This article is brought to you by the year 476 C.E!
house is in bad shape. The lawn is flooded, the windows are broken,
shingles are falling off the roof, and one side seems to be sinking into
the earth. It looks like a lot of bad things happened at the same time
with that house. If only one thing had been wrong maybe it could have
been fixed, but so many things were not fixed for so long that there was
no hope. You know, this house reminds me of why the Roman Empire fell.
Too many things went unfixed, and then they all went wrong at the same
You need money to fix things or keep them working.
That includes everything from this house that's falling down to the
Roman Empire. At one time, the people who owned this house paid money
to keep the water running and fix anything that was broken. The Romans
also paid money to keep things going. A tax
is money people pay to
their government. They can pay this as part of the wages they earn, or
as an extra cost on things that they buy. Rome collected taxes so they
could do everything from build roads to pay the army. Too bad money
doesn't always go where it needs to.
When some people get
their hands on money and power, they would rather keep it than use it
for things that need to be fixed, like that house's roof or the roads of
is when people who are in power use that power to
help themselves instead of the people they are supposed to help.
Instead of paying the water bill or fixing the roof, the people who own
this house might have bought nice candles. Many leaders in the Roman
Empire kept the taxes they took for themselves. They also gave jobs to
people in their family or to people who give them money instead of
hiring people who would do the best job for Rome. So what were Roman
leaders doing with all the money they kept?
Just as this
house started to lose its roof, its windows, its heating and its water,
Rome also started to fall apart. Of course, the most important part of a
house are the walls, the things that protect it. The Praetorian Guard
were soldiers whose job it was to protect the Roman Emperor. At some
point, the guard stopped doing what was right for the empire and started
doing what was best for them. They would kill emperors they did not
like and make anyone who promised to pay them well the new leader. If
the new leaders didn't pay as well as the guard thought they should, the
guard might kill the new emperor and pick another! It's no good when
your walls are trying to hurt you. So much for living in that house . .
. or in Rome.
I would bet that this broken house was
around for a long time before it started to fall apart. Look at the
holes in those walls though . . . People must have moved in and out and
not taken very good care of the place. For hundreds of years, Rome had
a lot of land and did very well . . . but then the guard went bad. A
lot of people moved into Rome from outside. One group, the Germanic
, were people from the Northern part of Europe who moved into
Roman lands and later attacked the city of Rome. This was the end of
the empire. These tribes were pushed out of their own homes by other
groups of people that were moving into their lands. Some of them were
brought into the Roman army and trained as soldiers, but they ended up
liking their generals more than they liked Rome. This was not good for
the Romans. This is when the house started to fall apart.
lasts forever. We all know that. If money or taxes are used for the
right things, like paying armies and fixing roads or paying the bills
and fixing the roof, then empires and houses can last a very long time.
If the leaders decide to keep all of the money, no money will make it
to the walls of the house or the people who keep the empire safe, and it
all will come falling down. You don't think this house was attacked by
Germanic tribes, do you? Neither do I.
For Kids. "The Fall of Rome" Historyforkids.org, 2012.
Ducksters. "Ancient Rome: The Fall of Rome" Ducksters, 2011. <http://www.ducksters.com/history/ancient_rome/fall_of_rome.php
"8 Reasons Why Rome Fell" History.com, 2014.