Decline and fall of rome


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Decline and fall of rome

  1. 1. 193 CE – 476 CE
  2. 2. • After Marcus Aurelius’ death in CE 180, a period of conflict and confusion followed. • Series of civil wars • Military government under Severan rulers; Septimus Severus paid the military and no other officials • From 235 to 284, the military controlled who was emperor; there were 22 emperors in 49 years; most were murdered• Invasions in the east and north cause Rome to spread military too thin • Boundaries were restored near the end of the third century CE• Plague hit Rome in the third century • Caused a labor shortage that affected both the military and the economy • Military hired soldiers from other provinces; they did not understand Roman tradition or custom
  3. 3. • Two emperors in the third and fourth century tried to bring Rome back to prominence through reforms• Diocletian (284 – 305 CE) • Constantine (306 – 337 • Instituted new government CE) structure • Expanded • Rigid economic and social Diocletian’s system government • State religion – • Enlarged Christianity government • Divided Roman Empire bureaucracies into Four parts, each with • Enlarged army its own ruler
  4. 4. • Rome’s government and bureaucracy grew, requiring a larger tax base to support it • New economic policies were put into place to fight inflation (a rapid increase in prices). • Diocletian issued a price edict in 301 CE; it set wage and price controls for the entire empire (it did not work)• Roman workers were required to stay in their designated vocations as a result of Diocletian’s laws. • Bakers had to remain bakers for life, masons had to stay masons, etc. • Jobs became hereditary, passed on through families • Free farmers declined, tenant farmers were bound to their land but were bought out by large landowners who could offer cheaper prices on foods
  5. 5. • Began construction of new capital city for the empire in Byzantium, a Greek city (eventually it was renamed Constantinople – which is now Istanbul in Turkey)• Divided empire into two main parts: East – Byzantium and West – Rome• Constantine built palaces, a forum, an amphitheater and other public buildings in Byzantium (at great expense)• Policies of Diocletian and Constantine were successful in the short term, but could not be sustained
  6. 6. • Two capitals of Rome/Byzantium (Constantinople) divided empire, weakened rule• Invading tribes increased pressure on Western Roman Empire • Huns from Asia conquered the Visigoths of Germany; • The Visigoths moved south to escape the Huns; • Visigoths settled in Roman territory as allies, but soon revolted; the Romans were defeated by the Germans in 378 • In 410, the German Visigoths sacked Rome • Vandals invaded from southern Spain and Africa • In 455 the Vandals sacked Rome
  7. 7. • In 476 CVE, the western emperor, Romulus Augustus was deposed by his German army (remember they were hiring Germans as soldiers because of the plague?) • A series of German kingdoms replaced the Western Roman empire • Eastern Roman Empire continued to thrive with its capital in Constantinople
  8. 8. • Many theories have been proposed to explain the decline and fall of the Roman empire, including: • Christianity’s emphasis on a spiritual kingdom weakened the military’s values • Traditional Roman values declined as more non-Italians gained prominence • Lead poisining through lead pipes/aqueducts caused mental decline in the population • Plague wiped out 10% of the population, causing crisis • Rome was unable to put together a workable political system• Keep in mind that no single explanation can sufficiently explain complex human events that take place over a period of years
  9. 9. • Over and over again, empires rise, expand beyond their control and decline.• While the largest western empire, the Roman Empire was NOT the largest or most powerful in the world. The Han in China at this same time was much larger and powerful.• Consider violence in the Roman Empire compared to that of today.• The Eastern Roman empire was able to survive for another 1000 years