Reasons for the Decline of the Roman Empire
There are many reasons for the decline of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire fell in the fourth century after almost 500 years of being the greatest superpower of the world. Historians have attributed the decline of the Roman Empire to many factors including military failures, crippling taxation and natural disasters. There are also historians who argue that the empire did not fall in 456 AD because the eastern side continued to rule for thousand years as the Byzantine Empire.
Nevertheless, the Roman Empire declined for various reasons despite the topic being a subject of heated debate even in today’s history. One of the reasons why the Roman Empire declined was continued invasions by the Barbarian tribes. One of the major theories that try to explain the fall of the Roman Empire points to military failure and losses that were brought about by wars with the outside forces.
For many years, Rome was tangled with the Germanic tribes but as of 300s, barbarian tribes had already encroached past the borders of the empire. Such tribes include Goths and they posed serious threat to the Roman Empire before raiding the Eternal City in 455.
Economic problems and overreliance of the Roman Empire on slave labor also contributed to its decline. Despite facing severe attacks from the outside forces Roman Empire was also crumbling to sustain its economy. Overspending and constant wars were some of the factors that significantly affected the economy of the empire. These factors lightened the imperial coffers significantly. Coupled with inflation and taxation, they widened the already existing gap between the poor and the rich. Some members in the wealthy class fled their countryside to establish fiefdoms elsewhere as a way of avoiding taxman.
At that time, the Roman Empire was also faced with labor deficit. The economy was depending on slaves to work as the craftsmen and till the fields. The military was that traditionally offered fresh influx of the conquered people to work for the economy was not doing well. Sources of slaves supply for the empire also started drying up following the disruption of trade by Africans. This resulted in commercial, agricultural and economic faltering which contributed to the decline of the empire.
Corruption in the government also contributed to the decline of the Roman Empire. The sheer size of Rome made governance difficult. Inconsistent and ineffective leadership served to magnify the problem with corruption becoming rampant. As a result, civic pride declined and citizens would no longer trust the leadership of the Roman Empire which worsened the situation.
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