There were many reasons for the collapse of the Roman Empire but I believe that the primary reason that the Roman Empire collapsed was that it expanded to a size that was virtually impossible to manage effectively with the technology that was available to the Romans at that time. The huge borders that the Roman Empire shared with the germanic tribes to the north meant that over time it became very difficult to defend the Roman frontiers from the barbarians. The overextended borders caused by constant conquests also flooded the empire with slaves to work in the fields and the mines causing the poor Romans to head to the large cities such as Rome to look for work, to keep the masses of poor Romans in the cities from revolting the leaders of Rome were forced to spend vast sums on the food subsidies and games as distractions to the people. The giant unmanageable borders of the Roman Empire also forced Emperor Diocletian to finally divided the unwieldy empire into a western and eastern half. This worked for a while but the two halves of the empire grew apart after the division and eventually the eastern Roman Empire based in Constantinople saw no reason to prop up the ailing western half and it finally fell in 476 CE, to invasion from the barbarians led by Odoacer. I will be discussing in the rest of this paper why I think that the unmanageable borders of the Roman Empire were the prime reason for the collapse of the Roman Empire and how this directly lead to the empire being vulnerable to Germanic barbarian attack, caused the poor people of the empire to head to the large cities in search of opportunity, which drained the imperial coffers, and how the division o...
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...ime the wealthy and stable east had washed their hands of the poor and backwards western half and considered themselves to be the true heirs of the glory and greatness of the empire of the past.
In conclusion while scholars argue many different reasons why the western Roman Empire collapsed, I believe that I have shown that the most important and primary reason was the over extension of the borders. These unmanageable borders caused a multitude of problems for the empire and the Empire was unable to withstand the increased vulnerability to barbarian invasions, the stresses caused by the rush to the cities of the displaced Romans, and finally when the empire was split in two it became obvious to the richer east that the west was dead weight and not longer worth expending resources on and without being propped up by the east the collapse of the west was inevitable.
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