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The Reasons the Roman Empire Fell - Research Paper Example

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The Reasons the Roman Empire Fell The final decline of the Roman empire was on 04 September 476 when Odoacer, a German chieftain replaced Romulus Augustus as the Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. Rome’s decline however was not abrupt but rather a gradual disintegration of the various components that made the Roman empire great1 (Ward-Perkins, 2006, 230)…
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Download file to see previous pages For the economic reason, Rome’s decline was precipitated by the decline in manufacturing and trade which resulted in the populations loss of purchasing ability. This resulted in the widening between the rich and the poor. For military reason, Rome’s armies became political as it can determine succession of emperors. Soldiers also became scarce as the empire can no longer afford to pay them. Rome resorted to barbarian troops which has no loyalty to Rome and cannot be depended on defending Rome. It is more interested in obtaining spoils of war and cannot be depended on to fight their fellow barbarians in behalf of Rome. Politically, patriotism and pride among Romans dwindled as most emperors no longer command respect and loyalty. Democracy was no longer practiced and its citizens can no longer vote. Rome’s leadership also deteriorated that it slid to patronage politics where loyalty is bestowed to an Emperor instead of the state. There was also no orderly transition of power, partly because the military meddles with the succession of the emperors. Rome became divided the creation of two empires brought about loyalty crisis. The division started when Constantine made Byzantium a capital which was formerly in Rome. The succeding emperor, Diocletian thought that by dividing Rome into two would strengthen the empire, in fact brought the opposite and furthered the division of the empire and precipiated its fall. This period marked a crisis characterized by military Anarchy (235 -284 AD) when its emperor, Alexander Severus was assasinated. Rome ceased to be a learning center and instead became preoccupied with gladiator shows and chariot contests instead of intellectual pursuits. In a way also, Christianity contributed to the fall of Rome because it undermined the basis of its leadership such as imperial divinity. Hunger, plagued, famine and war ensued that deteriorated the Roman empire further. In general, Rome fell due to its dependency to non-Romans which later turned against the empire. The Antonine Plague which wreaked havoc in 165 Ad also wiped out nearly half of its population with the spread of the epidemics such as measles and small pox. The annihilation of its population precipitated its dependency towards barbarians who turned against the empire. These barbarians were not really concerned with the security and protection of Rome but only with the loot and spoils of war. The infusion of non-Romans into its military also diluted its sense of patriotism and sense of loyalty to the empire. One of the more popular theories which was attributed to the decline and fall of Rome is its moral degradation which is often depicted in popular media such as the movie Gladiator. The series of war it was involved in also caused the demise of the Roman Empire. The first war with the Visigoths in 376-382 AD where Emperor was killed allowed the fleeing Huns to live in the borders of Rome who later rebelled against the Empire and contributing to its instability2 (Goldsworthy, 2009, 13). Rome also lost during the first war. The Alaric war, which was also known as the second war with the Visigoths ultimately led to the sacking of Rome in 410. Alaric invaded Italy and eventually founded the Visigothic Kingdom in Gaul and Hispania3 (Gibbon et al., 2003, 318) Many of its territories, such as those in the regions of Hispania and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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