The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: Explain the conditions that led to the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.
The Decline of the Roman Empire started with the death of Marcus Aurelius and the end of the Pax Romana. Marcus Aurelius’ son, Commodus took over as Emperor and ruled just like Nero did. He made the treasury go bankrupt, assassination plots flourished and his own troops killed him. Due to hostile tribes outside the empire, farmland was destroyed and therefore food prices went up. Also the military needed lots of money; so the government increased taxes for landowners and began to make more coins which had little value. All of this led to a food shortage and to top it all off, they hired mercenaries. The next emperor was Diocletian and he decided to divide the empire into two. He ruled one half and the other Constantine ruled. Together they tried to stop the decline of the empire and with their reforms they preserved the eastern part of the empire for 1,000 years. In the west, on the other hand, they briefly delayed the Germanic tribes’ invasion of Rome (Glencoe/Mcgraw Hill Companies, 1999, p. 176). Some reforms that Diocletian gave were to the military, economy, and occupations. The military reform basically was that he added to his army and that he traveled about the Roman Empire to oversee defenses. The economic reform (also known as the Edict of Prices) froze wages and set goods at their highest prices. The occupation reform said that landowners could not leave their land ever and that they could never change their job. When Diocletian retired Constantine took his place and reinforced his reforms. Later on he moved the capital of the eastern empire to Byzantium in Greece for protection and named it Constantinople. After Constantine’s death Theodosius I took over. The same problems were still happening; the western half suffered more. To solve this problem Theodosius separated the western and eastern empires. Today historians call the eastern empire the Byzantine Empire and the western empire the Roman Empire.
These are two pictures of ruins that are found in Rome taken by my cousin Ryan.