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Posted on June 13th, 2012, by

To answer this question, Why Rome fell? one needs to know the history of Rome since its very foundation. To my mind this is not the work of two days, it requires a lot of attention and thoughtfulness. To cope with this task I have read the book of H.S. Jones, The Roman Empire. I also read T. Hodgkin’s Italy and Her Invaders, which tells the story of the barbaric invasions at great length. But this knowledge may influence or may not the opinion of the person who wants to answer this question. We have to think logical and try to find some details or any more reasons of the fall of such a great empire.

Why Rome Fell?

Unfortunately, nowadays we have only one opportunity to get to know the information about historical events of certain period of the past. This opportunity is to read the encyclopedias and historical books. But who knows for sure what really was the reason of the fall of the Rome?

History is very fascinating subject. We should be very much obliged to those people, who decided to write down about all events, which had happened and to those people, who started publishing historical books. So, we have another great opportunity to study the theory and to think over it.

Let us focus our attention on the last period or The End of Roman Empire. We know that the long reign of Valentinian III was marked by two events of first-rate importance the conquest of Africa by the Vandals and the invasion of Gaul and Italy by Attila. Attila invaded Gaul in 451. Nearly a century had passed since the Huns first appeared in Europe and drove the Goths to seek shelter within Roman lines. Attila was now the ruler of a great empire in central and northern Europe and, in addition to his own Huns, the German Tribes along the Rhine and Danube and far away to the north owned him as king. He confronted the roman power as an equal; and, unlike the Gothic and Vandal chieftains, he treated with the emperors of East and West as an independent sovereign. His advance on Gaul and Italy threatened, not the establishment of one more barbaric chieftain on Roman soil, but the subjugation of the civilized and Christian West to the rule of a heathen and semi-barbarous conqueror. But the Visigoths in Gaul, Christian and already half Romanized, rallied to the aid of the Empire against a common foe.

Attila, defeated at Chalons by Aetius, withdrew into Pannonia. In the next year he overran Lombardy, but penetrated no father south, and in 453 year died. With the murder of Valentinian III the western branch of the house of Theodosius came to an end, and the next 20 years witnessed the accession and deposition of nine emperors. After Valentinian III was Maximus. Under the three months’ rule of Maximus, the Vandals under Gaiseric invaded Italy and sacked Rome. From 456-472 the actual ruler of Italy was Ricimer, the Suebe. Of the four emperors whom he placed on the throne, Majorian (457-461) alone played any imperial part outside Italy. Ricimer died in 472, and two years later a Pannonian, Orestes, attempted to fill his place. He deposed Julius Nepos and proclaimed as Augustus his own son Romulus. But the barbarian mercenaries in Italy determined to secure for themselves a position there such as this: which their kinsfolk had won in Gaul and Spain and Africa. Their demand for a third of the lands of Italy was refused by Orestes, and they instantly rose in revolt. On the defeat and death of Orestes they proclaimed their leader, Odoacer the Rugian, king of Italy. Romulus Augustulus laid down his imperial dignity, and the court at Constantinople was informed that there was no longer an emperor of the West.

The installation of a barbarian king in Italy was the natural climax of the changes which have been taken place in the West throughout the 5th century. In Spain, Gaul and Africa barbarian chieftains were already established as kings. In Italy, for the last 20 years, the real power had been wielded by a barbarian officer. Odoacer, when he decided to dispense with the nominal authority of an emperor of the West, placed Italy on the same level of independence with the neighboring provinces.

It is just the last page of the whole history of the Rome. We must confess that not the Odoacer was the main reason of the fall of Rome Empire. He was just the last straw. Constant wars and attacks, or we may call it tense way of life of empire was one of the most serious reasons of the downfall. Although sometimes any serious loss of territory had been avoided, the storms of enemy had told with fatal effect upon the general condition of the empire.

But this historical event had another point, not so negative, – the emancipation of Italy and the western provinces from direct imperial control, which is signalized by Odoacer’s accession, has rightly been regarded as marking the opening of a new epoch. It made possible in the West the development of a Romano-German civilization; it facilitated the growth of new and distinct states and nationalities; it gave a new impulse to the influence of the Christian Church and laid the foundations of the power of the bishops of Rome.

Conclusion

It is evident, that a lot of events were reasons for the crash of the Rome and its downfall was inevitable, but it is the law of the history: some places, towns, cities, countries are ruined and destroyed and some are founded.

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