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Rise of the Roman Empire Essay

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Updated: Nov 25th, 2021


The Roman Empire is an empire that arose after the Roman Republic at the time when Augustus was ruling between the year 27 B.C and 14 A.D. This empire had territories that stretched from North Africa and Persian Gulf to Germany and Britain Later this empire was divided in to the Western Roman Empire and Byzantine Empire. The Western Roman Empire fell into Chaos under the invasion of the barbarians from the east and the north. Romulus Augustulus who was the last emperor of the Western empire was deposed in the year 476 and this marked the end of the empire. This people discuss three theories that suggest the possible causes of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.

Why the fall?

There were various reasons that led to the fall of the Roman Empire that are very much connected to each other. Some people even suggest that the emerging of Christianity could as well have contributed to the fall of the empire. They claim that Christianity changed many people in to pacifists making it very hard to fight with the barbarian fighters in order to win. It is also suggested that money that was spent on setting up churches was a big waste since the same money would have been used to establish the Roman Empire.

For a long time, the Roman armies or Legions were always in position to hold back the German barbarians (Anonymous, 2001).

The Roman Legion

Roman legion was very much organized and the discipline had made it to be very powerful when it came to fighting. A choice between cavalry and infantry favored infantry since infantry after having the training it never backed off in the battle. On the other hand, cavalry portrayed cowardice and could easily run away whenever they came across a more dangerous situation. Contrary to the barbarian army, continuous training was to be given to the legions that made the empire to incur large expenses. This made it difficult for the empire since the economic activity in general was going down as well as agriculture. Collecting taxes became difficult and the entire organization came under tension (Absolute Astronomy, 2009). The military budget ate in to other budgets for other important activities such as setting up roads and providing better housing facilities among others. The Romans at that time became mixed up and much disappointed and surrendered giving protection to their empire. The empire at this point had no option but to recruit people who were not trained from the streets and employ them as soldiers. This army was quite unreliable alongside being very costly to hire. The increase in costs in turn triggered increasing the tax and the tax increase in turn brought higher the inflation. This brought about the general weakening of the economic status of the empire.

Another cause that led to the decline of the empire was moral decay. The moral decay was common place among the rich people and even the emperors themselves and this left a big impact on the people of Rome. There was widespread sexual immorality. Emperor Tiberius sexually molested small boys as a way of pleasing himself. Nero practiced incest. He ordered the castration of his slave in order to marry him. Elagabalus married a Vestal virgin by use of force. Commodus with his several concubines annoyed the Romans by sitting in public places while putting on women clothes.

Moral decay was as well traced among the lower class. They held religious ceremonies in which sexual immorality was practiced. The commercial sex business boomed in brothels and there was much gambling. More so, there was excessive drinking of alcohol among other immoral acts. This kind of self-indulgent caused the Roman people to be lazy and thus found themselves drowned up after losing focus. (Roman Colosseum, 2008). Another theory that is brought forth in regard to the decline of the Roman Empire is the political corruption. This is an issue that brought about poor leadership in which the emperors and the political leaders vested their interest much in protecting and maintaining their own status than making all the possible efforts to ensure their empires survive and stand. Among the complicated problems was how to select a new emperor. The Romans did not come up with a structure that could be followed in order to choose an emperor. New emperor selection involved the former emperor, the emperor’s private soldiers, the army, and the senate.

Over time, the private army of the emperor acquired absolute power to select the incoming emperor. The new emperor could in turn reward the private army and then this army turned out to be more powerful. This practice perpetuated the cycle. This gain of more power by the private army brought a more negative impact in the year186 A.D where the army killed a new emperor. This was a show of the practice of offering to the highest bidder. A hundred years from there, Rome was ruled by 37 emperors and 25 out of which were assassinated as a way of removing them from power. This kind of practice was kind of self-destruction to the Roman Empire and played a major role in weakening the empire and later resulting in its decline and subsequent fall (Anonymous, 2001).


Absolute Astronomy. (2009). Early Middle Ages. Web.

Anonymous. (2001). The fall of the Roman Empire. Web.

Roman Colosseum. (2008). Causes for the fall of the Roman Empire. Web.

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