Why Rome Fell (a Condensed Version)

Why Rome Fell (a Condensed Version)

Length: 999 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Why Rome Fell (a condensed version)

     The sun had long ago set, the newborn moon peeked out from behind a
scattering of thin, high clouds. From a vantage point atop one of seven hills I
could see glimpses of how this great city must once have looked. The mammoth
buildings seem to shed their long years and are once again as they were; huge,
awe inspiring, it is as if a portal in time had opened and I am afforded a
glimpse into what was Rome. What could have caused this once master of all
cities to fall? This paper will attempt to describe some of the explanations
generally accepted, or should I say argued, and possibly shed some light on what
could have caused the fall of what was, unquestionably, the most powerful empire
in history.
     I feel that I must begin with the explanations given by Edward Gibbon.
While few agree entirely with his logic, his Decline and Fall on the Roman
Empire is certainly unavoidable in a paper such as this. His work could be best
summed up by the word confusing. According to David Jordan, ‘the causes for
Rome's fall march across the pages of the Decline and Fall, seemingly without
pattern, and seemingly unrelated to each other. This quote taken from the
seventh chapter of Jordan's Gibbon and his Roman Empire sum up my feelings
concerning the work; however, I will attempt to show some of Gibbon's Causes for
this decline.
Two of Gibbon's causes are the political blunders of its emperors and
their search for personal glory. These are especially obvious in his chapters
on Constantine. In them Gibbon accuses the emperor of destroying Rome for his
own personal glory. Another cause would have to be the anti-Roman nature of
Christianity. Gibbons argues that the ‘insensible' penetration of Christianity
was fatal to the empire by undermining the genius of a great people. On a
pessimistic note, Gibbon also lists as a ‘causes' the inevitable collapse of all
human institutions, some arguments on the corrupting nature of luxury, and some
detailed reflections on the vanity of human wishes. While the arguments
presented are lengthily backed, they seem to fail in explaining the true nature
of the fall.
     Others, many others disagree with Gibbon's explanations and proffer
their own for approval. One such author is David Woomersley who in his work,
The Transformation of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire , openly attacks
Gibbon's work calling it ‘a blunt instrument with which to dissect these
centuries.' That quote, taken from chapter sixteen, is one of many which show
the violent disagreement of the two ideas.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Why Rome Fell (a Condensed Version)." 123HelpMe.com. 15 Aug 2018

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Fall of Rome Essay

- The Roman Empire was the most powerful Empire during Antiquity. It is traditionally considered to have “fallen” in 476, when Rome’s last emperor was deposed. Many theories have been presented as to why it fell, from unsound economic and social policies to mass lead poisoning. The actual cause of Rome’s fall is the result of many factors, but was mainly caused by Rome’s poor economic policies. A question that must first be addressed is whether or not Rome actually fell. There are two main theories which have lead to this conclusion....   [tags: Ancient Rome, Roman history]

Research Papers
1119 words (3.2 pages)

Understanding of God in Ancient Rome Essay

- The Roman Empire was unparalleled in the ancient world. With strong a military, technological development, and widespread infrastructure, Rome easily became the undisputed superpower of the Mediterranean. Lurking underneath this greatness was a deadly secret that caused the eventual collapse of the empire. The secret that eroded Rome, as outlined by Francis Schaffer in How Should We Then Live?, was the civilization’s understanding of God. Rome’s initial understanding of God laid the groundwork for the civilization’s fall....   [tags: Ancient Rome]

Research Papers
999 words (2.9 pages)

Technology in Ancient Rome and Egypt Essay

- Technology application of antiquity was so advanced in some areas that only in the last several centuries has modern technology overtaken what existed several millennia ago . The massive building projects of the Giza Plateau and throughout Egypt required heavy lifting and precision surveying technology that did not exist even 100 years ago . The military equipment of ancient Rome, such as artillery machinery, was still state of the art 200 years ago . Neither Rome nor Egypt invented much new technology , but rather applied existing technology in new ways....   [tags: Rome, Egypt, Giza]

Research Papers
1942 words (5.5 pages)

The Decline of Rome Essays

- The Decline of Rome What were the most important reasons for the decline of the Roman Empire. Why. The seemingly unstoppable Roman Empire was bound to fall after the many aspects that made Rome such a dominant empire started to fade away. Rome was the center of the world and the thought that such a worldwide power could decline was unheard of. It was not built in a day; therefore it couldn't be destroyed in one day. The marvelous city declined for many reasons yet there are only a few major reasons that led to its diminish....   [tags: Ancient Rome Roman History]

Free Essays
1022 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on The Comparative Strength Of Rome

- Rome, considered by most the greatest empire of the ancient world, stretched from modern day England to Palestine and was more successful than all previous Empires. Rome's government, military, economic and civic structures were all superior to those of their predecessors. The Sumerians were the first people to build civilization and attempt empire in the western world. Like Rome, they had a governmental structure, conducted military operations to expand and ensure trade, and build a lasting civic structure....   [tags: History Rome]

Research Papers
1054 words (3 pages)

