Research Paper on Economic Causes for the Fall of the Western Roman Empire

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  983 Words
Date:  2022-06-05


The Western Roman Empire experiences a significant fall due to a distinct theory which led to their collapse and attainment of significant losses regarding the outside forces. The invasion of the Barbarian tribes to Rome led to a significant cause of their fall as they tangled with the German tribes which were focused on driving to their failure (Christie 345). For example, these tribes encroached beyond the borders of the Roman Empire, and this only meant that their stability was at risk of being deteriorated as well as being weathered to fall. This paper seeks to discuss on the economic causes for the Western Roman Empire's fall.

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During the late fourth century, a king known as Alaric sacked the entire city of Rome with the intention of promoting the Germanic uprising which had disturbed them for a long time. Second raiding of the city occurred in 455 and was done by the Vandals who were concerned with the end of the 'Eternal City' so that they would take charge and bring about a revolt of the ancient power (Gibbon 259). This time around it was worse, and the Western Roman Empire only had few great comebacks to overcome the ongoing raids at that time.

The ultimate failure was however witnessed in 476 when the Emperor Romulus Augustus's ruled over a post in Italy with the campaign that supported the suffering of the Western Empire (Mattingly 278). Hence, economic weaknesses in fields like agriculture, war treasures, outside attacks, low number of slaves, the rise of inflation and growth in poverty rate led to the eventual falling of the western Roman empire.

Many of the significant economic troubles or rather weaknesses that caused the fall of the Western Roman Empire revolved around slave labor. The empire had gone through a major financial crisis which was as a result of the attack that it received from the outside forces. It reached a time that the empire could not have any economic power to purchase more weapons and train its soldiers on how to compete against the outside forces and overcome their power by force (Christie 398). The constant wars that were ongoing had forced the empire to overspend and this significantly contributed to their financial breakage. Furthermore, oppressive taxation took place whereby many of the imperial coffers were defeated and this only led to the rise of inflation.

The rate of inflation at that time had started widening the gap between the poor and the rich, and this meant that wealth was only owned by a few elites of the Roman Empire. The rest of the citizens suffered in poverty with no means of creating a living. As a result, the wealthy flew to other countries whereby they set up their independent businesses and helped the economy of the foreign regions rather than their own at home (Gibbon 354). This state, therefore, meant that the Roman Empire had been left with little economic money to upgrade their financial businesses and lead to a rise in growth and development.

Additionally, economic weakness was a significant factor that was responsible for the Western Roman Empire's falling down through its inability to access enough labor from its citizens. Labor deficit was witnessed since so many people did not have the right skills and knowledge to work and therefore it only led to the increase in the rate of poverty (Mattingly 301). So many economic sectors such as the industries were left with inadequate laborers, and this meant that the empire could not have any new people to fulfill the labor requirements.

The Roman Empire greatly depended on slaves as a way of providing for its economy. It reached a time when the empire was defeated at war, and therefore many slaves were now freedmen. This state led to the fall of significant business operations in the fields of agriculture and art. The number of people to work on the farms had decreased as well as the number of artisans to develop more craft and sell it for money (Christie 562). It led to a significant decrease even in the number of economic activities that were practiced in the Western Roman Empire.

The economic weakness of Rome also led to the Roman Empire falling as the country highly depended on the slaves to improve their economy. A time came when Rome had been defeated so much in the war to the extent of losing most of its war treasuries and only getting very few slaves to work for them (Gibbon 421). The few slaves available could not work extra hard to fill for the missing ones, and this only signaled a significant failure in their economy.

Lastly, another economic blow was witnessed by the Roman Empire when the influx of North Africa begun. It led to the disruption of major economic operations with filtering of the economy occurring at a very high rate (Mattingly 342). This state led to the reduction of agricultural production and at this point the empire begun to lose its focus on Europe. As a result, these weaknesses caused the Western Roman Empire to fall.


In conclusion, the above weaknesses were a significant contribution to the fall of the Western Roman Empire. They led to the weakening of its powers significantly, causing the outside forces to take over and leading further to their fall. Therefore, economic weakness was the primary cause of the fall of the empire because it majorly depended on its input so that it could upgrade its warfare and continue fighting against its enemies, especially from the outside sources.

Work Cited

Christie, Neil. The Fall of the Western Roman Empire: An Archaeological and Historical Perspective." Bloomsbury Academic, 2011. Pp 345-567.

Gibbon, Edward. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. T. Cadell, 1831. Pp 231-453.Mattingly, Harold. Roman Coins from the Earliest Times to the Fall of the Western Empire: Reprinted with Further Corrections and Additional Notes. London: Methuen, 1967. Pp 187-362.

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Research Paper on Economic Causes for the Fall of the Western Roman Empire. (2022, Jun 05). Retrieved from

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