End of the Roman Empire

Roman Colosseum

'The Roman Colosseum'

The Decline of the Roman Empire
The Roman Empire lasted from 27 BC until its end in 476 AD, a period exceeding five hundred years. The lands and territories of the Roman Empire included the lands around the Mediterranean, West and South Europe, Britain, Asia Minor and North Africa including Egypt. There were many and diverse reasons for the Decline of the Roman Empire.

There was no one cause which was to blame. The reasons for the Decline and end of the Roman Empire as described below:

  • Fast expansion of the Empire forcing constant wars and heavy military spending
  • Barbarian Knowledge of Roman Military Tactics
  • Antagonism between the Senate and the Emperor
  • Decline in Morals
  • Decline in Ethics and Values
  • Political Corruption and the Praetorian Guard
  • Failing Economy
  • Slave Labor
  • Unemployment of the Working Classes (The Plebs)
  • The 'Mob' and the cost of the 'Games'
  • Natural Disasters
  • Christianity
  • Barbarian Invasion

End of the Roman Empire - The Final Death Blows
The final death blows resulting in the End of the Roman Empire were the spread of Christianity, with its new ideals and beliefs. The increased power and desperation of the Barbarians who invaded Italy and threatened Rome.

End of the Roman Empire - Christianity
One of the main reasons for the end of the Roman Empire was Christianity. Life and the future seemed hopeless for the millions of people who were ruled by Rome where a miserable life and an early death was almost inevitable. Christianity taught the belief in an afterlife which gave hope and courage to the desperate. Christianity preached that life was sacred and one of the greatest sins was to kill. Attitudes in the Roman Empire changed from being antagonistic, hostile and aggressive to becoming pacifistic believing in peace and the sanctity of life. Morals, ethics and values changed. People were willing to give up their lives for their new religion and beliefs. And many Christians died terrible deaths (Christian Persecution). Eventually the Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great, proclaimed himself a Christian and issued an edict promising the Christians his favor and protection. The last known gladiatorial fight took place during the reign of Honorius. A Christian monk called Telemachus accessed the Colosseum arena and in the midst of the bloodshed he called for the killing to cease in the name of Christ. Telemachus He was stoned by the outraged 'mob' and killed. Three days later the Emperor issued a decree that the gladiatorial games were to stop. They never started again. With the advent of Christianity the attitudes towards slaves changed. With manumission (the act of freeing a slave) the number of slaves declined together with the manpower that Rome depended upon. The end of the Roman Empire was in sight. The birth of Christianity had led to the death of the empire.

End of the Roman Empire - Barbarian Invasion
The advent of Christianity had set the scene for the end of the Roman Empire but it was the physical dominance of the Barbarians that dealt its final death blow. Rome had fierce foreign enemies. There were great Barbarian armies consisting of warriors such as the Visigoths (Western Gauls) and the Vandals who challenged the dwindling power of the Roman army. The city of Rome was besieged by the Visigoths led by Alaric in 410 and by the Vandals led by Genseric in 455, the hordes of Attila the Hun also waged war on Rome. The Visigoths, the Vandals and the Huns all attacked Rome during the reign of the hapless Valentinian III. These unprecedented attacks signalled the disintegration of Roman authority and the End of the Roman Empire.

The End of the Roman Empire - The End of Rome
So what became of the Ancient City of Rome? The final end of the city of Rome occurred in 537 AD during a siege on Rome by the Goths. The aqueducts which supplied Rome with water were destroyed by the Goths. The people of Rome could not survive without water and the population of Rome fell by 90%. The de-population of Rome was the final death knell - the end of Rome was the final nail in the coffin of the Roman Empire. The End.

Roman Colosseum
Roman Empire

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