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Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire?. Introduction Oliver Stone: “You have to understand what it was like to be a Roman empire and to find some barbarian.

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Presentation on theme: "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire?. Introduction Oliver Stone: “You have to understand what it was like to be a Roman empire and to find some barbarian."— Presentation transcript:

1 Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire?

2 Introduction Oliver Stone: “You have to understand what it was like to be a Roman empire and to find some barbarian tribe riding into Rome in 476 A.D. It’s quite a shock.”

3 Introduction Oliver Stone: “You have to understand what it was like to be a Roman empire and to find some barbarian tribe riding into Rome in 476 A.D. It’s quite a shock.” 3 questions to complicate things – When did the Roman Empire Fall? – Why did the Roman Empire Fall? – Did the Roman Empire Fall?

4 When Did It Fall? What dates did you find?

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6 When Did It Fall? What dates did you find? Canonical Date: 476 Why did we do this exercise?

7 Why Did It Fall? An Overview A Big Question What Theories Did You Find?

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9 Why Did It Fall? An Overview A Big Question What Theories Did You Find? – External Threat and Internal Weakness – Rise of Christianity – Barbarians – Economic Factors – Overexpansion – Inevitable Decline – Lead Poisoning – Immorality and Moral Degeneracy

10 Why Did It Fall? Internal Disintegration Forces of Internal Decay – End of Expansion – Ineffective/Contested Leadership – Economic Stagnation – Military Problems

11 Why Did It Fall? Internal Disintegration Forces of Internal Decay – End of Expansion – Ineffective/Contested Leadership – Economic Stagnation – Military Problems Gibbon’s Traditional Theory: Christianity

12 Why Did It Fall? Internal Disintegration Forces of Internal Decay – End of Expansion – Ineffective/Contested Leadership – Economic Stagnation – Military Problems Gibbon’s Traditional Theory: Christianity Why the West? – Less Defensible – More Barbarized Army – Less Wealth

13 Why Did It Fall? Internal Disintegration Forces of Internal Decay Gibbon’s Traditional Theory: Christianity Why the West? Depopulation – Evidence – Origins – Effects

14 Why Did It Fall? Barbarian Pressure Who were the Barbarian Invaders? – Traditional Definition – These Barbarians – Myths about Barbarians Myth: Enemies of Civilization Myth: Suddenly Arrive Myth: Hordes Join ‘em don’t beat ‘em

15 Why Did It Fall? Barbarian Pressure Who were the Barbarian Invaders? Barbarizing the Roman Army

16 Why Did It Fall? Barbarian Pressure Who were the Barbarian Invaders? Barbarizing the Roman Army Visigoths Adrianople in 378

17 Vandals Anglo- Saxons Franks Huns Alemanni Burgundians Marcomanni Lombards Because of mistreatment by Roman officials, the Visigoths rebel and destroy an entire Roman army at Adrianople in Visigoths Hadrianople X

18 Anglo- Saxons Franks Visigoths Marcomanni In 410, the Visigoths sack Rome. At the same time, a general in Britain named Constantine declares himself emperor. The legions of Britain go with him, never to return. Declining revenues from the turmoil cause more legions to disband. Vandals Alemanni Burgundians Lombards Huns

19 Anglo- Saxons Franks Visigoths Alemanni Burgundians Vandals 417 Marcomanni Lombards Huns The Roman government makes a deal with the Visigoths, letting them settle in Gaul if they will destroy the Vandals. The Visigoths defeat the Vandals and drive them to the southern tip of Spain. Declining revenues from the turmoil cause more legions to disband.

20 Why Did It Fall? Barbarian Pressure Who were the Barbarian Invaders? Barbarizing the Roman Army Visigoths Attila the Hun

21 Anglo- Saxons Franks Visigoths Alemanni Burgundians Vandals 417 Marcomanni Lombards Huns

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23 Why Did It Fall? Barbarian Pressure Who were the Barbarian Invaders? Barbarizing the Roman Army Visigoths Attila the Hun Vandals

24 Anglo- Saxons Franks Marcomanni Huns Alemanni Burgundians Lombards Visigoths Ostrogoths The Vandals in North Africa build a navy & raid across the Mediterranean, even sacking Rome in 455. By now Imperial defenses are virtually non-existent in the West as various tribes move in to claim territories for themselves. Meanwhile, emperors are rapidly set up & toppled as the empire comes crashing down. In 476, a Germanic general, Odovacer, replaces the last Roman Emperor, Romulus Augustulus & sets up his own kingdom of Italy. Vandals

25 Why Did It Fall? Barbarian Pressure Who were the Barbarian Invaders? Barbarizing the Roman Army Visigoths Attila the Hun Vandals Odoacer

26 480 C.E. By 480, the only remnant of Roman power in the West is that of the Gallo-Roman ruler, Syagrius. In 486, he will fall to the rising power of the Franks, thus removing the alst shred of Roman authority in the West.

27 500 C.E. By 500 the Franks have eliminated the last vestige of Roman power in the West.

28 Why Did It Fall? Barbarian Pressure Aftermath – Barbarian Kingdoms

29 Why Did It Fall? Barbarian Pressure Aftermath – Barbarian Kingdoms – Transformation – Begs the question…

30 Did the Roman Empire Fall?

31 Did it Fall? Framework of Late Antiquity – Dominant Paradigm: Decline and Fall – New School: Upheaval and Transformation

32 Did it Fall? Framework of Late Antiquity ( ) – Dominant Paradigm: Decline and Fall – New School: Upheaval and Transformation Vehicles for Continuity – Eastern Roman Empire! – Christian Church – Barbarians Themselves

33 Did it Fall? Framework of Late Antiquity ( ) – Dominant Paradigm: Decline and Fall – New School: Upheaval and Transformation Vehicles for Continuity Still, some kind of break – Catastrophists – Examples of Rupture – Prime Example: Fate of Rome

34 Population of Rome Vandals cut off Grain Supply 5 BC: 800,000-1,000,000

35 Population of Rome Vandals cut off Grain Supply 5 BC: 800,000-1,000, s: 600,000

36 Population of Rome Vandals cut off Grain Supply 5 BC: 800,000-1,000, s: 600, : 300, ,000

37 Population of Rome Vandals cut off Grain Supply 5 BC: 800,000-1,000, s: 600, : 300, , : 150,000 Max

38 Population of Rome Vandals cut off Grain Supply 5 BC: 800,000-1,000, s: 600, : 300, , : 150,000 Max 800: 30,000 Max

39 Did it Fall? Framework of Late Antiquity ( ) – Dominant Paradigm: Decline and Fall – New School: Upheaval and Transformation Vehicles for Continuity Still, some kind of break Value of Continuists Split of Greco-Roman World


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