The Fall of the Roman Empire Could Be Linked To Ma

ny Different Aspects: Army,Citizens, Barbarianism
Personally I think that all these reasons are linked and headed by the
decline of the Roman emperor. The deficient Emperor role led to the lacking
military response to invasions,civil war and peasant uprisings.


ROMAN EMPIRE AND ITS EMPEROR
Ever since the adoptive system which was installed by Marcus Aurelius
was never reinstalled after his death,effective leadership in governing Rome was
lacking. It was clearly visible that the Roman Emperor was the backbone of Roman
stability and therefore the strength of the Roman army was also crucial in
ensuing the empire’s stability. But this stability was drastically altered when
corruption and necessary errors were committed.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now


ECONOMIC, BARBARIAN AND MILITARY PROBLEMS
The Roman Empire was plunged into military anarchy and raided by
barbarous Germanic tribes causing a major burden from an economic standpoint.

Emperors, feeling pressure from all directions, resorted to manners which
depleted army and citizen moral. The personal dreams of empirical leaders was
never capable of re-stabilizing the Empire after the invasions. For instance,
Constantine created a substantial field force where he recruited many regiments
from Germany. He greatly increased the German generals (1). Aurelius also
introduced the German element into the Empire. He established a precedent for
settling Germanic peoples, barbarians to the Romans, in Roman territory to try
secure peace(2). He felt the only way to preserve the Empire was to host all
those who wished to live within its territory.

These German units under Roman commanders did not easily fall to the
traditional Roman discipline and command. The reluctance to submit to Roman rule
allowed Rome to lose the tactical superiority that it once had and enjoyed over
the German barbarians. This loss of tactical supremacy destroyed the elite,
disregarding their once owned power and thus causing change on top of the Roman
Empire elite. According to Andre Piganiol,The destruction of the elite handed
over power to a new oligarchy of the newly wealthy and of high officials who
came from barbarous elements of the population(3). Piganiol continues to state
thatconquered nationalities had in no way lost consciousness of their origin
and many were the means of resistance to the unifying will of Rome(4)
Economically wise, the war against the Germans led to terrible financial
burdens on the Empire. To obtain funds for the military, emperors confiscated
goods, exacted forced labor, and debased the coinage by minting more currency
without an increase in the supply of precious metal.(5) Through this the
citizens withdrew their loyalty to Rome which deeply affected the middle class.

In the Piganiol essay, Piganiol clearly emphasis the fact that the Roman state
went bankrupt in the third century because it was incapable of continuing to pay
its officials and it was incapable of paying its armies without recourse to
confiscations,monetary falsifications requisition in kind, unpaid services.(6)
Another major move the emperor and his empire introduced the citizens of
Rome involved the citizenship issue. In approximately 212 AD, recruits had been
picked from among provincials, who were attracted by the promise of free
citizenship and its advantages. With citizenship no longer necessary for
enlistment, the poor, weak class of the empire were drawn to the army because of
the weapons and artillery(7). Personally I think that the major reasons why
loser class societies were drawn to the artillery aspect of the army was so they
could steal the empires wealth. This behavior would probably lead to the
destruction of Roman cities, and destruction of farmlands and economic trade.

Civil war also played a negative role in the Fall of the Roman Empire.

This was made possible when emperors became afraid of their own troops and the
possible rebellion against them. Therefore the emperors to remain on their
throne were sometimes obliged to buy the emperor powers from soldiers and other
militia men. The lack of conventional loyalty and honor towards the emperor led
to a character change in the Roman soldier.


ROMAN SOLDIERS BEFORE AND AFTER
Before the Civil War the Roman soldier was considered as probably the
greatest fighting force in all of the Western World.

During the Pax Romana period, the Roman soldier used his superior
organization and training to conquer nations. He was extremely disciplined and
professional. He and his army were literally the wall which protected Rome.

Their fighting willpower would allow them to remain on the battlefield no matter
what and how long battles were needed for victory. They would join the army at
the age of eighteen. Their recruitment was localized and usually hereditary.

They were not allowed to marry while on service. Their employment included
police duties, checking and rounding up local raiders.(8) The army had two
purposes, first to fight wars of conquest and satisfy the emperors desires for
glory, booty, and expanded territory. Second, to suppress the unrest in outlying
provinces.(9)
But all this seemed to be changing later on in the empire with the
emperors change in attitude and the allowing of barbarous German tribes into the
army. Emperors resorted first to the population of the barbarous regions of the
empire regions, then to foreign barbarians. In the reserve army, the highest
regarded men were the barbarians units. These officers occupied the highest
ranks up to that of master of the militia. With all the favoritism toward the
German unit the Roman soldiers began to feel inferior and secondary in their
role of defending the empire. The military commanders began to use their
military troops to cease the thrown and its governing power. They began
neglecting its duty of defending its borders and disrupted the eternal life of
the Empire.(10)
Although they continued to fight in well framed units, their overall
will to train and discipline required for fighting was almost unnoticeable.

