The Roman Empire
At one point, the Roman Empire was very powerful. It was leading the whole western part of the world and had such a strong government. As soon as there was just a few bad people in office, things started going down-hill. The Era of the Soldiers was one of the worst times for the Roman Empire because of the selfish people. Also, barbaric attacks could not be stopped by Constantine, and the empire had separated. Sometimes, when something gets too strong, it can take a nose dive and be gone in a flash. There were many events that affected Rome in a negative way; eventually they all built up to the decline of the Roman Empire.
Rome diminished itself with all of the internal problems it had. There were too many people fighting for power on one side, and then the other side was the plebeians fighting for more equality. The plebeians always thought that they were not being treated fairly and this caused an uprising. The patricians had the ability to make more decisions, have a bigger say in the empire, and easily over power the plebeians. BBC History said, “The system was weighted to give more influence to the votes of the wealthy” (Beard). Patricians always had the better end of situations in the empire and the plebeians were easily outspoken. This created much controversy among the people and did not help the Roman Empire at all. The people in the empire were fighting a lot of the time.
The Roman Empire was so strong for such a long time because they had smart people in power. In the last few hundred years of rulers, there were some crazy people in office. Two brothers, named Caracalla and Gaeta, were amongst the worst, especially because they are what led the Roman Empire into a disastrous age of rulers called the Era of the Soldiers. This was 100 years of horrible leaders all fighting for power. Christopher Lightfoot said, “Almost all, having taking power upon the murder of the preceding emperor, came to a premature and violent end” (Lightfoot). There were 37 different people in power and out of this number, 25 of them were assassinated. Because everyone was fighting for power, they were removed very quickly. This all weakened the Roman Empire even more.
Once Constantine became emperor, things began to get better for a while. During his reign, there began to be a change. He named the city Constantinople after himself, and it was the new center of the empire. Rome was fading away and changing into Eastern and Western Europe. Constantine was struggling to hold it all together because barbarians had started to continuously attack and it kept on getting worse. “What began as a controlled resettlement of barbarians within the empire’s borders ended as an invasion” (Lightfoot). Different cultures were bombarding the empire from all directions. The Western part of the empire had been taken over. Constantine was able to hold on to the Eastern side, but it evolved into what was called the Byzantine Empire. Because the city of Rome was actually located in Western Europe, it had definitely fallen.
In the last years of Rome’s Empire, there was way too much turbulence to keep things stable. The main thing that caused Rome’s decline was the struggle and fighting for the correct and intelligible person to lead the whole empire. The Era of the Soldiers was such a long period of negative incidents that it was too hard to fix and led to more disaster. Even some of the best emperors, such as Constantine, could not sustain the barbarian’s threats and the empire could not stay in sync. The Roman Empire had truly fallen once it split into Eastern and Western Europe, then the Western fraction had been clearly taken over by someone else.
· Beard, Mary. "BBC - History - The Fall of the Roman Republic." BBC - Homepage. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2011. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/
· Lightfoot, Christopher. "The Roman Empire (27 B.C.–393 A.D.) | Thematic Essay | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: metmuseum.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2011. <http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/roem/hd_roem.htm>