The Fall of the Roman Empire
The Fall of the Roman Empire Journal for Latin 3 4/23/2007
What I Learned
After Commodus, the Roman Empire began to go down hill. The Praetorian Guard puts the empire up for sale and the year of the five emperors followed. Also the trend of the military becoming more important started near here.
Throughout the decline the military played the biggest role. They were the ones who put the emperor into place and they were loyal to him, not the state. In addition, taxation grew worse to pay for the armies growing salaries. Also the government grew larger and had to pay more expenses. To make up for this, more people were granted citizenship to make them eligible to pay taxes. The people must not have liked this and the government grew too large and was not efficient.
Also emperors did not last long because they were often killed by ambitious military officers who wanted to rule and lead themselves. This brought instability.
The empire underwent many divisions. Diocletian was the first to split up the Empire into East and West sections. He also made many other smaller changes like the start of a hereditary job system to restore order.
Constantine started the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity. After he adopted it, it was no longer persecuted much and many people converted to it. Christianity became the primary force driving history until the Industrial Revolution.
After Constantine died, the Roman Empire continued to collapse. The barbaric tribes on the outskirts of Rome began to invade. They were met by only hired barbarians who were fighting a back and forth war. However the invaders came into Rome and ransacked it. The emperor was only a figure head of the barbaric chief, who was the one who held the real power. In the East, church leaders took over the reins of power and the Roman Empire was no more.
You can see in the Roman Empire that absolute power corrupts. When the Antonines at least had some sense and some responsibility with their power, Commodus was a nut. The people did not like him at the end, and he kicked off the year of the 5 emperors and the instability which was to come.
Constantinople was an example of a good city. It was planned out in advance so it was a convenient place. Walls were built to protect it easily. It shows what a little pre-construction city planning can do. You can still tell today which cities were planned out ahead of time because they have an efficient and sensible design.
Did Christianity kick off the dark ages? The article was not clear, but Christianity’s stifling of information was not good for scientific progress which seems to have come to a halt during the Dark and Middle Ages. Burning people who innovate at the stake will cause you to suffer which no amount of praying can save you from.