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The Fall Of Rome

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The Fall of Rome

Rome was believed to be one of the greatest empires in the ancient world. It seemed as though the Roman Empire was unstoppable. But due to political, economic and religious changes that occurred around the time of the Emperor Diocletian, the Roman Empire was destined to fall.

Diocletian came to power in 284 AD and quickly came to realize that the Roman Empire was too vast to be ruled by just one man. First he divided the empire in two. The eastern part ruled by him and the western part ruled by Maximian. He increased the number of provinces and then assigned an “assistant” to both him and Maximian. This new system was called a tetarchy, meaning ruled by four. Eventually, Diocletian and Maximian’s successor, Constantine, gained more and more power, eventually greatly expanding the administrative bureaucracies, both military and civil. This political and administrative change alienated the Roman senate and other local leaders who held positions of power and influence. Rome, which in the beginning was ruled by its people, had slid into despotic rule.

As the leader of both civil and military functions they had total control. What they did not foresee, was that this rapid and expensive expansion would bring. Without enough money to pay for all this, they raised taxes, which resulted in inflation. They forced people to work in certain jobs in order to maintain a tax base. The rich evaded paying taxes and the poor were burdened with more taxes. This lead to unrest by the poor and many of the poor welcomed if not assisted the Visigoth invaders. The symbolic end of the Roman Empire came in 476 when the last Roman Emperor, Romulus, was killed and by Odoacer, a German general. Odoacer disbanded the Roman army and had his troops proclaim him Emperor. By this time the Roman Empire had become an empire in name only and had for all intents and purposes ended long before this. Diocletian and Constantine had no way of knowing that the bad economic policies that they brought about back in 312 would have a direct and profound impact on the fall of the Roman Empire.

Another major reason that the Roman Empire fell was religion. Before the rise of Christianity, the Roman Empire was united by a common faith and a strong sense of nationalism.



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