The fall of Rome was a culmination of factors.
Illegal immigrants poured across the Roman borders
Loss of common language
At first immigrants assimilated and learned the Latin language. They worked as servants, with many rising to leadership. But then they came so fast they did not learn Latin, but instead created a mix of Latin with their own Germanic, Frankish and Anglo tribal tongues. The unity of the Roman Empire began to dissolve.
The welfare state the immensely powerful Roman politician Gaius Gracchus began appeasing citizens with welfare, a monthly handout of a free dole (handout) of grain.
Roman poet Juvenal (circa 100 A.D.) described how Roman emperors controlled the masses by keeping them ignorant and obsessed with self-indulgence, so that they would be distracted and not throw them out of office, which they might do if they realized the true condition of the Empire.
Welfare and government jobs exploded, one Roman commented: “Those who live at the expense of the public funds are more numerous than those who provide them.”
City centers were abandoned by the upper class, who bought up farms from rural landowners and transformed them into palatial estates. The Durants wrote “The Roman landowner disappeared now that ownership was concentrated in a few families, and a proletariat without stake in the country filled the slums of Rome.”
Inner cities were destabilized, being also plagued with lead poisoning, as water was brought in through lead pipes.
The value of human life was low. Slavery and sex-trafficking abounded, especially of captured peoples from Eastern Europe.
Taxes became unbearable, as “collectors became greedy functionaries in a bureaucracy so huge and corrupt. The chief cause of the agricultural decline was high taxation on the marginal land, driving it out of cultivation.
There was a loss of patriotism,
Wealth began to flee the empire, and with it, the spirit of liberty.
Rome’s economy stagnated from a large trade deficit, as grain production was outsourced to North Africa.
Debt preceded fall
Emperor Diocletian imposed wage and price controls and forbade people from changing professions. Choking taxes and personal debt caused many to abandon their mortgaged property and flee as ex-pats to live amongst the barbarians, renouncing their Roman citizenship. Diocletian responded by making it illegal to abandon one’s mortgaged property, thus permanently tying people to the land in what became the “feudal system” in the Middle Ages.
Enormous public debt and government bureaucracy crippled Rome’s economy. Gerald Simons wrote: “The Western Roman economy, already undermined by falling production of the great Roman estates and an unfavorable balance of trade that siphoned off gold to the East, had now run out of money.”
Self-promoting and corrupt politicians
The Durants wrote “The educated and skilled pursued business and financial success to the neglect of their involvement in politics.”
Richard A. Todd wrote “The church, while preaching against abuses, contributed to the decline by discouraging good Christians from holding public office.”
The Circus Maximus and Coliseum were packed with crowds of Romans engrossed with violent entertainment, games, chariot races, and until 404 A.D., gladiators fighting to the death.
Exposure of unwanted infants
Roman demographics changed as families had fewer children. Some would sell unwanted children into slavery or leave them outside exposed to the weather to die, as was the practice till 374 A.D.
Rome was corrupted with court favoritism, the patronage system, injustice in the legal system, infidelity, perverted bathhouses, sexual immorality, gluttony and gymnasiums (“gym” being the Greek word for “naked”).
Though militarily superior and marching on advanced road systems, the highly-trained Roman legions were strained fighting conflicts from the Rhine River to the Sassanid Persian Empire. Roman borders were over-extended and the military defending them was cut back to dangerously low ranks.
Called the “Scourge of God,” Attila the Hun was thought to be the anti-Christ, as he devastated Europe with his half-million warriors.
Aquileia, one of the largest cities in the world at the time, was so completely destroyed that inhabitants ran into the ocean, hammered down logs and lived on platforms which grew into the city of Venice.
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