The Top 5 Reasons Rome Fell
The Fall of the Roman empire threw Europe into the Dark Ages.
The Roman empire had many things lead to its destruction. The five foremost of these are the Rise of the Eastern Roman Empire, economic troubles, invasions by barbarian tribes, overreliance on slave labor, overexpansion and military spending, and Government corruption and political instability. The first reason and possibly the most important reason for Rome’s collapse is when Emperor Diocletian divided the Empire into two halves. The Western Empire seated in the city of Milan, and the Eastern Empire in Byzantium, later known as Constantinople. The division made the empire more easily governable in the short term, but over time the two halves drifted apart.
East and West failed to adequately work together to combat outside threats, and the two often squabbled over resources and military aid. As the gulf widened, the largely Greek-speaking Eastern Empire grew in wealth while the Latin-speaking West descended into economic crisis. They had a religious divide as well. While both were Christian, The Western Empire was Roman Catholic while the Eastern Empire was Eastern Orthodox. This served to divide them even more. Most importantly, the strength of the Eastern Empire served to divert Barbarian invasions to the West.
The Western political structure would finally disintegrate in the fifth century, but the Eastern Empire endured in some form for another thousand years before being overwhelmed by the Ottoman Empire in the 1400s. The second reason for Rome’s collapse is thanks to economic catastrophes. Constant wars and overspending had drained imperial reserves, and oppressive taxation and inflation had widened the gap between rich and poor. At the same time, the empire was rocked by a labor deficit. Rome’s economy depended on slaves to till its fields and work as craftsmen, and its military might had traditionally provided a fresh influx of conquered peoples to put to work. But when expansion ground to a halt in the second century, Rome’s supply of slaves and other war treasures began to dry up.
A further blow came in the fifth century when the Vandals conquered North Africa and began attacking the empire’s trade as pirates. With its economy faltering and its commercial and agricultural production in decline, the Empire began to lose its grip on Europe. The third reason for Roman Empires collapse pins it on the many military losses sustained against outside forces. Rome had fought with Germanic tribes for centuries. By the 300s, Barbarian groups had made it beyond the Empire’s borders. The Romans weathered a Germanic uprising in the late fourth century, but in 410 the Visigoth King Alaric successfully sacked the city of Rome.
The Empire spent the next several decades under constant threat before Rome was raided again in 455, this time by the Vandals. Finally, in 476, the Germanic leader Odoacer staged a revolt and deposed the Emperor Romulus Augustulus. This was possible because their military was mostly comprised of those barbarians because the Roman empire had started conscripting barbarians because they were more likely to fight than the people in the cities like Rome. From then on, no Roman emperor would ever again rule from a post in Italy, leading many to think 476 as the year the Roman Empire suffered its deathblow. The fourth reason for Rome’s collapse is that it stretched from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Euphrates River in the Middle East. With such a vast territory to govern, the empire faced an administrative and logistical nightmare.
Even with their excellent road systems, the Romans were unable to communicate quickly or effectively enough to manage their holdings. Rome struggled to gather enough troops and resources to defend its frontiers from local rebellions and outside attacks, and by the second century, Emperor Hadrian was forced to build his famous wall in Britain just to keep the enemy at bay. As more and more funds were funneled into the military upkeep of the empire, technological advancement slowed and Rome’s civil infrastructure fell into disrepair. The fifth and final reason and the final reason is ineffective and inconsistent leadership. Being the Roman emperor had always been a dangerous job, but during the second and third centuries, it nearly became a death sentence.
Civil war thrust the empire into chaos, and more than 20 men took the throne in the span of only 75 years, usually after the murder of their predecessor. The corruption also extended to the Roman Senate, which failed to temper the excesses of the emperors due to its own widespread corruption and incompetence. As the situation worsened, civic pride waned and many Roman citizens lost trust in their leadership. In conclusion, the Roman empire fell for many reasons, but the 5 main ones were invasions by Barbarian tribes, Economic troubles, and overreliance on slave labor, Overexpansion and Military Spending, and Government corruption and political instability.