Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Fall of the Roman Civilization

The fall in the Roman civilization was a dramatic event in the history of the world. There are many opinions on why the Roman civilization did fall. One of the popular explanation was the split into an eastern and western empire governed by separate emperors. Some of the other explanations are: the plagues, the use of lead pipes, the Roman army, and liberal thinking emperors.

The Roman Empire was once one empire, but split. The eastern half became the Byzantine Empire, with its capital at Constantinople. While the western half remained centered in Italy. The eastern Roman empire was the stronger of the two and had a trading system with Asia, Africa, and Europe. This led to a more wealthier civilization. The eastern cities were also better fortified and had the Black Sea as a natural barrier against invaders. The western empire was much weaker and did not have the trading abilities that the eastern empire had. These cities were often exposed to attackers along the northern boarder.

Another reason in which why the Roman civilization fell is because of the plagues and diseases that swept the empire. The plagues reduced the population, and affected the fertility of the survivors greatly. The diseases made the Roman people weary. These along with accidents of the time, such as lead pipes, hurt the population of the Roman civilization. The lead pipes poisoned the people, lowering their birth-rate and intelligence level.

Another major cause for the Roman civilization to collapse is because of the fall in the Roman military. The military got out of hand due to the lack of discipline. As the military started to gain power, loyal Roman soldier were scarce. These powerful generals tended to use the power of their armies to further their own political ambitions. At a point in time they gained so much power that at their word emperors would be assassinated, even though it was mainly for their own profit. In the end, the Roman empire could not produce enough to support and maintain the military capability necessary to defend a vast empire in a hostile environment. (Hadas 143)

Another reason in which why the Roman civilization collapsed is because of the liberal thinking emperors. They attempted to spend too much on the poor in their efforts to lift them up. As a result of this it drained the financial resources of the Empire.

As the eastern civilization weakened away, the western empire fell in A.D. 476, when last emperor was removed. After the fall of the Roman civilization the roads and public structure fell, trade declined, and Germanic powers claimed parts of Rome. (Tainter 143)

Through all of these events and actions the Roman civilization eventually fell. However, it showed the people of today an important idea; the decline and fall of empires is a repeating pattern of world history. Even large empires eventually break into smaller pieces.

Hadas, Moses, et al. Imperial Rome. Great Ages of man: A History of the World’s Cultures. New York: Time-Life Books. 1965.

Tainter, Joseph A. The Collapse of Complex Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1988.