The Fall of the Roman Empire Could Be Linked To Many Different Aspects: Army,
Citizens, Barbarianism

Personally I think that all these reasons are linked and headed by the
decline of the Roman emperor. The deficient Emperor role led to the lacking
military response to invasions,civil war and peasant uprisings.


Ever since the adoptive system which was installed by Marcus Aurelius
was never reinstalled after his death,effective leadership in governing Rome was
lacking. It was clearly visible that the Roman Emperor was the backbone of Roman
stability and therefore the strength of the Roman army was also crucial in
ensuing the empire\'s stability. But this stability was drastically altered when
corruption and “necessary” errors were committed.


The Roman Empire was plunged into military anarchy and raided by
barbarous Germanic tribes causing a major burden from an economic standpoint.
Emperors, feeling pressure from all directions, resorted to manners which
depleted army and citizen moral. The personal dreams of empirical leaders was
never capable of re-stabilizing the Empire after the invasions. For instance,
Constantine created a “substantial field force where he recruited many regiments
from Germany. He greatly increased the German generals” (1). “Aurelius also
introduced the German element into the Empire. He established a precedent for
settling Germanic peoples, barbarians to the Romans, in Roman territory to try
secure peace”(2). He felt the only way to preserve the Empire was to host all
those who wished to live within its territory.
These German units under Roman commanders did not easily fall to the
traditional Roman discipline and command. The reluctance to submit to Roman rule
allowed Rome to lose the tactical superiority that it once had and enjoyed over
the German barbarians. This loss of tactical supremacy destroyed the elite,
disregarding their once owned power and thus causing change on top of the Roman
Empire elite. According to Andre Piganiol,”The destruction of the elite handed
over power to a new oligarchy of the newly wealthy and of high officials who
came from barbarous elements of the population”(3). Piganiol continues to state
that”conquered nationalities had in no way lost consciousness of their origin
and many were the means of resistance to the unifying will of Rome”(4)
Economically wise, the war against the Germans led to terrible financial
burdens on the Empire. “To obtain funds for the military, emperors confiscated
goods, exacted forced labor, and debased the coinage by minting more currency
without an increase in the supply of precious metal.”(5) Through this the
citizens withdrew their loyalty to Rome which deeply affected the middle class.
In the Piganiol essay, Piganiol clearly emphasis the fact that the “Roman state
went bankrupt in the third century because it was incapable of continuing to pay
its officials and it was incapable of paying its armies without recourse to
confiscations,monetary falsifications requisition in kind, unpaid services.”(6)
Another major move the emperor and his empire introduced the citizens of
Rome involved the citizenship issue. In approximately 212 AD, recruits had been
picked from among provincials, who were attracted by the promise of free
citizenship and its advantages. “With citizenship no longer necessary for
enlistment, the poor, weak class of the empire were drawn to the army because of
the weapons and artillery”(7). Personally I think that the major reasons why
loser class societies were drawn to the artillery aspect of the army was so they
could steal the empires wealth. This behavior would probably lead to the
destruction of Roman cities, and destruction of farmlands and economic trade.
Civil war also played a negative role in the Fall of the Roman Empire.
This was made possible when emperors became afraid of their own troops and the
possible rebellion against them. Therefore the emperors to remain on their
throne were sometimes obliged to buy the emperor powers from soldiers and other
militia men. The lack of conventional loyalty and honor towards the emperor led
to a character change in the Roman soldier.


Before the Civil War the Roman soldier was considered as probably the
greatest fighting force in all of the Western World.
During the Pax Romana period, the Roman soldier used his superior
organization and training to conquer nations. He was extremely disciplined and
professional. He and his army were literally the wall which protected Rome.
Their fighting willpower would allow them to remain on the battlefield no matter
what and how long battles were needed for victory. “They would join the army at
the age of eighteen. Their recruitment was localized and usually hereditary.
They were not allowed to marry while on service. Their employment included