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How did Roman empire decline?

Updated: 8/18/2023
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Kclogin2

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11y ago

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A massive movement of a succcession of peoples from eastern Europe and Asia came progressively into the empire. The Goths were pushed by Huns and associated peoples, and sought sanctuary on the Roman side of the Rhine.

The Romans settled them there, and used them as a shield. The Roman army progressively was based on Gothic manpower and government progressively included the new peoples. The Huns et al moved into the Empire, pushing the Goths and Vandals further west and north. After initial success, the Huns etc were successfully resisted by the eastern empire but won out in the west, pushing the Germanic peoples through central and Western Europe and North Africa.

The west was overwhelmed by the fifth century, but a shrinking eastern empire survived until the Ottoman Turks took it by the 16th Century.
the widening of class distinctions between the rich and poor.

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7y ago
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13y ago

The decline of Rome was primarily due to three causes, two of which were mostly internal to Roman society.

  1. Poor Leadership - The leadership of Rome was weak and often corrupt, so that political and diplomatic decisions were often made to satisfy domestic pursuits.
  2. Economic problems - The military dominance of Rome in the Mediterranean became an expensive prospect, and generals began to choose self-interests over the defense of the Empire.
  3. Invasion Threats - The attacks from the Goths and other Germanic tribes became more frequent and more coordinated, eventually leading to their control over most of Italy, and finally Rome itself.
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9y ago

The Roman Empire's long and illustrious, if also violent, history gradually witnessed a decline in the 4th and 5th centuries C.E. due to several reasons. Lack of stability at its highest levels is often cited, with emperors often reigning badly and also for only short periods before suffering violent deaths at the hands of power-hungry usurpers. The increasing use of mercenary troops rather than Roman citizens is cited as another cause, since mercenaries often proved less reliable in battle. Another significant cause was the growing strength and ambition of Rome's northern and eastern neighbors, the various Germanic (and other) tribes which had finally gained the power to march into Roman lands and plunder successfully.

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11y ago

The Roman Empire was plagued by several problems. One of them was no stable line of succession. When one emperor died, often the top generals would fight it out to see who would replace him, throwing the empire into a ruinous civil war. Once a new emperor was in place he would give a 'donative' (basically a huge cash bribe) to all the soldiers to keep them loyal to him, draining the treasury.

The Empire was split and remerged into the eastern and western halves several times from the 3rd century AD onwards. This was done to make it easier to defend the borders, and at first it worked well. But when the split became permanent in 395 it exposed a weakness - the east was richer, meaning it could raise more money from taxes and support armies and/or payoff rivals. The west had less money, so they struggled to maintain an army that could defend its lands.

Ultimately it was barbarian invasion that finished off Rome. At least the western half, since the eastern half lived on for another 1000 years as the Byzantine Empire. Waves of barbarian migration in Central Asia pushed down into Europe, creating barbarian incursions of Rome's northern borders, specifically the Goths and the Huns, and various Germanic tribes. Rome had several opportunities to peacefully grant land to them, which could've maintianed the peace and even strenghtened Rome, but they bungled it and turned them into enemies. They raided Roman cities, robbing them of wealth and wrecking the social order. Rome was forced to settle with them by giving them lands, in exchange for mercenary service to defend Rome from other enemies. However this caused two new problems: the mercenaries weren't really loyal to Rome, they were loyal to their own chiefs. Second, as Rome gave away territory its tax base shrank, giving it more tax problems. This chain of events repeated several times, until the western Roman territory was whittled down to little more than Italy, a small strip of north Africa, and an isolated piece of northern Gaul. Soon the city of Rome was sacked, and it wasn't long before Odoacer and his army overthrew the last emperor.

There were several other reasons too, such as a plague at the end of the second century, a series of terrible emperors in the third century, and debasement of the coinage as Rome's gold and silver mines depleted.

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7y ago

That's a complex question. Here are some of the reasons, as outlined on History.com:

  • Invasions by Barbarian tribes
  • Economic troubles and overreliance on slave labor
  • The rise of the Eastern Empire (when Diocletian divided the empire)
  • Overexpansion and military overspending
  • Government corruption and political instability
  • The arrival of the Huns and the migration of the Barbarian tribes
  • Christianity and the loss of traditional values (fewer people believed that the emperor was divine)
  • Weakening of the Roman legions (recruitment of citizens was down, and hired soldiers were less loyal)
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12y ago

General malaise, loss of civic virtue, military decline, political corruption, environmental and health degradation, and overall cultural transformation have all been theorized as the cause of the fall of the Roman Empire.

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12y ago

bythe black guy sitting beside the white guy Cody widmer

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12y ago

weakening of the middle class

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