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Explain The Theories That Resulted To The Collapse Of The Roman Empire (Essay Sample)

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Writing an essay to explain the theories that resulted to the collapse of the roman empire

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Theories Explaining Fall of the Roman Empire
Within the fourth century, the collapse of the Western Roman Empire was experienced after its run for about 500 years as the greatest superpower of the world (Ancient Civilizations, 1). Historians have related the fall to more than a hundred different reasons, ranging from climate change and natural disasters to crippling taxation and military failures. Moreover, some still argue that the empire did not actually collapse within the 476 A.D., because its eastern section thrived for an extra thousand years as Byzantine Empire (Squires, 1). While the exact way and time that the empire collapsed is a subject of a continuing debate, several theories have been devised to illustrate the collapse and disintegration of the Western Roman Empire, with the invasion by Barbarians emerging as the most convincing theory.
A commonly used and highly straightforward theory for the collapse of the Western Rome is the invasions by Barbarian tribes (Andrews, 1). This implies that the fall of the empire resulted from the inability to contain and control outside forces. The clashes between Rome and Germanic tribes had existed for centuries, and within 300s A.D., several barbarian groups such as the Goths had managed to encroach beyond the borders of the empire. The Romans had the ability to weather a significant Germanic uprising in the late periods of the fourth century, though in 410 A.D., the city of Rome was successfully sacked by the Visigoth King Alaric. The Empire suffered consistent threats for the next decades till the Vandals actually raided the entire city in 455 A.D. Finally, Odoacer, the Germanic leader, staged a revolt that saw the deposing of Emperor Romulus Augustulus in 476 A. D (Andrews, 1). After the revolt no other roman emperor got the chance to rule any city in Italy, a factor that made a number of historians conclude that the Roman Empire collapsed in 476 A. D.
Economic trouble and excess reliance on slave labor has also been cited as a reason for the fall of the empire (Squires, 1). The financial crisis of the empire is a major reason for internal collapse, as there were constraints that made it challenging to resist even the external attacks. Overspending coupled with consistent wars had majorly lightened imperial coffers. Moreover, oppressive inflation and corruption had increased the gap between the poor and the rich in the empire. In order to avoid the empire’s taxmen, a number of people who were wealthy fled to the countryside to set up liberated fiefdoms. Labor deficit equally rocked the empire during the same period. The economy of the empire highly relied on slaves in the cultivation of the fields and working as craftsmen. The military might of the empire had resulted into capturing of several slaves who could help run the economy. However, with the fall of the military might of the empire in the second century, the number of slaves who were conquered significantly reduced, leading to a fall in economic performance and thus financial crisis in the empire. A further blow resulted in fifth century when Vandals who had claimed North Africa started disrupting the slave trade of the empire in their operations at the Mediterranean as pirates (Ancient Civilizations, 1). With the faltering of its economy and consequential decline in agricultural and commercial activities, the Empire lost its grip in Europe.
Overexpansion as well as overspending in military activities is also seen as a cause of the decline of the empire (Andrews, 1). During its peak, the empire covered the Atlantic Ocean to the Euphrates River within the Middle East, a factor that is perceived to have potentially led to its fall. Logistic and administrative nightmare resulted from the vastness of the territory. Though they had excellent road systems, the romans still faced the challenge of communicating quickly and in an effective manner that could ensure a consolidated empire. The empire failed to gather enough troops to govern all its borders and prevent external attacks, a factor that made Emperor Hadrian to construct a wall in Britain to ensure the enemies were kept away. The empire had to funnel a lot of funds into military upkeep in order to secure the entire region, a factor that led to slow technological advancement and infrastructural development (Ancient Civilizations, 1). This made other empires pass Rome in technological advancement and infrastructural development, and thus led to its fall.
Political instability and government corruption has also been cited as a theory for the fall of the Kingdom. With the sheer size of the empire that made governance a challenge, inconsistency ad ineffectiveness of the leadership was actually a magnifier of the problem. Becoming a Roman emperor had emerged as a dangerous job, and after the second century, it was actually perceived as a death sentence. The tumultuous second as well as third century saw a thrust of several civil wars, an issue that made about 20 men to occupy the throne in just a 75 year span (Andrews, 1). The throne was often occupied after the murder of an emperor. The personal bodyguards of the emperors assassinated their leaders at will and installed their ...
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