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Fall of the Roman Empire

Setting the Stage

John Downey

on 18 May 2010

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Transcript of Fall of the Roman Empire

THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE I) A CENTURY OF CRISIS II)EMPERORS ATTEMPT TO REFORM III) THE WESTERN EMPIRE CRUMBLES The end of the reign of the emperor Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 161-180) marked the end of two centuries of peace and prosperity. End of Pax Romana Rulers who followed had no idea how to run a giant empire.
Rome's Economy Weakens Hostile Tribes
Lack of resources especially gold and silver.
Government raised taxes.
Minted coins worth less.
Over worked soil had lost its fertility
Wars destroyed farmland.
Food Shortages.
Disease spread.
Population decline.
Inflation: A drastic drop in the value of money coupled with a rise in prices. Militarty and Political Turmoil Roman military was in disarray.
Soldiers had become less disciplined and loyal.
Allegiance to commanders and not Rome.
Commanders fought against each other for the throne.
Government recruited Mercenaries.
Feelings of loyality weakened over time with citizens.
Loss of patriotism. Mercenaries: Paid soldiers, little sense of loyalty to the empire. Remarkably, Rome survived intact for another 200 years.
This was due to reform-minded emperors and splitting the
empire into two divisions.
Diocletian Reforms the Empire In A.D. 284 Diocletian, a strong-willed army leader, became the emperor.
He ruled with an Iron fist and severly limited personal freedoms.
He restored order to the empire and increased its strength.
Doubled the size of the army.
Sought to control inflation by setting fixed prices for goods.
To ensure prestige to the emperor he claimed to be from descent from the ancient Roman gods. Had ceremonies to encourage this thought.
A major reform was splitting the Empire in two. Greek speaking East and Latin speaking West. He took the Eastern Empire and appointed someone for the west. The Eastern Empire was far better off.
He still had authority in the West.
Diocletian retired in A.D. 305 due to poor health. A civil war broke out immediately.
An Ambitious young commander named Constantine took control in A.D. 312.
Constantine Moves the Capital He maintained many of the same social and economic policies.
In 324 A.D. he also took control of the East.
In A.D. 330 he moved the capital of the Empire from Rome to Byzantium. This was a strategically located because of trade and defensive capabilties.
Power shifted to the Eastern Empire with the move of the capital.
The capital was protected by massive walls and filled with imperial buildings modeled after those in Rome.
The city was eventually named Constantinople. (city of Constantine)
He ended the persecution of Christians.
After his death the Empire was divided again. East would survive but the west would fall.
Attila the Hun An Empire No More The decline of the Western Roman Empire took many years.
It was the result of worsening internal problems. The seperation
of the Western Empire from the wealthier Eastern Empire.
In addition to outside invasions. Germanic Invasions In A.D. 370 a fierce group of Mongol nomads from central Asia, the Huns, destroying all in their path.
To flee from the Huns, Germanic people pushed into Roman lands.
They called the germanic people "Barbarians".
In A.D. 410 hordes of Germans overran Rome itself and plundered it for three days.

Barbarians: A term used by the Romans to refer to non-Romans.
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