Fall of the Roman Empire

Fall of the Roman Empire

The reign of the roman empire came tumbling in the late fourth century,having served as a global superpower for nearly 500 years. Claims have been put forward that the fall of the Empire was not in the 476 A.D, but rather in a thousand more years when the eastern part of the Empire continued for the given period (Heather, 2006). Different issues depending on the timeframe affected the fall of Rome. The factors that led to the fall of the Roman Empire on along the 5th Century have been discussed below.

Principle factors in the Empire’s decline

            Different Scholars have put forward theories that try to explain the fall of the Roman Empire. The factors that have been made in describing the Fall of Rome in the 5th Century, among others, include:

Invasion by the tribes of the Barbarians

The Western Empire faced a blow when the Germanic tribes invaded their state. Groups such as the Franks, Saxons, Vandals, Lombards, and Angels took turns in ensuring the Empire was ravaged and kept the wave blowing the Roman Empire. According to Heather (2006), the groups had encroached past the empire’s frontiers. However, in the late 4rth century, the Romans staged a rebellion against the German uprising. Eventually, in 476 C.E, the remaining emperor in the West, Odoacer, their overall leader who resisted, overthrew Romulus and became the first Barbarian to rule in Rome. Since then, no Roman Emperor would ever be in a position to decide from a post in Italy.

The rise of the Empire on the East

According to Markel (2008), when Emperor Diocletian divided the Empire into the two halves, governance was made easy in the two separate empires, but as time passed, the two halves drifted apart, and this partially led to the fate of the Western Rome Empire to fall. The Eastern Empire seated in Byzantium while the Western Empire was located in the City of Milan. Both the East and West Empires did not work together in combating the threats that were posed by the outside world. While the Eastern Empire grew in their wealth and improved the security within their borders, the Western Empire tumbled into economic crisis, and this led the invasion by the Barbarian.

Corrupt Governance and Instability of the politics

Bribery and abuse became a norm and trended between the late fourth and the fifth Century. The very officials who were responsible for investigating and curbing corruption within the Western Rome Empire would use their prominent positions in protection from the government in accepting a bribe and promoting the abuse of the laws (Nardo, 2001).

There was inconsistent and ineffective leadership that served to magnify and enlarge the problem of the large size of the Western Roman Empire that was not easy to manage. There was inconsistent leadership within the Empire as during the third century, more than 20 men had died as they took hold of the throne to be emperors within a range of 75 years. The personal bodyguards of the emperor assassinated and installed new sovereigns at will. The poor leadership resulted to the collapse of the empire.

Spread of Christianity and loss of the traditional values

            Christianity played a key role in destruction of the empire. The religion was more common among the poor, and at times, the Romans persecuted the Christians. Constantine brought to a halt the persecution of believers and declared toleration of the religion. Later in 380 C.E, Christianity became the official state religion of the Empire. The religion displaced the polytheistic religion of the Romans that saw the Emperor having divine status and shifted the glory of the nation to Christianity. The change of focus to Christianity from led to undermining the traditions of the Romans and this, in turn, affected the fall of the Empire (Markel, 2008).

 Military Overspreading and Overexpansion

            The Roman Empire stretched from the River Euphrates in the Middle East to the Atlantic Ocean, which promoted a lot in its fall. The administration of the empire was faced with encumbrances in dealing and governing such a vast empire (Nardo, 2001). Communication was not efficient even with their perfect systems of road and transportation in place. The resources and troops that were deployed to control it did not curb the local rebellions that occurred within Rome, and when outside attacks started to happen, the Empire failed to defend their frontiers. Technological improvement in Rome slowed down the civil infrastructure of Rome, and the state fell in despair.

Economic Crisis and the slave labor

The financial crisis within Rome was tearing the Empire apart as the outside forces pulled out constant attacks on them. The poor and the rich had a wide gap between them due to the inflation rate within the state that caused an increase in the taxation. Also, the inflation was due to constant wars that needed funding. The empire was faced with the challenge of labor deficit and the economy of Rome depended vastly on the slaves to work as craftsmen, and till the fields of their state. As a way of avoiding taxation, the wealthy families had set camps in the countryside, and they had their ways of making money from the other ends. Rome’s supply of slaves deteriorated when Vandals began to disrupt the trading system of the Empire as pirates in the Mediterranean Sea (Markel, 2008). The Empire began to fall as a result of the decline in production of agricultural and commercial products which had led to the collapse of their economy and the lack of slaves to provide their services for the firm to use in improving their economic status.

How Rome could have prevented their Fall

Rome’s fall was inevitable since the Empire itself promoted most of the factors that led to the collapse of the state. The Emperor’s leaders were in a position of ensuring that the state was better and that cases of bribery did not exist but they failed to do so, and the Empire had corrupt leaders. In such a way that they punished Christianity in the beginning, the Roman Empire should have condoned the corruption from the start (Heather, 2006). Additionally, the Empire should have sought ways of improving their economic status by gaining the confidence of the people they served and urging them to help curb the financial crisis that was facing the Empire.


Key principles that contributed to the empire collapse could not have been avoided from the start. However, if enough work had been put into play, the Empire could have taken its ground, fought for their rights, and achieved victory. On the other hand, factors such as invasion by the Barbarians were inevitable and curbing them would have been an uphill task.


Heather, P. (2006). The fall of the Roman Kingdom: a new past of Rome and the Barbarians. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press.

Markel, R. (2008). The fall of the Roman Empire. Minneapolis, MN: Twenty-First Century Books.

Nardo, D. (2001). The end of ancient Rome. San D

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