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The Fall of the Roman Empire

The Roman Empire at its peak governed over most of the Eastern world. After the death of Julius Caesar, who had destroyed the Roman Republic, an empire was the easiest was to keep the state going (Kagan-1998-pg. 92). An empire is rule by an emperor, whose range of power is virtually unlimited (Grant-1990-pg.164). Because of the Emperor’s supreme power, careful selection of these persons is necessary. Changes in the Emperor selection process lead to a selection of leaders who were distracted with tasks other than the development and continuance of the Empire. These changes in the selection process and the irresponsibility in many emperors was a major factor in the decay and collapse of the Roman Empire. After the death of Julius Caesar, the Roman Empire was born. His successor was Octavian, his adopted son, who was titled Augustus. The tradition was to keep the position in the family. However, this was not always a wise move. Chosen as Emperor at age seventeen, Nero was the last Emperor of the Julio-Claudian family (Gibbon-1776-pg. 63). “He brought the Julio-Claudian dynasty to an ignominious end.” (Brooks-1972-pg.147) His reign was officially stricken from the record by members of the Roman Senate, and his descendants were prohibited from ever taking the position (Brooks-1972-pg.148). “Nero involved the whole empire in his ruin.” (Gibbon-1776-pg.65) He was more concerned with art, drama, and games that ruling the Roman Empire (Brooks-1972-pg.148). There were other problems with selection as well. At one time, the position was auctioned off to the highest bidder, a man named Julius Didianus (Gibbon-1776-pg. 93). This is not exactly a model of executive authority. The enraged public rejected his authority, and his liberality (Gibbon-1776-pg. 94). “Unless public liberty is protected by intrepid and vigilant guardians, the authority of so formidable a leader will soon degenerate.” (Gibbon-1776-pg. 92) T...

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