The Fall of the Roman Empire

How did slavery weaken government?

Many factors such as military, social, economic, political and Roman dependency on slavery combined, resulted in the fall of the Roman civilization. It was estimated that an average wealthy Roman such as Nero owned 400 slaves in his town house alone, and according to one writer, some wealthy people owned from 10,000-20,000 slaves (Tingay and Badcock 128). Grant stated that the Romans were so dependent on the slave labor that even the simplest task such as getting dressed, holding a towel while going to the bath, and cooking were all done by slaves. Because wealthy owners had slaves working on everything, the lower class could not compete with the freed laborers and were forced out of jobs. So they became dependent on the government to take care of them. The wealthy were forced to pay high taxes on slaves and were expected to help the community at the same time, so they started freeing their slaves.

Meanwhile, the "cost of repairing and maintaining public baths, temples became heavy expenditures on the government" ( Ancient Rome Online ). The government spent the majority of its money on the lower class. The lower class was given free grain like bread oil wine and free entertainment. The government also spent money on the maintenance of the city. Because the government spent its funds on the lower class, there was not enough money to support military. As a result, no one enlisted in the army wanted to fight which weakened and finally led to the breakdown of the Republic. Rome’s dependency on slave labor contributed to the decline of the greatest civilization in the history of mankind.

Military and Political Turmoil in the fall of The Roman Empire

The Roman militia and government began to disrupt in the 3rd century A.D due to the lack of discipline and loyalty of their soldiers but, the roman empire took measures to defend themselves and the government started hiring mercenaries who were soldiers from other countries who fought for money. Still after hiring mercenaries the Roman governors felt unsure about the citizens loyalty to them but this later escalated to many citizens sacrificing their lives in which the sense of patriotism was lost.

Attila the Hun
Attila the Hun was the Emperor of the Huns from 434 until his death in 453. He was leader of the Hun’s Empire which stretched from Germany to the Ural River and from the River Danube to the Baltic Sea. During his rule, he was one of the most fearsome of the Western and Eastern Roman Empires' enemies. In Western Europe, he is remembered as the epitome of cruelty and rapacity. However he is regarded as a hero and his name is revered and used in Hungary, Turkey and other Turkic countries in Asia.

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Germanic invasions
Since the days of Julius caesar, germanic peoples had gathered and stayed along the borders of the roman empire in peace. In 370 A.D a group of mongol nomads from asia moved into the region and destroyed all on their path. In an effort to flle from the huns, germanic tribes pushed into roman lands and kept moving into the roman provinces of Gaul, Spain and north Africa. The empire was unable to fild an army to stop the invasions. In 410 A.D, hordes of germans overran Rome itself and plundered it for 3 days.

Diocletian Reforms the empire

When Diocletian took the throne in 284, he found an empire in shambles from 50 years of civil wars, invasions, and plague. The population was decimated and demoralized. Many of the peasants had become serfs tied to the soil for local lords in return for protection. Large sections of the empire's agriculture and trade were wrecked. The coinage was debased to the point of being almost worthless. The frontiers were under constant pressure. And the army was in serious need of reforms. He concentrated on three issues: defense, creating a more efficient government, and protecting the emperor against revolts and assassination. Turning to the army, Diocletian saw two needs that worked against each other: the need for efficient defense against the growing threats on his frontiers, and the need for insurance against revolts. Diocletian also split this army into two parts: stationary frontier militia who could stop small invasions and slow down big ones, and mobile legions, increasingly made of cavalry, that could rush to any trouble spots that the militia could not handle. Unfortunately, the Roman populace, unused to military service after the Pax Romana and reduced in numbers by the recent anarchy, could not provide the number and quality of recruits that were needed. As a result, the government resorted more and more to recruiting Germanic tribesmen who were willing to fight for Rome for a price. Diocletian took several steps to strengthen the economy and end the runaway inflation and economic hard times of the Third Century. By about A. D. 268, the "silver" coins were mostly copper and had only thin silver plating if they contained any silver at all. He had his mints strike gold aurei at a weight of sixty pieces to the Roman pound. To replace the debased silver coins of the Third Century, he had the mints strike silver coins of good purity. He introduced a large bronze coin called the follis.

Finally, the empire needed a more efficient government than it had had in the calmer days of the Pax Romana. Diocletian split the empire between the Latin speaking West and the Greek speaking East, with an emperor, known as an Augustus, and separate administration in each half. The Roman Empire under Diocletian presents a depressing picture, with its frontiers under constant pressure, oppressive taxes, and people stuck in their positions in society. However, it was more secure from invasion, which did allow trade and agriculture to revive some. He propped the Roman Empire back up for two more centuries, allowing the new tribes along the northern frontiers to become more accustomed to Roman civilization through trade, raiding its borders, and serving as mercenaries in its army.

Constantine moves the capital

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Licinius' defeat presented the pass of old Rome, and the beginning of the Eastern Roman
Empire´s role as the center of cultural preservation, prosperity and learning. Constantine moved the capital from Rome to Byzantium, which he re-named Nova Roma.The new capital lied on the Bosporus Strait, located for defense purpose and trade between West and East. The True Cross, the Rod of Moses and other holy antiques protected the new city. After his death, the city was renamed Constantinople in his honor. Today it is known as Istanbul. The new Church of the Holy Apostles on the site of a temple to Aphrodite was built by Constantine.

Economic & Military Factors in The Fall of The Roman Empire

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The fall of the Roman Empire had a lot of contributing factors. Their economy was in a downfall; they had poor harvests and didn’t receive any “war income” because they weren’t conquering anyone. The value of gold and silver dropped and inflation was occurring. The gap between the rich and the poor was increasing and this impoverished the Western Empire.

The Roman people were more interested in leisure than fighting, war, and conquering, so they hired mercenaries to fight for them. When the mercenaries fought, they weren’t fighting with emotion because they most likely were not defending their hometown. The threats from the northern European tribes were also increasing.

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