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The Fall of Rome Internal and External Factors
Transcript of The Fall of Rome Internal and External Factors
Invaders, the barbarians Internal Factors Government Inherent weakness of the system of government that Augustus left. String of poor emperors. Caligula 37 A.D Nero 54 AD Restored treason trials.
Lost respect of Romans Murder.
Burnt downtown Rome to clear space for a villia.
Poor administrator. Commodus 180 A.D Disgraced his status by preforming like a slave in the arena.
Completely not focused on government. Diocletian 284 A.D Split the empire in two, east and west.
Lowered amount of gold and sliver in coins.
Made employment hereditary. Poor Government led to Problems in administration Tax collection.
Provincial Governors having to much power. Government lost loyalty of People What it meant to be a Roman citizen declined.
The patricians the "backbone" of the republic no longer served the state.
Loss of qualified people in government. Over-Taxation Emperors like Nero used state resources for personal projects.
State was underfunded and continually raised taxes to pay for defense and public projects.
Over-taxation led lack of loyalty to the government and the disappearance of the middle class. A House Divided Cannot Stand Roman government was continually divided.
Either the Senate was at odds with the Emperor, or the Emperor was at odds with the Senate. Caligula murdered by the Senate.
Tiberius charged those in the Senate he did not like with treason and had them killed.
Overall long tradition of violent friction between the Senate and Emperor. Civil War Long tradition of Civil War.
Got worse during the late Empire. The Praetorian Guard would decide in many cases who would be Emperor.
The death of an Emperor almost always led to a power struggle. Military The Roman army had dominated the ancient world. But, by the 3rd and 4th century the Roman army was begining to show its cracks. Not Your Grandfathers Army! By the 4th century the Roman population was unwilling to be conscripted (drafted) into the army. People would cut off their thumbs to avoid conscription. Rome needed about 600,000 troops to defend its borders. Solution? Empire began to use German and Frankish troops. So Why is this Bad? Decline of training.
Instead of having "Barbarian" troops train in the "Roman way", a more Barbarian way of fighting was adopted.
Barbarian troops also had less loyalty to Rome. What made the Roman army great was discipline!
fighting in formation, superior weapons.
This all declined. Other Factors Diocletian's reforms 284 A.D Allowed troops on the border to farm. This made them more likely to not want to fight.
Population serving in the army went from 1-25 to 1-15. Increases in army led to even more barbarians.
Could not afford to pay them so they extorted the local population.
This led to even less tax revenue. Defensive posture. Roman army no longer fought much.
The army would stay in "camp" for long periods with little to do.
An army that stays in camp too long gets "fat and lazy". Defense in Depth Instead of guarding the frontier with forts and armies, a change occurred.
Took for granted that barbarians would be able to penetrate Roman territory.
Instead of protecting the frontier and pursuing attackers, barbarians would be "allowed" to enter Roman land while armies were called up to fight them. This gave both more incentive to barbarians to attack, and because battles were now fought in Roman lands led to the disruption of the economy . Overall the lack of good government should be looked at as the main reason that the Roman empire fell. The lack of quality government affected almost every other aspect, e.g military and economy. Overall the decline of the Roman military machine in effect allowed barbarians to raid trade and create political instability. Economy Slavery The Roman economy was built on slavery.
Having a large slave population meant: Rome failed to develop industrial technology
Romans could rely on slave power for all their needs.
As the Empire stopped expanding in 200 A.D, there were less slaves, which created a shortage of manpower. Overall the Roman economy was too reliant on slaves, which was not fatal until the supply of slaves diminished. The later Roman Empire suffered from enormous shortages of manpower. Slavery also led to... In the absence of a slave class which could be exploited, the lower classes were squeezed. Jobs became hereditary.
Legal rights taken away.
People were legally bound to the land Slave Economy Serf Economy Slave Revolts Early in the republic majority of the population saw no moral problem with slavery.
In the late empire this changed, many freed their slaves.
Also, many slave revolts. "from the hour of birth some are marked for subjection, others for rule" Aristotle Spartacus revolt.
More revolts later in the Empire. Inflation The rise in the price of goods.
At the same time Empire running out of gold and silver.
Under Nero coins begin to have less silver and gold in them. This led to money being worth less, while at the same time goods became more expensive. Catch 22 Under Trajan empire reached its furthest expansion.
