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CCOT sample Thesis Change Baseline Support Analysis Support Analysis Support Context Continuity Baseline Support Analysis Support Support Analysis Context Conclusion Analyze the cultural and political changes and continuities in the Roman Empire’s last centuries of the classical era, 100 CE to 600 CE. Between 100 CE and 600 CE, the Roman empire underwent a change in government as the empire collapsed due to corruption within; however, the “Eastern Roman Empire” (the Byzantines) continued to promote Roman culture in Europe long after the sack of Rome. Clearly, the most important change that the Roman Empire experienced in the late classical era was its collapse. In the year 100 CE, the Mediterranean basin, and most of Europe, was in the midst of the Pax Romana, a time of relative peace and prosperity for the Roman Empire. In 180 CE, the Roman Empire reached the peak of its territorial holdings. As the size of the Roman Empire and its institutions grew, taxes levied on the peasants grew more burdensome and crushed the lower classes. Free peasants often fled these financial hardships by selling their land and becoming enserfed tenants of the land. Because of the empire expanding its territory too widely thus creating financial burden, the army exerted more control to ensure its survival and became nearly “king-maker” over weakening imperial leadership. The Rome’s decline was visible as ineffective leadership and outside invasions end the empire’s golden age. Rome’s central administration increasingly suffered from confusion of leadership. Diocletian’s division of the empire created regional interests to the detriment of imperial vision. This lack of strong leadership quickened Rome’s collapse as problems were not addressed and mounting factors limited its ability to prosper. Because of resulting decline in tax revenue, the economic prosperity of the realm was limited and increasingly led to the acceptance of Germanic settlers. Germanic soldiers were increasingly used to guard the frontiers of the empire after 300 CE. Germanic peoples helped spread plagues leading to population decreases, and some Germanic groups seized on the opportunity to attack Rome. Finally, in 476, Rome was sacked for the final time. Ultimately, external pressures, such as population growth among nomads from Central Asia and Northern Europe, lead to migrations in the Roman frontiers that coincided with Roman crises and the gradual end of the western Roman Empire. To the east of Rome, the empire survived and continued, in the form of the Byzantines, uninterrupted for nearly a thousand years after Rome’s fall. At the beginning of the period, Rome was a land ruled by an emperor with a strong legal tradition and commercial economy, and the Byzantines shared many of the characteristics with its Roman predecessor. In the 6th century, Emperor Justinian led a number of conquests in an attempt to capture the former lands of the united Roman Empire. The legacy of Rome’s military might and republican shine were powerful forces that led many to attempt to recapture its glory. Justinian’s quest was a testament to the continuity that existed between Byzantine’s and the former Roman Empire. Additionally, Justinian codified and simplified many former Roman legal codes in order to aid in the administration of the government. Not only did the Eastern Roman Empire continue the legal traditions of Rome, but economically, the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) remained a commercial center as it dominated much of the silk and spice trade in the Mediterranean Sea much like its predecessor brokered the exchange of goods between Asia and Europe or between regions around the Mediterranean. Because civilization was more deeply entrenched in the eastern Mediterranean and the East faced less pressure from invasion, Constantinople was never sacked and the Eastern Roman Empire was never conquered. Byzantium represents one of the clearest continuations of classical traditions in the later postclassical era as a Roman emperor sat on a throne in the eastern capitol of Constantinople until the 15th century. The triumph of the Eastern Roman Empire in preserving Roman culture was so successful that it extended its values to areas of medieval Russia, who adopted the political ideas of the Roman world. Although the Roman Empire seemed to face many dramatic changes in the fall of Rome, the stability of the Eastern Roman Empire carried the mantle of Roman traditions throughout the period.