Fall of the Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was founded in 27 BC and ended in 476 AD. It was one of
the greatest civilization ever and one of the most powerful empires in the whole world. The Roman Empire became so big that it was too much handle which caused economic problems, military problems, and division of the empire that led to the rise of the eastern empire. Then there were the multiple barbarian invasions with tribes called the Visigoths, Vandals, and the Huns. Then Christianity began to rise and it took over the empire and a decline in morals. There were multiple reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire which are barbarians, economic problems, military problems, Christianity, and bad emperors.
First, the barbarians contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire. Along Rome’s northern
frontiers were the Rhine and Danube Rivers. The problem was that there were dozens of tribal barbarians. Rome’s mission was conquest but turned into being survival. They tried to hold on to the lands they have conquered a long time ago. Romans have lost their will to fight so over time the ranks of their legions were mostly barbarians. There was a group called the Visigoths. Visigoths battled the Romans. They killed the roman emperor Valens near Adrianople. They started to invade Rome, Italy causing Rome to fall into their hands (“The Roman Empire” 55). Alaric, a Visigoth king, invaded the city. Roman had gone through a lot of terror that it hadn’t
gone through since eight years ago in Gaul. The Visigoths burned, killed looted, and destroyed
the city (“The Fall of the Roman Empire” 16).
Then there was another group of barbarians called the Vandals. The Vandals came from
the north with their king Genseric. Genseric overcame Carthage which was the leading Roman city in the region. He then established an independent Vandal kingdom and sailed north and captured Rome. They pillaged and plundered their way through Gaul to Spain. The later arrived in North Africa which was under Roman control for a very long time. Then they subdued the fertile coast. This was where room food was grown the most (“The Roman Empire” 17).
The last barbarian tribe was called the Huns. Attila, leader of the Huns, invaded the
Western Empire. Gaul first, then finally Italy. Romulus Augustulus, emperor of the Western Roman Empire, was removed from office by Odoacer, a barbarian leader (“The Roman Empire” 57).
Next, economic problems occurred in Rome. For example, inflation. “In the
economically ailing west, a decrease in agricultural production led to higher food prices. The western half of the empire had a large trade deficit with the eastern half. The west purchased luxury goods from the east but had nothing to offer in exchange. To make up for the lack of money, the government began producing more coins with less silver content. This led to inflation. Finally, piracy and attacks from Germanic tribes disrupted the flow of trade, especially in the west.” (“6f. The Fall of the Roman Empire” 1).
Constant war made it very costly to manage the army that defended the borders of the
empire from the barbarian attacks. The army became way overstretched and was in need of a lot more soldiers. Because they spent so much on the military it left few resources for other vital activities. For example, maintaining quality roads, providing public housing, and aqueducts. This really frustrated the roman so they lost their desire to defend the empire (“Fall of the Roman Empire” 1).
The decrease in the population was also a big economic problem. “Rome’s economy
depended on slaves to till its fields and work as craftsmen, and its military might had traditionally provided a fresh influx of conquered peoples to put to work. But when expansion ground to a halt in the second century, Rome’s supply of slaves and other war treasures began to dry up. A further blow came in the fifth century when the Vandals claimed North Africa and began disrupting the empire’s trade by prowling the Mediterranean as pirates. With its economy faltering and its commercial and agricultural production in decline, the Empire began to lose its grip on Europe.” (“8 Reasons Why Rome Fell” 1).
The empire also grew rapidly due to the conquering of land of the barbarians. This led to
the need to defend the borders of Rome. Soon the land they conquered became too big to maintain. On top of that, the barbarians hated the Romans so when the taxes on non-Romans constantly increased rebellion arose (“Causes for the fall of the Roman Empire” 1).
Slaves increased over the first two centuries of the empire. Rome was really
dependent on slave labor which led to a decline in morals, values, and ethics, the lack of growth of any new technology to make more goods more efficient. They relied on slave manpower but its reliance inhibited technological growth and change. However, the treatment of slaves led them to rebel that caused many slave wars. One of them was the revolt led by a gladiator slave which changed the view people had towards slaves that led then to free slaves. This means that the slave manpower they depended on was gone (“Causes for the fall of the Roman Empire” 1).
