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Why Did The Roman Empire Fall? The reasons for its decline and fall


happy_cube

My reasons are the following 1. The empire was overwhelmed by barbaric European tribes2. The empire grew too large and there where not enough soldiers to protect it.3. The soldiers where loyal to the local area and not to Rome4. Over time the empire became a bit more peaceful and they where overwhelmed by more powerful enemies.5. Mistakes and foolish emperors weakened the empire and/or the government.


Skyfalling

From what I know, the empire ended at Romulus Augustus (ironic, seeing as Romulus was the founder of Rome and Augustus considered one of the best emperors). I thought it was something like Romulus Augustus gave up the crown to Odovacer, the barbarian warlord of the time. Also, I do agree with the army beginning to fall apart. Since a certain emperor (I forget who) allowed non-Romans to become citizens, then the non-Romans joined the army. Because they were not originally from Rome they wouldn't be as faithful as previous generations of that beautiful army (like during the Punic Wars).


Lyon2

Can you explain a bit more your theory adriantc?How and why exactly you think that happens to an empire? Lets say there is an empire that was built in 10 years, lets call it the Xisto empire for instance, is it correct that the time the Xisto empire will take to completely fall, if it will in fact, it will take also 10 years or how much time to fall?Exaplin a bit more if you please, so that i could give you my opinion on it, and correctly. Thanks.


adriantc

Can you explain a bit more your theory adriantc?
How and why exactly you think that happens to an empire?

Lets say there is an empire that was built in 10 years, lets call it the Xisto empire for instance, is it correct that the time the Xisto empire will take to completely fall, if it will in fact, it will take also 10 years or how much time to fall?

Exaplin a bit more if you please, so that i could give you my opinion on it, and correctly. Thanks.


Yes... that is my theory and it has been verified for many empires... the Roman Empire, the Third Reich... right now I can't think of other examples that contradict my theory. Think of an empire like a house. A house built fast, with prefabricated parts, will crumble just as fast as it built. Of course on the larger scale of an empire the building materials are the citizens, the institutions and the army. The strength of an empire and it's institutions come from the process of trial and error. A strong empire must grow exactly like and organism... it must have an infancy, before growing to become adult. The Roman empire grow from virtually nothing to almost everything.
First of all an empire in it's infancy conquers (historically it is military conquest, recently economic conquest) and the basis of it's power are the citizens - without their support it doesn't stand a chance. A conquered nation cannot provide that support since at first it will oppose the conquerers. It's citizens won't join the army since it's not their fight... Beside that, a conquered nation may not have the same institutions so it requires time to adapt. Before committing to the goal of the conquering empire it's citizens must feel part of the empire and that too requires time... It's all about cohesion! And that cohesion can only be archived by developing the conquered nations not only by using up all their resources.
The Third Reich never stood a chance because it employed a "terror" strategy. The Nazis, with their stupid theory that they where the master race ignored the conquered nations, using them as slaves. Maybe the Germans are smarter (my own opinion) and they deserve to rule us all, but not like master vs. slave, but equals sharing the same goal.
I think my theory can be applied to the current ruler of the world... the "American Empire". It was built very fast, on the basis of two world wars. Maybe they don't admit it, but their fortunes represented the death and horror of millions. If there weren't for the 2 World Wars America would not rule the world this days. It is as simple as that. The "American Empire" is not focused on people, but rather on money. It doesn't control the world military, but financially - a fact that makes it weaker. It was built in 50 years, it shall end just as fast. And, as another personal opinion, it's downfall has started some years ago...

dre

A house built fast, with prefabricated parts, will crumble just as fast as it built.

A house built with crap will fall even faster. Sort of like the US, but silly me, it's not an empire...

adriantc

A house built with crap will fall even faster. Sort of like the US, but silly me, it's not an empire...

