The decline of the Roman Empire is a theme which has captured the imagination of countless men . The Roman achievement, both in its material and cultural aspects, was of such magnitude that its passing invites consideration on that account alone. There are those who have sought to find in the decline of Rome some clue which might help lead to an understanding of why civilizations seem to develop, prosper, and then wither away. Our immediate interest in this complicated subject arises from the assumption that Western Civilization is one of the direct heirs and successors of Roman Civilization, and would not have come into existence when it did without the Roman collapse. [excerpt]
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Bloom, Robert L. et al. "5. Rome: The Decline of the Roman Empire. Pt. I: Athens, Rome, and Jerusalem: Background of Western Civilization." Ideas and Institutions of Western Man (Gettysburg College, 1958), 66-69.