After the death of Nero, the Senate and the army began to play a more active role in selecting the emperor The issue of selection was solved by having each emperor select a younger, capable colleague to train as “Caesar”, or successor. The Emperors who followed this were known as “The Five Good Emperors”
What were the advantages/disadvantages of having one man in power? Provide an example of one good and one bad emperor.
The Decline of the Empire Began in the second century CE Enemies to the north began crossing boarders and plundering Roman territory The empire was so large that even the many Roman legions could not hold back an invasion in multiple different boarder regions at once
Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius both tried to protect these boarder zones Emperor Diocletian split the empire along the Danube and Dalmatia in 293 CE, hoping that two leaders would make the areas easier to control After Diocletian, Constantine became sole emperor of Rome in 324 CE. He built a new Eastern capital at the site of Byzantium called Constantinople
Under Constantine, the empire was brought back together under one ruler In 395 CE the empire was split again, divided in half, each with it’s own ruler The empire is said to have officially fallen in 479 CE, but that is only the final step in a long series of decline
VIEWPOINT #1: Politics Following Augustus’s reign, there were many disputes over succession. Many civil wars broke out between different armies, each representing a different leader. All of this led to “civil unrest”. Trajan, became emperor, he was from Spain. This opened the door to many “outsiders”, not originally from Italy to try and claim power.
VIEWPOINT #2: Economics The Roman empire was huge, so huge that the tax levels weren’t enough to supply enough revenue. Taxes were imposed on the middle class. Because of this many business people and farmers began to abandon their occupations. The government began to take over businesses and farms, adding more expense to the empire.
Economics (continued) The empire began to produce more money, devaluing the currency- leads to inflation. There was a lack of technology (didn’t need any, as they relied on slaves). Because people within the empire we getting poorer, the amount of trade declined as well.
VIEWPOINT #3: Defense The problem of defense of the frontier against foreigners seems to be the most important factor in the fall of the Roman empire. Citizens were not as enticed to join the Roman army. Attacks on the borders of Rome began to happen more and more.
Defense (continued) Barbarians There were five main barbarian tribes in Europe. Each wanted to conquer the famous Roman Empire. These tribes were the Huns, Franks, Vandals, Saxons, and Visigoths. One of the fiercest group of invaders were the Huns, a Mongolian nomadic people from Asia. Over a span of around 100 years, this group (amongst others) invaded and attacked Rome’s borders, eventually taking control of Rome in 476 CE.
The Western Roman Empire Did not do well. Instead of getting stronger, they became weaker. By 400 AD, it was pretty much over. In 476 AD, the Visigoths sacked Rome. Europe entered the Dark Ages. The Eastern Roman Empire The eastern half of the Empire received a new name – the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire did fine. It lasted for another 1000 years!