The Fall of The Roman Empire WARM UP 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 Diocletian Constantine _____________ _____________ _____________ Dies ending the Pax Romana Persecutes Christians and attempts reform. Divides the empire. Builds new capital at Constantinople. (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 barbarians. Today we call the eastern part of the Roman Empire the Byzantine Empire, after Byzantium, the original name of its capital city.