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Decline of the Roman Empire
THE DECLINE OF ROME
Social Studies for 9th EGB
Teacher: Mauricio Torres
• As you have read, foreign tribes had settled
along the Roman Empire’s northern borders
in the 200s.
• A century later, these bands began raiding
deep into the heart of the empire.
• The source of these raids
were a group of people
called the Huns, fierce
warriors from Central Asia.
– They first invaded southeast
Europe, pushing another
group, the Goths (Visigoths
and Ostrogoths). Unable to
defeat the Huns, they fled
into Roman territory.
Clashing with Goths
• Roman leaders feared that the Goths would destroy
Rome’s land and property. They fought hard to keep them
– Eastern armies were successful and pushed them towards the
– As a result, the western armies were defeated by the Goths. In
this way, many Goths moved into the Roman Empire.
• The Romans fought
desperately to keep the
Goths away from Rome.
Even as far as paying them
not to attack.
– In 408 Rome stopped making
payments, and later in 410 an
army of Visigoths invaded
The End of the World
• This invasion devastated the Romans, because
their city had not been invaded in 800 years!
– The now Christian Romans thought it was the end of
• The Gothic victory inspired more foreign
warriors to invade the western half of the
– The Vandals, Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Franks all
– Meanwhile, the Huns, with Attila as a
leader, raided territory in the east.
• Rome needed strong leaders to survive these attacks, and
by now emperors were weak! Therefore, military leaders
took power away from emperors.
– Conflict with one of these foreign generals gave way to a
situation in which one of them (Odoacer) overthrew the
emperor and declared himself King of Italy.
– This event is considered as the end of the Western Empire.
• The Empire’s vast size
• Political crisis and
• Wealthy citizens with
The Empire’s vast size
• Communication among various parts of the
empire was difficult, specially during conflict.
• It just became to big to govern.
Political crisis and corruption
• By the 400s, corruption (a decay of people’s
values) had become widespread in Roman
– Corrupt officials used threats and bribery to achieve
their goals, often ignoring the needs of Roman
– As a result, government was no longer efficient.
Wealthy citizens with independent
• Wealthy Romans fled from the
city to their country states and
created their own private
armies for protection.
– Some of these men, used their
armies to overthrow emperors
and take power for themselves.
• For those who stayed in the
city, life became more difficult:
– Rome’s population
decreased, schools closed, taxes
soared, making many Romans
• Among the many threats
posed to the Romans, one
of the most serious came
from a group called the
Vandals. A Germanic tribe,
they attacked Spain, Gaul,
north Africa before they
sacked Rome itself.
• Today’s use of the word
vandal comes from the
damage and destruction
Vandal raids caused in the
How did Romans deal with Goth invaders?
What sequence of events led to the sack of Rome in 410?
What factors weakened the Roman government?
• Cause and Effect
What were the effects of wealthy citizen’s leaving Rome?
Which factor do you think played a major role in the downfall of