DBQ: The Fall of the Western Roman Empire
The long decline of the Western Roman Empire was caused by the accumulation of the many obstacles that stood in their way over time. At first the Roman Empire was thriving. It was the biggest empire at the time and it expanded at an incredible speed. Their military and leadership capabilities were magnificent. When confronted by the Roman military their enemies were better off giving up and not even trying; it wasn’t worth it. In time, however, the Roman Empire’s golden age expired, they stopped conquering and internal drawbacks began to appear. The once flourishing Roman Empire began to face many problems, like military incapacity, the growth of Christianity, and unemployment, all of which contributed in a different way to the decline of the Empire. Perhaps the most influential pivotal point of the decline of the Roman Empire was military incapacity. Without a strong army a nation that is surrounded by nomadic tribes that are ambitious to conquer them are doomed. The Roman army wasn’t at all strong because according to Montanelli (D5) their army was composed by foreigners, these German mercenaries were unskilled and felt little or no loyalty towards the Emperor. Also, according to Strayer, Gatzke, and Harbison (D1) an overwhelming majority of the Roman population believed the old civilization wasn’t worth saving. Therefore, they didn’t have the desire to protect the nation and serve in the army. A country’s military directly influences the welfare of its nation; this is why the Roman Army’s incompetence led them to their decline. Another strong reason that caused the Roman Empire’s destruction was the introduction of Christianity. God replaced the Roman Emperor; their adherents believed that God’s word was of primary importance, much more importance than the emperor’s. Gibbon’s army (D2) states that Christians believed that killing is a sin, therefore none of them served in the...