Four Reasons Why Rome Fell - And How It Has Lived On
"The Fall of Rome is a heavily debated topic with an extraordinary range of theories as to how such a great power ultimately fell, and how it either limped on or even how it still lives today.
Some theories, such as contamination from lead pipes, seem outrageous, while others, such as the loss of civic virtue, could be applied to some modern nations.
Here are some of the most common ideas about the Fall of Rome.
Keep in mind that many of the reasons identified for the fall are given as important contributors, not the sole cause.
Most historians acknowledge that, while a variety of problems plagued Rome, the Barbarian invasions were the literal cause of Rome’s fall in the West.
1. Lead Poisoning
Let’s get this one out of the way first. Lead poisoning is often dismissed as a major cause for the decline of Rome, but the theory does have some merit.
The Romans used lead in a variety of ways, many involving food and water.
...This theory has been heavily debated.
Notably, the Romans were aware of lead and its impact on health.
...Though the debate continues, it is plausible that lead poisoning did have at least some impact on Roman people sometime during their decline.
2. Decline of Civic Virtue and Adoption of Christianity
Edward Gibbon, despite his many errors uncovered over the years, is still considered essential reading for a student of ancient Rome.
His famous claim is simply that the Romans became soft.
Romans of the Republic were brutal and stubborn; their stout resistance in the face of such legends as Pyrrhus and Hannibal built their future empire.
The most embarrassing story of early Rome was the paying off of Brennus during his sack of Rome. After the encounter, the Romans treated the Gauls with extreme hatred and fought many successful campaigns against them.
... True Romans were then too relaxed and weak to defend their empire, and paying off barbarians became a more common practice..."