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THE

FALL
OF
ROME

A popular
theory for
the fall of
the Roman
Empire is
the
repeated
invasions
of Roman
territory in
Europe by
Germanic
Barbarian
tribes. For
example,
the Roman
Empire was
attacked
by tribes
such as the

Goths and
the
Vandals.
Rome had
tangled
with these Germanic tribes for
centuries, but by 300 AD
groups like the Goths had moved beyond
the Empires
borders. The Goths wanted to move south
into parts of
Europe that experienced a better climate
that would assist
their farming practices. This brought the
Goths into conflict
with the Romans.

The Romans experienced an attack from


Germanic tribes in the early 5th century.
In 410 the city of Rome was
successfully invaded and defeated by
the Goth King, Alaric. Alaric realized that
the Roman Army was so thinly spread,
that the city of Rome would be
relatively easy to invade. Alaric
moved cautiously south and in AD 410
he captured the city of Rome. Roman
held territory in Spain, France, North
Africa and England would all eventually
fall to the various tribes that attacked
them.
Finally, in 476 AD, Germanic
leader Odoacer staged a
revolt against the Roman
Empire and caused the end
of the rule of Roman Emperor
Romulus August ulus. Since
no Roman Emperor ever

ruled again from within Italy,


many historians consider 476
AD to be the date in which
the western portion of the
Roman Empire collapsed.

This theory for collapse says that the


Roman Empire experienced years
of economic crisis that weakened it. The
empire had been
involved in constant wars and
overspending had
significantly lessened its reserves and
financial stability. In
response to the overspending, the empire
imposed higher
taxation on its citizens to try to raise more
money for the
government.
This taxation system
and inflation had
widened the gap between rich and
poor, which caused a
divide in Roman society.
Another
economic
problem
to hit

Rome
was the
lack of
new
workers
and
territories.
Romes
economy
depende
d
on slaves
to work in
its fields
and as
laborers.
Many of
these slaves came from
conquered territories that Rome captured as
it expanded its empire. Its military might had
traditionally provided a fresh supply of
conquered peoples to put to work.
However, Roman expansion began to
slow in the later years of the history of
the empire. When expansion slowed in the
second century, Romes supply of

slaves and other war treasures began to


dry up.

A final economic concern for the


Roman Empire was caused by the
invading barbarian tribes.
The
invading tribes caused the empire to
become separated in parts and severely
limited the ability of the Roman Empire to
carry out trade. For example, in the fifth
century, the Vandals claimed North
Africa and began disrupting the
empires trade. With its economy
faltering the Empire began to lose its
control over its territory in Europe.

(Above) Vandal warriors caused an economic crisis


in the Roman Empire with their ability to disrupt
Roman trade routes and networks.

At its height, the Roman Empire was one


of the largest empires in human history. It
stretched from Western Europe and the
Atlantic Ocean to territory in the
Middle East and south to areas of
Northern Africa. The vastness of the
empire made it difficult for the rulers in
Rome to effectively control all areas of
the empire. Even with their excellent
road systems, the Romans were unable
to communicate effectively. Therefore,
Rome struggled to spread out its troops
and
resources
to
defend
its
borders
from
the invasions of rival
barbaric tribes.

The spread of Christianity also played


a role in the fall of the Roman
Empire. Christianity monotheistic,
which means is involved a belief in
one God. This was different from
the traditional Roman religion, which
was polytheistic, meaning a belief in
many gods. For much of Romes
history, Christianity was opposed
and
Christians
were
even
persecuted because their beliefs
were
different
from traditional
Roman religion.
However, In 313
BC, the role
of
Christianity
in
Rome
would
take
a
dramatic
change,
and
the
religion
would
spread

throughout the
empire.
Roman emperor
Constantine
ended
all
persecution and
declared that
Christianity
should
be
tolerated. This
would be taken
further
when
decades
later Christianity
became
the
official
religion of the
Roman Empire.
By approving Christianity, the
Roman Empire caused the
downfall of its own religious traditions
and
began
a
dramatic
change throughout its empire. For
example,
within
the
Roman Empire the emperor was
considered to be a god, however,
the Christian belief in one god
who was not the emperor
weakened the authority and
credibility of the emperor and led to
the downfall of the overall empire.

In the 330 AD, Roman


Emperor Constantine
divided the empire into
two halves. The western
half was based out of
Rome while the eastern
half was based out of
Constantinople - a city
that Constantine named after himself.
The division made the empire easier to
govern in the short term, especially
considering the crisis that Rome faced
at the time, such as: economic
instability and barbarian invasions.
However, over time the two halves of the
empire drifted apart.
The two halves of the empire did not
work
together
to
combat outside threats, and the two
often
argued
over

resources and how best to run the overall


Roman
Empire.
As
time passed, the Greek-speaking
Eastern
Empire
grew
in
wealth and prospered while the
Latin-speaking
West
struggled in economic crisis. In fact, the
western
half
of
the
empire fell in 476 with the Goth invasion
of
Rome
while
the
eastern half continued on for
centuries as the Byzantine
Empire. Therefore, when talking about
the
fall
of
the
Roman
Empire it is important to note that the
western
half
of
the
empire experienced the first and most
dramatic collapse.

THE FALL OF ROME


NOTES TEMPLATE
INVASIONS
-

Repeated invasions by Barbarians (for better farming practices)


The Roman army was spread thin (due to vast territory) so it was easily for
Barbarians to invade

ECONOMICS
-

Overspending due to how expensive it was to be in constant war with


others
Poorer people were forced to pay higher taxes to the Roman Empire which
caused a divide in society
Lack of new slave workers for the Empire
Invading Barbarians caused separation between territories therefore trade
was negatively impacted

OVER EXPANSION
-

The vast territory of the Roman Empire made it difficult to control


Rome could not spread out troops and resources to defend its boarders
against Barbarian invasions

CHRISTIANITY
-

Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire with the belief in one God
which went against the Roman traditions of the belief in many gods
A Roman Emperor is considered a god therefore his authority is weakened if
he practiced Christianity as the religion has a belief in one God
Christianity believes in peace therefore believers within the Empire did not
want to fight others

DIVIDED EMPIRE
-

When the Roman Empire was divided in two in 330 AD by Constantine, they
two halves began drifting apart and they did not work together to share
resources or combat invasions
By 476 AD, Western Rome was in economic crisis and collapsed after a Goth
invasion while the West thrived and continued on for years

IN YOUR OPINION, WHICH IS THE STRONGEST REASON ROME


FELL?