Summary Of Lars Brownworth's Lost To The West

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Throughout Lost to the West, Lars Brownworth emphasizes the historical significance of the Byzantine Empire by arguing that it facilitated the continuation of the Roman Empire in the face of the Dark Ages not only by preserving the rapidly deteriorating culture of Western Rome but by fundamentally influencing the future of western society. This assertion is first introduced with Emperor Diocletian, the innovative ruler who irreversibly altered the fate of the Roman Empire. Emerging as an unlikely savior after years of civil strife and economic calamity, Diocletian, a Dalmatian soldier, ascended the throne by force and quickly made a crucial realization; the territory of Rome was far too substantial for a single man to rule (Brownworth 2-3). Subsequently, he resolved to divide the …show more content…

Following the precedent of past Roman emperors, Diocletian presented himself as divine, thus invoking the reverence and loyalty of his subjects (Brownworth 6). However, although pagan citizens readily adapted to this declaration, Christians, due to their monotheistic beliefs, were unable to acknowledge and give sacrifices to Diocletian. Consequently, Diocletian, in what would become one of the most monumental blunders of his career, issued an edict to force Christians to sacrifice to him at the threat of death (6-7). From here, his policy only became more extreme. Christians were persecuted, temples were desecrated, and holy texts were burnt. Contrary to what Diocletian expected, however, the pagans defended their fellow Romans, leading to a remarkable period of religious unity and acceptance amongst the citizens of the Roman Empire (7-8). To this end, the failure of Diocletian’s Christian persecution was a significant factor leading to the eventual domination of Christianity in western society due to the fact that it precipitated the empire’s growing toleration of Christian

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