The Fall of Rome 180 AD Invasions Inflation Civil Wars Food Shortages Trade stops New Style of Warfare
Political and Military Causes During the PAX - Not everyone has to fight Govt. hires Mercenaries – soldiers who fight for money Non-citizens (mostly German) No inherent loyalty to Rome Civil Wars erupt – as generals try to overthrow government to seize power 28 emperors from 192-284, most killed by own men
Economic Problems decline in food & product production due to war (merchants and artisans go out of business) Govt. raises taxes on landowners Landowners raise rents to landless farmers Farmers leave to work in cities This plus warfare increases food shortage and causes INFLATION
Inflation – sharp rise in prices while the value of money drops Govt. melts down coins, add cheap metal and mint more coins to pay army $ is worth less Prices on goods rise to make up for the decrease in coins value Fewer Goods and crops are being produced rising prices
Social Causes Romans relied on outsiders to produce / work for them Decline in interest in public affairs (no voice in government) Low confidence in the empire Disloyalty and lack of patriotism Decline in population- disease & famine
Invasion 4th century – The Huns (Asia) attack Germanic tribes These tribes move into Roman territory rather than fight the Huns - led by Attila Huns have stirrups greater momentum of force on horseback German tribes would rather fight Romans Visigoths Ostragoths Vandals Franks Angles Saxons *** Many Germans in the Roman army are reluctant to fight their tribes.
Attempts at reform: Emperor Constantine – becomes ruler in 300’s AD Capital at Byzantium (Constantinople) – modern day Turkey (more easily defended) Declares jobs hereditary Legal for landowners to chain farmers to the land if necessary
Armies are not effectively protecting Roman lands Wealthy landowners retreat to estates and hire private armies for protection Some poor seek land and protection from landowners serfdom The Western Part of the Empire is abandoned by the Emperors after the late 400’s AD
Using the documents find the TYPE of cause: Political (internal) Invasion (political but external) Economic Social
Document 1 …very few inhabitants in the empire believed the old civilization was worth saving… most people were excluded from any role in government...they could not fight in the army…their economic situation was hopeless. Many people became serfs, with no freedom to leave the manor. - The Course of Civilization by Strayer, Gatzke and Harbison Document 2: Rome was weakened because it became too large to defend….the introduction of Christianity had some influence on the weakening of the empire as well. The clergy preached the doctrine of patience and the last remains of military spirit were buried in Christian virtues… - The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
Document 3: While the empire was expanding, Rome’s prosperity was fed by the conquest of new markets in the barbarian lands. When the empire stopped expanding however the economy slowed down into recession, then depression…The abundance of slaves led to the growth of large estates that dominated agriculture…small farmers couldn’t compete with the large slave-owning estates and so drifted to the cities looking for work. Even in the cities however, the abundance of slave labor kept unemployment high and wages low. - Uses of the Past by Herbert J. Muller Document 4 Some of the money from Rome’s treasury was used to pay the army and the government officials of the Empire... the result was strangling taxation of the people. Many people who were otherwise productive citizens lost heart and faith in their government and the economy….tenants fled from the farm lands they rented and workers fled from their occupations.... - The New Deal in Old Rome by Henry Haskell
Document 5: Rome, like all great empires was not overthrown by external enemies but undermined by internal decay... The military crisis was the result of fewer Romans and more foreigners filling the ranks of the army. Near the end the army was comprised almost entirely of Germans. - Romans without Laurels by Indro Montanelli
The Legacy of Rome In other words – what parts of our culture and history can we credit the Romans for?
Roman Catholicism Constantine made Christianity legal with the Edict of Milan (313 AD) Theodosius outlawed all other religions ( AD) The Bishop of Rome became the most powerful leader in the Western Empire when the Emperors moved the capital to the east Bishop of Rome “Pope” (Peter the apostle was the first) The church became the most dominant power structure of the Middle ages – and the authority over the Church – the Pope – became more powerful than kings and ruled Europe in a sense
Latin Anywhere the Romans conquered, Latin influenced the local language Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French, Romanian, Romance languages Latin was a common language through which people of different nationalities could communicate language of the Church and of scholars
Roads “All roads lead to Rome” The Romans set up a network that connected most of Western Europe These roads would be repaired and reused during the Crusades
Law In the 1400’s Europeans began studying ancient Roman law and adopting many of their principles of justice Equality under the law Innocent until proven guilty Only actions can be crimes, not thoughts or words (some exceptions – incitement) Led to a modernized law code based on Juries and the rights of the accused
Art The Romans continued and added to the the classical style begun by the Greeks This style is rediscovered by artists in the 14 th – 16 th century (Renaissance)
Frescoe Document 4 Some of the money from Rome’s treasury was used to pay the army and the government officials of the Empire... the result was strangling taxation of the people. Many people who were otherwise productive citizens lost heart and faith in their government and the economy….tenants fled from the farm lands they rented and workers fled from their occupations.... - The New Deal in Old Rome by Henry Haskell
The Roman Arch & Dome (Architecture = the Creation of Arches)
Your consent to our cookies if you continue to use this website.