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Ali WarraichMr. RichardsonWestern Civilization 52 February 2018The prestigious American author Garrison Keillor once said, “It was luxuries like air conditioning that brought down the Roman Empire. With air conditioning their windows were shut, they couldn’t hear the barbarians coming.”  From the time of the Roman Empire to this day, the term “barbarian” has always suggested a negative connotation. In fact, the word itself draws its roots from the Greek word for “uncivilized.” Despite the meaning of the word and the tenor it implicates, the “barbarians” responsible for the fall of the Roman Empire were not necessarily “barbaric” or “uncivilized” in any way; rather, they were incredibly ingenuitive and others’ perceptions of them are suggestive and inaccurate. First and foremost, barbarians are seen with such an unfavorable view because they contributed to the downfall of the Roman Empire; hence, many of the accounts written about them are biased. Furthermore, Goths and other barbarians are not only creative as modeled through their splendid works of the Church of St. Apollinaire and the mausoleum of Theodoric, but they are also very wise as they did not command a specific religion in the Catholic and Arian Churches.In general terms, Goths, Vandals, Visigoths, and other “barbarians” are deemed uncommonly inhuman and brutal simply because they lead to the deposition of the Roman Empire which was regarded then and is still regarded by some today as the “greatest empire in the world.” Many surviving books claim that “barbarians” created darkness as well as destruction, and Roman propaganda esteems “barbarians” as “History’s Hell’s Angels; resultantly, many people today are misled by these persisting records of the Dark Ages. In fact, all accounts of the fall of Rome are written by Romans and their allies, fostering overwhelmingly biased, one-sided reports. Additionally, Hadrian’s Wall contains a stone depicting the lives/deaths of men who served in the Roman Army; these inscriptions show that very few Romans came from Rome at all (barbarian.) Despite this, these particular Romans’ roots are ignored and “barbarians” are still seen as mindless savages. Tying back to the collapse of Rome, hatred of “barbarians” is not too much of a surprise, as the language of Latin has always been a part of education, and there is little question as to what historians and people today think of those who destroyed its speakers.In spite of modern-day views, “barbarians” were indeed civilized, and this is evident through their unrivaled creativity and rational laws. In the city of Ravenna, Goths did not in fact live like “savages” but rather, they lived in a similar fashion to the Romans and left a legacy as well. One of their unique creations is the church of St. Apollinare; the construction of this church was lead by King Theodoric the Great. The church was lined with countless mosaics depicting 26 scenes of the life of Christ from the New Testament, as well as the standing prophets of Jesus, various processions of saints and the Three Magi. These mosaics prove that the “barbarians” and Visigoths were actually very religious and wanted to express their religious beliefs through these depictions. Despite the Goths’ ingenuity, most people think the mosaics were created by the Romans. There is one mosaic made potentially depicting Theodoric; however, when the Byzantines (continuation of Eastern half of Roman Empire) invaded Ravenna, they vandalized this mosaic and possibly changed the face it depicts to Justinian. When examined, historians have determined that the faces of Theodoric and Justinian appear incredibly similar. This proves that the Romans felt so threatened by the face of a barbarian that they removed it. This further supports the claim that Romans’ accounts of the fall of Rome are not reliable as they are very biased.Another one of the Goths’ achievements is the construction of Theodoric’s mausoleum. This 15ft tall, dome-like structure perhaps contained the dead body of Theodoric who was able to recover the stability of the past and he established years of prosperity and peace in Ravenna.

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