The Fall of Rome

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Analysis and Synthesis Paper: The Fall of Rome

The question to be asked is what attributed to the fall of the Roman Empire? Was it the adoption of Christianity in 380 AD? Or the relentless barbarian hordes that plundered and sacked Roman cities only a few decades later? Or a combination of both? The facts are that Theodosius the Great, being the last true emperor of a unified Rome, officially made Christianity the state religion in 380 AD. He ordered the conversion of all roman temples be either converted into Christian churches or destroyed. Practicing any of the former pagan religions was considered an act of treason and punishable by death. He ordered this conversion in both the seat of the empire in the west and in the eastern capital Constantinople. Fifteen years after the adoption in 495 AD, Theodosius died and the Roman Empire split into two halves: The west, now controlled by Theodosius’ son Honorius and the east, controlled by his other son Arcadius. This begins the ultimate demise of the empire as it was currently known. 410 AD, after 800 years of security, Rome is conquered and sacked by the Visigoth’s lead by Alaric I. Being only 30 years after the adoption of Christianity as the state religion it is hard to argue the role it may have played in this destruction. However barbarians are by no means a new threat. Rome struggled for centuries before containing the threats of pagan tribes such as the Visigoths, Vandals, Alani, Allemanni, and even the Huns lead by the notorious Attila. The empire, at least the western half, has been in decline for a while and the sacking of Rome was the final nail in the coffin. Could Christianity have weakened the strength of the world’s only super power and opened the doors for Alaric I and his Barbarians? I do not personally believe Christianity played a direct role in Roman demise based solely on the evidence of…...

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