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Forum LockedWhy had Rome fallen?

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Post Options Post Options   Quote ihsan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Why had Rome fallen?
    Posted: 01-Oct-2004 at 15:17
"Every state in this World is destined to fall one day, this goes for our state too", as Sultân Selîm I the Grim of the Ottoman Empire said after his conquest of Egypt.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote demon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Oct-2004 at 16:54

I know many people know the answer, but not me so I'm asking

And did lead poisoning had to do with this?  I heard Rome had extensive channals and waterways made out of lead...

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Post Options Post Options   Quote ArmenianSurvival Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Oct-2004 at 19:07
Well the lead explains why some of Rome's rulers like Caligula were messed up in the head. Its pretty hard to pinpoint a single cause of Rome's demise, some would say it was the barbarian invasions, which was a direct reason, but it started way before that. My history teacher told me Rome would conquer lands and drain all the resources and labor out of that land until there was nothing left, so they kept having to conquer new lands just to keep up with their needs, and once the conquests started slowing down that was really the "beginning of the end" of the Roman empire. Their economy started slowing down and it was much harder for them to manage all those discontented lands and the general population was pretty disgruntled. Also all those unfulfilled promises they made to the various tribes of the north, which lead to the many invasions.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jols Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Oct-2004 at 09:11

A complicating factor in any discussion concerning why the Roman Empire fell is that the empire in the east didn't fall at all (at least not until much later).

 

Most historians mention factors such as mass migration, population decline (whether due to lead in the water or plague), economic decline and a proclivity towards civil war.  All these factors were more apparent in the Western empire than the eastern.

 

Edward Gibbon suggested in Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire that the rise of Christianity sapped the Romans of their warrior spirit.  What this hypothesis doesn't explain is why then it should have been Christian Goths who first sacked Rome in the fifth century.

 

At any rate, its not a question with a simple answer.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tobodai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Oct-2004 at 13:13
probably biggest reasons of all is internal weakness that prevented strong response from massive waves fo barbarian migration.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JanusRook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Oct-2004 at 23:14
Rome wasn't built in a day nor did it fall in a day. Rome was successful enough to handle periods of great decline but every time it rose again in power it rose to a shorter height. Thus the romans just ran out of gas.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Tobodai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Oct-2004 at 11:32
"thus the romans just ran out of gas" that should be my thesis title
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Degredado Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Oct-2004 at 13:55
Economy. It's all about economy. Or one could blame Marius, or Septimius Severus, or even Hadrian, for stopping military expansion.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Imperatore Dario I Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Oct-2004 at 15:33

Oh, this isn't an answer you can easily just come up with, it's a very controversial subject, and one that's still not fully understood at all. Rome had many causes to her collapse. It was just what was happening in the world around her, and what was happening around her, you can't just pinpoint it on one thing. For example, one of the causes was of course, the failure of the Roman economy. The failure of the Roman economy had many causes. For example, sweeping plagues drom returning soldiers killed off many people, leaving fields and farms practically abandoned.

That led to less food to trade around, and the decline of gold and silver mines led to the devaluation of the Roman currency. That mean Roman products less able to be bought, and hastened the decline of the Roman economy. But there was also military matters. The Great Wall of China, and widespread famines among Germanic-speaking tribes in Asia brought these people to Europe. They started invading Rome,  as simultaneously as the Persians (or Sassanians) were attacking Rome's Eastern provinces.

But those aren't the only causes, and many of the causes are caused by other causes, it's just a never-ending story.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote big_swole Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Oct-2004 at 03:54

Maybe it's just as simple as nothing can last forever. 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Quote YusakuJon3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2004 at 08:03
   Since I've been reading Gibbon's Decline, and other materials, it seems logical to conclude that a wide range of causes worked in combination to weaken, and eventually bring down the Roman Empire...

   The Romans had already planted the seeds of their downfall by the effective neutralization of the old republican system of government by the military dictatorships imposed by the generals Sulla, Pompey and Julus Caesar.  The last of these initiated the role of the Caesars as a permanent imperial government, starting with his nephew Octavian (Caesar Augustus) and conintuing through Commodus before a series of usurpers, many of whom were not even true Romans in birth, overthrew their predecessors in repeated revolts.  As that went on, good leadership in Rome was increasingly sparse.

   The loss of revenue from military conquests was another factor.  In fact, Rome's wealth was what drew many of the barbarian invaders from Germany in the declining years.  As the saying goes, "All roads lead to Rome", and Rome itself eventually felt the weight of a barbarian overlord.  By then, the emperors had migrated to Byzantium in the east and let the western half of the empire disintegrate into the nascent kingdoms that would forge France, Germany, England, Spain and Austria.  Eventually, even the eastern empire would feel the bite as Sassanid Persians, Arabs and Ottoman Turks chipped away at the territories controlled by Byzantium.

