Have ever wondered why the Roman Empire fell? This fall has been an ongoing process for more than a century. The falling of the Roman Empire was caused by poor military, deadly illnesses, and disaster and destruction. There are other factors as well that could have lead to the fall, such as military problems. The wars were constant, and there was heavy military spending. The roman army needed more and more soldiers. Document B states, “Before the year 400 CE, foot soldiers wore breastplates and helmets.
But when, because of negligence and laziness, parade ground drills were abandoned, the customary armor began to seem heavy since the soldiers rarely ever wore it” (Document B). The soldiers showed no discipline, they refused to exercise and they continued to complain about the weight of the armor. Because they sometimes refuse to wear armor, they marched into the fields ready to suffer the pain of wounds and the shame of defeat. The roman army fell due to laziness, carelessness, and doing what they wanted to do under their terms. In the end, the barbarians, who were defeated, were allowed to join the Roman army.
The barbarians were very knowledgeable of the Roman Military tactics. This also led to the fall. Document F confirms, “More important in initiating the process of decline was a series of plagues that swept over the empire” (Document F). The Antoine Plague killed thirty percent of the population. The epidemic was smallpox or measles. The plague followed the soldiers and it heavily ran through the Empire from Persia to Spain and from Britain to Egypt. It is believed that the smallpox virus spread under the ruling of Marcus Aurelius, the army contracted the disease while campaigning, while raiding the city of Seleucia in Babylonia.
Those who had any direct contact with military activities helped the virus to spread through three major communication routes, such as trading routes, military movements and population movements. This plague caused 2,000 deaths a day, totaling at about five million deaths. This disease wiped out whole villages, including towns. Not only did it shrink the labor force but it weakened the trade. Because of the catastrophic eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii was destroyed. Document F demonstrates, “In the second year of the reign of Valens (366CE)… the roman world was shaken by a iolent and destructive earthquake” (Document F). The Roman town was buried in 60 feet of ash and pumice. It was lost for nearly 1,700 years before being accidently discovered in 1748. One of the most important cities in the Roman Empire was Pompeii. There was no real warning when the volcano awakened with unimaginable force. Poisonous vapors and molten debris overflowed the surrounding area suffocating the people of Pompeii. This was a growing community, but due to the fallen debris, the streets were covered. People were crying out for their loved ones, looking for aid from their gods, but the faith of any gods left was slim.
The only thought the people had was that the world they lived in was plunged into eternal darkness forever. In conclusion, the falling of the Roman Empire was slowly starting to fall apart. The Roman Empire declined and fell because of the military strengths that were no longer as strong as they were before, plagues and natural disasters which killed thousands of people and caused problems socially, politically and economically. Poor army, deadly illness, and disaster and destruction are all causes of the fall of the Roman Empire.