Fall of the Roman Empire Research Paper

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Christianity regards all men as equal in the eyes of the Lord thus the emperor was also equal in the eyes of the Lord as his subjects and again he couldn't exercise control over this religious institution which was headed by Bishops, meaning that the emperor's authority over religious institutions had been lost to the Bishops. This also meant that Bishops would be in charge of a huge number of believers or Christians whom basically looked at them as spiritual leader thereby reducing the emperor's influence on the great population who were mostly at this time Christians.

After Christianity was formalized by emperor Theodosius in AD 380, the Church gained much control of the state through the Constantinople council which placed it at a higher level in the hierarchy; this was to be evident ten years later in the excommunication of emperor Theodosius from the Church showing that the church had authority in matters of morals.

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The other way through which Christianity contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire was through the repulsion from the pagans that resulted into wars and provinces breaking away from the empire. Emperor Constantine showed great hostility to the pagans through restricting their spiritual sacrifices, confiscating treasures that were from the pagans' temples and even setting laws that were forbidding some of pagans' sexual morality. The harsh rule by the Christian emperor resulted to hostile relationship between the Christians and pagans in the Roman Empire that lead to rise in revolutions and barbarians. The barbarians like the Huns, Vandals and Visigoths angered by invasion of Christianity in the Roman Empire attacked Rome which was and is still today regarded as a Christian religious city. The attacks from barbarians proved the loss of Roman authority and the fall of the Roman Empire. Source Pirenne. Henri. The Holy Roman Empire (Walter Hamilton. London. 1957), 77-112.[footnoteRef:7] [7: Pirenne. Henri. The Holy Roman Empire (Walter Hamilton. London. 1957), 77-112]

Research Paper on Fall of the Roman Empire Assignment

Christian values and beliefs were against slave trade and slavery in the Roman Empire, hence the reason why use of slaves as cheap source labor in the empire came to an end when Christianity was made the official Roman religion. This indeed resulted to loss of human resources or capital that was largely needed in the expansive Roman Empire; on the other hand economy was generally impaired and suffered negative consequences as result of the stop of slavery. The economy downturn attributed to this lead to the fall of the empire.

Before the fall, Roman Empire experienced numerous wars, invasions by the enemy, rebellion from the barbarians as well as natural disasters narrowly blamed on Christianity. It's reported that immorality, corruption, social evils, paganism among others was the order of the day in the empire and Christians came out strongly condemning them prophesying natural disasters that be fell the empire such as plagues, earthquakes and famine as punishment to the evils committed. These natural disasters weakened the empire's political and economical might leading to its' fall. Source Adena, L. "The 'Jesus Cult' and the Roman State in the Third Century," Clio History Journal (2008):16-24.[footnoteRef:8] [8: Adena, L. "The 'Jesus Cult' and the Roman State in the Third Century," Clio History Journal (2008):16-24]

During the early days of Christianity in Rome, it has well being documented that Christians were severely punished and treated in inhumane manner which also included denying them any form of meaningful employment in the empire. The rise in unemployment levels among the Christians who were continually increasing in number, affected the economy as prices of goods had to be lowered because majority of unemployed couldn't afford them, which then translated to fall in profits made by businesses and decline of revenue collected by the empire. The reduction in revenues also meant that the budget allocation to the Roman army had to be reduced thus making the empire weak in it's defense when attacked by the barbarians or enemies.

Other authors who have also conducted studies on the fall of Roman Empire have noted that the cost incurred on building churches and the manpower involved plus the salaries paid out to the Church Bishops was excessively high and the empire was unable to fully finance its' army for defense purposes, unlike before when the army was entrusted to maintain and ensure the emperor rule is effective.

Other causes of the fall of the Roman Empire

The relations between the senate and the emperor that made the senate less powerful also led to the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. The senate at times disagreed with emperor decisions, while at times decisions made by the senate never appeased the emperor, thus a hostile working relationship which couldn't effectively control an empire as big as the Roman Empire. The rise in immorality, decline in ethics and values among the Roman citizens also contributed to the collapse of the Roman Empire. Source Baynes. H. Norman. "The Decline of the Roman Power in Western Europe. Some Modern Explanations," The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 33, Parts 1 and 2 (1943), 29-35[footnoteRef:9]. [9: Baynes. H. Norman. "The Decline of the Roman Power in Western Europe. Some Modern Explanations," The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 33, Parts 1 and 2 (1943), 29-35]

Conclusion

The Roman Empire fall has raised many questions and scholarly interest up-to-date; this is evident by the numerous studies, researches and theories being put across to try to explain some of the unanswered questions on the issue. This research can conclude that initially the Roman Empire never practiced Christianity, but instead it practiced cult worship, Judaism was the first religion to be practiced after which Christianity emerged as an independent religion and was initially considered part of Judaism.

The early Christians of Roman Empire faced untold suffering and prosecutions as their belief were not considered loyal to the government and those in authority, Christians also refused to worship Caesar. But during the rule of Emperor Constantine a policy was established that allowed Christians to practice their faith without interference from no one. Afterwards Constantine came to fully recognize himself with Christianity which signaled the beginning of problems for Roman pagans. The fate of Christianity was later to be sealed by Emperor Theodosius official formalization of Christianity as Roman's official religion.

Thou numerous authors have come out clearly differing with Edward Gibbon's studies The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Chicago. 1952), 12-56[footnoteRef:10], it is without doubt that after Christianity was introduced in the Roman Empire is when the empire started to decline and fall, reforms were made on the empire's political and economical structures and the church had more authority that originally were only bestowed on emperors. [10: Edward Gibbon's studies The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Chicago. 1952), 12-56]

The religious practices of Christianity forced Roman empire to change its' mode of operations that in some way made it prone to the fall and it also eroded the strong foundation set by the earlier autocratic leaders, Christianity caused conflict to arise among the pagans and Christians which led to the emergence of barbarians who were opposed to the Christian rule.

Footnotes

Gibbon, Edward. The Decline and fall of the Roman Empire, (Chicago. 1952), 12-56

The research has drawn a lot from this book as the author is commonly known for his view that Christianity was the cause of fall of the Roman Empire and he wrote "In discussing Barbarism and Christianity I have actually been discussing the Fall of Rome."

Bury, J.B., History of the Later Roman Empire, (New York, 1958), 23-57.

The research used findings from his book which show history of Roman Empire and the theory of Christianity vs. paganism as the cause of fall of Roman Empire

Sources

Adena, L. "The 'Jesus Cult' and the Roman State in the Third Century," Clio History Journal (2008):16-24

Bury, J.B., History of the Later Roman Empire, (New York, 1958), 23-57

Baynes. H. Norman. "The Decline of the Roman Power in Western Europe. Some Modern Explanations," The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 33,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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