Reasons For The Fall Of Rome

Submitted By MJRButton
Words: 1394
Pages: 6

The Fall of Rome The fall of Rome came about through a multitude of aspects, over a period of time. This decline started in the first century AD. Many contributing factors brought about the demise of Rome such as political instability, faulty decision making, weak leadership, militant failures, and the rise of Christianity. The most significant of the factors which contributed to Rome's demise would be those brought about by the Emperors of this era, most notably Diocletian and Constantine; the lack of wisdom in the Ruling of the Roman empire would lead to an eventual transfer of power to the Germanic Tribes, who would conquer Rome due to the alienation of these tribes by Roman officials and weakness of the Empire as a whole. Diocletian was the emperor who set the Roman Empire on a destructive path. He was a general who came into power through military force, which was the usual method to gain power of the empire at that time in Rome. This cycle of short lived emperors left the Roman Empire split and in conflict. Diocletian realised that the empire had grown too large for any one man to rule, little own a man who had no prior experience. His plan implemented a tetrarchy, an Emperor and 'junior emperor' for both the east and west, they were called the Augustus and Caesar after two of the greatest emperors of Rome. The Caesars were meant to take over for the Augustus after a period of twenty years, in theory a very elegant system but this ends in civil war when shortly after Constantius took over as one of the Augustus he died and his army declares his son Constantine as the new ruler rather than the Caesar who was appointed. This spurs Maximian's son Maxentius to declare himself Augustus. Constantine defeated Maxentius at the battle of Milvan Bridge. Diocletian also attempted to remedy the lack of tax revenue by forcing those who collect taxes to pay the remainder if the full amount was not collected. This policy resulted in many tax collectors leaving their position of honour. The lack of tax revenue resulted in loss of many basic social needs and services. To solve this problem Diocletian made professions hereditary, this solution caused a greater problem; if a farmer forfeited his land he would then be working for the aristocrat who acquired his land indefinitely due to the law forbidding leaving one's profession. This also sealed one's descendants into their profession also effectively deciding their economic status. The emperor also took many cues from oriental cultures and emphasized ceremonial aspects in court and government life, with emphasis on the ideology of the emperor's divine rule making the emperor to be far above the status of an ordinary mortal. Diocletian may have prolonged the life of Rome in the short term, but set the pieces in place for the death of the Roman Empire in the west. Constantine was the next Augustus to contribute to the decline of Roman life. Constantine was the first emperor to accept Christianity into the empire. He supposedly converted right before the battle at Milvan Bridge, which was significant since at this time it was still illegal to practice Christianity. Constantine was the first emperor to legalize the Christian faith and increase religious tolerance to improve stability within the empire. This led to Emperor Theodosius making Christianity the sole religion of the Roman Empire. Constantine ensured his rule by creating a large field army as well as disbanding the Praetorian Guard, who were replaced by Germanic bodyguards which signified the 'barbarians' being assimilated into the empire. The capital was also moved to the site of the old city of Byzantium, Constantine said it was the command of god, the city was named Constantinople. This broke ties with the old pagan faith and marked the beginning of the new Christian empire. This hastened collapse in the west by centralizing wealth in the east and left the west borders vulnerable, as well as migration of Germanic tribes.