   Some also say that the spread of various diseases had a part to play in the decline, as Roman population actually fell in the years starting in the 2nd Century CE.  It's apparent that budding trade with the Chinese and Indians brought in more than just silk and spices.

   Ultimately, people might've also grown weary of their oppression by the Roman emperors.  Not just those in the provinces conquered in earlier centuries, but also those who came to live in the heartland of Roman Italy itself.  The freedoms that Roman citizens enjoyed under the old republican government were increasingly abridged by imperial rule until it was just a smokescreen.  The result was an escalating series of rebellions, and eventual anarchy in the wake of Rome's downfall, birthing competing kingdoms in Italy that would remain at odds with each other for over a thousand years.  Part of this was the rise of Christianity among a populace which had lost its faith in the old pantheons of antiquity.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Herodotus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2004 at 16:11

By the time of the so called "fall" of Rome, the military was vastly different from what we typically picture when we think of Rome; well drilled, proffessional legionaires marching in step. The majority of the soldiers resposible for protecting Romes' frontiers were not even roman, they were mostly germanic mercenaries. The few nationally roman units remaining were little more than disorganized militias, the remnants of the once proud legions. How did this immense shift take place?

Of course there are many theories, but the most reasonable, in my opinion, is that which begins in the reign of Septimius Severus. After seizing power, in order to placate the soldiers that had put him on the throne, he increased the salary of the legions by well over 100%, cut drills and regulations that were unpopular with the soldiers and allowed soldiers for the first time to keep their wives and families with them in camp. During this same period there was a severe corrency shortage in rome.

Without sufficient currency, the government network of supply and pay broke down, and soldiers, now with their families, had to fend for themsleves by farming. As a result, training and maintanance of equipment became secondary, and the legions lost their proffessionalism. By the reign of constantine the Great, this change was actually acknowldged. With his re-organization of the military, the majority of the infantry, formerly the backbone of the military, was demoted to a secondary militia type role, and the need for a mobile force was fulfilled by mercenaries.

As many historical examples show, mercenaries are trecherous more often than loyal, and will turn against their masters as often as fight for them. This is precisly what happened, as Romes' threats form the frontiers became greater, her mercenaries became aware of their increaing power and of the states complete inability to resist them. I can imagine, over many years and on many campiagns, mercenary bands turning on Rome, either deserting to beyond the frontiers or raiding and pillaging through the defenseless empire. Eventually, Rome would have found herself, at best, with no military, or at worst, with a host of former mercenraies pillaging the empire.

In either instance, the imperial governemnt would have lost the power to prevent barbarians from beyond the frontiers from entering the empire. In order to protect themselvs, common folk and great landowners alike would have had to rely on certain band of barbarians to protect them from the other band of barbarians, paying them in land. In this process, known as the devision of the lands, power truly tranfered from the governemnt to these local germanic warlords, marking the beggining of the dark ages in Europe.

In my opinion, this was how rome "fell".

 

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Imperator Invictus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2004 at 16:40
Everyone seems to generalize how the Barbarian mercenaries turned against their Roman masters caused their fall. But it's actually more complex than that. I would say that for the most part, the barbarians were willing to fight loyally for the Romans. Gibbons is outdated but he did write that they were very willing to put allegiance over kin in battle. Much of the problem with the Barbarians deflecting were caused by the Romans' negligence. They exploited the barbarians who settled in their lands because of their greed, and brought their barbarian armies away from europe and into distant foreign lands to fight. The distater at Adrianople was mainly because the Romans maltreated the Goths and caused them to revolt. A model to compare the mercenary situation is with the Byzantine Empire, which also hired mercenaries extensively, but survived much longer. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Quetzalcoatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Oct-2004 at 18:17

 

 I believe too much power and achieving social stability and peace for a long time is the cause of their decline. What happened is that roman simply became a passive people, they no longer seek military glory but look for amusement and leisure as a way of life. For instance while the barbarians were sacking rome, some romans prefered to go to the ambhitheatre rather than defending the Rome.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote YusakuJon3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Oct-2004 at 20:38
   One of the last emperors of a united empire actually turned out to be a barbarian himself.  Diocletian, an Illyrian conscript who overthrew an unpopular tyrant, would ultimately divide the empire into eastern and western halves, the latter of which would later collapse and be absorbed into the petty kingdoms being set up by migrating tribes.  One of his lieutenants would be the father of Contantine, who would preserve Roman rule over the east and establish Byzantium as the successor to the empire.

   By this time, the Romans were indeed quite placid.  They were literally being fed a steady diet of "bread and circuses" to keep them in favor of whomever became emperor at the time, so the old dedication to services was forgotten.  After all, who needs to join a standing army when they can get one from the neighboring provinces?


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Post Options Post Options   Quote ihsan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Oct-2004 at 15:28

But weren't the Illyrians already Romanised by that time? I think they were less "barbarian" (with the Roman meaning of course) than the Germanic peoples.

And a Byzantine empire wasn't established.

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