Roman Empire

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The Roman Empire is known as one of the greatest empires of all time, blossoming politically, economically, and culturally. Rome was quickly expanding, reaching as far as North Africa. When Octavian came into power, the Pax Romana, or “Roman Peace,” began. However, this long peace may have triggered the beginning of the end of the Roman Empire. Because Rome was not distracted by conquering foreign lands, its citizens relaxed and lived in luxury. There did not seem to be any goals they did not meet; they were so blinded by their success that they did not realize complications within their own empire were slowly emerging. Some of these emerging factors that led to the downward spiral of Rome include: the instability and corruption of its government, which was the primary reason Rome declined; a dwindling military, which led to vulnerable spots; and invasions launched by foreign tribes, who took note of these vulnerabilities.

Although Rome seemed strong, political problems were boiling beneath the surface. Violence seemed to decide the leaders of the empire. From 235 to 285 CE, 22 emperors had ruled—13 of them were assassinated. This number is not totally accurate, as 3 of those assassinations were possible, but, for the most part, this data is plausible because they are statistics and not biased. (Doc A) To peoples outside of Rome, this showed that Rome was vulnerable and could fall to invaders, if they were strong enough. The government was also corrupt, as observed by Priscus, a Roman ambassador to the Huns. According to him, some citizens preferred being ruled under the Huns, who had conquered the land of these certain citizens. Under Roman Rule, the wealthy could pay their way out of any dilemma, whereas the poor had to deal with the consequences. Taxes were heavy, and there was obviously a widening gap between the rich and the poor. (Doc E) However, because Priscus was most likely interviewing a commoner, the commoner may have exaggerated...
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