History of the Roman Empire

The emperors of the Roman Empire

For centuries, the Roman Empire stood at the pinnacle of human civilization. It was then a bastion of knowledge, and power; tangible signs that this state would last for ages were evident and everywhere. Its citizens firmly believed that the landmarks erected since the founding of the Republic and years after that will stand forever, reminding the world always of Rome's glory. But they were wrong. This was just an illusion of permanence.

The Roman Empire crumbled from reasons existent from within and without it. The empire didn't just collapse from a single factor but rather from a wide array of reasons gnawing at the empire bit by bit lasting more than a century. Adherents claimed that factors such as leadership, financial, and military problems led to its demise. Furthermore, some elaborated that Christianity, and the attacks of barbarians (e.g. Franks, Vandals, Persians and the Goths) from without Rome's borders played a hand in its downfall. For example, the citizens lacked the desire and loyalty to defend the Empire excessive taxes being imposed upon them, and the subsequent imperial weaknesses that emerged after the death of the fifth of the "Five Good Emperors" which were Nerva, Trajan, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius.

Marcus Aurelius was succeeded by his son Commodus (A.D. 180-192), who was a weak and vicious emperor. From hereon, Rome started to decay. More insurrections, rebellions emerged, and conquering armies were frequently knocking at the capital's portals themselves before being repulsed. Then the period of the reign of two emperors entered, in which the Roman World was divided into the Eastern and Western Empires. Having two control points made it hard and costly to make and restore defenses, thus making the empires more susceptible to attack by the barbarians from without. At this same time, the Roman citizen's civic virtue was slowly eroding, that they became weak in defending the Empire.

Thus, the combination of these several factors and reasons served as the catalyst for the eventual death of the Roman Empire.