Fall of Rome

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Fall of Rome

Essay: Why was it possible for Rome to become an empire and last so long. What were the reasons for it's fall?

Rome was one of the greatest empires of the ancient world. The early Roman state was founded in 509 B.C. after the Romans drove out the hated Etruscan king. By this time Rome had already grown from a cluster of small villages to a small city. Little did the settlers know that this was the beginning of one of the greatest and largest empires ever known.

After Rome established itself, they were determined to never again be ruled by a monarch. The Roman setup a new government called a republic. Romans thought a republic would keep any individuals from gaining too much power. Later Romans looked back with enormous pride on the achievements of the early republic. Between 509 B.C. and 133 B.C., Rome adapted the government to fit the need of the people it served. It also developed the military power to not only conqueror not only Italy, but also the entire Mediterranean world. In the early republic power was controlled by the patricians, the land holding upper class. Senators, who served for life, interpreted laws and issued decrees. In the event of a war the senate might elect a dictator who ruled for only six months in time of emergency.

Julius Caesar emerged. He was able commander who led many conquests for Rome. In 59 B.C. Caesar set out for a new conquest. After nine years of constant fighting, he finally conquered Gaul. Pompey grew jealous of his achievement and had the senate order him to disband his forces and return to Rome. Caesar secretly crossed the Rubicon and killed Pompey then entered Rome. After crushing many rebellions, Caesar forced the senate to make him a dictator. Caesar launched many reforms such as public work programs and giving land to the poor. According to legend those in the senate murdered Caesar on March 15. Caesar's Grandnephew, Octavian, and Marc Anthony joined forces to capture his killers. However bitter feuds grew it soon became a battle for power.

After the Pax Romana ended, the next 100 years were in political turmoil. In one 50-year period, at least 26 emperors reigned and only one died of natural causes. At the same time high taxes used to support the armies began to anger the people. During this Germanic tribes were attacking the outskirts of the Roman Empire.

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