Did its knowledge. The knowledge that was lost
Did the Roman Empire deserve to Fall?No
The achievements of the Roman Empire were unmatched at its time. Many things it accomplished are ideas and ways of life that did not become widespread until after its fall. The Roman Empire would have made the advancement of people in Europe much faster.
The Roman Empire was the most modern ancient empire. It made many advancements in the arts and sciences. It had many great poets, philosophers, artists, and engineers. The Romans encouraged learning and supported any who endeavored to make discoveries or technological improvement. If the Roman Empire had not fallen, the world, from a scientific stand point would be very different today. The Roman Empire would have made discoveries and scientific advancements before the Dark Ages. During the Dark Ages no scientific studies or appreciation of the arts took place. For almost an entire millennium humans made no advancements. The barbarians, who destroyed Rome, destroyed it to take its wealth not its knowledge. The knowledge that was lost was not resurrected until the Renaissance. Technological improvement was at a standstill. If the Roman empire had lasted, Europe would not have fallen into that dark period. Rome would have kept modernizing. Today, we could be at a technological level we may not reach for many years. The Romans made advancements in the field of medicine. Today we could have had cures for many diseases had the empire not fallen.
The Roman empire was a democracy. It was one of the first of its kind. It could have stood as a model for all the kingdoms and monarchies across the world. Human rights were existent at Rome hundreds of years before any other place around the world. The Roman people were represented in their government and had power. Many people around the world who were persecuted under dictators and monarchies could have looked at Rome as an example of what a better form of government is. It took the rest of the world more than another millennia to formanother democracy. The Roman Government had three parts. These three parts used a system of checks and balances just as a modern democracy does today. The first government to adopt this system since Rome was England, when it adopted its two houses of parliament.
After the fall of Rome, anarchy took place in the parts of Europe that it occupied. During this anarchy, civilization deteriorated to its most basic level. People had to fight for survival and trial wars ravaged the populous. Culture was absent and the standard of living was horrible. This period of chaos would not have occurred if the Roman Empire had continued to exist. Europe would not have fallen behind other nations such as the Arabs and Orientals in technological advancement. These cultures were far more advanced than European culture during the Middle Ages(1).
Rome is famous for its legions. They were the supreme fighting force in those days. The military deteriorated toward the end of the empire. The soldiers in the army were loyal to their own personal general and not the emperor. They began to fight for their general and not their country. They were not motivated by patriotism, rather by money. This led to the hiring of mercenaries instead of patriotic troops fighting for their country. The corruption of the generals also affected the army. The generals fought for whoever would pay them the most. They felt no connection to the empire or obligation to defend it. They were seeking their own personal gain. This is a reason for the fall of Rome. Its military no longer defended it against foreign threats.
The Roman Empire’s government was originally set up as a government for a city state. The empire became too large for it to be able to control itself. The system of government became ineffective for such a large empire. Te government could not keep track of itself. This led to corruption and the deterioration of the administration in the bureaucratic process. Poor leaders took the place of honest and righteous men. When the empire was invaded by the barbarians, the empire lacked the leadership in order to reassert itself and rebuild. This may have prevented Rome from being totally wiped out in the West(excluding Constantinople and Byzantium)(2).
The Fall of Rome is in part due to the fall of the economy. When Rome was successful and constantly conquering other nations, it had enough capital to finance its expenses. This was due to the extra money it received from the conquered nations. When the military declined, other nations stopped paying tribute and taxes. This led to the Roman government not having enough funds to support itself. Roads, bridges, and law enforcement declined. This led to a decrease of trade. This caused a chain reaction which led to the fall of the rest of the economy. Once the government was too much in debt, it no longer had a working economy. All of the small landowners lost their land to wealthy big landowners. This placed a large amount of land into the hands of a few(3).
The depopulation occurring toward the end of the empire had a drastic effect on the empire. The result was less industry, a shortage of farmers, and a shortage of candidates for the army. The shortage of industry led to Romans importing goods rather than exporting or being self-sufficient. This led an imbalance of trade that was negative. The shortage of farmers led to Romans depending on foreign nations for food, a basic staple of life. The military was reduced because there was not enough people keep up the same number of people who enlisted. This shortage of people was brought on by a few factors. Familial limitation was a rising trend in Roman life. Infanticide rates went up at a staggering pace. Oriental customs which involved eunuchs were increasing in frequency. Disease, constant war, and revolution also were factors(4).
As foreign invasions started to reach near the capital, the capital city of Rome was moved. The capital was moved many times and this caused a break in the unity of the administration. The people of Rome could not be unified under a constantly moving capital. People need to be able to concentrate on one point. They lost their basic care for Rome as the center of the empire kept changing. The people did not feel a connection to Rome. When the people of a nation do not care about the nation as a whole, it will fall apart.
The Roman Empire had to be on constant guard from the barbarians that lived on the fringes of the empire. These barbarians formed a constant threat for invading Rome. Rome defended against these barbarians for hundreds of years. The romans let their guard up for only just a little bit of time and the barbarians took their chance. It is not possible that the Romans would be capable of defending against the barbarian threat forever. The barbarians were multiplying faster than Romans were. Proportionally they were getting stronger than the Romans over time. It was just a matter of time before Rome eventually fell.
Rome was incapable of defending itself at its end. A reason for that is that Rome had too much to lose by fighting the barbarians. They had nothing to gain by fighting battles that merely led to the deaths of troops and no plunder to take from the barbarians. The barbarians had nothing to lose except for their lives.
The Romans were outnumbered by the barbarians. Barbarian tribes completely surrounded the Roman Empire. Rome could not hope to defeat such a great number of foes. The more barbarians that died the more barbarians came to take the place those that died. The barbarians completely overwhelmed the Roman legions. No empire could have defended against the barbarians with anything short of a miracle. Rome was fighting a so-called war of attrition. Its resources and manpower kept dwindling to a point where it could no longer defend itself.
By the time the fall of the Roman Empire occurred, the corruption in the government was very widespread. There was a new emperor every few years, the senators were picked by bribes and not by votes, elected officials were selfish and not looking out for the benefit of the people.
1)Anatole G. Mazour and John M Peoples, World History: People and Nations( Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1993), 168-169.
2)Anatole G. Mazour and John M Peoples, World History: People and Nations ( Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1993), 171.
3)Anatole G. Mazour and John M Peoples, World History: People and Nations ( Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1993), 171.
4)Will Durant, Caesar and Christ ( Simon and Schuster Inc., 1944), 665-667.
Anatole G. Mazour and John M.. Peoples. World History: People and Nations( Florida: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1993).
Durant. Will. Caesar and Christ. NY: Simon and Schuster Inc.1944.
Skipknox, E.L. History of Western Civilization: Rome. Online Available http://history.idbsu.edu/westciv/fallrome/01.htm , September 7,1997.