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Roman Decline

Beginning of Rome’s Decline in 180 AD 

 Rome was an extremely successful nation for quite a period, particularly during the rule of Trajan. However, just as any kingdoms in history, its glory did not last. Beginning 180 AD where it is listed on the Bible Timeline Chart with World History, Rome was subjected to periods of losses and failures, which eventually led to its decline.

The Reign of Marcus Aurelius

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Statue of Marcus Aurelius

Rome’s success was due to the efforts of its brilliant rulers who aimed to expand its territories while safeguarding it from invaders across the land. Unfortunately, the slow decline of Rome began under the rule of Marcus Aurelius, who became the empire’s leader from 161 to 180 AD. Although Rome was still in its powerful state when he began his rule, great problems became more apparent throughout his reign. The economy became weaker and more dishonest and unjust authorities were placed in the government.

One of the main causes of Rome’s downfall was the lack of new territories that were incorporated into the empire, which resulted in insufficient revenue sources for the nation. Moreover, there was an increasing volume of trade with nations from the East, specifically China. Luxury goods such as spices and silk were traded for gold and silver, and the empire had little left to pay for these items.

It was also during this period that an epidemic spread in Rome, and there was a lack of knowledge to address this devastating phenomena. Historians failed to give an account of what this epidemic was because of having a poor understanding of the disease. Thus, the symptoms and a total number of casualties were not recorded. Nevertheless, this plague has targeted and consumed a large percentage of Rome’s population. Since the empire relied on its people for labor, the death of these individuals resulted in a troubled economy and society.

Attacks of the Barbarians

The ever-present threat of invasions by the barbarians has always been a major concern of Rome’s rulers. This problem worsened during the reign of Marcus Aurelius as various tribes such as nomadic and semi-nomadic ones joined forces to create a strong alliance to defeat Rome. Hence, the Marcomanni, which was a powerful tribe, invaded the empire across the Danube area. The Roman army experienced difficulties in warding off these invaders as there was a lack of new recruits. Although the empire was able to restore its frontiers, invasions continued to threaten its security until the rule of Marcus Aurelius ended in 180 AD.

Several authorities who took the place of Aurelius further weakened Rome’s economy and power. For instance, Commodus, the son of the great Marcus Aurelius, came to the throne to lead the empire. With little knowledge, skill and experience in ruling the government, he failed to revive Rome’s glory. Other emperors who were appointed to lead the empire were just as worse, with some of them bribing the army to retain their power as rulers. Despite all of these, the Roman people still hoped for Rome’s rise from its fall, yet the bitter truth slowly made itself apparent when the empire reached its decline.

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