The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire by Please write your full here The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire Introduction The era of the Roman Empire extended from 800 BC to 500 AD. This timeline can be divided into three periods: the first stretched from the foundation of Rome in 753 BC till the conquest of Italy in 270 BC. By this time, the Romans had been victorious over several enemies and won control over all of Italy. The second period was the growth of the empire from around 270 BC to around 200 AD, with the country’s continued successes in conflicts. Its power grew through the Mediterranean, Europe and Asia to become an extensive empire. In 27 AD Rome changed officially from being a Republic to an Empire. Till around 120 AD, the Empire continued to rise, reached its peak, and lasted for another 350 years. Subsequently, the decline of the Roman empire was from 250 AD to around 476 AD. “From the 200s onwards, Rome faced a range of problems” (Walsh 4). Divisive disputes and civil wars, besides attacks from invaders led to the Empire being divided amongst barbarian leaders. Thesis Statement: This paper aims to investigate the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. The Expansion and Significance of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire initially began as a small number of villages. Rome grew to become the centre of a vast empire encompassing Italy, the Mediterranean, Europe, Africa and Asia. The rise of the Roman Empire greatly impacted the lives of people in all these continents, introducing
to these regions their language, culture, laws, religion, architecture and several other features. The Empire brought a sophisticated way of life to vast numbers of people. The numerous buildings and artifacts that still survive give evidence of what life was like during the time of the Roman Empire (Steele 4). The Empire was composed of a very large and complex society. There were both free citizens with full civil rights as well as millions of slaves with no civil rights; and privileges were enjoyed by the rich and powerful Romans, while the poor were deprived of them. On the other hand, the empire was democratic in some respects; people could rise through the ranks of Roman society even if they were not Romans. Thus, over 30 of Rome’s 84 emperors were not of Italian birth (Walsh 5). The Roman Empire established itself extensively and reached its peak by 117 AD. The Empire consisted of Greeks, Egyptians, Syrians, Africans, Jews, Germans and Celts. Many of them belonged to civilizations far more ancient than that of Rome. Uprisings from various groups were quickly put down, and gradually the conquered people came to accept themselves as Roman citizens, a right that was granted in 212 AD to all free persons, but not to slaves, living under Roman rule (Steele 6). The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire In 284 AD after several violent civil wars, this vast empire was divided into several parts. Emperor Constantine reunited the different regions in 324 AD; however the empire was considered doomed. One hundred years later, the western part was invaded by fierce warriors from the north, with disastrous outcomes. The western empire came to an end in 476 AD, the eastern part in 1453. The Latin language survived because it was widely used by the Roman Catholic Church, scholars and scientists, and is the basis of various European languages (Steele 6). In the book edited by Kagan (1962), various authors have offered different explanations for the decline and collapse of the Roman Empire. These are: increasing extent of conquest caused greater destruction and decay, low technology coupled with the institution of slavery, gradual decline in educated classes who were absorbed into the masses, consequent simplification of all functions of society, and the declining work force and increasing poverty which hindered its defense against disintegration from within and invasion from without. Other causes were the loss of economic, social, intellectual and political freedom, and the development of a new race of barbaric people by the building of Rome, and Rome’s efforts to maintain a civil and military system. Similarly, Ward-Perkins (pp.12-17) argues against bloody invasion to be the cause of the fall of the Roman Empire, and the start of centuries of ‘dark ages’. The attacking barbarians were peacefully accommodated into the empire to serve as its defenders, and Roman culture underwent a transformation. Most of the sophisticated characteristics of Roman life disappeared in the West in the 5th to 7th centuries. The Germanic invasions of the 5th and 6th centuries produced the notion that the change was caused by the disruption of war and destruction of Rome’s peaceful trading world. Conclusion This paper has highlighted the rise and fall of the Roman Empire from 800 BC to 500 AD. After reaching its peak in 117 AD, by 284 AD divisive conflicts fragmented the vast empire. Various causes underscored its doom, which resulted in the Empire’s transformation into a less advanced civilization for a long period of the ‘dark ages’. Works Cited Kagan, D. Decline and fall of the Roman Empire: Why did it collapse? The United States of America: Heath. (1962). Steele, Philip. The Roman Empire. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group. (2009). Walsh, B. Empires and citizens. United Kingdom: Nelson Thomes. (2003). Ward-Perkins, B. The end of the Roman Empire: Did it collapse or was it transformed? Brian Ward-Perkins finds that archaeology offers unarguable evidence for an abrupt ending. History Today, 55.6 (2005): pp.12-17.