Factors Contributing to The Fall of The Roman Empire

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 663 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jan 30, 2024

Words: 663|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jan 30, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Economic Decline
  3. Military Weakness
  4. Internal Conflicts
  5. Conclusion


The Roman Empire, which had been in existence for over 500 years, eventually collapsed in the 5th century AD. The causes of the fall of the Roman Empire have been debated for centuries, with historians offering a variety of explanations. This essay argues that the decline of the Roman Empire was due to a combination of economic decline, military weakness, and internal conflicts.

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Economic Decline

The Roman economy was heavily reliant on slave labor, which led to decreased productivity and innovation. Slavery also disrupted local economies by suppressing wages and limiting job opportunities for free citizens. Additionally, inflation and the debasement of currency led to a loss of trust in Roman currency, causing economic instability and rising prices. Trade disruptions due to barbarian invasions also had a negative impact on the economy, impeding trade routes and subsequently leading to a decline in tax revenues and resources.

  • According to historian Kyle Harper, "The reliance on slave labor alienated the urban lower classes from their own government and fueled a gender gap and social inequality that would persist for centuries" (Harper, 2017).
  • A study by economist Peter Temin found that the Roman economy was oversized and inefficient, leading to a lack of growth and increased economic vulnerability (Temin, 2013).

Military Weakness

The Roman military, once the most powerful in the world, began to experience recruitment issues and declining loyalty. The use of foreign mercenaries in the army, due to a lack of loyalty among Roman citizens, led to a growing number of non-Roman soldiers in the army. Additionally, the constant need for military resources and expenditures to defend against external threats such as barbarian invasions and border conflicts drained the Roman economy. The lack of technological advancement in warfare also contributed to the weakened military, with the Roman army having limited military tactics and strategies compared to the invading forces.

  • Historian Adrian Goldsworthy notes that "The Roman military machine had become bloated and unwieldy, hampered by an inflexible chain of command and a plethora of bureaucrats" (Goldsworthy, 2003).
  • A study by archaeologist Simon James found that a decline in discipline and organization in the Roman army was a major factor in their military weakness (James, 2011).

Internal Conflicts

The Roman Empire was plagued by political instability and corruption. Weak leadership and succession crises led to political infighting and power struggles within the ruling elite. The division of the empire due to doctrinal differences and religious conflicts also contributed to the decline, as did the inefficient governance and administrative challenges that came with having a vast empire. There was also a decline in patriotism and civic duty among Roman citizens, leading to a growing divide between the ruling elite and the common citizens.

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  • According to historian Edward Gibbon, "The decline of Rome was the natural and inevitable effect of immoderate greatness" (Gibbon, 2012).
  • Historian Peter Heather argues that the division of the empire into Eastern and Western halves was a "disastrous" decision, ultimately leading to the decline and fall of the Roman Empire (Heather, 2005).


In conclusion, the fall of the Roman Empire was the result of multiple factors, namely economic decline, military weakness, and internal conflicts. The reliance on slave labor, inflation, and trade disruptions all contributed to the economic decline, while recruitment issues, barbarian invasions, and a lack of technological advancement led to military weakness. Internal conflicts, including political instability, division of the empire, and a decline in patriotism and civic duty, also played a role. It is important to learn from history and avoid similar pitfalls in modern civilizations.

  1. Gibbon, E. (2012). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Wordsworth Editions.
  2. Goldsworthy, A. (2003). In the Name of Rome: The Men Who Won the Roman Empire. Phoenix.
  3. Harper, K. (2017). The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire. Princeton University Press.
  4. Heather, P. (2005). The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History. Oxford University Press.
  5. James, S. T. (2011). Roman Military Equipment: From the Punic Wars to the Fall of Rome. Oxbow Books.
  6. Temin, P. (2013). The Roman Market Economy. Princeton University Press.
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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Factors Contributing to the Fall of the Roman Empire. (2024, January 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 20, 2024, from
“Factors Contributing to the Fall of the Roman Empire.” GradesFixer, 30 Jan. 2024,
Factors Contributing to the Fall of the Roman Empire. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 Jul. 2024].
Factors Contributing to the Fall of the Roman Empire [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jan 30 [cited 2024 Jul 20]. Available from:
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