Problem? Empire could not maintain enough troops to support new borders. So stop expanding right? The empire was dependent on foreign expansion for money. When they stopped expanding they had money shortages. But, they could not afford to expand anymore. Hence Catch 22! Poverty Rich land owning class had bought up the best land.
Remember Rome's non slave economy was based on small farming.
Few small farms left in Italy, and less slaves to work the large farms. Large gap between rich and poor.
Middle class disappears. Plebs became both unwilling and unable to meet the work and tax demands placed upon them by the state Trade Breakdown on the borders led to disruption of trade from bandits. Upkeep Huge amounts of money spent on: Repairing and maintaining temples, baths, aqueducts etc.
All the things Roman's had been accustomed to having. The army Remember, that in the early republic the army made money through plunder. With the end of expansion the army was just 600,000 mouths to feed. Overall economic problems were largely to blame for the decline of the empire. Rome developed an economy riddled with weaknesses and problems. By the 4th century such damage had been done that the Roman world was put into a tailspin in which it could not recover. Social and Other Christianity Constantine made Christianity legal. Converts on his death bed Theodosius makes christianity the offical state religion. Why?
Constantine wanted to carry favor.
Theodosius was made head of the church, more power. The majority of Romans still pagan. WHy is this Bad? What are the teachings of Jesus? Violence is bad. Not good if you are a Roman. New churches had to be built.
The Christian afterlife made people want to live a more pure life.
Also, many Christians thought Rome should fall! For its past sins committed against Christians.
For its blood lust.
If Rome fell the end of world? Second coming of Jesus? Overall Christianity led to more strain on an empire that was already in trouble. People became more loyal to "god" then the empire and the ideal of Roman superiority was broken. Plague Late empire black plague.
More manpower shortages. Social More people voted for American idol then President.
People are more concerned with the material, sex, video games, t.v.
People no longer care about poltics and the state. Same thing happened in Rome.
Murders, gladiators etc.
Roman's no longer cared about the glory of Rome, only materialism. "Disease of the affluent society" Immigration Germans and Franks come to Rome.
Change the character of Rome.
"Barabarisation" of Roman culture. Roman culture in the 4th Century was clearly not the same as the during the time of Caesar. The cultural traits that made Rome great, service to the state, the idea of the superiority of Rome and civic militarism were gone. External Enemy at the Gates Remember Rome is surrounded by enemies.
By the time the barbarians invaded, the Roman world was in a state of disarray and all that was needed was a gental push. Hide the Children! 257 A.D Goths overrun Dacia, and penetrated into Greece.
269 the Heruli cross the Danube with 320,000, including members of their family.
256 the Franks rebel and France and invade Spain. Many of the German tribes were running from Atila the Hun. Everyone is Scared of the Barbarians Right? The barbarians invasions were often meet with indifference.
The attitude of the lower classes was one of relief. Why? Over taxation and the police nature of the later empire made the barbarians preferable to Roman rule. In many cases evidence shows that people would appeal to the barbarians for help. Also, many solders left the Roman army to join them. Results Diocletian splits the empire into east and west.
Constantinople made new capital in the east.
At first two emperors work together, but later as the west comes under attack the east refuses to help. East was more well defended.
Constantinople was very hard to attack. High walls with its back facing the ocean. Result was that invaders attacked only the west, and east refused to help. Attila Battle of Adrianople 378 A.D
Worst Roman defeat since Cannae.
Last time the Roman's were able to stand up to a large barbarian army.
After the battle the east no longer helped the west.
In a sense this opened the flood gates. 434 A.D
Called the "scourge of god".
450 invades W. Roman empire.
Rampages around Italy and destroys what is left in Italy.
Seen as the "final nail in the Roman coffin". After Attila Rome could no longer defend its boarders.
One Roman province fell after another.
476 Odoacer a goth captures Rome and was proclaimed King of Italy. W. Roman Empire is Dead! East lives on as Byzantine Empire until 1453. The barbarian invasions of Rome should not be seen as the root cause of fall of the Roman empire. It is like a man with terminal cancer being shot. The Empire was in a free fall long before the invasions. But, the invasions did end the Roman dominance and usher in the Dark Ages.