The Fall Of The Roman Empire

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The Roman Empire was one of the most powerful empires in the history of mankind. In 476 CE Odoacer defeated Romulus Augustus to capture Rome; most historians agree that this was the official end of the Western Roman Empire. There is much debate on how exactly Rome declined and eventually fell. The fall of Rome was a long process that took place over many centuries. There are five main schools of thought on why Rome fell. First, Christianity, offered by Edward Gibbons; He suggests that Christianity caused Rome 's citizens to lose loyalty to the state and focus on their own afterlife weakening the internal strength of the empire. The Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus suggests that the barbarians, mainly the Huns, eventually caused the empire to break down. Modern historian, James Burke suggests another explanation, military spending and overexpansion. Another historian, William McNeill, hypothesized that the main reason for Rome’s decline was a series of fatal epidemics. The last school of thought, which I will be defending, theorizes that massive corruption within the participate led to Rome’s decline. The constant civil wars and assassination attempts lead to the emperors focusing on their own safety; this made the empire unable to neither function nor cope with the constant pounding of the barbarians. The Pretorian Guards would assassinate the Emperor whenever they felt he was not doing what they wanted. Christianity affected the empire in a positive way, uniting the

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