Introduction but also from the inside. The empire started

Introduction

“All empires fall eventually. It’s
the way of things,”1
and
Roman Empire was not an exception. Expanding its territory very quickly brought
more and more power. At one point, it was so big that it stretched all the way
from England to today’s Iraq. Different people of different cultures and
religions, all lived under the control of the Romans. Despite them making
roads, bringing wealth, providing security and introducing hot baths, it was
hard to control an empire that big. The idea was to split the empire in half,
Western Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire.2 This was the first factor
that led to the fall of the western empire.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

 

Over
the time, Western Roman Empire started to face many challenges and
difficulties. Factors which led to its fall were all somehow connected. Introduction
of Christianity was one of them. It started to spread and in the end, even the
emperors became Christians, which made it difficult to fight battles. Then, due
to the no longer strong army, Rome started to fear the barbarian tribes outside
the empire, which was another factor. But the problems did not only come from
the outside, but also from the inside. The empire started to face economic
problems as well which was one of the biggest problems. Taxes started to raise,
prices went up and this brought crisis into the empire. Romans also started to
recruit non-Romans into their army, which later brought another problem with
the barbarians later on. And the public health issues and natural disasters did
not help. Earthquakes started to happen, famines and diseases started to spread
over the Roman cities, bringing nothing but catastrophe and death.3 The government and the
politics were corrupted. When Visigoths sacked city of Rome, it was clear sign
that everything is going downhill.  Soon,
in 475 A.D., general Orestes replaced the emperor Nepos with his son Romulus.
Barbarians requested that he gave them one third of Italy to rule. By refusing
this, Romulus was kicked of the throne, Orestes was killed and Barbarians took
over the throne which was the moment when crisis in the empire reached the very
top. Nothing else was left so year 476 A.D. marks the Fall of Rome. Or more
precisely, Western Roman Empire because the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantine
Empire continued to ‘live’ and fell in year 1453 which, we can say, was the
empire’s true last fall.4

 

Even the Mightiest
Will Fall

            One of the main causes why Western
Roman empire fell was the fast expansion of the territory. The bigger the
empire was, the bigger the borders were and the need to defend them. People who
lived on the conquered lands were not very happy Romans came and took over
their territory, especially the Barbarians which hated Romans. The taxes
increase for non-Romans causing them to turn against the Romans and begin many
different rebellions. 5

 

Romans
were polytheistic. They believed in many gods and they liked it that way. When
Christianity made its appearance, it was not welcomed very nicely. Some
historians believe, that this new religion was one of the causes which made
Rome fall. Introducing a new religion meant breaking the tradition and
replacing their gods with a different god. People who were poor had very bad
lives, had to live in small, shabby homes, some of them not even being that
lucky, and future for them seemed terrible and helpless. Christianity offered
them some kind of shelter and hope because they believed there is afterlife and
that after death, they will go to a better place. Eventually, emperor Constantine
the Great, proclaimed himself a Christian and soon, most of the people followed
him and became Christian too. Because this religion became so powerful, they
started to not tolerate other religions. Christianity also made them pacifist, believing
that war and violence are unforgivable6, which made it more
difficult for them to fight the against the barbarian invaders. This resulted
in Rome being overflowed by different people and cultures.7

 

            Besides having problems on the
outside of the empire, such as constantly being attacked by the barbarian
tribes, Rome also faced difficulties on the inside of the empire. The biggest
problem was economy which affected many things. Once Romans stopped conquering
land, the amount of gold they had started to decrease over time. Because they
were always in war with someone, they had to finance the army. Spending a lot
of money on military caused the taxes and prices to go up. Rich would move to
the countryside, far away from the city, to avoid the taxman but poor stayed in
the city and had to pay taxes, making them even more poor. This had an effect
on Rome losing its grip on Europe.8 When Vandals took over
North Africa, the Mediterranean was open to them, so they would easily disrupt
empire’s trade, causing it to fall deeper into financial problems. Economy also
caused problems such as unemployment. Farmers had to pay their workers but they
did not have enough money which usually resulted in them firing their workers
and selling the farms. Soon, the economic crisis was so bad, that workers’
salaries were paid in clothes or food, and taxes were taken in a form of fruits
and vegetables. 9

 

During
this period, there were revolts, street fights, civil wars and absolute chaos. And
then, like cherry on top, diseases started to spread. Water, which was brought
to houses with pipes, was dirty and full of bacteria. The rate of wealthy
people who died was big and increased more and more.10 The poor weren’t spared
either, especially the ones that lived on the streets. There were also some
other natural disasters such as earthquakes, which started to occur, and
famines as well which were caused by wars and dead bodies. This caused scarcity
of food, and people entered a period of starvation, malnutrition and increased
mortality.11

