The Rise of the City-States

The Fall of The
Roman Empire
The chart below shows major events occurring
during the Decline of Rome. Write the name of the
person which matches each description on the line.
Marcus Aurelius
Dies ending the
Pax Romana
Christians and
attempts reform.
Divides the
Builds new
capital at
(c. 400 CE)
- The Eastern Roman Empire, with
Constantinople as its capital, lasted for
another 1,000 years.
- The Western Roman Empire, with Rome
as its capital, was nearing its end.
What happened to cause the fall
of the mightiest empire the
world had ever known?
I. Barbarian Invasions
A. Since the time of Pax Romana, the empire had been
fighting off attacks from barbarians.
1. Barbarian = people from beyond the Roman frontier
B. The huge size of the empire made it difficult to defend.
By the 300s, Germanic tribes were pressing hard on the
western borders of the empire.
1. These tribes were trying to escape attack (the Huns)
on their own territories.
2. They were attracted by wealthy cities and fertile
farmlands of the Roman empire.
C. Some emperors tried to appease the barbarians giving them
land to settle
1. Many were recruited into the army.
a. However, these soldiers had little loyalty to Rome.
Barbarian Invasions
I. Barbarian Invasions
D. In 378 CE, the Visigoths, who settled in the eastern part of
the empire, revolted.
1. They killed Emperor Valens, the leader of the eastern
empire, and defeated his army.
2. The Visigoths marched into Rome in 410 CE.
E. In the early 400s CE the barbarians destroyed Britain, Gaul,
Spain, and North Africa.
F. 476 CE is considered the fall of Rome – the Germanic chief
Odoacer forced the last emperor (Romulus Augustulus) out
the western part of the empire.
G. Constantinople withstood barbarian attacks and remained
intact for another 1,000 years.
II. The Causes of the Fall
A. Geography
1. Defending the weak western borders from barbarian
invasions took too many soldiers and resources away from Rome.
B. Economic Decline
1. The army and government kept growing.
2. Romans continued to import luxury items.
C. Government
1. Lack of capable leaders in the western part of the empire
2. Government officials were often dishonest and greedy.
3. Civil wars over who would be emperor were costly.
II. The Causes of the Fall
D. Decline of the work force
1. high death rate and decrease in the number of slaves = the empire
had fewer workers and fewer soldiers.
E. Lack of technology
1. fewer workers were left to produce more goods to meet the
demand of defending the empire
2. Very little machinery for more efficient production of goods
3. The upper class Romans did not direct their interest and attention
to developing ways to save labor
F. Military defeat
The Roman army was no longer strong enough to defeat the
Today we call the eastern
part of the Roman Empire
the Byzantine Empire, after
Byzantium, the original name
of its capital city.
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