Emperors continued to play a negative role in the allotment of foreigners to
take control. In Piganiol’s essay he mentions that the, emperors disarmed the
citizens and trusted the defense of the empire to mercenaries.(11) Valens was a
clear example of the corruption in the higher class of the empire. He was active
in suppressing the lives of officers, whereby he defrauded men of their portions,
clothes and military equipment.

Favoritism towards the barbarian units of the army, corruption towards
the state and its people, gives ample reason why such a revolt in the Roman
army occurred. Towards the end of the empire the Roman army’s qualities
deteriorated. The legions failed to defend borders, the army began to consist
predominately of the peasants (citizenship issue). The change in the soldiers
attitude explains in the lack of loyalty to Rome and the lack of leadership in
military leaders.

In conclusion, the Roman army defeated itself. It began as a powerhouse
but by some uncontrollable and ignorant errors it collapsed. It was violated
internally by the emperors and their soldiers and externally by the barbarous
tribes. The lack of soldier loyalty to Rome, began with the lack of Rome loyalty
towards soldiers. By allowing citizenship to almost anyone it negated the
importance the higher class society had in Rome. Almost anyone could be a Roman
soldier, almost anyone could have access to arms and almost anyone could use
these arms in their favor. The allowance of the German entrance in the army
introduced doubt in the mind of the veteran soldiers. Therefore, Rome hurt
itself. One does not know if it could have continued its dominance, but one
could clearly say that its dominance brought its disappearance.


END NOTES
1) Lynn Hunt, Thomas Martin, Barbara Rosenwein, R.Hsia, and Bonnie Smith. The
Challenge of the West: Peoples and Cultures from Stone Age to 1740. Toronto: D.C.

Health and Company, 1995.


2) Ibid
3) Piganiol, Andre. The Causes of the Ruin of the Roman Empire. Decline and
Fall of the Roman Empire: Why did it Collapse ?: Donald Kagan. ED. Donald Kagan.

Massachusettes: D.C. Health and Company, 1962, p.87.


4) Ibid, p.87
5) Marvin Perry, Myrna Chase, James Jacob, Margaret Jacob, Theodore Von Laue.

Western Civilization: Ideas, Politics ; Society. Boston: Houghton Miffln
Company, 1996.


6) Piganiol, Andre. The Causes of the Ruin of the Roman Empire. Decline and
Fall of the Roman Empire: Why did it Collapse ?: Donald Kagan. ED. Donald Kagan.

Massachusettes: D.C. Health and Company, 1962, p.88.


7) Marvin Perry, Myrna Chase, James Jacob, Margaret Jacob, Theodore Von Laue.

Western Civilization: Ideas, Politics ; Society. Boston: Houghton Miffln
Company, 1996.


8) Jones, A.H.M. A General History of Europe: The Decline of the Ancient World.

London: Longman Group Ltd. 1966
9) Lynn Hunt, Thomas Martin, Barbara Rosenwein, R.Hsia, and Bonnie Smith. The
Challenge of the West: Peoples and Cultures from Stone Age to 1740. Toronto: D.C.

Health and Company, 1995.


10) Marvin Perry, Myrna Chase, James Jacob, Margaret Jacob, Theodore Von Laue.

Western Civilization: Ideas, Politics ; Society. Boston: Houghton Miffln
Company, 1996
11) Piganiol, Andre. The Causes of the Ruin of the Roman Empire. Decline and
Fall of the Roman Empire: Why did it Collapse ?: Donald Kagan. ED. Donald Kagan.

Massachusettes: D.C. Health and Company, 1962, p.88.


BIBLIOGRAPHY
Jones, A.H.M. A General History of Europe: The Decline of the Ancient World.

London: Longman Group Ltd. 1966
Lynn Hunt, Thomas Martin, Barbara Rosenwein, R.Hsia, and Bonnie Smith. The
Challenge of the West: Peoples and Cultures from Stone Age to 1740. Toronto: D.C.

Health and Company, 1995.


Marvin Perry, Myrna Chase, James Jacob, Margaret Jacob, Theodore Von Laue.

Western Civilization: Ideas, Politics ; Society. Boston: Houghton Miffln
Company, 1996.


Piganiol, Andre. The Causes of the Ruin of the Roman Empire. Decline and Fall
of the Roman Empire: Why did it Collapse ?: Donald Kagan. ED. Donald Kagan.

Massachusettes: D.C. Health and Company, 1962.

x

Hi!
I'm Morris!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out