Reason why the Roman Empire fell
Reason why the Roman Empire fell - Multiple Causes over 500 years
The Roman Empire lasted from 27 BC - 476 AD, a period exceeding 500 years. The Decline of the Roman Empire was due to many reasons but the major causes of the decline are detailed in the following sections. There was no specific order the reason why the Roman Empire fell were due to different causes occurring over a period of hundreds of years. Reason why the Roman Empire fell? Multiple Causes over 500 years.
Reason why the Roman Empire fell - Antagonism between the Senate and the Emperor
The Roman Emperor had the legal power to rule Rome’s religious, civil and military affairs with the Senate acting as an advisory body. The emperor had power over life and death. As in the old sayings "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" and ""Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it". The powerful, wealthy Roman Emperors inevitably became corrupt and many lived a debauched and immoral lifestyle. The Roman Empire saw divisions between the Senate and the Emperors. Either the Senate didn't like the Emperor or the Emperors was at odds with the Senate.
Q. Reason why the Roman Empire fell? Antagonism between the Senate and the Emperor
Reason why the Roman Empire fell - Decline in Morals
A decline in morals, especially in the rich upper classes and the emperors, had a devastating impact on the Romans. Immoral and promiscuous sexual behaviour including adultery and orgies. Emperors such as Tiberius kept groups of young boys for his pleasure, incest by Nero who also had a male slave castrated so he could take him as his wife, Elagabalus who forces a Vestal Virgin into marriage, Commodus with his harems of concubines who enraged Romans by sitting in the theatre dressed in a woman's garments. The decline in morals also effected the lower classes and slaves. Religious festivals such as Saturnalia and Bacchanalia where sacrifices, ribald songs, lewd acts and sexual promiscuity were practised. Bestiality and other lewd and sexually explicit acts were exhibited in the Colosseum arena to amuse the mob. Brothels and forced prostitution flourished. Widespread gambling on the chariot races and gladiatorial combats. Massive consumption of alcohol. The sadistic cruelty towards both man and beasts in the arena.
Q. Reason why the Roman Empire fell? Decline in Morals
Reason why the Roman Empire fell - Political Corruption and the Praetorian Guard
The power of the Praetorian Guard, the elite bodyguards of the emperor, led to political corruption and grew to such an extent that this massive troop of soldiers decided on whether an emperor should be disposed of and who should become the new emperor! The story of Sejanus, who was the commander of the Praetorian Guard during the reign of Tiberius, illustrates the extent of their power. At one point the Praetorian Guard sold at auction the throne of the world to the highest bidder.
Q. Reason why the Roman Empire fell? Political Corruption and the Praetorian Guard
Reason why the Roman Empire fell - Fast expansion of the Empire
The rapid growth of the Empire led to the need to defend the borders and territories of Rome. The people of the conquered lands, most of whom were referred to as Barbarians, hated the Romans. Taxes on the foreigners were high and constantly increased. Frequent rebellions arose.
Q. Reason why the Roman Empire fell? Fast expansion of the Empire
Reason why the Roman Empire fell - Constant Wars and Heavy Military Spending
Constant warfare required heavy military spending. The Roman army became over-stretched. The barbarians, who had been conquered, and other foreign mercenaries were allowed to join the Roman army.
Q. Reason why the Roman Empire fell? Constant Wars and Heavy Military Spending
Reason why the Roman Empire fell - Barbarian Knowledge of Roman Military Tactics
The knowledge that the Barbarians gained of Roman warfare and military tactics by serving in the Roman army were eventually turned against the Empire and led to the sack of Rome by the Visigoths led by an ex-army soldier Alaric.
Q. Reason why the Roman Empire fell? Barbarian Knowledge of Roman Military Tactics
Reason why the Roman Empire fell - Failing Economy
The Government was constantly threatened by bankruptcy. The cost of defending the Empire, the failing economics, heavy taxation and high inflation was another reason why the Roman Empire fell. The majority of the inhabitants of the Roman Empire failed to share in the incredible prosperity of Rome. The flow of gold to the orient to pay for luxury goods led to a shortage of gold to put in Roman coins. Roman currency was devalued to such an extent that a system of bartering returned to one of the greatest civilisations the world had ever known.