Now I would go that far... USA is some kind of a modern empire as long as they can do whatever they like on Earth... They said down with Afghanistan - no one protested most supported; then came Iraq - most protested, no one did anything... And I guess that sooner or later we will see the same story being played all over again with Iran or North Korea. I would be surprised if it wouldn't happen... So the USA is an empire; but not an empire like the British Empire was; or like the Roman Empire for that matter. The main difference is that the USA does not want territory, but wealth (can be read as "oil"). Because it is know that however controls the oil flow controls the world!

Joshua

It has been two weeks since I returned from a trip to Rome (among other cities). It was one of my dreams to visit the eternal city of Rome, the city that was once the center of the civilized world. Many of my friends didn't like Rome, because, as they said: "there are only a bunch of stones to be seen". I totally disagree with them. It's hard to express what I felt when I saw the Colosseum, the Imperial forums or Trajan's Column, so much history and power in a single city. It is amazing to think that I stood on the same spot where, 2000 years ago, stood the emperors of the world. It was also hard for me to understand, seeing today's italians, how they managed to conquer most of the known world.In recent years I started having a passion for history. For my history is made up of 3 parts: Alexander The Great (considered one of the most successful military commanders in history and the world's biggest empire builder), The Roman Empire (the world's biggest empire and the most important of them all) and The Third Reich (Drittes Reich, Tausendjähriges Reich "Thousand-Year Empire").
As I stood among the ruins of ancient Rome I started thinking... how could the italians conquer the world since they are like my own people, the romanians (we are half latin) - very lazy and uncivilized (at least compared to some other countries). But the roman 2000 years ago couldn't have been lazy or uncivilized, they were the flower of menkind.
What follows is my very own opinion... it is not to be considered professional or 100% true. It is just my opinion!

There are a bunch of reasons why the Roman Empire fell. I will discuss them in the order of their importance:

1. Tyranny - When Julius Caesar killed the too corrupt Republic he had replaced a form of bad government with one, which at that time, seemed good. On the short run (~180 years) the empire was better then the old republic, but on the long run it was to be the core of the rotten empire. A long series of emperors had nothing to do with the well-beeing of the empire, they only saw their own interests and vices. Internal crisis weakend the imperial army which was no longer capable of defending the empire.
2. No more practice of virtues. In the time of the republic the romans built the empire step by step, discipline was a common word, law and order reigned everywhere. The barbarians where not (yet) afraid of the mighy legions. When the republic turned into the empire, it was near its peak. Pace came and there was no more need for a well disciplined army or brillliant generals; people mixed and the roman blood was no longer pure (it is strongly related to the difference I wazs talking about: ancient roman- modern italian). The barbarians where now afraid even when they heard the name of the Roman Empire. So on the base of peace and prosperity (the Pax Romana) the empire started to slide downwards. Soon the barbarians started to realise that the mighty roman army was not what it used to be. While they were attacking the boders of the empire the internal crisis decimated the flower of the roman army. And the fall was only at the beginning. Diocletian was the last good emperor to realise that the empire could no longer be governed by one person... At this point there was no turning back...
3. Christianity - some may not agree with me but I (and other people way smarter then me) think that Christianity is one of the most importnat reasons of the decline of the Roman Empire. Christianity told people that the life on earth is, for the most part useless. The material world is only temporary, so people no longer practiced the virtues and simply waited for the kingdom of heaven. The army was no longer considered a priority, because God will not reward the brave man of the legions. As I see it Christianity corroded the very pilars of the Roman society. As there was no more wish to fight, the end was no longer a problem of if, but of when.

I should state that I have been impressed (and probably heavly influenced) by Edward Gibbon's (arguably the most influential historian to write in English) History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a book which I strongly suggest reading to all those interested in this topic.

Hope you had the patience to read my long post. I would be happy if you would post you're own theories or even theoriesthat you have heard and agree with. Criticism is also welcome!


Ooh, history stuff! I like some of the points, but for different reasons than what you give.

