Why did Rome fall? Page 1 of 5
Why did Rome fall?
Christopher J. Green
Professor Michael Curran
May 15, 2011
Why did Rome fall? Page 2 of 5
Why did Rome fall? The fall of Rome can not be attributed to one event alone. Many contributing factors such as the size of the Empire which led to division within its leadership, as well as the weakening of the Roman military by the invasion of Germanic tribes led to the downfall of the Roman Empire.
As the saying goes, “Rome was not built in a day.” The decline of Rome can attribute a similar statement, that is, Rome was not destroyed in a day. The fall of Rome can be traced back to the time when Rome was a republic and Julius Caesar marched his legions into the city itself and took control as a dictator. This act alone caused rifts within the Roman ruling class that would echo for generations. The rise of the Emperor replaced the republic and the Emperor himself began to become worshipped as a deity among the traditional pagan beliefs of Roman citizenry. The vast expanse of land that the Roman Empire amassed became difficult to manage by the centralized rule of the Emperor. This led to the governing of the outlying provinces to individual governors, who at times were more interested in their own prosperity than of the prosperity of the Empire. The governors’ own political initiatives led to the Emperor losing his power in the outlying provinces. An example of this is the Roman governors Vindex and Galba, who during the reign of Emperor Nero revolted against the central government. Vindex supported Galba in his bid to overthrow Nero in order to pursue Vindex’s own political prowess under Galba’s new regime. (Donahue, 1999) Revolts such as this one illustrate how people who are distanced from the central government find it difficult to be ruled by them. It is interesting to see that both Vindex and Galba were from the far reaches of the Roman
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