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THE DECLINE AND FALL OF ROME. THE DECLINE  AD 180-Marcus Aurelius, last of the 5 good emperors, dies  Period of conflict, confusion, and civil wars.

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Presentation on theme: "THE DECLINE AND FALL OF ROME. THE DECLINE  AD 180-Marcus Aurelius, last of the 5 good emperors, dies  Period of conflict, confusion, and civil wars."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE DECLINE AND FALL OF ROME

2 THE DECLINE  AD 180-Marcus Aurelius, last of the 5 good emperors, dies  Period of conflict, confusion, and civil wars follow  Problems and Upheavals 1.Political upheavals and civil wars  After a series of civil wars, a military govt. under the Severan rulers restored order until 235 A.D.  “Pay the soldiers, and ignore everyone else.”  A.D.: Roman throne occupied by whoever had military strength to seize it  22 emperors during this period, all who died violently 2.Empire also troubled by series of invasions  In east: Sassanid Persians attacked Roman territory  Germanic tribes poured into Balkans, Gaul, and Spain 3.Plague: epidemic disease  Caused labor shortage that affected military recruiting and economy  Decline in trade, industry, farm production  By mid-third century, state had to hire Germans to fight  Had no loyalty to empire or emperors

3 ATTEMPTS AT REFORM  At end of third and beginning of fourth centuries, Roman Empire gained new lease on life through efforts of two emperors: Diocletian and Constantine  Empire changed into new state-The Late Roman Empire  Included new government structure, rigid economic and social system, new state religion-Christianity

4 DIOCLETIAN  Ruled from A.D.  Believed empire had grown too large for single ruler  Divided Rome into 4 units, each with its own ruler  Diocletian’s military power allowed him to hold ultimate authority

5 CONSTANTINE  Ruled from  Continued and expanded the policies of Diocletian  Biggest project was construction of new capital city in east, on site of Greek city Byzantium.  Eventually renamed Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul, Turkey)  Developed for defensive reasons  Strategic location provided protection of the eastern frontier

6 PROBLEMS WITH DIOCLETIAN AND CONSTANTINE’S REFORMS  Political and military reforms enlarged 2 institutions-the army and the civil service-which drained public funds  Population not growing so taxes could not pay for everything  Roman money began losing value  Caused inflation: rapid increase in prices  Overall, economic and social policies of Diocletian and Constantine were based on control and coercion  Had temporary success but failed in the long run

7 THE FALL  Restored empire of Diocletian and Constantine managed to survive for more than a century  Empire continued to be divided into western and eastern parts  Capital of Western Roman Empire remained in Rome  Capital of Eastern Roman Empire was Constantinople  The Western Roman Empire came under increasing pressure from migrating Germanic tribes

8 GERMANIC TRIBES  Major breakthrough of Germanic tribes into the west came in the second half of the fourth century  The Huns, who came from Asia, moved into eastern Europe and put pressure on Germanic Visigoths  Visigoths moved south and west to avoid the Huns, crossing the Danube River into Roman territory, and settling down as Roman allies, until they revolted.  Romans attempted to stop revolt in 378, but were defeated by the Visigoths.  Increasing numbers of Germans now crossed frontiers  410: Visigoths sacked Rome  Another group, the Vandals, poured into southern Spain and Africa  Crossed into Italy from northern Africa and in 455 also sacked Rome  Words vandal and vandalize come from this ruthless tribe  476: western emperor Romulus Augustulus is deposed by Germanic head of army, this marks fall of Western Roman Empire  A series of German kingdoms replace the Western Roman Empire  The Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantine Empire, continued to thrive with its center at Constantinople


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