Causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire

In case I haven’t made it obvious in some of my previous posts, I’ve always been interested in history. I find it fascinating as it really helps us to understand just why things are the way they are in the world. Every major event couldn’t have happened the way it did if not for something else happening beforehand. The way the world is now, wouldn’t exist if not for World War 2. World War 2 could never have occurred if not for World War 1. World War 1 could not have occurred if not for German unification in 1871. German Unification… well you get my point. It’s amazing to see how everything links together.

Go back even further. There wouldn't be any humans if the dinosaurs hadn't gone extinct seeing as it was their extinction that allowed mammals to thrive.
Go back even further. There wouldn’t be any humans if the dinosaurs hadn’t gone extinct seeing as it was their extinction that allowed mammals to thrive.

Equally amazing is the idea of history repeating itself. I came across an interesting webpage today which discusses the proposed possibilities as to why the Roman Empire (the great power of its time) eventually collapsed. It made for some pretty scary reading. The parallels between Ancient Rome in its final days, and modern Western civilsation today are very disturbing.

Causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire

Causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire – Antagonism between the Senate and the Emperor
One of the main causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire was the Antagonism between the Senate and the Emperor. The Roman Emperor had the legal power to rule Rome’s religious, civil and military affairs with the Senate acting as an advisory body. The emperor had power over life and death. The powerful, spoilt, wealthy Roman Emperors inevitably became corrupt and many lived a debauched, deluded and immoral lifestyle. The Roman Empire saw many examples of antagonism between the Senators and the Emperors. Either the Senators didn’t like the Emperor or the Emperors was at odds with the Senators.

Look at America to see how the Senate and Obama are unable to agree on anything.

Sorry Obama, but you can't have your senators crucified
Sorry Obama, but you can’t have your senators crucified

Causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire – Decline in Morals
One of the main causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire was the Decline in Morals. The decline in morals, especially in the rich upper classes, nobility and the emperors, had a devastating impact on the Romans. Immoral and promiscuous sexual behaviour including adultery and orgies. Emperors such as Tiberius kept groups of young boys for his pleasure, incest by Nero who also had a male slave castrated so he could take him as his wife,Elagabalus who forced a Vestal Virgin into marriage, Commodus with his harems of concubines enraged Romans by sitting in the theatre or at the games dressed in a woman’s garments. The decline in morals also effected the lower classes and slaves. Religious festivals such as Saturnalia and Bacchanalia where sacrifices, ribald songs, lewd acts and sexual promiscuity were practised. Bestiality and other lewd and sexually explicit acts were exhibited in the Colosseum arena to amuse the mob. Brothels and forced prostitution flourished. Widespread gambling on the chariot races and gladiatorial combats. Massive consumption of alcohol. The sadistic cruelty towards both man and beasts in the arena.

Do I really need to explain this one?

As I've always said, political correctness only causes destruction
As I’ve always said, political correctness only causes destruction

Causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire – Political Corruption and the Praetorian Guard
One of the main causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire was the Political Corruption and the Praetorian Guard. The  power of the Praetorian Guard, the elite soldiers who made up the bodyguard of the emperor, led to political corruption and grew to such an extent that this massive group of soldiers decided on whether an emperor should be disposed of and who should become the new emperor! The story of Sejanus, who was the commander of the Praetorian Guard during the reign of Tiberius, illustrates the extent of the power of the Praetorians. At one point the Praetorian Guard sold at auction the throne of the world to the highest bidder.

Sure we live in democracies (allegedly) but lets face the facts, the big political parties are in the pockets of big business. Big business has the financial power to support people they like, and these people in turn are then obligated to make decisions that favour those who helped put them in power. Meanwhile, people who care about the general public, rather than lobby groups don’t have the finances or the profile necessary to run an effective campaign, hence why we never get the leaders we actually need. In a sense, instead of giving power to however pays the most money like the Praetorian Guards did, the modern equivalent give power for favours. You might argue “But in a democracy, we still have choices”. You’re right, but seeing as all the prominent choices are courted and supported by powerful lobby groups, what difference does it make who you choose?

