Factors Leading to Rome's Decline

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Test Essay
October 3, 2012
Question: “What were the main factors in Rome’s decline? Which do you judge as the most important? Why?”

When we hear the word “Rome,” a very definite picture comes to mind. We see a strong military conquering a vast majority of the ancient Mediterranean world, Julius Caesar sitting on his throne, leading Rome to newer heights each day, and the highest, most innovative new technology being put to use as Rome grows stronger and stronger. Rome was a very successful civilization, as it lasted from 100 BC to 476 AD. For a 200 year span, called the Pax Romana, trade, entertainment, the economy, and overall satisfaction increased. This was a time of peace. Unfortunately, because of numerous misfortunes such as power struggles, inflation, military rebellions, and foreign invasions, even the mighty Roman civilization came to an end.

Power struggle was a major conflict of Rome. After the Pax Romana, whose last king was Marcus Aurelius, emperors were continuously overthrown and killed. This was such an issue, that during one fifty year period, 26 emperors ruled and either resigned or were murdered. Out of those 26, only one died of a natural death. Because of the constant change of rulers, the kings lost the support of the citizens, since the emperors they were loyal to did not remain in power.The collapse in politics was the first step to the fall of Rome.

The economic decline was the second step to the fall of Rome. Large taxes were put in place to support and fund the military due to corruptness. Because of this, a heavy burden was placed upon businessmen and farmers. With the majority of their income going to the large taxes, farmers were financially struggling. They could no longer afford their land, so they were forced to leave and work for large landowners. Money gradually started losing its value, and inflation occurred.

The third step in the Roman decline was the military rebellions. Because of the constant change in...
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