Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

The Decline of the Roman Empire

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "The Decline of the Roman Empire"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Decline of the Roman Empire
Ch. 6 section 4

2 Problems in Rome Economy Agriculture Military

3 Bad Rulers Historians agree that Rome began its decline at the end of the reign of the last of the Five Good Emperors. Marcus Aurelius (A.D ) was the last ruler. Marcus Aurelius’ son, Commodus, was incompetent and brutal. Other Emperors that followed were incompetent also.

4 Prosperity Vanishes Romans had grown accustomed to a life of prosperity. Rome’s treasuries were enriched with gold and silver. They grew enough grain to feed the population. During the 3rd century, prosperity vanished.

5 Economic Problems Hostile tribes and pirates disrupted trade.
Wars were costly. The wealthy spent money on goods from China, India, and Arabia. This spending drained the empire of gold and silver. The empire’s expansion came to an end.

6 Raised Taxes In effort to pay for the rising cost of defense, the government raised taxes. They also began making coins with less and less silver. The economy soon suffered from massive inflation – a drastic drop in the value of money combined with rising prices.

7 Agricultural problems
Harvests became smaller The soil was overworked and lost its fertility. Farmland was destroyed by warfare Higher taxes made poor farmers abandon their lands Cheap slave labor discouraged improvements in technology Serious food shortages resulted Disease spread and population declined

8 Military Upheaval Discipline and loyalty collapsed
Soldiers gave their loyalties to their commanders instead of Rome. The commanders fought for themselves to become emperor of Rome.

9 Mercenaries The government began to recruit mercenaries, foreign soldiers who fought for money. Mercenaries accepted lower pay than Romans. They had no loyalty to Rome. They were only in it for the money.

10 Roman Politics Decay People lost their sense of patriotism.
Holding a political office used to be an honor and a means for gaining wealth. By the 200s, local officials usually lost money because they had to pay for costly public circuses and baths out of their own pockets.

11 Roman Chariot races (what they called a ‘circus’)

12 The Roman Circus




16 Roman public baths

17 Roman Public Toilets


19 Diocletian became Emperor in 284
Restored the Roman Empire Increased its strength In order for this to happen, he had to rule as an absolute ruler (having total power) and limit personal freedoms.

20 Diocletian’s reforms Doubled the size of the Roman armies
Drafted Prisoners of War Hired German mercenaries Set fixed prices for goods. Ordered farmers to remain on their lands and other workers to stay in their jobs for life. Passed a decree to persecute Christians.

21 Divinity Claimed he descended from the Roman Gods, as the son of Jupiter. When he appeared in public, trumpets heralded. He made people kneel before him and kiss the hem of his robe. His shoes and clothing were adorned with precious gems. He wanted it to seem as ‘crime against the gods’ to kill him.

22 Rome Divides Diocletian divided the empire in the Greek-speaking East (Greece, Anatolia, and Syria) Latin-speaking West (Italy, Gaul, Britannia, and Spain) He took the Eastern half for himself and appointed General Maximian as ruler of the West. Each ruler had an assistant, which was to be their sucessor.


24 While Diocletian shared authority, he kept overall control.
His half of the empire included the wealthiest cities.

25 Division of the Roman Empire

26 Diocletian became ill and retired in 305 A.D.
His successor was supposed to take over, but instead a Civil War broke out. Four leaders emerged who fought for the throne.

27 Christian God, remember?
Constantine Constantine took control of the western part of the Empire in 312 AD. In 324 AD, Constantine also gained control of the East, thus restoring the concept of a single ruler. He won the Western half, after praying to the Christian God, remember?

28 This is the same Constantine that legalized Christianity.

29 Capital moves In 330 A.D., Constantine moved the Capital from Rome to the Greek city of Byzantium, in what is now Turkey. With the capital in the East, the center of power shifted from Rome to the newly named city of Constantinople.


31 After Constantine’s death, the empire would divide again.
This time the East would survive, but the West would fall.

32 Invaders in the Western Empire
From AD, large numbers of Germanic tribes poured into Roman territory. They overwhelmed the structures of Roman society. Eventually, they drove the Roman emperor from the throne.


34 The Huns Fierce Mongolian nomads from central Asia. Invaded Europe
They destroyed everything in their path. They were feared by many people.

35 In order to run away from the Huns, people sought refuge in Rome.
When the Rhine River froze during an especially cold winter in 406, Vandal warriors and families swarmed across the ice into Rome. The Western Empire was so disorganized, it couldn’t stop them.

36 Rome became vulnerable to attack.
More than 600 years had passed since the attacks from Hannibal. The Visigoths invaded Rome in 420 and plundered the city for 3 days

37 The Huns become a threat
The Huns unite under a powerful chieftain, Attila. His armies terrorized both the Eastern and Western empire. In the East, his armies attacked and plundered 70 cities. But, they failed to take Constantinople.

38 Attila the Hun

39 The Huns weaken Attila’s army advances on Rome, but they were weakened by disease and famine. Attila died in 453. The Huns were no longer a threat. The Germanic Tribes continued to attack.

40 The story is that he died from a nosebleed on his wedding night
The story is that he died from a nosebleed on his wedding night. Attila suffered from chronic nosebleeds throughout his life. On his wedding night, he became so drunk that he suffocated in his own blood.


42 In 455, Vandals attacked Rome, leaving it in chaos.
Famine struck and population dropped to 20,000.

43 The Roman emperor in the West had become powerless
Spain belonged to the Visigoths North Africa was conquered by the Vandals. Gaul was overrun by competing tribes (Franks, Burgundians, and Visigoths) Britannia was invaded by Angles and Saxons. Italy was falling victim to the Ostrogoths.


45 The last Roman Emperor 14 year old boy, named Romulus Augustulus.
In 476, German general, Odoacer, exiled him to the castle of Lucullus in Campania After that, no emperor even pretended to rule Rome and the western provinces. The western half disappeared.

46 Now known as Egg Castle, or Castelo do Ovo, or Castell dell’Ovo


48 It is called Egg Castle because a Roman poet, named Virgil, supposedly buried a magical egg in the castle’s foundation. He said as long as the egg is never disturbed, the Castle would not be destroyed.

49 Romulus Augustulus His name was originally Romulus Augustus, but it became Augustulus to mean,' Little Augustus’.

50 Romulus Augustulus’ Crown

51 Byzantine Empire The Eastern half came to be known as Byzantine Empire. It survived and flourished. It preserved the Greek and Roman culture for another 1,000 years. They ruled from Constantinople and saw themselves as heirs to the power of Augustus Caesar.

52 The Byzantine Empire

53 The empire ended in 1453, when it fell to the Ottoman Turks.
Even though Rome’s political power in the West ended, its cultural influence, continued to be deeply embedded in Western civilization.

Download ppt "The Decline of the Roman Empire"

Similar presentations

Ads by Google