You could say the same thing about the Tories and Labour in Britain, or Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in Ireland.
You could say the same thing about the Tories and Labour in Britain, or Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in Ireland.

Causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire – Fast expansion of the Empire
One of the main causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire was the Fast expansion of the Empire. The rapid growth in the lands conquered by the Empire led to the need to defend the borders and territories of Rome. The people of the conquered lands, most of whom were referred to as Barbarians, hated the Romans. Taxes on the non-Romans were high and constantly increased. Frequent rebellions arose.

There really isn’t a case of fast expansion anymore, but the idea of having people within our borders who hate us is pretty obvious when you look at what multiculturalism has resulted in.

Remember, wearing a t-shirt that hurts their feelings is far more evil than beheading people.
The modern Barbarian invaders

Causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire – Constant Wars and Heavy Military Spending
One of the main causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire was the Constant Wars and Heavy Military Spending. Constant warfare required heavy military spending. The Roman army became over-stretched and needed more and more soldiers. The barbarians, who had been conquered, and other foreign mercenaries were allowed to join the Roman army.

Pretty much describes America since September 11th 2001. Just replace Barbarians in the army with terrorists funded by America to cause chaos in the countries America is against

Such a waste of money. They could have done so much good for their people with it instead.
Such a waste of money. They could have done so much good for their people with it instead.

Causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire – Barbarian Knowledge of Roman Military Tactics
One of the main causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire was the Barbarian Knowledge of Roman Military Tactics. The knowledge that the Barbarians gained of Roman style of warfare and military tactics by serving in the Roman army were eventually turned against the Empire and led to the sack of Rome by the Visigoths led by an ex-army soldier, Alaric.

Thankfully, I can’t think of a specific example of this…yet.

Causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire – Failing Economy and High Inflation
One of the main causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire was the Failing Economy and high inflation. The Government was constantly threatened by bankruptcy due to the cost of defending the Empire, the failing economics, heavy taxation and high inflation was another Causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire. The majority of the inhabitants of the Roman Empire failed to share in the incredible prosperity of Rome. The amount of gold sent to the orient to pay for luxury goods led to a shortage of gold to make Roman coins. Roman currency was devalued to such an extent that a system of bartering returned to one of the greatest civilisations the world had ever known.

2008 crash, anyone?

Causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire – Unemployment of the Working Classes
One of the main causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire was the Unemployment of the Working Classes. Cheap slave labor resulted in the unemployment of the Plebs in Rome who became dependent on hand-outs from the state. The Romans attempted a policy of unrestricted trade but this led to the Plebs being unable to compete with foreign trade. The government were therefore forced to subsidize the working class Romans to make up the differences in prices. This resulted in thousands of Romans choosing just to live on the subsides sacrificing their standard of living with an idle life of ease. The massive divide between the rich Romans and the poor Romans increased still further. 

Importing 3rd world workers while plenty of our own are unemployed. Not to mention, people becoming increasingly dependent on the welfare state to survive, with little incentive to take up minimum wage employment instead.

Hmm, 31 Million Americans are unemployed. I know, lets import more Mexicans.
Hmm, 31 Million Americans are unemployed. I know, lets import more Mexicans.

Causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire – The ‘Mob’ and the cost of the Gladiatorial Games
One of the main causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire was the ‘Mob’ and the cost of the Gladiatorial Games. If the thousands of unemployed Romans became bored this led to civil unrest and rioting in the streets. The ‘Mob’ needed to be amused – spectacular gladiatorial games had to be provided. The cost of the gladiatorial games was born by the Emperors, and therefore the state, and corrupt politicians who sponsored the games to curry favor and support with the ‘Mob’. The cost of the gladiatorial games eventually came to one third of the total income of the Roman Empire.

