THE EARLY MIDDLE AGES (PART 1):THE DECLINE OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE AND THE GERMANIC INVASIONS María Jesús Campos learningfromhistory.wikispaces.com
THE MIDDLE AGES: CONCEPT Historians have divided the past in different periods or stages to help people understand past events. The period that goes from the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the year 476 A.D. to the discovery of America by Christoper Columbus in the year 1492 A.D. is known as the
THE DECLINE OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE The Roman Empire was established by Augustus in the 1st century. The empire was extensive and included most of the territories of the Mediterranean Sea.
CAUSES OF THE DECLINE OF THE ROMANEMPIRE The empire was expensive and difficult to protect The empire’s Some emperors economy were weak suffered a crisis leaders The military did not want to defend the empire
CRISIS Emperors were weak and the military struggled for power. Between the 2nd and the 3rd century there were 29 emperors but only 4 died of natural causes. The military was less willing to defend the territories and urged emperors to hire more and more barbarian mercenaries to protect the borders.
CRISIS The economy was hurt because: Hiring mercenaries was expensive Trading routes were interrupted by the attacks so neither money nor supplies arrived to Rome.
THE ROMAN EMPIRE IS DIVIDED To change the situation, emperor Theodosius decided to divide the empire between his two sons to better defend it. In the year 395 A.D. Theodosius created the Eastern Roman Empire, which became dominant and wealthy, and the Western Roman Empire which became increasingly defenseless against invasions.
THE GERMANIC INVASIONS The decline of the Roman Empire coincided with an increasing number of “barbarians” migrating from the north of Europe and Asia to the borders of the Empire.
•The word “barbarian” in •At first, small groups movedLatin was used by the into the empire to farm, toRomans to describe the settle or as mercenaries paidtribes outside the boundaries by the Romans to protectof the empire. their boundaries.•Romans considered themuncivilized as they werenomadic peoples withstrange customs.•These “barbarians” were, infact, Germanic Tribes thatcame from Asia or from thenorth of Europe.
But when the Huns in Asia began to move towards the West, attacking all the tribes in their path, those tribes massively migrated to Europe and the borders of the Roman Empire
At first, the Romans and the Germanic tribes allied to fight the Huns but as the Empire became weaker and weaker, the Germans decided to conquer its territories. On the year 476 A.D. the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire, Romulus Augustulus, was deposed when the ostrogoths conquered Rome.
The fall of Rome in the year 476 marks the beginning of the Middle Ages. Although the Eastern Roman Empire was also attacked by different tribes, it survived and became prosperous. It changed its name to Byzantine Empire.
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