Rome’s Greatest Strength and Weakness

One of Rome’s greatest strengths as an empire was its ability to become a melting pot for many of the city-states it conquered but that very strength would be what would destroy Rome in the end.

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Rome is one of the most iconic empires to exist during the ancient time. The beginning of its life cycle, Rome slowly began to conquer surrounding city-states. In order for Rome to continue its conquest, it normally gave the conquered city-states generous terms as long as soldiers were given to continue fighting. These terms were also quite generous to the soldiers that were not Roman. Rome’s conquest continued to expand its borders and its military strength.

Rome continued to grow and integrate the many cultures and societies that they encountered. One of the many concepts they incorporated was Christianity. This was one of the factors that lead to Rome’s downfall as Rome was a polytheistic empire but Christianity was a monotheistic one. This inevitably caused conflicts between the two groups. Christianity believed that there was one god while the Romans believed in many gods and even believed that the emperor was of divine status. Despite that, Christianity pales in comparison to the other factors that brought Rome’s downfall.

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Rome eventually reached a critical mass and its size had grown too much for a single emperor. Rome soon became a tetrarchy but the Western Empire spoke Latin and was Roman Catholic while the Eastern Empire spoke Greek and was Eastern Orthodox. Due to Rome’s vast size, its military could not effectively defend it against barbarian attacks. The rapid growth of their empire led to severe economic trouble. The size also contributed to much of Rome’s infighting as emperors tried to wrest control from one another. Rome’s destruction was due to people trying to get a better position for themselves within the imperial structure.

Due to the rapid growth of the empire, Rome had overexpanded and spent much of its resources on its military. This led to severe economic trouble and an overreliance on the slave trade. Once the slave trade was disrupted, there was a lack of manpower in Rome.  The government was incredibly corrupt during this time. As many as 20 different emperors took the throne in 75 years. The Praetorian Guards assassinated and instated new rulers and even auctioned the spot off to the highest bidder. Roman citizens lost faith in their government which lead to the Roman legions weakening. Unable to muster the resources or volunteers, they resorted to hiring mercenaries. The very strategy of expanding and incorporating ended up destroying Rome just as it had built it.

 

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