Donna Kwon September 25, 2007
Mrs. Hannah Social Studies
DBQ #2: Fall of the Western Roman Empire
Rome, the splendor of the ancient world, superlative of all empires, glory of all who once
lived, supreme height of civilizations, toppled by the uncivilized barbarians of the outside world?
Impossible! And yet, it had happened. The Franks, Vandals, and the Visigoths marched through
Rome, watching as their tribes burned down buildings and towns. Not only had the barbarians
crumbled the proud cities and hard accomplishments of the advanced Romans, those vulgar
outsiders had somehow managed to crush and grind the Roman civilization into powder! However,
the enemies of Rome did not deserve all recognition in causing Rome to fall. They were more of the
plunderers, claiming rights to the destruction of Rome in which they had only pulled the last straw.
Rome had countless problems even before the outsiders came through with their onslaught.
The “fall” of the Western Roman Empire was not as much of a fall as a gradual decline. It is a
misconception that the end of the empire came abruptly. The so-called fall was a measured, steady
pace of deterioration from the inside out over an estimate of a hundred years. And whilst Rome
was rotting like an apple, barbarians, or non-Romans, were “biting” into the skin of Rome.
A very broad view of how Rome fell is described in Document 1, a passage from The Course
of Civilization. This crude image of why Rome had died leaves out truly insightful reasons, and yet it
states truth. Document 1 avers that people did not think that Rome was worth saving. It also
admonishes that the Romans could not organize to defend their country and that the social classes
had changed dramatically. The armies were consisted of almost all Germans. The army was weak and unorganized, and could not have possibly been able to protect the Roman Empire. As for the
social class, there was only the very rich people, and the very poor people. Middle class? What’s
that? There was no middle class anymore, and so a huge gap between the social classes appeared.
People could see that Rome was slowly falling, and yet could not or would not raise a hand to stop
it. This proves my thesis, as it stated that Rome had been crumbling.
Rome had serious issues when it came to SPQR, Senatus Populusque Romanus. The thing
was people stopped caring what happened to their country. In other words, the citizens of Rome
became greedy. A few rich people built mansions for themselves, not caring that the land they were
building on used to be a park, for example. Instead of improving parks or giving money to charity,
things that would benefit everyone, people began to spend on luxurious items. And of course, these