People have their TVs, their films, their video games, and the internet to distract them these days. Could you imagine what would happen though if a load of unhappy unemployed people didn’t have distractions to occupy them though?

"QUICK, BROADCAST ANOTHER REALITY TV SHOW"
“QUICK, BROADCAST ANOTHER REALITY TV SHOW”

Causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire – Decline in Ethics and Values
One of the main causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire was the Decline in Ethics and Values. Life became cheap – blood shed led to more blood shed and extreme cruelty. The values, the ideals, customs, traditions and institutions, of the Romans declined. The basic principles, standards and judgments about what was valuable or important in life declined. The total disregard for human and animal life resulted in a lack of ethics – a perverted view of what was right and wrong, good and bad, desirable and undesirable. Any conformity to acceptable rules or standards of human behaviour were being lost.

While thankfully, I don’t see people engaging in extreme cruelty, I think it’s safe to say that values have been lost. Christianity, which was once the uniting factor of European societies has more or less collapsed. Very few people take it seriously anymore. However, this means that people have developed a somewhat nihilistic view. People no longer believe in a God or an after life, so really, what’s the point of life?

Hooray
Hooray

Causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire – Slave Labor
One of the main causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire was the Slave Labor. The number of slaves increased dramatically during the first 2 centuries of the Roman Empire. The Roman’s dependency on slave labor led not only to the decline in morals, values and ethics but also to the stagnation of any new technology to produce goods more efficiently. Romans could rely on the slave manpower for all their needs but this reliance inhibited technological change and growth. The treatment of slaves led to rebellion and several Servile (Slave) Wars, the most famous being the revolt led by the gladiator slave, Spartacus. In the later centuries of the Empire and the advent of Christianity the attitudes towards slaves changed. With manumission (the act of freeing a slave) the number of slaves declined together with the manpower that Rome was dependent upon.

Dependence on cheap third world labour.

Causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire – Natural Disasters
One of the main causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire were the Natural Disasters. During the time of the Roman Empire there were not only foreign wars, civil wars, street fights, fires and revolts there were also natural disasters such as plagues, famines and earthquakes. As in all periods and societies the people looked for someone to blame and different religions to turn to.

In fairness, this one can’t be helped either way. If a natural disaster happens, it happens. There really isn’t anything we can do to stop this. However, with regard to plagues, that can be helped as long as we aren’t so careless like people were with the ebola outbreak. Letting people travel freely between ebola infected countries and the west was fucking ridiculous. We got lucky that time, but we may not be so lucky next time.

Causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire – Christianity
One of the main causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire was Christianity. Life and the future seemed hopeless for the millions of people who were ruled by Rome where an early death was almost inevitable. Christianity taught the belief in an afterlife which gave hope and courage to the desperate. Eventually the Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great, proclaimed himself a Christian and issued an edict promising the Christians his favor and protection. Attitudes in the Roman Empire changed from being antagonistic to becoming pacifistic.

Christianity has in fact been replaced by the new religion of the West, the religion of political correctness. With this new religion, the old ways of doing things in our societies have been swept away because they are sinful under the new regime.

Click to enlarge. See what I mean?
Click to enlarge. See what I mean?

Causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire – Barbarian Invasion
The last of the causes for the Fall of the Roman Empire was the Barbarian Invasion. Rome had fierce foreign enemies. There were great Barbarian armies consisting of warriors such as the Visigoths, Huns and the Vandals. The final death blow to the Roman Empire was inflicted by these Barbarians. The city of Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410 and by the Vandals in 455 signalling the disintegration of Roman authority and the Fall of the Roman Empire.

This is the final step. We already have some Barbarians in our societies working against us, committing acts of terrorism, raping our women and children, murdering people for absolutely no reason. It’s only a matter of time until they overrun us.

So yeah, I know I’m kind of reaching with some of these comparisons, but in fairness, there’s no way that events could be identical. The world has changed a lot in the 1500 or so years since Rome fell. The question however, is have things changed enough.

Something to think about.

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