 

From Hero to Zero

               One
of the main causes for the Fall of Rome was the antagonism between the Senate
and the Emperor.12
The
emperor had power to rule Rome in every aspect with the Senate as his
consulting body. But the emperors were spoilt and wealthy, believing they had
all power if the world in their hands (said in simple words: they were full of
themselves). Soon, the became corrupt and lived an immoral lifestyle. This
usually resulted in Senate not liking the emperor and vice versa. The power of
Praetorian Guard and the political corruption also affected Rome. The power of
elite soldiers, from the Guard, reached the point to where they were the ones
throwing off emperors of the throne, killing them and choosing new ones. At one
point, they even had an auction for the throne, selling it to the highest
bidder. This led to the current situation being worse then it already was and
many Roman citizens lost trust in their leaders.13

 

            And then, at the very end, we have
the neighbors of the Romans, the Barbarians (Visigoths, Huns and the Vandals).  Like mentioned earlier, Barbarians were not
happy with Romans being on their territory. Because of that, they would
constantly attack them. Despite this being bad for the Romans, it was perfect
for the Barbarians. Since Romans recruited some of the Barbarians into their
army, Barbarians were able to figure out the roman military tactics. They used
it to their advantage, turning against the empire which led to the sack of Rome
by the Visigoths whose leader was an ex-Roman army solider. 14

 

            The empire was in fear of being
attacked again for a few decades and then “the Eternal City” was invaded again
by the Vandals. And finally, Barbarians were slowly bringing an end to the
Western Roman Empire by kicking emperor Romulus Augustulus off the throne and
taking over. Since then, no Roman emperor ruled from Italy which led to many
writers, historian and poets marking year 476 as the year when the Roman Empire
was finally conquered and suffered its end.15

 

Conclusion

            And the bigger they are, they harder
they fall. The Roman Empire. The biggest and most powerful empire of its time.
Who would have thought that it would come to an end that easily? It only took
one little spark, one little problem that lit up all of the other problems,
causing a huge disaster. But I think that it was destined for them to fall
eventually and to fall very low. But despite Western Roman Empire falling, the
Eastern Roman empire continued to become stronger and more powerful and soon,
followed the same footsteps as its other half.

1 Erin Morgenster, The Night
Circus. London, Vintage Publishing 2012, Print

2 Ancient History Encyclopedia (December 1, 2011) https://www.ancient.eu/Western_Roman_Empire/ (January 15, 2018)

 

 

3 Tribunes and Triumphs

http://www.tribunesandtriumphs.org/roman-empire/causes-for-the-fall-of-the-roman-empire.htm (January 15,2018)

4 History (January 14, 2014)

http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/8-reasons-why-rome-fell (January 15, 2018)

5 Tribunes and Triumphs

http://www.tribunesandtriumphs.org/roman-empire/causes-for-the-fall-of-the-roman-empire.htm (January 15,2018)

6 Tribunes
and Triumphs

http://www.tribunesandtriumphs.org/roman-empire/causes-for-the-fall-of-the-roman-empire.htm
(January 15,2018)

7 History (January 14, 2014)

http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/8-reasons-why-rome-fell (January 15, 2018)

8 History (January 14, 2014)

http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/8-reasons-why-rome-fell (January 15, 2018)

9 Rome.info (2003)

https://www.rome.info/history/empire/fall/ (January 15,2018)

10 Rome.info (2003)

https://www.rome.info/history/empire/fall/ (January 15,2018)

11 Tribunes and Triumphs

http://www.tribunesandtriumphs.org/roman-empire/causes-for-the-fall-of-the-roman-empire.htm (January 15,2018)

 

12 Tribunes and Triumphs

http://www.tribunesandtriumphs.org/roman-empire/causes-for-the-fall-of-the-roman-empire.htm (January 15,2018)

13 Tribunes and Triumphs

http://www.tribunesandtriumphs.org/roman-empire/causes-for-the-fall-of-the-roman-empire.htm (January 15,2018)

 

14 Tribunes and Triumphs

http://www.tribunesandtriumphs.org/roman-empire/causes-for-the-fall-of-the-roman-empire.htm (January 15,2018)

15 History (January 14, 2014)

http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/8-reasons-why-rome-fell 
(January 15, 2018)