Theory of Empire
While learning about the fall of the Roman Empire it was pertinent to learn about all the emperors of Rome and what their styles of ruling were. It is evident that all of the Roman emperors held all the same things important to them. These ideas and morals made the emperors who they were and defined the empire they lived in during their time as rulers. The ideas and morals that were all alike for the emperors was the God or gods they worshipped, the armies they were in charge of, and the people they ruled.
The God or gods they worshipped was so important in how they ran their empires. If they worshipped more than one god the emperors would give sacrifices to different gods depending on what they wanted for their empires and what they wanted to accomplish. If they worshipped one God then everything they did was for Him. If they lost a battle, they lost a battle for the Lord. If they won a battle, then the Lord was with them and that win was in the name of the Lord.
How they ran their armies also greatly influenced their success as an emperor. Battles and wars were the single greatest thing that influenced their success. If they won then they got control of more land and if they lost than they potentially lost their lives and their status as emperor. Some of the most remembered battles of all time came under the emperors we learned about in class.
How these emperors ruled their people also were great indicators of how they were as leaders. Whether they were kind and protective of their people or whether they were cautious and untrusting of their people.
Cassiodorus??™s letters, drafted in the name of Theoderic, are very direct. They clearly reveal the kind of emperor that Theoderic was and reveal his style of ruling. Through the examples given earlier about how he worshipped, how he led his army, and how he treated his people; it is made very clear they type of ruler he was. The first sentence is a perfect example of Theoderic??™s feelings and how he wants to be portrayed by his people. He states that, ??? Advised by the calculation of public utility, a care which is always a welcome burden to me, I command that the castle sited near you be strengthened, since matters of war are well ordered when planned in time of peace.??? The first part of the sentence displays his love for his people by saying even the most burdensome things are welcomed to him. King Theoderic also shows he is a planner in times of war.
Another quote that describes Theoderic??™s style of ruling states, ???So, this authority I decree that you are speedily to build yourselves houses in the aforementioned fort.??? This shows King Theoderic??™s care for his people again by giving them land and the materials necessary to build houses to keep them safe and out of harm??™s way. He states a little bit later, ???For it will then be the case that you will want to assemble the luxuries proper to your new homes, and you will welcome dwellings whose own architecture makes them a pleasure to you.??? Not only does he want to glorify his own reign, but he also wants his people and his armies to feel like they are living in luxury and almost like royalty.
Cassiodorus really showed King Theoderic??™s love for his people and the care he gave in times of war. Theoderic wants his people to be comfortable and be focused on each individual task at hand so they will be more successful. The true essence of his rule is making is people happy so in return they can fight hard for him and his kingdom.
In contrast, Augustine??™s main message is God and to worship God. For example, in the first sentence Augustine states, ???I have taken upon myself the task of defending the glorious City of God against those who prefer their own gods to the Founder of that City.???
Augustine says that believers of God are being given wonderful things everyday, and just because the wicked are not being punished, they will receive their final judgment before God Himself. To make this more clear, Augustine states that, ???For if punishment were obviously inflicted on every wrongdoing in this life, it would be supposed that nothing was reserved for the last judgment; on the other hand, if God??™s power never openly punished any sin in this world, there would be an end to belief in providence.??? He then goes into detail of the reasons why both good and evil are equally afflicted.
There is a passage that Augustine writes about that could describe the fall of Rome as punishment. Augustine stated that, ???Therefore I cannot refrain from speaking about the city of this world, a city which aims at dominion, which holds nations in enslavement, but is itself dominated by that very lust of domination.??? This quote is a great summary of how a leader saw Rome and his rulings.
For these two rulers, their values were quite different. It is clear that Theoderic was concerned with his people and how they perceived him and how he treated them. In contrast, Augustine was concerned with how God perceived him and if he was doing everything in his power to live a righteous life. The theory of an empire can almost always be described by how the emperors ruled. What kind of God or gods they believed in and how they lived a life worthy of that God or deities. Also, theory of an empire can fall on the people. How the emperors treated their people and their armies. Were their armies successful and what defines a successful army Even though Theoderic and Augustine were completely different rulers, their goals were the same. They loved Rome and wanted to be considered great in the eyes of their people. Unfortunately, Rome did fall and you can pretty much say that all the emperors failed.