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The Decline and Fall of Rome

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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 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 Empire also troubled by series of invasions In east: Sassanid Persians attacked Roman territory Germanic tribes poured into Balkans, Gaul, and Spain 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 284-305 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 306-337
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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