Rome: The Decline


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Rome: The Decline Journal for Latin 3 3/20/2007

What I Learned

After Nero, the last of the Judio-Claudians died, Rome was in turmoil. No successor to the throne was named. The emperor’s guards tried to pick a ruler, but he was soon killed. This continued and Rome went through 4 emperors that year.

Vespasian was left standing when the dust settled. He was a strong leader who ruled the republic well. Titus, his son, was a strong leader also. Under him the Colosseum was built and Mt. Vesuvius erupted. Unfortunately, his brother, the next ruler was not as strong. He started going after people he thought we plotting against him.

After Domitian died (murder), the Senate needed to pick a new ruler. They picked Nerva, a respected life-long member of the Senate. Trajan, was to be the next emperor when Nerva adopted him. This proved to be a good idea; to adopt people with good leadership qualities over whoever was born next.

Trajan ruled from the frontlines and brought back large spoils for Rome. He was on good terms with the Senate and gave out good welfare. After his death, the Senate awarded him the title of “Optimus Princeps” or “Best of Leaders”.

Hadrian, his successor, was faced with an empire which was over extended. He let go of some colonies and built a 73 mile wall in Britain. He also put down Jewish revolts.

Throughout the rest of the empire, Rome suffered from bad rulers, overextended borders and social unrest.

Personal Response

Most of the instability in the later part of the Roman Empire was caused by 2 things, crazy rulers and corruption trials.

Crazy rulers are the result of a government where the people have no say in the government. When leadership is based on birth, you don’t always get leaders who can lead. That the benefits of a democracy. Although it takes longer to make decisions, usually it comes out all right eventually. Still sometimes you get a few bad leaders, but they are soon gone and no US president has been as bad as Nero and such.

Corruption trials seemed to be a recurring theme in the reading. Every emperor was constantly afraid of being executed. That must have been horrible to always think you were going to die the next day, and that you couldn’t trust anybody. How could you get anything done? The best emperors seemed to be the ones who avoided these trials.

Today we have better security guards and a guard which is loyal to duty and not a certain man. Today it would be very wrong for the president’s guards to choose the president.