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Religion played an important role in the daily life of Ancient Romans. Virtually every aspect of Roman life revolved around Roman religion, which emphasized that their lives were controlled by gods and because of this mentality, a large amount of their time was spent worshipping them. Temples to worship the gods were built throughout the Roman Empire. Christianity on the other hand, refused to worship the Roman gods or make sacrifices at their temples, Christians were very adamant about remaining loyal to their God and their religion accepting persecution simply for proclaiming their faith.
(Campbell 119; Letters between Pliny and Emperor Trajan, Extracts from the ' Memoirs of St. Perpetua of Carthage.'). Over time, Christianity continued to spread across the empire, as it was appealing to people of all backgrounds. Persecutions increased where Christian churches were burned and all of this continued under the reign of Diocletian. Under Diocletian’s successor Emperor Constantine, Christianity would finally receive some recognition. After his death, Christianity would continue to grow and eventually overshadow and replace the traditional Roman religion and Rome would even become the new center of Christianity (Campbell 119).
However, in the end, Christianity would still receive blame for many contributions to the fall of the empire.
The fall of the Roman empire is not attributed to a single event, some even claim there was no fall of the Roman empire, rather a portion of it stopped thriving (Campbell 125). Economic troubles, the rise of the Eastern Empire, overexpansion, government corruption, political instability, and Christianity are all contributors to the decline seen in Rome.
The Roman empire couldn’t withstand it’s neighbors and didn’t have adequately defended borders without the assistance of the Barbarians who eventually migrated into the empire and took over land that Rome did not have the power to defend. The Roman army itself was misleading because although it was large, it was still too small to protect all of the acquired territories (Campbell 117). Due to disorganization many leaders fled thinking the empire was unsalvageable, abandoning Rome in its time of need (Campbell 113).
Many followed suit fleeing as well, causing Rome’s population to decline and trade did as well. Roman currency had been devalued, the wealthy clung to their possessions while the poor fell deeper into poverty. In an attempt to fix this issue, Diocletian issued an edict, freezing prices which backfired and resulted in a black market (Campbell 116). While inflation ravaged the economy, urban life became less vibrant, leading to a decline in literacy and education (Campbell 118). Finally, as Christianity began to grow and form a more coherent church organization it seemed to represented a threat or refusal to conform and rulers grew fearful of a rebellion or overthrowing (Campbell 119). The Eastern half of the Roman Empire, however, thrived for another 1,000 years following the decline of the Western half which is what leads many to say there was no real fall of Rome however it faced a large downsize.
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