The Western Roman Empire

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The fall of the Western Roman Empire is one of the most discussed topics in history. The Roman Empire was established around 27 BC and lasted nearly 500 years. The classical representation of the fall of Rome is that Barbarian tribes stormed Rome and destroyed the capital. The classical view of history holds that the noble romans were brutally slaughtered by tribes from the backwards outlands of the Roman Empire. This simple view of tribes destroying the empire is, as is often the case with most simplifications, holds some truth, but is incomplete and not always accurate. In reality, the Western Roman Empire fell due to a variety of reasons, both internal and external. These reasons were slow to develop and often slow to act. This would lead…show more content…
The most significant internal stress on the Western Roman Empire was that for many years, the Emperor of Rome had been incompetent. Romans had been so unsatisfied with the emperors that the 75 years leading up to the collapse of the empire had been ruled by 20 different emperors (Andrews 1). Many of the emperors in this time period were murdered by the Praetorian Guard, which was founded as the personal bodyguards of the emperor. The main problem that these emperors had was to be too self-indulgent. They spent the wealth of the empire on parties and clothes instead of dispersing it throughout the empire. They also hoarded wealth which contributed to financial crisis (Gill 1). This financial crisis was one of the leading contributors to the fall of Rome because it simply was no longer economically viable. The last major internal factor of the fall of Rome was the collapse of Roman values. The Edict of Milan ceased the persecution of Christians in the Roman empire which greatly increased the number of roman Christians (Andrews 1). The long history of roman militarism was also in decline. Long periods of peace lead to the cessation of strict military practices and the downsizing of the army (Gill 2). The cumulative effect of these stresses was to change the Roman Empire from a vast empire to a shell of what it had been. This was a…show more content…
The conquest of earlier emperors had pushed the extent of the empire up into present day Germany where Germanic tribes had been incorporated into Rome for many years. One of the main ways that Germanic Tribesmen were incorporated into the Roman Empire was as paid soldiers (Gill 4). Even though these Germanic warriors fought for Rome they often remained more loyal to the groups that they had previously belonged to. Eventually they would decide to fight for themselves and they conquered the outskirts of the Roman Empire (Damen 1). After years of battling, the Visigoth king Odoacer would dethrone Romulus Augustus and take the Roman capital for himself. Another external cause for the decline of the Western Roman Empire was the rise of the Eastern Roman Empire. The splitting of the Roman Empire weakened both halves, and diverted the resources that were needed to protect the Western Roman Empire from outside threats (Andrews 1). The splitting of the Roman Empire was intended to make the governance of the empire easier, but it would contribute to the fall of the eastern half of the

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