The Fall of the Roman Empire

Essay by em_segrestHigh School, 10th gradeA, November 2014

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The Fall of the Roman Empire

Though it started as a Republic, Rome quickly grew into one of the largest empires the world has ever seen. It flourished for over a thousand years, with a population of over seventy million people at its peak. The Roman Empire conquered over forty modern-day countries; this included the majority of Europe, small portions of North Africa, and the Middle East. However, even Rome had its issues. In 476 CE, the most powerful empire of its time collapsed. It took a variety of influential sources to assist with the decline of Rome. While scholars argue about the most important of these sources, they can agree on several main causes for the fall of the Roman Empire: barbarian invasions, overexpansion and overspending on the military, political corruption, economic problems, and the rise of Christianity.

Barbarian invasions had an enormous impact on Rome's power. The Goths were the first group to test Rome.

An invasion of the Huns' into Europe in fourth century CE forced Germanic tribes such as the Goths to travel through the Roman Empire into safety. Roman officials allowed the Goths to cross, but not without a price. The Visigoths were treated with extreme cruelty, even being forced by Roman officials to "trade their children into slavery in exchange for dog meat" ("8 Reasons Why Rome Fell"). Eventually, the Goths grew tired of such cruelty and sacked the Roman Capital in 410. Rome was able to regain power again until 455, when the Vandals were the next to invade. However, the biggest blow to Rome didn't come until 476, when a Germanic leader revolted and killed Emperor Romulus Augustulus ("8 Reasons Why Rome Fell"). These invasions and conquerings of barbarian tribes greatly attributed to the decline of Rome.

While being a large...