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The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire at its Height The Roman Empire became huge It covered most of Europe, North Africa, and some.

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Presentation on theme: "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire at its Height The Roman Empire became huge It covered most of Europe, North Africa, and some."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

2 The Roman Empire at its Height The Roman Empire became huge It covered most of Europe, North Africa, and some of Asia The Empire reached its height under Emperor Diocletian (284-305 CE)

3 Expansion: Good or Bad? What are some problems that an empire or country might have by being stretched out too far?

4 The Decline Begins 180 CE Marcus Aurelius died His son, Commodus, took control of Rome Commodus was a poor leader, killed by his bodyguard Time of disarray follows Commodus from the movie Gladiator

5 Economic Troubles Decline begins after the pax romana in 3 rd Century Invaders made trade unsafe on sea and on roads The rich spent gold and silver on luxury items from Asia which drained Rome of these precious metals Rome began making coins with less silver which caused inflation.

6 Economic Problems Farmers lost land, unable to grow and sell crops, out of work (and famine) People bought fewer goods, shops closed Inflation occurred: Rapidly rising prices. Money lost value because fewer taxes paid. Coins lost value: Less gold put in, people found out (caused inflation) Bartering grew: sell goods without using money No taxes, no money

7 Economic Troubles Inflation is a drastic drop in the value of money coupled with rising prices for items. Agriculture decreased because of infertile soil, and farmland destroyed by war. Food shortages Spread of disease

8 Military Troubles Germanic tribes were invading Rome Soldiers no longer had discipline or loyalty to Rome. Soldiers had loyalty only to their commanders, who fought not for Rome, but to try to become the emperor. To defend Rome, mercenaries were recruited – foreign soldiers who fought for money.

9 Military Problems Military only in it for money (mercenaries) No money to pay military = weak military Constant threat of invaders on empire’s borders Weak military, unable to stop border invasions

10 Political Problems Poor leaders weakened the government Frequent fights for power Many officials took bribes Talented people chose not to serve due to dangers of government life

11 Political Troubles Troubles in the empire made citizens lose patriotism for Rome Being a political official was no longer thought to be an honor Few people wanted to serve in the government Out of 26 generals who became emperors, 25 met violent deaths.

12 Social Problems Taxes were too great, many rich people stopped paying People stopped attending school Large number of people enslaved Plague (disease) spread throughout Rome, killing 1 in 10 Famine: There was not enough food to feed people

13 Diocletian 284 CE, Diocletian became emperor Tried reforms (political changes) Set price limits (if a person went beyond limits, put to death) and ordered workers to stay in jobs to death

14 Temporary Help Diocletian in A.D. 284 became a strong leader He doubled the Roman armies and hired German mercenaries Persecuted Christians He divided the Roman empire into 2 sides o East: Greek speaking o West: Latin speaking He took over the East, but Civil war broke out after his death

15 Dividing the Empire Diocletian felt that the only way to save the empire was to divide it in half Created two empires: Western and Eastern Western Empire: Europe/ North Africa and city of Rome Eastern Empire: Turkey/ Asia and city of Byzantium Two emperors, emperor in charge of Rome was senior

16 Constantine Took over the West part of the empire in A.D. 312 Moved the capital to a strategic location in Greece in the East in Byzantium and renamed it Constantinople He accepted Christianity

17 Constantinople Rome continued to decline Constantine moved the capital from Rome to city of Byzantium City name changed to Constantinople (today is Istanbul)

18 Rome invaded Western Empire unable to hold off German tribes on its borders Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Franks, Vandals, Saxons German tribes wanted warmer area, Roman riches, and to flee the Huns

19 Visigoths Rome agreed to allow the Visigoths to live inside of Roman boundaries Romans treated Visigoths badly Visigoths rebelled and defeated the Romans Visigoth leader, Alaric, captured Rome in 410 CE

20 Vandals Vandals followed Visigoths and spent 12 days stripping Rome of valuables (vandalism) Many more German invaders followed Finally, a German general named Odoacer defeated the western emperor Romulus Augustulus (14 years old, little Augustus)

21 The West Falls The west faced worse problems than the east that was far from invaders From A.D. 376 to 476, huge numbers of Germanic tribes poured into Rome to get away from the fierce Huns Attila the Hun was a powerful chieftain who swept through the west


23 The West Falls Attila negotiated with Pope Leo I and withdrew He died in 453 and was no longer a threat Germanic tribes continued to invade and finally the west was no longer Rome But the Eastern Roman empire will continue as the Byzantine Empire that will preserve Greek and Roman heritage.

24 The Fall Romulus Augustulus was defeated in 476 CE For this reason, this date is given as the fall of the Western Roman Empire Western Empire was divided into many kingdoms that adopted many of the customs of Rome

25 Eastern Roman Empire Although the Western Empire fell in 476 CE, the Eastern Roman Empire continued to prosper for 1,000 more years Became known as the Byzantine Empire

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