why did the roman empire fall when it had so much domination? they revolutionised so much
A lot of infighting and impotent rulers, I mean you could have one great ruler that reclaimed lost land then the next five after him lost it all plus more
It was a combination of factors:
1. Attacks by tribal powers, in particular the Germanic tribes like the Goths and the Vandals who sacked Rome itself. Rome suffered several military losses and these took their toll.
2. Economic problems. All the fighting was funded with high taxes. It created a lot of inequality and several rich people left Rome and set up private fiefdoms. They were reliant on slave labour, and as the empire ceased to expand, the supply of fresh slaves from conquered lands dried up.
3. Late in the third century, the empire was divided in two. The eastern empire began to gain power and the two halves of the empire didn’t cooperate with one another.
4. They had over expanded, and this vast empire meant communication was slow, lots of money had to be spent on the army to try to keep control over it and diverted money from technological development.
5. Political corruption and instability led to 20 different emperors within the span of a mere 75 years. Ordinary citizens lost trust in the senators and emperors.
6. The Huns invaded northern Europe, driving many of the Germanic tribes south, creating famine and instability for those tribes.
7. Christianity was spreading, providing an alternative culture and binding force to that of the Roman empire.
8. The army got weaker as they couldn’t recruit enough Roman citizens into it and started to depend on mercenaries.
It is worth pointing out that the Roman empire, when taken in its totality, spanned (if you include the early republic) from 509 BC to 1452. It is a failure of education that people think that the Roman empire fell in 476. A big chunk of it did, but the Eastern Roman empire continued and was an influential part of the middle ages.
That is a long chunk of time for any contiguous political entity, so it is incumbent on us to respect that. If you are asking, specifically, about the Western Roman empire then it comes down to a failure of integrating European peoples into its culture and the pressures of the Hunnic invasions. The Roman military, increasingly, relied on contracted soldiers from outside of the legions, for their defense. This turned the legions into a mercenary army, resulting in very well trained barbarian armies, trained by the Romans themselves. When those same people wanted to live within the inner Roman borders and be considered Roman citizens, Rome massacred barbarian settlers and banned marriage between Romans and Barbarians.
It had a common problem with many empires: it was funded by the expansion. Taking new territory brings in new resources, land to give to the retiring legions, and slaves. You have no way to get that level of economic output without a new conquest every X years. Once it became too big to effectively govern and/or the neighbors became too strong and far away to conquer, Rome started to stagnate. The specific timeline of failure after that is interesting, but not critical to the fact it could not continue existing this way forever.
Was it possible to reform the empire to no longer be balanced around repeated growth? I think in the end East Rome basically did that…
Maybe I’m wrong, but I heard it explained like this and it makes sense to me.
Remember the fall of the Roman Empire took longer than the USA has been a country, it didn’t happen overnight.
Lots of factors, partly because it was so large it had to maintain control over large distances without anything resembling modern communication. Imagine it taking days for a message to make it to the recipient if it even got there at all.
Then throw in a long lasting severe drought, infighting, and some barbarian hordes and you get the fall of Rome.