Transcript Decline and Fall of the Empire
In the late 200’s Rome began to decline, although most people who lived in the empire did not realize it was happening. There were many internal problems that led to the decline: Economic and Social Agricultural Military and Political
The empire stopped growing, so there was no new money or items coming in. This made money short and caused the government to raise taxes.
Also, education became more expensive which made it hard for many people to afford it – so less people were being educated.
What happens when people aren’t educated about their government?
Economic and Social Problems
Another thing that weakened the empire was bad harvests from farms. The soil or dirt had been overused or destroyed by war, so less food was being produced. Also slave labor was used to farm the land making it less likely that any new improvements to farming techniques would be developed.
Also, the once powerful army of Rome was showing signs of trouble. The soldiers were becoming less disciplined and loyal – they pledged themselves to individual leaders not to Rome.
Politically, regular citizens grew less loyal too. The government had become corrupt so many people did not trust it. This made citizens lose their pride in government and made them less willing to sacrifice for Rome.
Military and Political
The Emperor Diocletian became the leader of Rome in 284. He was very strict and did not tolerate people standing up to him. He decided to split the empire into two, making an eastern and western empire. He thought it would be easier to control the empire by making it smaller.
The emperor Constantine came after Diocletian. He is known for two important things. One was putting an end to the attacks on Christians. The other was moving the capital city of the empire from Rome to the Greek city of Byzantium. Byzantium eventually had its name changed to Constantinople in honor of Constantine.
With the empire weakened, the Huns, and Germanic tribes like the Vandals, Ostrogoths, and Visigoths invaded Rome looking for land, food, and money. These attacks weakened the empire even more.
In 476 Germanic tribes invaded Rome itself. This is the date of the official fall of the Western Roman empire. About 10 years later, a Germanic leader named Clovis conquered the remaining Roman lands and established a powerful kingdom. The western empire had fallen, but the eastern empire continued for about a thousand more years.