This paper is an analysis of two separate essays, one written by MichaelRostovtzeff and another written by Henri Pirenne, both major historical authorities of the19
century. The essays themselves are two perspectives on the transitional period between late antiquity and the early middle ages. An in-depth look into the historicalmaterial that these two arguments discuss can provide a greater depth of understanding of the ...view middle of the document...
It further stresses that the Greco-Roman assimilative elements that unified Roman society had slowly debilitated to anineffective state. This coupled with steady levelling down of the standards contributed tothe acceleration of barbarization in the cities. The process according to Rostovtzeff hadto do with two features of the period: “the political, social, and economic on the onehand, and the intellectual and spiritual on the other.”
On the political side of thingsRostovtzeff discusses the rise of the Germanic ruling classes and the resulting barbarization of government and the aristocracy. On the economic and social sphere therewas a decline and “gradual relapse of the ancient world to very primitive forms” of economy and social stratification. Intellectually and spiritually the empire was alsoaffected argues Rostovtzeff, claiming that the city state culture of the Roman world wasexploited; the “exhaustion of the creative forces of … civilization” was a result of a perforation of the higher classes with the lower.
The assimilative structures of th