Roman Decline in Morals and Values

By Arianna Coan-Prichard and Vicky Williams

Thesis Statement

The people of Rome lacked many moral values. The Romans consistently engaged in and supported immoral sexual behavior as well as violence. The Romans enacted bestiality, prostitution, and incest. They promoted brutal violence in entertainment such as gladiatorial fights, animal fights, and even execution. How can a society prosper when the core values of its people are corrupt and lack compassion?

Web Source 1: Reason Why the Roman Empire Fell

  • Below are just some of the things that were going on in the Roman Empire at the time of decline
  • Beastiality
  • Incest
  • Brothels
  • Forced prostitution
  • Gambling
  • Extreme alcoholism
  • Cruelty towards animals for entertainment
  • Cruelty towards man for entertainment
  • The husband was not expected to be faithful
  • Boys were expected to be petulant, demanding, indifferent, and faithless

Web Source 2: America Today & the Decline of the Roman Empire

  • Society where divorce was unheard of to one where divorce and remarriage was a scandal
  • Crimes of violence made larger cities unsafe
  • Thousands of prostitutes openly worked the cities
  • The rich became very rich and the average citizen poorer and poorer
  • Wasted money on frivolous parties and other forms of entertainment

Book Source 1: A Scandalous History of the Roman Emperors

  • Extreme glorification of sex

  • The god Priapus, who raped women and boys

  • Adultery ran rampant

  • People thought it was cheaper to work slaves to death and replace them rather than to feed them

  • Slaves weren't "real people," that is why they were left with the dirty work of the empire

  • Pleasure in the display of cruelty, a lot of it sexual

Book Source 2: Life During the Roman Empire

  • Emperors, such as Augustus "spent time on gambling, debauchery, and extravagance"

  • Bathing was regarded as being as vital as eating, drinking, sex, and laughter

  • Below are some of the people outside during an event at the colosseum

  • Street-corner astrologers and fortune-tellers

  • Food and wine merchants

  • Prostitutes dressed in feathers and boas

  • Drummers and flute players

Connection to America

  • Divorce is becoming more common in America too.
  • Children being born out of wedlock is becoming more common
  • Focus on material entities rather than family
  • Focus on artificial external beauty (Photoshop)
  • Prostitution is becoming more common. (1 million prostitutes in America)


"Reason Why the Roman Empire Fell." Reason Why the Roman Empire Fell. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2016. <>.

Luvera, Paul. "Paul Luvera Journal." 'Paul Luvera Journal' N.p., 11 Feb. 2011. Web. 09 Feb. 2016. <>.

Blond, Anthony. A Scandalous History of the Roman Emperors. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2000. Print.

Kallen, Stuart A. Life during the Roman Empire. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

"The Moral Decay Of America." N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2016. <>.

Norris, Shawn T. "Tesserae – Can You Cast Lots?" Rome Across Europe. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2016. <>.

Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2016. <>.

Brown, Alyssa. "Americans' Negativity About U.S. Moral Values Inches Back Up." Gallup. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2016. <>.