For example, I think the decline of morals led to the fall of the empire not because it weakened the army, but because it led people to rise up against Rome. With Rome they'd feed people to lions and stick heads on stakes and kill anyone who got in their way. With some of those insane emperors, there was simply no justice to be seen. Rome's dictators could be as bloodthirsty as any English monarch and that resulted in a lot of people wanting to see the empire changed or else crumble.

With Christianity, that's a related issue. The people saw their friends and neighbors being killed peacefully for what they believed, that couldn't have influenced patriotism for Rome. Also, I would suggest that God actually destroyed the Roman empire for playing a part in the killing of His Son and persecuting His people. If you read Daniel 9, it actually predicts the Romans would destroy the temple of Jerusalem (70 A.D.) after Jesus (the Messiah) came. If God punished the Jewish leaders for killing their Messiah, how much more the pagan nation who participated?

Also, I would propose an interesting theory of mine... what if Rome didn't die? What if it just changed? Roman Catholicism is essentially a merger of the two forces that killed Jesus, Jewish Pharasaism and the Roman Empire.

I don't buy that Rome's empire suddenly adopted Christianity. The Christianity adopted was a warfaring religion with nothing in common to that of Jesus' where we're called to love our enemies and do good to those that hurt us. Rather than distancing from idol worship the way Paul and the early Christians, it embraced paganism wholeheartedly.

I believe Roman Catholicism was a fake Christianity. Rome couldn't defeat Christianity by killing all the Christians because more kept coming to Christ. So instead it made a fake Christianity that it then used to declare as heretics all the real Christians. If you look at the early history of Roman Catholicism in destroying 'heretics', it's very similar to how the Roman Empire persecuted the early Christians.

Kraiser X Astral

its really hard to control an empire and you cant make things perfect in organizing that kind of thng


adriantc

Ooh, history stuff! I like some of the points, but for different reasons than what you give.
For example, I think the decline of morals led to the fall of the empire not because it weakened the army, but because it led people to rise up against Rome. With Rome they'd feed people to lions and stick heads on stakes and kill anyone who got in their way. With some of those insane emperors, there was simply no justice to be seen. Rome's dictators could be as bloodthirsty as any English monarch and that resulted in a lot of people wanting to see the empire changed or else crumble.

With Christianity, that's a related issue. The people saw their friends and neighbors being killed peacefully for what they believed, that couldn't have influenced patriotism for Rome. Also, I would suggest that God actually destroyed the Roman empire for playing a part in the killing of His Son and persecuting His people. If you read Daniel 9, it actually predicts the Romans would destroy the temple of Jerusalem (70 A.D.) after Jesus (the Messiah) came. If God punished the Jewish leaders for killing their Messiah, how much more the pagan nation who participated?

Also, I would propose an interesting theory of mine... what if Rome didn't die? What if it just changed? Roman Catholicism is essentially a merger of the two forces that killed Jesus, Jewish Pharasaism and the Roman Empire.

I don't buy that Rome's empire suddenly adopted Christianity. The Christianity adopted was a warfaring religion with nothing in common to that of Jesus' where we're called to love our enemies and do good to those that hurt us. Rather than distancing from idol worship the way Paul and the early Christians, it embraced paganism wholeheartedly.

I believe Roman Catholicism was a fake Christianity. Rome couldn't defeat Christianity by killing all the Christians because more kept coming to Christ. So instead it made a fake Christianity that it then used to declare as heretics all the real Christians. If you look at the early history of Roman Catholicism in destroying 'heretics', it's very similar to how the Roman Empire persecuted the early Christians.


I can't say I agree with you... I'm an atheist so by nature I like to put the blame on the church... For some time I believed that Christianity was something, if not invented, but at leased sanctioned by Rome to empower it further, since it is a known fact that religion is the easiest way to control the masses. But it wasn't the time to control because the romans were, for better or for worse, pretty intellectual, a big part of them alphabetized (knew to read). At least in Rome's golden time. A people aware of themselves would be very hard to control. It was shown during the Dark Ages when lack of culture meant a much powerful church. So the fortunes of the church are strongly related to the (un)fortunes of the people. That's why Christianity wasn't something planned... although a few centuries later it was used for the first time by the emperor Constantine who was commanded in a dream to place the sign of Christ on the shields of his soldiers. But by that time the empire was already weakened.

