For a long period of time, Rome seemed like an unstoppable empire. It conquered the majority of the land surrounding it, including Greece, Turkey, Iraq, and many of its other neighboring countries. It seemed as though Rome would conquer the entire world, as it was the center of it, until it began to decline in 476 C.E. The very aspects that made it so successful were the ones that caused its collapse. Various political, religious, and economic reasons caused its downfall. The fact that the entire economy of Rome collapsed and money became worthless was a major reason for the empire’s collapse. In addition, the loss of a common religion and lack of efficient ruling in relation to its vast territory affected the empire. The Roman Empire did not become so successful in a short period of time, and so its decline did not just happen overnight. Over several years all of these different aspects together caused the fall of the Roman Empire.
The Roman government had many debts to pay. They also had to find a way to fund for the upkeep and development of its roads and army. The government decided to excessively tax the people, who viewed this as unjust. Much of Rome’s wealth came from the wealthy places it conquered, but they eventually reached a point where there were no longer any wealthy rivals to conquer. The Roman Empire never actually established an efficient currency system, and eventually, due to inflation, money became worthless. The empire that was once known for its excessively elaborate architecture and system of roads began to fade away because of its loss of wealth. Also, their trading stopped because of the dangers involved in traveling. This caused small farmers to eventually completely die out, or hide behind large landlords to whom they gave full control of their land in the hopes of receiving military and judicial protection. They were the main economic boost of the empire, and were now lost. Unlike with political and religious reasons involved in the fall of the empire, regardless of what laws were changes and removed or what actions were taken, nothing could reverse the effect of this terrible economy on the Roman Empire.
(http://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=22703, Sterns page 108)
At one time, all of Rome was united by a common religion. This religion, commonly referred to as the Roman religion, was derived from the religion in Greece. Members of this religion, which included the majority, if not all, of the Roman citizens, worshiped many different gods, including the creator or father god, Jupiter, the sun god, Apollo, the god of inspiring wars, Mars, and many others as well. The popularity of this religion began to decline when Christianity arose. It appealed to the majority of the people, particularly the lower class and slaves, who now had something to put their hope and faith in. This religion spread rapidly, and Roman emperors felt that because it was so influential it would become a possible threat. ...