, Research Paper
A deserted street lay before me (Empty of any trace of humanity except for the darkened buildings on either side and the debris that littered the street). I stumbled through the maze of abandoned carts, toppled market stands, and the rubble that used to be parts of the city. As I rounded the corner, I was stopped dead in my tracks by the horror before me. The Roman Plaza had been turned into a temporary hospital. As I walked through the rows of broken human bodies, (were either) quiet near death, or riving in agony, the fate of the dead was to be stacked like cord wood off to the side. I was suddenly flooded with images of last night. Men, some on hoarse back, but mostly on foot, charged through Rome. They trampled everything in sight: carts, stands, and people. Before that night, I would never believe that people could die so horribly. My own family was slaughtered before my eyes. I was saved by part of the house next door collapsing on top of me. I do not believe that I will ever forget that night.
The decline and fall of the Roman Empire was caused by both internal and external factors.
Rome’s Fall was not caused by the division of power between the Eastern and Western Empires, but rather the transfer from one emperor to another. The end result of these battles for power was the creation of an Eastern Empire that challenged the might of the classic Roman Empire. During the creation of the two empires the government began an increase in oppressive and arbitrary acts. Also the idealism of luxury over merit began to corrupt the descendants of Theodosius(”Gibbon”2).
The Roman government was also spending it self into submission, loosing millions to public celebrations, importing exotic goods, and satisfying the emperor’s personal whims. Public Roman funds were spent in India and countries in the Far East to pay for the exportation of luxury goods. During the rein of Nero (15-68 A.D.), the philosopher and statesman, Seneca, calculated that the Empire was spending almost 5 million dollars (U.S. Dollars) a year to continue the flow of these luxury items into Rome. By the second century A.D., the Roman Empire was quickly making a habit of mass debt(”Rome’s?” 2).
Attempts were made to clean up the corruption the plagued the late Roman Empire. Constantine completed the division of civil and military authority that was started by Gallienus, stripping the Praetorian Prefects of their military power and creating the Master of Offices. The Prefects retained their civil and judicial powers over their citizens, the Masters were charged with the supervision of arms, bodyguards, foreign affairs, and the secret police. Imperial servants carried out the financial and administrative duties. “The Sacred Consistorium”, or Imperial Council, became the central advisory body, turning the Senate into a powerless figurehead(”Ancient?” 198).
The demise of the Roman Empire shows that a country must have more than a superior military to remain stable. The country’s economic situation comes into play, but one must not over-look the moral fiber of the nation’s leaders and people. A nation must have integrity, and a sense of justice. If a country fails to keep a sense of morality, it will lose the faith of the people. Once this happens, anarchy ensues. This has been seen this before; the policies of the British Monarchy and Parliament lead to the American Revolution. Today militias are growing in numbers and strength. These small armies are becoming popular among the poor and lower middle-class, who feel betrayed by the government. If this trend increases substantially in America, the country may experience a second American Revolution or a “fall of Rome.”