The Western Empire: The Fall Of The Roman Empire

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Widely considered one of the strongest of the ancient empires to grace Earth, the Roman Empire stood for over one thousand years. Through its humble beginnings along the Tiber river, Rome expanded through near-perpetual aggression to become the dominant force throughout the Mediterranean, Europe, Northern Africa, and the Near East for almost a millennia. As the empire aged, thought, so too did it’s center of focus change. Once rich and prosperous, the Western Roman Empire, and the city of Rome itself, eventually became useful only as a namesake, their wealth and prestige long gone, and with them, the power of the Western Empire. Meanwhile, Rome, as a whole, shifted it’s focus to the prosperous east, which had continued to flourish despite the continued economic struggles of the Empire. At this time, Constantine I creating a new capital at Byzantium, renaming the city to Constantinople. Once Constantinople was established as the center of the empire, the west was mostly forgotten, both by the people and the emperor. The majority of Rome’s Citizens and wealth now hailed from the east, so the western empire was soon treated as an aside by the Eastern Empire and slowly fell into further decline. Many Historians would name a specific event or chain of events that spelled the end for the western half of the Roman empire, but I would argue that the Western Roman Empire did not suddenly collapse because of any one event, rather, it slowly fell over the course of several decades as a result of a multitude of failures. No one body was entirely responsible for Rome’s collapse, instead a combination of a decaying political structure, infighting, a continuously weakened economy, and consistent assaults by germanic tribes eventually caused the ... ... middle of paper ... ...hyperinflation after the unfortunate period between the Severan Dynasty and the Crisis of the 3rd Century. On top of this, the West desperately needed a standing army at all times to defend against enemies on virtually all sides, enemies that would happily see the Empire crumble. To pay for it’s already volatile standing army, Western Rome was forced to increase taxes on an already tax-burdened population that simply did not have the money for. In unison with the perpetual siege by the germanic tribes, the Western Roman Empire’s sever lacking of stable and strong leaders caused not only losses against the germanic tribes, but civil wars to break out on a regular basis. Combining all of these factors together, you can clearly see that Western Rome had entered a spiral, a spiral that it could not escape from, a spiral that slowly whittled Western Rome out of existence.
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