Internal And External Factors: The Fall Of The Western Roman Empire

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The fall of the ‘Western Roman Empire’ was caused by a number of internal and external factors spread over more than a century. Their are many theories providing an explanation for the the fall of the empire and pinpointing the beginning of its decay, however one of the most accepted theories begins in the reign of Emperor Constantine (306-337 A.D) and his part in the split of the Roman Empire into two ‘West’ and ‘East’ regions and ends with the abdication of Romulus Augustus in 475 A.D. Responsibility is also given to the many waves of barbarians migrating into and pillaging the outer regions of the Western Empire, as well as widespread corruption, economic and social issues within the empire.

The theory of government corruption having a
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The westward sweep of Atilla the Hun from Eurasia caused mass migration of barbarian tribes into the outskirts of the Empire. Given the Western Empire’s economic downturn it’s armies were already sparse and weak and the continuos barrage of barbarian hordes along the borders depleted them further until they were virtually defenceless. So once barbarian tribes in the North and East discovered this fact they took their chance to pounce and so swept through and reconquered territory from the Romans. Rome was sacked twice in the space of three decades the final one leading to the virtual destruction of the West Empire by Odacer a Germanic King. In 475 A.D the Western Empire was completely reconquered by barbarian tribes. St. Jerome describes the devastation of the empire c. 406 A.D, “Nations innumerable and most savage have invaded all Gaul. The Whole region between the Alps and the Pyrenees, the ocean and the Rhine, has been devastated by the Quadi, the Vandals… the Saxons, the Burgundians, the Alemanni, and the Pahnonians.” This account details the desperate situation of the Roman Empire by describing all the territory lost to the various barbarian tribes. Some of the barbarians were those once employed by the empire as mercenaries. Although they revolted in outrage when the the government was unable to pay them due to the severe …show more content…
To be specific, the most significant internal factor was the West’s inability to manage it’s economy due to the logistical issues that were associated with its great size. The monstrous size of the Empire itself is what led to its ultimate downfall given the vulnerabilities it caused such as large requirements for military spending and its inability to compete with the East. Smaller contributions to the fall were made by the rise of Christianity and the corruption within the government which in its case furthered the economic downturn as well as the plebeians trust in it’s

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