Q. Reason why the Roman Empire fell? Failing Economy
Reason why the Roman Empire fell - Unemployment of the Working Classes (The Plebs)
Cheap slave labor in turn resulted in the unemployment of the the people of Rome who became dependent on hand-outs from the state. The Romans attempted a policy of unrestricted trade but this led to working class Romans being unable to compete with foreign trade. The government were therefore forced to subsidize the working class Romans to make up the differences in prices. This resulted in thousands of Romans choosing just to live on the subsides sacrificing their standard of living with an idle life of ease. The massive divide between the rich and the poor increased still further.
Q. Reason why the Roman Empire fell? Unemployment of the Working Classes (The Plebs)
Reason why the Roman Empire fell - The 'Mob' and the cost of the 'Games'
If the thousands of unemployed Romans became bored this led to civil unrest and rioting in the streets. The 'Mob' needed to be amused - the gladiatorial games had to be provided. The cost of the gladiatorial games was born by the Emperors, and therefore the state, and corrupt politicians who sponsored the games to curry favor and support with the 'Mob'. The cost of the gladiatorial games eventually came to one third of the total income of the Empire.
Q. Reason why the Roman Empire fell? The 'Mob' and the cost of the 'Games'
Reason why the Roman Empire fell - Decline in Ethics and Values
Life became cheap - bloodshed led to more bloodshed and extreme cruelty. The values, the ideals, customs, traditions and institutions, of the Romans declined. The basic principles, standards and judgments about what was valuable or important in life also declined. The total disregard for human and animal life resulted in a lack of ethics - a perverted view of what was right and wrong, good and bad, desirable and undesirable. Any conformity to acceptable rules or standards of human behaviour were being lost.
Q. Reason why the Roman Empire fell? Decline in Ethics and Values
Reason why the Roman Empire fell - Slave Labor
The number of slaves increased dramatically during the first two centuries of the Roman Empire. The Roman's dependency on slave labor led not only to the decline in morals, values and ethics but also to the stagnation of any new technology to produce goods more efficiently. Romans could rely on slave power for all their needs, and this reliance inhibited technological change and growth. The terrible treatment of slaves led to rebellion and several Servile (Slave) Wars, the most famous being the revolt led by Spartacus. In the later centuries of the Empire and the advent of Christianity the attitudes towards slaves changed. With manumission (the act of freeing a slave) the number of slaves declined together with the manpower that Rome depended upon.
Q. Reason why the Roman Empire fell? Slave Labor
Reason why the Roman Empire fell - Natural Disasters
During the time of the Roman Empire there were not only foreign wars, civil wars, street fights, fires and revolts there were also natural disasters such as plagues, famines and earthquakes. As in all periods and societies the people looked for someone to blame and different religions to turn to.
Q. Reason why the Roman Empire fell? Natural Disasters
Reason why the Roman Empire fell - Christianity
Christianity - Life and the future seemed hopeless for the millions who were ruled by Rome where an early death was almost inevitable. Christianity taught the belief in an afterlife which gave hope and courage to the desperate. Eventually a Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great, proclaimed himself a Christian and issued an edict promising the Christians his favor and protection. Attitudes in the Roman Empire changed from being antagonistic to becoming pacifistic.
Q. Reason why the Roman Empire fell? Christianity
Reason why the Roman Empire fell - Barbarian Invasion
Rome had fierce foreign enemies. There were great Barbarian armies consisting of warriors such as the Visigoths, Huns and the Vandals. The final death blow to the Roman Empire was inflicted by these Barbarians. The city of Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410 and by the Vandals in 455 signalling the disintegration of Roman authority and the Fall of the Roman Empire.
Q. Reason why the Roman Empire fell? Barbarian Invasion
Reason why the Roman Empire fell - The Ancient City of Rome
So what became of the Ancient City f Rome? The final destruction Rome occurred in 537 AD during a siege on Rome by the Goths. The aqueducts which supplied Rome with water were destroyed. The people of Rome could not survive without water and the population of Rome fell by 90%.
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