The Effect of Mass Migration on Greece and Rome

The Effect of Mass Migration on Greece and Rome
The fall of the Roman Empire was a mixture of internal and external factors that slowly lead to the complete decay of the cities; Rome and Constantinople. Early explanations blame the decline on Mass Migration. Hundreds of thousands of people left their settlements and set out to find new homes. The fact that such a mass migration took place while the Romans were still in power, was seen as the leading cause for the fall. The Romans were simply overtaken by the massive overflow of inhabitants. However true this cause may be, moderns thinkers have found many other contributing factors that lead to Rome?s complete demise. With large amounts of people came disease. Plagues came from the east swept across Europe, killing a large portion of Rome?s population. In addition to this, Rome?s people became less unified. There was no more trust or dignity left in Rome due to such horrible emperors such as Caligula, Nero and Commodus, to name a few. By Rome?s end, there were really no good rulers left. Roman leaders became corrupt and only sought power for themselves. Almost every military commander secretly had his eye on the throne and was ready to overthrow the emperor and take power himself. The armies spent more time fighting each other than battling enemies. But despite these facts, the people of Rome became increasingly more civilized and educated. The major drawback to this was that civilized people were not as good on the battlefields as the former barbarians were. But the barbarians had become obsolete; they too had become educated and were living like the Roman?s did. Therefore, the empire?s security suffered greatly. Rome became vulnerable to its enemies. To this catalogue of troubles one needs also to add economic problems. Rome was spending well outside of its means. Rome and Constantinople were giving free food rations to the increasing number of poor and sick people. They were also using gold to buy exotic spices, silk and other overseas luxuries that the struggling upper class desired. Soon Rome didn?t even have enough gold to produce coins. The citizens began to starve and the city fell to crime and poverty. Eventually, it was a fatal combination of one bad decision and the economic collapse that lead to the complete fall of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire?s northern boarders were the Rhine River and the Danube River. They are wide, hard to cross streams. This meant, the border to the north was easy to defend. But when the Huns from the east attacked the Visigoths on the other side of the Danube, emperor Valens of Constantinople decided to allow the Visigoths to settle on the Roman side of the river. The Visigoths then gladly became allies of the Romans. But soon bad living conditions, poverty and starvation led the Visigoths to revolt. With the Empire?s weakened state and no river in which to defend them, Rome?s outlook was bleak. It was not long before the Visigoths conquered the entire Roman Empire. In conclusion, Mass migration may have strongly influenced the decline of the Roman Empire but did not single-handedly bring it to an end. There were a great many contributing factors. The most fatal influences in its fall were overspending, poverty and starvation. These factors most weakened the cities and eventually drove the Visigoths to sack the city.

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