The Fall of the Roman Empire Essays

1265 Words 6 Pages
The fall of the Roman Empire in the West is seen as one of the most pivotal points in all of human history. This event traditionally marks the transition from classical civilization to the birth of Europe. There is an absolutely tremendous scholarly interest in this subject; thousands of books have been published and endless numbers of essays and theories, as to the cause, have been written. Why did the Roman Empire in the West fall? It is difficult to pinpoint a simple explanation. Some scholars have tried to identify one main problem which caused the fall. Some say the culprit is lead, and its use in water pipes; others find that Christian ideology is to blame. The issue is confusingly complex and it stands to reason that one …show more content…
If, as seems likely, it was the upper levels of Roman society that suffered most from lead poisoning, some of these effects could have negatively affected those who ran the empire . Lead was in fact used for domestic water lines and in the main aqueducts. Its use was so common that the workers who produced the pipes were called plumbarii, which translates to “lead men” in English. This connection may seem valid, but when examined further the correlation is not convincing. An obvious argument against this hypothesis is the fact that, well beyond the fall of the Roman Empire, even into the modern era, lead pipes are being used with seemingly no recognized harmful effects. A more specific refutation lies in the hardness or softness of the water. “If the water has been flowing over sedimentary rocks then it acquires a calcium carbonate content which not only makes the water hard but also forms a shell inside the pipes effectively insulating them from the water flowing inside.” The land where roman towns were mostly built is sedimentary, so it can be reasonably assumed that local water reserves flowed through sedimentary deposits. With this calcium deposit inside the pipes the water and pipe are essentially not in contact with one another and therefore the lead cannot contaminate the water.

Another theory places the blame on the rise of Christianity. Within this…