Reasons for Romes's Decline

Essay by bafumsterJunior High, 9th gradeA-, March 2004

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Reasons for Rome's Decline

In 476 AD the fall of the greatest civilization to date occurred, leaving a sad empire that would never regain its power. The fall of Rome arose for many reasons including an economic catastrophe, a military disaster, and an empire that was too large to control. In the end, the Roman Empire died a legacy that would never be forgotten.

When the Roman Empire began it was known for its economic success, but that didn't last forever. First, the government started building up the army and undertaking public works projects. This dramatically increased the usual money spent, and the government raised tax rates. Soon the tax needs exceeded the tax capacity of the government and led to inflation. Over the period 218 to 268 AD the silver contents of the Roman coin dropped to one five thousandth of its original level. Sometimes the size and weight of the coins were reduced.

Agriculture also faced problems. The crop fields had lost their fertility due to overworked soil. The prices of food went up and more and more people became hungry. Minting coins that contained less silver was a short - term solution for a very large problem, and in the end came back to haunt the Roman Empire.

In the beginning, the Roman military was the main reason for the empire's success, but towards the end it became a huge weakness. Diocletian (248 - 305) and Constantine (305 - 337) brought the collapse of the Roman military. The border troops became soldier-farmers and declined rapidly in effectiveness, though they were still paid. Diocletian and Constantine also allowed barbarians into the army which decreased the army's loyalty to the empire. The small barbarian tribes who had fought the early empire now banded together to form more powerful...