The rise of the Roman empire is full of stories of bravery and sacrifice winning fame and respect, the fall of the empire contains the same bravery and sacrifice by individuals but the reward is very different; and leaves no doubt about the evil character of the citizens of a declining civilisation.
Theodosius: the ancient Roman general who courageously restored the faltering rule of the Western Roman Empire in England (A.D. 367-370), then North Africa (A.D. 373), found his just occupation confounded the exploitation of the citizens of some African cities. This resulted in corrupt Roman citizens making fraudulent claims of misrule against him, for which the general was tried in absentia, sentenced to death, and then publicly beheaded in Carthage (A.D. 376).
Belisarius: the ancient Roman general who restored the rule of his emperor to North Africa and Italy, discovered:
He was replacing the arbitrary tyranny of a barbarian lord with the deliberate tyranny of corrupt Roman tax collectors.
While failure on the battlefield meant disgrace and probable death, success meant risk of being branded a traitor. Every victory increased the suspicion in the mind of the emperor that his general would use his demonstrated military skill to install himself as master of the Roman Empire.
And his eventual reward for 40 years of loyal service was to be prejudged guilty of treason by his suspicious master, have his goods seized and be thrown in prison (A.D. 561).
The Loyal Servant: who tricked assassins into murdering her own baby in place of that of the emperor Maurice, at Chalcedon, A.D. 609, was rewarded for this appalling sacrifice by witnessing her master deliberately reveal her awful loyalty then cowardly expose his remaining son to the killers, before he was finally murdered.
The Patriot: for saving the Western Roman Empire from invasion by defeating Attila the Hun at Chalons (A.D.451), Aetius was rewarded by being treacherously murdered by the hand of the feeble emperor Valentinian, who was jealous of his own general's success.
Further and more detailed examples can be found in the record of the affairs of 6th century Byzantium by Procopius —"The Secret History".