As for your theory - it is worth discussing... It's actually a pretty common theory. Many historians think that the Roman Empire was never entirely destroyed, or at least that it did only centuries later then the official date. I have a book discussing this theory - it's called The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization by Bryan Ward-Perkins. In the book he uses archiological evidence to show that the collapse of the Roman Empire was a tragically event for all of it's inhabitants. What he finds shocking is the collapse of complexity of the Roman society. Most of the things the Romans took for granted dissapared completely after the fall of the Roman Empire. One thing was so shocking I remember it even today... The scientists too ice samples from the poles and from the ice they measured the amount of CO2 in the air. What the amount of CO2 shows how developed was the industry. What they found out after the measurements was that the industry never reached the same level as the Roman Empire period until the industrial revolution - some more then 1000 years after! Basically what that means is that because of the fall of the Roman Empire the European world (and most of the rest of the world) stagnated for over 1000 years. The trade levels of that period, compared with ones from other periods also suggest the same conclusion. The decline of the quality of life was so big, so fast that only a destruction could explain. What do you think about that?

iGuest

opinion on fall of the roman empire.Why Did The Roman Empire Fall?

I don't believe for a moment the blame was in the hands of Julius Caesar, he was just being a strong leader and if you want controll you need to take out the competition which is still done today all the time, he had obviously studied his Machiavelli, I believe the fall was because of christianity, the soldiers and the people lost hope and reason to fight because it was said there was not place for them in heaven. You cannot lead an empire without the heart, the courage, and the bravery of your people.

-reply by iceGT

 


georgebaileyster

Well, this is certainly a refreshing post, a few more like it please....Now just a few comments. Firstly, I noticed the reference to Hitler and the third Reich, it should, however, be clearly understood that this all stemmed from the first Reich of the 1860's with particular reference to Namibia and the first death camps. Hitler was indoctrinated by the generals of this period in his youth which is how the later atrocities came into being. In the interim, the Germans had re-written their history books to hide these earlier times of which they were ashammed.I cannot see the theory of the rise and fall of empires on a proportionate time scale to be correct as I can't think of any other which would match. The British Empire which was purely based upon economics and business in that developing the nations of the empire drove the industry at home as well as world markets in staple products such as tea, rubber and sugar. It only took less than fifty years to collapse due to the two world wars.....I am, however curios as to WHY the technology of ancient empires always died along side the empire itself though... Does anyone have theories as to why this is? After all, does ot make sense that the next civilisation doesn't need the same level of sanitation or water for instance?


networker

I don't think the Roman empire fell.I think it justslowly crumbled away as other powers grew.Not only that but where there is power, there iscorruption.Rome probably became really corruptas well with it's leaders very self serving.This helped to slowly rot it away as itcrumbled.


jaychant

I am, however curios as to WHY the technology of ancient empires always died along side the empire itself though... Does anyone have theories as to why this is? After all, does ot make sense that the next civilisation doesn't need the same level of sanitation or water for instance?

When a single government controls advanced technology and bloody war causes it to collapse, especially when that war was with uncivilized barbarians, the technology is lost because the knowledge of that technology is never passed to someone else. Because of this, whenever a war causes a dramatic change in power, human civilization effectively gets blasted back hundreds of years in development.

