The Modern Cultural Myth of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • Jonathan Theodore

Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of the Media book series (PSHM)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Jonathan Theodore
    Pages 1-19
  3. Jonathan Theodore
    Pages 21-82
  4. Jonathan Theodore
    Pages 83-111
  5. Jonathan Theodore
    Pages 113-150
  6. Jonathan Theodore
    Pages 195-199
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 201-228

About this book


This book investigates the ‘decline and fall’ of Rome as perceived and imagined in aspects of British and American culture and thought from the late nineteenth through the early twenty-first centuries. It explores the ways in which writers, filmmakers and the media have conceptualized this process and the parallels they have drawn, deliberately or unconsciously, to their contemporary world. Jonathan Theodore argues that the decline and fall of Rome is no straightforward historical fact, but a ‘myth’ in terms coined by Claude Lévi-Strauss, meaning not a ‘falsehood’ but a complex social and ideological construct. Instead, it represents the fears of European and American thinkers as they confront the perceived instability and pitfalls of the civilization to which they belonged. The material gathered in this book illustrates the value of this idea as a spatiotemporal concept, rather than a historical event – a narrative with its own unique moral purpose. 


Ancient Rome Civilisation Cultural history Lévi-Strauss Media

Authors and affiliations

  • Jonathan Theodore
    • 1
  1. 1.ManchesterUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-1-137-56996-7
  • Online ISBN 978-1-137-56997-4
  • Buy this book on publisher's site