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The Fall Of The Roman Empire (I Even Did The Works Cited Page For You Plagarizers, Make Sure To Know Mla Format)

1405 words - 6 pages

"If," write Edward Gibbon," a man were called upon to fix the period in the history of the world when the condition of the human race were most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus." Yet in the next century the Roman Empire collapsed into civil wars. When in 285 AD Diocletion pulled the empire together again, there was little left of the prosperity of Gibbon's period. Several factors can be attributed to the empire's decline. The fall of the Roman Empire weas the direct result of a crumbling economy and the rising apathy of its citizens.It seems clear, then, that the causes of the collapse must, like hidden cancers, have been developing during Gibbon's period of happiness and prosperity. Some symptoms can be recognized. To take one example, in the first century of the empire, there had still been a vigorous literature (Rempel Online). However, in the second century AD from Hadrian onward, with a few exceptions, Latin literature is overcome by a sort of indolent apathy.The same apathy began to exhibit itself in municipal life. By the second century, financial burdens had been imposed on local magistrates and senators, and many cities had spent themselves into debt (Green 92). There was the cost of repairing and maintaining the temples, public baths, and the like. There were also heavy expenditures for civic sacrifices, religious processions, feasts, and the games necessary to amuse the proletariat. The wealthy citizens of the municipalities who were, in effect, the middle class, began to grow weary of the financial load. The constantly rising taxation rate was shearing them closer and closer to poverty. Furthermore, they were expected to help their communities out of debt by voluntary loans.The extension of paternalism into daily life was accompanied by a tremendous increase in the personnel of the imperial civil service (Rempel Online). Each bureau expaned its field and bureaus were constantly being created. By the time of Antoninus Pius, who ruled from 138 to 161 AD, the Roman bureacracy was as all embracing as that of modern times. Naturally, too, as benevolent paternalism and bureaucracy took over, personal freedom tended to disappear (Rempel Online). To the cost of the bureaucracy was added the expense of the dole.Originally, this was passed out once a month. By the time of Marcus Aurelias, there was a daily distribution of pork, oil, and bread to the proletariat. Meanwhile, the expenditures on the public spectacles kept mounting. A hundred million dollars a year is a moderate estimate of what was poured out on to the games (Rempel Online). There was likewise an attempt to combine subsidy to Italian farmers with charity to needy children, called the alimenta. Instituted by Nerva, who reigned from 96 to 98 AD, his system was to lend money at five percent instead of twelve percent to farmers with the proviso that the interest should be used to support...

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