Gen Ed 110
Internal Factors Responsible for the Fall of Rome
There were several reasons for the fall of rome but internal problems such as military deficiency, political turmoil, and a weakened economy were the predominant forces leading up to the fall. Civil wars were a common occurrence in western Europe and often challenged the imperial throne. “It is worth once again emphasizing that from 217 down to the collapse of Western Empire there were only a handful of periods as long as ten years when a civil war did not break out” (Goldsworthy). Emperors constantly faced threats for the throne and often abandoned war against foreign enemy to deal with a Roman rival or Usurper.
Each civil war drained the empire of money and supplies. What was gained by the winning side was lost by through the destruction of provinces and farmlands. “Successive civil wars dislocated the army’s administrative and logistical structures, its training patterns, recruitment and also it’s discipline, which suffered whenever license was given in an effort to win loyalty” (Goldsworthy). Over time the military was in such disarray soldiers gave their allegiance not to Rome but to their commanders, who fought among themselves for the throne. In efforts to defend themselves from attack the government started to recruit foreign soldiers that would work for money. Because these soldiers were working solely for the money, they showed even less loyalty to Rome. The military was falling apart and causing fear among Emperors that they might lose their power.
Personal survival became the priority of every empire and largely shaped their ideas and decisions. One of the changes brought about by the want of survival was the marginalisation of the senatorial class. Major provinces were divided so that no one could command too large of an army and therefor become to powerful. The problem that came about for emperors was that now, a far wider selection of people...
Cited: Ellis, Elisabeth. "The Fall of the Roman Empire." Print.
Goldsworthy, Adrian Keith. "Were Internal Factors Responsible for the Fall of the Roman Empire." How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower. New Haven: Yale UP, 2009. Print.
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