The Fall of the Roman Empire

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ETEP 2: The Fall of the Roman Empire

The fall of Rome is a heavily debated topic in the annals of historical perspective. It signaled the end of the Ancient World, and the beginning of the Middle Ages. The Roman Empire had existed for a long time and ran functionally for about six or seven centuries, until Rome was eventually sacked at the hands of the barbarians in 410 A.D. What was the cause of the fall though? Was it because of a lack of proper leadership coupled with a corrupt system? Some historians from the time feel that this is an important factor. Other historians think that the rise in Christianity lead to the fall of the empire. It is my opinion that the fall of the Roman Empire encompasses both theories. The major component of the fall was incompetent leadership and the corruptness of the government, but the rise of Christianity fueled some of these attributes and lead to a weaker Empire.

Poor leadership was a major factor in the fall of the Roman Empire. Procopius of Caesarea, secretary to the Byzantine general Belisarius, gave us a firsthand view of what happened during the sack of Rome. The Visigoths grew hostile towards the rule of Rome under Emperor Honorius, whom at the time was not thinking of a war in the imminent future. However, when it was mentioned to him that the barbarians were closing in, he fled Rome and found safe haven in Ravenna. Procopius of Caesarea hints that his fleeing welcomed in the barbarians to take over the city. I find this to be a very plausible theory because without leadership in a city such as Rome, it is more than likely to crumble under an invading force. The forces that came in were savages, and they were used to brutally conquering wherever they went, to the extent of even killing the women and children, according to Procopius of Caesarea. Alaric tricked the Romans, leading them to think that some youth of the army were to be handed over to Rome as slaves. Falling for the trick, the Romans opened...
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