The first Important factor that contributed to the downfall of the Roman Empire Is the introduction of Christianity. As the Roman Empire got bigger, new lands and people were taken into it, the conquered people added their Gods or religions to the Roman Pantheon. Before Theodosius made Christianity a main Roman religion, Roman religion was polytheistic. Through out the majority of the Empire’s reign, Christians had been treated with contempt and were looked upon as criminals. This is evident through out the Emperor Enron’s reign, when he blamed Christians for the fire of
Rome and began to execute them In a sadistic manner; many of them were sent to the coliseum and were torn apart by wild animals, furthermore, Christians refused to worship the Emperor which was a crime, this had a major impact since the Emperor was a paramount of the society. The prosecutions had continued for a long period of time, until the Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity after winning a battle, Christianity then went further as becoming an official Religion when Theodosius converted the Empire In 380 AD.
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By using various source reference and interpreting an opinion from historians such s Edward Gibbon and Restorative, we can come to a proper conclusion and determine to what degree was Christianity a factor. Edward Gibbon suggested the influence of Christianity In his “decline and fall of the Roman empire” by a couple of statements. 1 “Christianity had some influence on the decline” from this we can deduce that Christianity was one of the mall factors that contributed to the fall of the empire, however it wasn’t the main factor.
Never the less, Christianity had a negative impact on the Empire since it’s theology and beliefs weakened the Roman Empire by decreasing of funds towards the Roman army when it was most needed, once making it quite vulnerable, which contributed to the destruction of Romeos defenses against the Barbarian attacks. Furthermore, from Gibbon’s quote “2 pay was lavished on the useless multitudes” we can agree that Christianity encouraged the church to spend Its Income on less Important things rather than spending money on necessities such as army’s defense.
Gibbon states that 3 “a demand of charity and devotion” was introduced, meaning that people became more devoted to helping those in need, thus challenging the traditional hierarchy of the society, such as Augustus view, which required people to worship the Emperor. Before Christianity, an Emperor was the paramount of a society and was worshipped as God, but the Christian belief In Jesus; who was not the emperor weakened the authority and credibility of the Emperor.
The last contributing issue that arose from introduction of Christianity were the conflicts caused in the Roman Army. Roman soldiers weren’t very fond of Christians since they were accredited for helping Roman Soldiers win in battles through prayer, hence taking away most of the credit from soldiers, this ordered soldiers’ morale during battles, which contributed to their defeat. However, according to Restoratives perspective, he portrays Christianity as a 4 ” triumph” and economical way.
This conflicting view states that Christianity helped the spatial inequality in the Roman Empire since its morals and beliefs educated the high- classed people in the society. Which made them compassionate towards the poor. Never the less, Gibbon’s perspective contains more valid arguments, hence making it more authentic. From this we can conclude that Christianity was one of the main factors that influenced the fall of the Roman Empire.