Sep 22, 2022Liked by Rafael R. Guthmann

What you say is definitely true and there was a general cultural decline after the augustan era, but there is also a paucity of surviving texts from the later periods which creates a survivor bias.

For example we know that there were many writings about the roman conquest of Dacia, including books by emperors Trajan and Hadrian, but most historical works that mention this event did not survive.

It is possible that later copyists where simply less interested in the imperial period and did not invest in the effort of copying books written in that period thus obscuring from our knowledge potentially significant "scientists" of the principate.

Since Gibbon there has been this idea that the decline of the ancient world started with Commodus or maybe with the Antonine Plague so I find it intriguing your arguments that the decline started earlier.

Maybe Pax Romana itself was a culprit? With wars being fought only near distant frontiers there was less need for military innovation and with political life being reduced to intrigues at the imperial court there was less need for the elite to patronize culture and "science" to gain prestige.

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