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Causes Of The Huge Fall Of The Roman Empire In The Year 476 C.E. (Research Paper Sample)


5 pages respond to the following writing topic: Explain the circumstances surrounding the fall of the Roman Empire and its primary causes. What could its leaders have done to slow or prevent its fall? What were the critical failures in leadership that resulted in the fall? Do you see any parallels to modern times? Explain thoroughly your answers


The Fall of The Roman Empire
The Fall of The Roman Empire
According to historical accounts, the Roman Empire fell in the year 476 C.E. when Odoacer, a Germanic king, deposed Emperor Romulus Augustulus. However, contrary to common belief, the Roman Empire did not fall suddenly. Before its eventual collapse, it had been going through a phase of gradual decline. Most of the territories that Rome controlled had already been lost and only a small part of the empire remained under Rome's control (Gibbon, 2015). 476 C.E thereby represents the climax of the decline that had been going on for a long time. Different historians have developed various theories on how the Roman Empire fell and the factors which caused it. Some of the factors which have been blamed for the collapse include natural disasters, crippling taxation, while some have even blamed it on climate change. Other historians argue that the empire did not actually fall in 476 C.E. since the Byzantine Empire which was part of the Roman Empire continued to exist for a long time (Kaegi, 2015). While historians have tried to pinpoint the collapse of the Roman Empire on one particular cause, in reality the fall of the empire was a complex event that was a result of many factors.
Causes of the fall of the Roman Empire
There are a number of factors which were responsible for the decline and eventual fall of the Roman Empire. They include invasion by barbarian tribes, economic problems, overexpansion and overspending on military and political instability and government corruption (Christie, 2011).
Invasion by barbarian tribes
The invasion by barbarian tribes is one of the main factors which resulted in the collapse of the Roman Empire. Before its fall, the Roman Empire had sustained a number of military losses against outside forces. For centuries, Rome had engaged in wars with Germanic tribes. However, by 300s, barbarian tribes such as the Goths had significantly invaded the empire. As such, the empire was in a constant war with these tribes, trying to quell constant uprisings (Kaegi, 2015). In late 4th century, the empire managed to weather a Germanic uprising. However, in 410, it faced another uprising led by the Visigoth King Alaric. In 455, the city of Rome experienced another attack by the Vandals. The constant invasions by the Germanic and barbarian tribes resulted in the weakening of the empire and eventual fall in 476 after the invasion of Odoacer.
Economic problems
Apart from the constant attacks by outside forces, the Roman Empire was also collapsing from within due to a severe financial crisis it was facing. Overspending and constant wars the empire engaged in had considerably depleted imperial coffers. On the other hand, inflation and oppressive taxation had broadened the gap which existed between the poor and the rich (Gibbon, 2015). Most wealthy individuals also escaped to the countryside to avoid taxation as well as set up their own independent fiefdoms. These factors reduced the revenue collected by the empire thereby making it to crumble financially.
The empire's economy was also negatively affected by labor deficit. The economy of Rome relied mainly on slaves who worked on fields and as craftsmen. From its constant military campaigns, the empire had always a constant supply of slaves from conquered regions. However, when expansion stopped in the 2nd century, the supply of slaves dwindled (Kaegi, 2015). In addition, Vandals took control of North Africa in the 5th century thereby disrupting Rome's trade. With a decline in agricultural and commercial production and a faltering economy, Rome began to lose control over Europe and this eventually led to its collapse.
Overexpansion and military overspending
At the height of its powers, the Roman Empire comprised of a vast region which went all the way to the Middle East. Historians believe that its vast size contributed to its collapse. Governing such a vast region presented administrative and logistical problems for the empire. Although there were excellent road systems which made travel easy, communication was not quick enough among different regions under its control (Chri

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