The Roman Empire was a large foundation of power and greatness, nobody expected it to fall for years. But one day, the empire began to decline. The barbarian attacks were strong, but with Romans, it was Overspending, war and lack of slaves. The Western fell at 476CE, and the Eastern fell at 1453.
Imagine the ruins of a thousand cities, think about what caused it, and what cost for any one to survive, would this be a normal day in the Roman empire? Yes, but, something is out of place... Would it be the ruins? Would it be the battlefields that decayed of death and despair? No, in fact, it’s the city of Rome, where Odoacer’s army stood waiting for the exit of Emperor Augustulus of the weak and lamed Empire.
Imagine the departure of the Emperor, imagine the death of a hundred thousand men, imagine the stupendous triumph of invading barbarian warriors. The Vandals, the Goths, the Huns, all gloating at their great success against The Western Romans. Imagine... More. Forward to the gateway Constantinople, the Holy Romans’ New empire, the Frankish kingdoms that combined the vacant land with Byzantium. And the fearsome Ottomans that vanquished the last of the allegedly unworthy Romans. Anyone would have wondered, where had it all gone terribly wrong? What happened to the great Roman gates? Where were all the Roman Legions at the siege of Rome? Where had thy surpassed their strength?
How had the Roman Empire fall?
Now, that is a good question, and questions such as this one generally need some tricky explanation behind them to see the truth. How had the Roman empire fall? Well, judging all the facts, this is what is to be concluded. Around the late 2nd century, the Romans stopped gaining as much territory as they usually did. This was no surprise, the people hated their empire and usually did their best to keep them out. But coincidentally, this came in contact with the inconvenient end of Marcus Aurelius. He was credited as one of 5 good emperors the empire was ruled under (Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antonius Pius, and Marcus Aurelius). With his death, the other emperors were not nearly as good Western as the five and the Roman empire took in expectedly heavy blows from the Germanic tribe. All of them courtesy of the brutal Huns, Goths and Vandals.
This was a particularly low blow for the Roman empire, as the usual rich folk were all running incredibly low on slaves and desperately needed conquest of new land. So the legion generals and leaders were taking drastic action by recruiting foreign soldiers. This was a mistake as outside men were not as disciplined as the regular Romans, and it was absolutely no help when it was from the vicious Germanic, famous for their barbarian warriors and disloyalty. The Romans famous economy was laughably shrunk, for lavish spending sprees and corruption flying here and there had ruined the Romans. But there was no time for it, as the surrounding tribes were warring against them and they were forced to prepare for battle.
The third century Crisis was a bother for the Empire, as the Tribes could sense that the Romans were weak. They made many famous conquests, the best one being the attack of the Vandals in 395CE. Meanwhile, a man named Constantius was taking advantage of all the advanced disruption and spreading Christianity (though very few have considered it a primary factor of the Empire’s fall) as far as he could. The entire land was poverty stricken and many paid no heed when Odoacer’s army came to sack Rome. The empire was long gone, they all knew that.
The Epilogue of the story is quite long-winded so it’s best to give a short summary of what happened next. After Odoacer became king of Italy, he ruled independently as the king of Italy on the death of Julius Nepos. It was a few more years before the traitorous Theodoric the great took the Peninsula and assassinated Odoacer the powerful King himself. Meanwhile, after Theodoric, the Ostrogothic kingdom was built and ruled what was left of Rome until it fell as well. On the Eastern Roman Empire, it had long become the Byzantine Empire and became home to Constantinople and the Holy Romans. However, Mehmed II and the Ottoman Empire came along, destroyed the ancient walls, and sieged the graceful city of Constantinople. Think of the possible advancements if the Roman Empire had just stayed the way it always did. But history has to change, and it fell, plunging the entire world into centuries of darkness.
Aged 13, Mohamed Zeek Shiham is a member of the Leaders of Tomorrow programme organised by Professor Hassan Ugail, a Maldivian scientist. He enjoyed writing this article and learned many new things about the Roman Empire. From discovering the Barbarian tribes to the gory Roman battles and wars, Zeek had pleasure in every minute of writing this piece. Apart from factual writing Zeek also enjoys hearing hilarious jokes, reading stories and watching intense horror movies. He aspires to be an aircraft engineer and work in the research and development of biomedical engineering.
Cite this article as:
Mohamed Zeek Shiham, Fall and Decline of the Roman Empire, theCircle Composition, Volume 1, (2021). https://thecirclecomposition.org/fall-and-decline-of-the-roman-empire/