The Fall of the Roman Empire

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This booklet discusses the Roman Empire, describing its fall and the reasons behind that listed the economic, social, political, decline, Diocletian.
1. The Fall of the Roman
2. The Roman Empire at its Height
• The Roman Empire
became huge
• It covered most of
Europe, North Africa,
and some of Asia
• The Empire reached
its height under
Emperor Diocletian
(284-305 CE)
3. Expansion: Good or Bad?
• What are some
problems that an
empire or country
might have by being
stretched out too far?
4. The Decline Begins
• 180 CE Marcus
Aurelius died
• His son, Commodus,
took control of Rome
• Commodus was a poor
leader, killed by his
• Time of disarray
Commodus from the
movie Gladiator
5. Political Problems
• Poor leaders weakened
the government
• Frequent fights for
• Many officials took
• Talented people chose
not to serve due to
dangers of government
6. Social Problems
• Taxes were too great, many
rich people stopped paying
• People stopped attending
• Large number of people
• Plague (disease) spread
throughout Rome, killing 1
in 10
• Famine: There was not
enough food to feed people
7. Economic Problems
• Farmers lost land, unable to grow
and sell crops, out of work (and
• People bought fewer goods,
shops closed
• Inflation occurred: Rapidly rising
prices. Money lost value because
fewer taxes paid.
• Coins lost value: Less gold put
in, people found out (caused
• Bartering grew: sell goods
without using money
• No taxes, no money
8. Military Problems
• Military only in it for
money (mercenaries)
• No money to pay military
= weak military
• Constant threat of
invaders on empire’s
• Weak military, unable to
stop border invasions
9. • 284 CE, Diocletian
became emperor
• Tried reforms
(political changes)
• Set price limits (if a
person went beyond
limits, put to death)
and ordered workers
to stay in jobs to death
10. Dividing the Empire
• Diocletian felt that the only
way to save the empire was to
divide it in half
• Created two empires: Western
and Eastern
• Western Empire: Europe/ North
Africa and city of Rome
• Eastern Empire: Turkey/ Asia
and city of Byzantium
• Two emperors, emperor in
charge of Rome was senior
13. • Diocletian retired and
Constantine took his place
as emperor
• Constantine (312 CE)
united the empire again
under one ruler
• First Christian emperor
• Edict of Milan?
• Attempted reforms
• Main reform: sons had to
follow fathers’ trade
14. • Rome continued to
• Constantine moved the
capital from Rome to
city of Byzantium
• City name changed to
Constantinople (today
is Istanbul)
15. Current Day
16. • Constantine died in 337
CE, replaced by
• Theodosius could not rule
the empire, divided in two
• Western Roman Empire
with capital in Rome
• Eastern Rome Empire
with capital in
17. Rome invaded
• Western Empire unable to
hold off German tribes on
its borders
• Ostrogoths, Visigoths,
Franks, Vandals, Saxons
• German tribes wanted
warmer area, Roman
riches, and to flee the
18. • Rome agreed to allow the
Visigoths to live inside of
Roman boundaries
• Romans treated Visigoths
• Visigoths rebelled and
defeated the Romans
• Visigoth leader, Alaric,
captured Rome in 410 CE
19. • Vandals followed Visigoths
and spent 12 days stripping
Rome of valuables
• Many more German invaders
• Finally, a German general
named Odoacer defeated the
western emperor Romulus
Augustulus (14 years old,
little Augustus)
20. The Fall
• Augustulus was defeated
in 476 CE
• For this reason, this date is
given as the fall of the
Western Roman Empire
• Western Empire was
divided into many
kingdoms that adopted
many of the customs of
22. Eastern Roman Empire
• Although the Western
Empire fell in 476 CE,
the Eastern Roman
Empire continued to
prosper for 1,000 more
• Became known as the
Byzantine Empire