Alex Cicala

I think the Roman Empire was a fad for the big boys of politics and Law. (Also I think Poli is latin is Evil, and tics is Blood Sucking Creatures )Anyway the Romans got bored of the fad, and this is when the Empire broke down. It's like how other countries and empire ruled. Same thing happened there. Now it's Obama has control over alot of things, eventually this US over the World thing will stop soon, next country might be North Korea :/


iGuest

I don't really AGREE THAT Rome fell because of Christianity...Come on.Most likely it fell because of the greed of roman citizens and their emperors.I also think that it had something to do with Rome getting poorer and poorer...Therefore, not being able to provide work for the poor. The poor then started rebelling. They were the most likely cause to why the Rpman Empire fell. 

-reply by Lola D

 


iGuest

Barbarian Invasion and corrupt Government are two mostly agreed upon reasons for the decline and fall of the roman empire. Part of the decline of the Roman Empire was the vast number of barbarians migrating from one section of Europe and Asia to another. Some people say that the division in religion and culture weakened the roman empire as a whole. High prices and severe taxation also played a part.-reply by AlexisK

 


iGuest

Why did the Roman Empire fall?Why Did The Roman Empire Fall?

When Constantine chose Christianity as Rome's official religion, there was certainly an interest in a religion that would not pose a threat to Rome. This varies immensely from Islam and Judaism which created a political system from the religion. Constantine assigned a pope to ensure that the "correct" passive christian dogma would be taught. The religion that made the people easy to manage, also gave them no purpose in preservation or creation of "worldly" things. With the demise of Rome, society was thrown into the christian guided dark ages until the appearance of Martin Luther who dealt a significant blow to catholicism allowing the renaissance.

- Reply by Jeff

iGuest

Fall of the Roman EmpireWhy Did The Roman Empire Fall?

This is in response to George Balileyster's question...I asked myself that question many times. My thinking is, the people were barbarians, and they were ignorant of  keeping their bodies clean, and using a toilet. Since they killed most of the male population there was no one around to teach them something as easy as using a toilet, now the part about keeping their bodies clean, that stumps me to this day. Why would anyone not want to wash everyday?? It makes no sense to me..I guess that is why after the Barbarians took over we had the dark ages..People died because there was no more sanitation. People threw their shiat and pee right out their windows. The dark ages lasted for 1000 years...There wasn't even toilets again until the 1800's...

Pat


iGuest

Why the empire fellWhy Did The Roman Empire Fall?

This is in response To Alex Cicala

I find it rather amusing that still after all of these months, ignorant people like you have to bring President Obama into something that has nothing to do with him. This is about the possible reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire..The more people like you talk, the more ignorant, no I take that back, the stupider you look..The way you put the word polotics together is just priceless. Why don't you go and listen to your hero Rush Limbaugh and leave history to the people who really want to learn about it?? Now kindly STFU Alex..

I too think Christianity had something to do with the fall of the Roman Empire, It wasn't just that however, I think it was a lot of little things that just added up. I am not really qualified to give anything other than my opinion but I think that the Roman people got sick of the way they were being treated, they may have not enjoyed the brutal murders in the colliseums, and I think they were too greedy, they wanted to rule the whole world. And lets not forget. Many wars have been fought over religion, and the early Christian Missinaries were cruel murderers. You either became a Christian, or you were killed.. I also agree with the person who mentioned lead in the pipes. Many people got sick and died from lead poisoning...So you see there are too many reasons that the Empire fell, and it didn't fall in one day the way some people make it seem, this happened over many decades if not centuries...

Pat


iGuest

that doesnWhy Did The Roman Empire Fall?If Christianity played a big part in the fall of the Roman Empire, why would the Romans execute the Christians? That theory is a little shakey because of the fact that one of the main entertainment for the Romans was watching gladiator fights, executions, and the feeding of Christians to the lions. It probably had an affect, but not great enough for the Empire to fall. It probably was more of the fact that Julius Caesar was killed. Because many people acually liked Caesar and fallowed him. His assassination had a big affect on the empire. Also, the burning of Rome could have had an affect. The truth is, that a lot of things are just opinions or theories of the main reason why the Roman Empire did fall.-reply by Sabrina


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