The Roman Empire was without a doubt the
occurring in succession to each other.
After the Punic wars with Carthage, Rome
it was easy to govern these areas but during war times it proved difficult.
it could no longer rely on the loot to serve as the pay for the soldiers.
emperors wanted to save money and made the army too small to have control
over such a large empire.
The economy of Rome was also suffering.
Rome was importing goods from its colonies but wasn’t exporting nearly
their own finished goods and no longer relied on Rome for them. New coins
The problem of succession also contributed
someone gained power they didn’t rule for long; someone often assassinated
them. This weakened the authority of Rome; corruption was common and law
was almost non-existent.
Diocletian tried to make reforms to make
the empire as strong as it was before. He realized that the empire was
too large for one person to govern, he split the empire in half and took
control of eastern part himself. He then appointed a co-emperor to rule
made them responsible directly to the emperor. He increased the size of
in 305 A.D.
In 324 A.D. Constantine took over as emperor.
He reunited the east and west under his own rule. He also built a new capital
at Byzantium, on the Bosporus. He named this city Constantinople. Constantine
no chance of getting ahead. These reforms only slowed down the process
of collapse. After Constantine’s death in 337 A.D., the empire was again
To the north of the Rhine and Danube rivers,
farmers who had migrated from Scandinavia. As their population grew, they
the Germans. In the fourth century, the Huns, a nomadic people from central
Asia, began attacking the German tribes. Thus the tribes looked for protection
from the Huns in the Empire. They received permission from the Emperor
to live in the Empire. A couple of years later the Romans sent an army
to defeat the Germans and failed to defeat them. This proved that Rome
was not invincible. The Germans continued to sack the west; they invaded
Italy and sacked Rome. Rome bought peace by giving the Germans most of
Gaul and Spain. The Huns then marched into Rome and they were soundly defeated
by Rome and its German allies. The west of the Empire became a mess with
no one in any real control.
In the east, Constantinople continued
to be the capitol city. Its rulers called themselves Roman emperors and
portion of the Empire was crumbling, but all through the fifth and sixth
centuries the people of the east could say without a doubt that the Roman
Empire had not fallen.
There was no certain official date when
Rome was considered to fall. Many historians though, believe it was in
476 A.D. A small German chief, Odoacer captured Rome and proclaimed himself
king. The city of Rome was finally overthrown. Despite this, the people
who lived throughout the Empire considered themselves Roman citizens and
after and in a sense we are all Roman citizens.
The great Empire of Rome, the greatest
power to ever rule the Mediterranean had fallen. It was unthinkable. Their
and be sure not to make the same ones again.