What Caused the Fall of the Roman Empire?

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Modern historians have written thousands of books and essays attempting to account for the causes for the fall of Rome. The Roman Empire, from 27 B.C.E. – 476 C.E., ruled the entire Italian Peninsula and controlled all of the land surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. What were the causes that led to the fall of Ancient Rome? English historian Edward Gibson wrote the first major study, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, published in six volumes, which claims many causes for the Rome’s decline, three of which are as followed: Rome’s “immoderate greatness,” or its having become too large to govern itself efficiently; the destructive barbarian invasions, and the rise of Christianity whose ideas supposedly weakened Rome’s traditional martial spirit (Nardo). These three events were not the only reasons for the Roman Empire’s collapse but played a significant part. The Roman Republic (508 – 26 B.C.E) collapsed because Rome had expanded to such an extent that the political system wasn’t able to administrate it efficiently. This was followed by civil war and then the Rise of the Roman Empire (Roman Republic). This rise of the Roman Empire brought a period called Pax Romana, “a state of comparative tranquility throughout the Mediterranean world from the reign of Augustus (27 BC–AD 14) to that of Marcus Aurelius (AD 161–180)” (Encyclopædia Britannica). During the Pax Romana, Rome was not fighting in any wars but when the peaceful period ended, the government fell subjected to uncontrolled spending by the emperors Septimius (r. 193-211 C.E) and his son Caracalla (r. 211-217 C.E.). They depleted the treasury to satisfy the army and their own personal glory which led to inevitable political and financial crisis and more civil war. The fi... ... middle of paper ... ...Print. Gibbon, Edward . "General Observations On The Fall Of The Roman Empire In The West From The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon."General Observations On The Fall Of The Roman Empire In The West. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2014. Hunt, Lynn. The Making of the West: peoples and cultures. Fourth Edition ed. Boston, New York: Bedford/st. Martin's , 2012. Print. "Roman Republic." Princeton University. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2014. The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Pax Romana (Roman history)."Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2014. . Cootes, R. J., and L. E. Snellgrove. "Decline and Fall." The ancient world,. 15 ed. London: Longman, 1988. 158-159. Print.
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