in which the best intentions of the central power, were, generation after generation, mocked and defeated by irresistible...
Page 304 - God,4 the noble and the priest, are made the sport of these monsters. The churches are demolished, the bones of the martyrs are dug up, horses are stabled at the altars of Christ. " The Roman world is sinking into ruin, and still we hold our heads erect. . . . Happy Nepotianus who does not see such things, who does not hear of them. Miserable are we who have to suffer them, or see our brethren suffering.
Page 231 - Lucania, or Bruttium, the purveyors of wine and oil, the men who fed the furnaces of the public baths, were bound to their callings from one generation to another. It was the principle of rural serfdom applied to social functions. Every avenue of escape was closed. A man was bound to his calling not only by his father's but by his mother's condition.
Page 11 - Christianity and paganism in the fourth century did not constitute two fixed, unchanging, irreconcilable enemies. " The upper class were for generations far more united by the old social and literary tradition than they were divided by religious belief. ... In truth the line between Christian and pagan was long wavering and uncertain. We find adherents of the opposing creeds side by side even in the same family at the end of the fourth century.
Page 209 - The real canker at the root of that society was not gross vice, but class-pride, want of public spirit, absorption in the vanities of a sterile culture, cultivated selfishness. It is difficult for a modern man to conceive the bounded view of society taken by people like Symmachus and Sidonius, the cold, stately self-content, the absence of sympathy for the masses lying outside the charmed circle of senatorial rank, the placid faith in the permanence of privilege and wealth, the apparent inability...

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