The Internal And Economic Causes Of The Fall Of Rome

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Many seem to see the fall of Rome as a single event that suddenly occurred all at once, with one date marking the collapse of the empire. However, the fall of Rome wasn’t a clear-cut event. It was long, drawn out over several centuries, with many causes that, together, proved disastrous for the empire. The fall was most likely caused by a combination of internal and external issues, most notably economic collapse, corruption, the rise of Christianity, and attacks by barbarians (Squires). There were several factors contributing to the economic collapse of Rome. The first was lavish spending. Emperors and other nobility became known for spending extravagant amounts of money on “lavish parties where guests drank and ate until they became sick.” Many also spent money on prostitutes – of which there were many – and entertainment at the Colosseum. Another economic issue was the rise of unemployment. Slavery made it easy to grow a lot of food very cheaply – for some. For those who didn’t have slaves, it was nearly impossible to compete, meaning that only the richest farmers could afford to farm. Over time, the rest all became unemployed. The third economic reason for the fall of Rome was inflation that began after Marcus Aurelius. Rome was no longer conquering new lands, reducing the amount of money entering the empire. The price of goods began rising higher and higher, until gold became meaningless and Romans returned to a system of bartering to pay for goods and services.

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