Essay on The Boy Who Fell Out Of The Sky by Ken Dornstein

- The Boy Who Fell Out Of The Sky by Ken Dornstein Picture yourself, for a moment, among 243 passengers on a Boeing jumbo jet. It is two days before Christmas of 1988, and you are excited to see your family in New York. You are sitting comfortably in your coach class window seat in row 40, reading a poetry book by Charles Baudelaire. It’s 7:00 pm and about 35 minutes after takeoff; the plane is just leveling off at its cruising altitude. You hear the captain throttle back the engines now. Everything is perfect in this aircraft; in fact, it’s not really an aircraft at all....   [tags: Boy Fell Sky Dornstein]

Free Essays
1128 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on Rome

- Humans were inhabiting the Balkan and Greek Peninsula’s from an early, but unknown date. During the third millennium B.C.E. these people’s mingled with people’s from different societies, and started to travel and trade in the Mediterranean region. The result was that these early inhabitants began to build their societies under the influence of Egyptian, Phoenician, and Mesopotamians, as well as others in the region. In the early ninth century B.C.E. the Greeks began a series of city states. (Bentley, Ziegler, 190)....   [tags: Ancient History, Crete, Minoan Civilization]

Research Papers
1776 words (5.1 pages)

Essay about Rome

- Rome The Greeks, after their country had been reduced into a province, imputed the triumphs of Rome, not to the merit, but to the FORTUNE, of the republic. The inconstant goddess, who so blindly distributes and resumes her favours, had now consented (such was the language of envious flattery) to resign her wings, to descend from her globe, and to fix her firm and immutable throne on the banks of the Tiber.[1] A wiser Greek, who has composed, with a philosophic spirit, the memorable history of his own times, deprived his countrymen of this vain and delusive comfort by opening to their view the deep foundations of the greatness of Rome.[2] The fidelity of the citizens to each other, and to t...   [tags: Roman Culture Rome Military History Essays]

Free Essays
4325 words (12.4 pages)

Essay about Rome

- Rome began as a small city-state. It's army and way of running government remained the same as the small city grew to a huge empire. Somehow, this small-time system of management lasted for 600 years. It's obvious ill suitedness showed through though, when Rome's once strong rigid links began to jingle. When Rome began to crumble, its army went first. Besides causing civil unrest, with the people knowing their army was less than satisfactory, the loss of the army's comforting presence also caused a feeling of weakness about Rome....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
343 words (1 pages)

Essay about Rome

- Chapter 7 Section Reviews SECTION 1 1. republic-form of government in which voters elect their leaders consul-chief executives who run the government and are also army commanders veto-refusal to approve and act or bill checks and balances-a principle to prevent any one part of government from becoming too powerful praetor-military commander and judge censor-determined how much tax people should pay tribune-could veto Senate bills and act as public officials dictator-had absolute power and served a 6 month term 2....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
1298 words (3.7 pages)

A few pages later Woomersley refers
to Gibbons works as a stumbling block to historians and again later refers to
Gibbon himself as a poet historian, caught up in the moment and unaware of the
true history of the situation. The problem is that in the mist of these attacks,
Woomersley fails to bring to light any new and exciting information concerning
the fall of Rome and is seen as simply relying on the old standby that the cause
was the corrupting nature of luxury and power. Woomersley argues that the
Romans became so content in their superiority that they forgot how to fight and
forgot what made them great.
     Another who disagrees with the premises of Gibbon is author and
historian David Jordan. In his work, Gibbon and his Roman Empire, Jordan states
that Gibbon imposed himself on his materials and in doing so distorted the
history he was attempting to record. In Jordan's opinion, the main cause of the
decline was internal decay. Rome had taken the ‘known' world and held it for a
very long time. He compares society to a living organism in so much that if it
does not grow, it dies. While it was the Germanic tribes who eventually leveled
Rome, it was Rome's own arrogance which destroyed it long before any ‘enemies'
entered the city.
This reasoning certainly seems logical and fits with the political
situation of the times. At the time of the fall, state was ‘overawed' by the
soldiers who were simply mercenaries. Leaders were murdered by their own troops
for the wealth they had accumulated. The ‘stubborn commons' had been eliminated
by the Augustan settlement and it seems that every reign of the latter emperors
finished with the same cycle of treason and murder. The ladder history of Rome
seems to play like a badly scratched record, frozen into a groove.
One fact which stands out in my mind is that Rome was greatest before
the monarchy. Once power became centralized, Rome was doomed. In reverse
order, England did not become a world presence until a decentralization of the
power occurred, i.e. the Parliament. The problem seems to be who takes control
when a monarch dies. It is the internal struggle which uses up so many
resources and divides a nation. It is the losers of such a struggle which
generally cause the break up since while people who oppose a particular ruler
may be forced to live with it, they will never like it. I believe it is this
inherent flaw in monarchy which lead to the continuos cycle of betrayal and
murder which marks the ladder history of Rome.
As I hope this paper has shown, the issue of what caused the fall of the
Roman empire is a complex one and will most probably remain unsolved for the
foreseeable future. People build on the foundations of others; patterns form
themselves. Perhaps someday we will know the true reasons for the fall and be
able to use that knowledge to prevent the same fate from destroying our American

Works Cited

Gibbon, Edward. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. New York: Random House.

Jordan, David P. Gibbon and his Roman Empire. Chicago: University of Illinois
Press, 1971.

Woomersley, David. The Transformation of The Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
Return to 123HelpMe.com