Decline & Fall Of Rome

930 Words4 Pages
When we think about the Roman Empire, we usually think of brutality, genius, and unimaginable power. Ingenuity and savergy are defining characteristics of the largest empire the world has ever known. Although treachery and greed let to its demise, many other factors contributed to the eventual fall of Rome. Social causes such as population decline due to war and disease were issues that brought Rome to ruin. Many lives were lost in external conflicts as well as internal civil wars. Small pox and lead poisoning in the aqueducts further decimated the population. " To worsen matters, plague from China spread through the empire." (Sherman & Salisbury, 153) Just as in China, the disease caused intense suffering and depleted the already dwindling Roman population. " Medical knowledge was helpless in the face of pandemics like the mid-third-century plague, and Roman families could no longer populate the empire." (Sherman & Salisbury, 153) Perhaps the greatest factor that led to the population decline was the lack of offspring. " The future of Rome...depended on offspring to carry on the family and other cultural traditions. Yet throughout the empire, had a particularly hard time reproducing. (Sherman & Salisbury, 149) Lack of knowledge on children's and woman's healthcare resulted in a low birthrate. " These factors combined with other cultural issues- the desire to restrict children to keep from reducing inheritance, for example- help explain why Rome had so much trouble maintaining its population." (Sherman & Salisbury, 150) Heavy taxes necessary to support the government and a slave dependant society were major economic reasons that brought doom for Rome. " Perhaps not suprisingly, Romans often feared their slaves. The Stoic philosopher Seneca (48 BCE-65 CE) wrote that " The last of your slaves holds over you the power of life or death." (Sherman &
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