April 18, 2013
Problems Within the Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was, without a doubt, the most powerful governing body in the Mediterranean that ever was. At the peak of the Roman Empire, in the mid part of the first century, it covered about half of Europe, much of the Middle East, and the north coast of Africa. So why did Rome fall? There was not one cause that led to the fall of Rome, but many things occurring in succession to each other. It is true when it is said that Rome was not built in a day. Nor did it fall in a day. Many factors contributed to the ruin of the Roman Empire. The three most important weakening factors were this: political, military and economic. By the third century A.D., major political problems began to arise in the empire. When Caesar Augustus ruled, he had failed to establish a policy on succession. This became a serious weakness now in the third century. Succeeding Augustus was his son Tiberius. The bloodline was running out and there was still no policy set on succession. After the reign of Tiberius, there were many poor leaders, two of which were Caligula and Nero. Caligula killed his sister, among many other people and made his favorite horse a high ranking senator. Nero has been referred to as the worst emperor ever. He was ruthless in his punishments, known to nail criminals to the cross and burn them all night long as a night illumination. The reign of hostile emperors nearly decimated the senate and the ruling class. The entire state began to take on an increasingly military appearance as men moving up through the military ranks replaced the ruling class.
Another major arising problem was a potential military weakness. It had been quite some time since the Roman army had fought in any great wars and conquered new territories. The army quality was declining due to lack of battles, but not the quantity of the army. During the fourth and fifth centuries the growing pressure from...