An understanding of the heights the Roman Empire reached is necessary to realize how great its fall was. Rome was a small village on Italy’s peninsula that had a location easy to defend with great potential for trade access. It was founded in 753 B.C.E. and began to develop as a city in 575 B.C.E. with construction of streets and temples. As shrewd politicians, diplomats, and wise businessmen, Romans expanded the city and added other communities with alliances or conquest. The historian Livy, detailed the moral values that helped Rome expand, such as determination, duty, courage, and military discipline (Spielvogel 120). Rome crushed revolts and continued to reach outward until Italy was under control, and eventually, the western Mediterranean. One huge rival, Carthage, was a strong military state and Rome feared that it would cross the Mediterranean Sea to increase its empire in Italy. After over thirty years of battle in three wars, Rome vanquished Carthage with total destruction and created a province named ...
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...d been conquered began to find weak areas in the Empire, and after regaining some of their own strength and borrowing training methods from the Roman Army, raided Rome on two different occasions, leaving the Emperor, the Senate, and citizens living in fear (Andrews).
Finally, though the reasons listed above may have contributed to weakening the Roman Empire, scholars feel that when the Emperor Diocletian divided the Empire into East and West, government was stretched too thin to manage both halves well (Andrews). Divide and conquer, another old saying goes, could have been the straw that actually broke the camel’s back and allowed hostile neighboring countries to invade Rome for the last time, ending the reign of the Western Empire in 476 C.E. Though the Eastern Empire lasted another 1000 years, it changed enough to be unrecognizable as the legendary Roman Empire.
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