“There were military difficulties as well. It didn’t help matters that political
amateurs were in control of Rome in the years leading up to its full. Army general dominated the emperorship, and corruption was rampant. Over time, the military was transformed into a mercenary army with no real loyalty to Rome.” (6f. The Fall of the Roman Empire” 1). Since soldiers begin to lose their loyalty to their rulers because they only thought about getting paid. People saw the military as a career not to defend their empire (“World History: Ancient Greeks and Romans” 1). “As money grew tight, the government hired the cheaper and less reliable Germanic soldiers to fight in Roman armies. By the end, these armies were defending Rome against their fellow Germanic tribesmen.” (6f. The Fall of the Roman Empire” 1).
The rise of the Eastern Empire also caused Rome to fall. Since the Empire divided many
western cities started to decline. Everybody started to focus on the east which meant a lot less money was spent on the west and faced larger military threats (“Burgan”). The reason for the division of the Roman Empire what's the government more easily. After the division Constantine named Constantinople, which was the capital of the Roman Empire, after himself which was in the eastern part of the empire (“8 Reasons Why Rome Fell” 1).
Christianity was also a big part of the Roman Empire. When the Edict of Milan legalized
Christianity and became the main religion in Rome. This means persecution ended and a world way the traditional Roman values system. This means Romans When's from polytheistic to pacifist and stopped viewing the emperor as a divine being (“8 Reasons Why Rome Fell” 1).
Christianity made it more difficult to protect themselves against barbarian attackers And made it more difficult to maintain the empire because they spent too much money on building churches (6f. The Fall of the Roman Empire” 1).
“One of the most difficult problems was choosing a new emperor. Unlike Greece where
transition may not have been smooth but at least consistent, the Romans never created an effective system to determine how the new emperor should be selected. The choice was always open to debate between the old Emperor, the Senate, the praetorian guard, and the army. Gradually, the praetorian guard gained complete authority to choose a new emperor, who rewarded the guard who then became more influential, perpetuating the cycle. Then in 186 A.D. the army strangled the new emperor, the practice began selling the throne to the highest bidder. During the next 100 years, Rome has 37 emperors 25 of whom were removed from office by assassination. This contributed to the overall weakness, Decline and fall of the empire.” (“Fall of the Roman Empire” 1).
Because the Romans never had an effective way to select the new emperor they had faced
several bad emperors. One of them, for example, called Nero. He was the last ruler descended from Julius Caesar. He alienated several Romans and neglected their duties in favor of indulging his artistic pretensions and his obsession with the mystery religions (“The Roman Empire” 1).
Vespasian Was successful but his government overturned because his son Domitian got
selected to be the next emperor. He was an insane tyrant that conquered all of Britain and in the end, he was murdered for his cruelty. The emperor Caligula became very infamous and unpopular. He wasted a lot of money on lavish parties word guess would drink until he became sick. He was a madman and a weak ruler his own officers even murdered him (“The Roman Empire” 1).
Finally, a decline in morals also led to the fall of the Roman Empire. They're starting to
become a decline in morals mainly in the richer upper-class people of Rome Which had a very big damaging effect on the Romans. Immoral sexual activity took place with these people including the emperor when they began committing adultery and having orgies. For example, Emperor Tiberius kept little boys for his pleasure. Nero had a male slave castrated so he can take him has his wife. Finally, Elagabalus Who forced a pure virgin woman to marry him. this Behavior also impacted the slaves and people in the lower class. Saturnalia and Bacchanaliawere religious festivals where they practiced sacrifices, Ribold songs, lustful Acts, and sexual promiscuity. With that forced prostitution started to flourish (“Causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire”).
Gambling also became a big part of people's enjoyment. They usually gambled on chariot
races and gladiatorial combat but there was a lot of bloodshed involved in these activities. The Gladiators were usually criminals, slaves or prisoners. There was also an insane amount of cruelty towards humans and animals in the arena called the colosseum arena (“Causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire”).
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