Objectives• Know the various causes for the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. • The economic reasons • The social reasons • The political reasons • The military reasons
The Roman empire hits its high water mark in AD 180 with the death of Emperor Marcus Aurelius• It’s all downhill from there.
Economic reasons• The Roman economy was partially based on constant expansion. • This brought new land, new money, new treasure, new slaves, and new taxes. • Once the empire stopped expanding, that influx of goods stopped. • Rome was losing money! High cost of wars and defense. • Too much spent on luxury items.
• INFLATION! • The value of coinage was based on how much gold or silver was in the coin. • Less gold coming into Empire. • Less gold being put into coins • DRASTIC drop in value of money coupled with a rise in prices.
• Grain production also decreased due to over farming and warfare. • This meant feeding people became more difficult.
• Not keeping up with the times.• Relied too much on slave labor instead of developing new technologies to make work easier.
Social reasons• Unemployment.• Costly to be a government worker, competent people just didn’t want to do it.• Morals and work ethic • Many Romans had become accustomed to the easy life of bread and circuses. • These were also done at state expense, which drained the public treasury.
Political reasons• The problem with political office being undesirable.• Imperial Succession • No established rule for succession • This meant that it was up for grabs. • Frequent civil war towards end of Empire!
The split• The empire is eventually and officially divided into two halves: the western and eastern Roman empires.
Military reasons• This is a big cause.• Long borders-expensive to defend• Mercenaries- • Rome also began hiring mercenaries. These guys worked for cash, not loyalty, and could be highly unreliable. • Discipline and Loyalty to Roman Empire collapsed!
• Invasion • Barbarians started invading the empire and the legions couldn’t stop them. • Germanic tribes from North and West • Huns from the East-Attila!
• The barbarians proceed to run rampant over Roman territory.• Left Rome in CHAOS!• 476-Romulus Augustulus (14)-LAST emperor of Rome deposed by Odoacer (German general).• ROME’S POWER IN THE WESTERN HALF OF THE EMPIRE HAD DISAPPEARED!
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