Fall of the Roman Empire

What happened to Rome?

When the decline began...

It all started in the 200s. It began with the assassination of Emperor Severus by his own legions, who were upset that he negotiated with Germanic tribes which were invading Roman territories. This triggered nearly 50 years of political strife & civil war,where as many as 25 individuals claimed the emperor's throne. Then one of the emperor's, Emperor Diocletion, saw no choice but to permanently split the empire into 2 parts in 285 A.D.

After that, another emperor, Emperor Constantine, accepted Christianity and moved the capital of Rome to Byzantium in the Eastern Empire. But after he died, squabbles began again. Then in 376, barbarians tribes such as Goths, Visigoths, Vandals, Angles, Saxons, Franks, Ostrogoths, Lambards, and Poles ravaged through Rome in search of places to settle down in, but that just made things WORSE.


There were many other problems that led to the fall of the Rome. Fundamental and economical problems were also things that declined the Roman Empire. There was a decrease in agricultural products, so that led to higher food prices. Many people from the western empire couldn't purchase from the eastern empire because the prices were so high. Then piracy attacks disrupted the flow of trade.

There were also political and military difficulties. Amateur emperors were in control of Rome throughout the time of the fall of Rome. Then army generals dominated the emperorship, and corruption spread. The military was transformed into a mercenary over time, with no real loyalty to Rome. Government was money-tight, so they hired unreliable German soldiers to fight in Roman armies against the mercenaries.

First Sack

While Rome was fighting about Constantine and the military, Visigoths invaded Rome in 410 A.D., led by Alaric. The invading army reached the outskirts of Rome, which was left totally undefended because of the wars. Then they sacked the capital of Rome, Constantinople. The Visigoths looted, burned, and pillaged the city, leaving destruction wherever they went. The plundering continued for three days. This was the first time that the city of Rome was sacked.

What Happens Next

The next time Rome was sacked was in 455 A.D., when Vandals from northern Europe came into Rome and the Roman guardians were unable to stop them. The Vandals ransacked Rome for several days taking valuables such as gold and silver. This happened in the Western part of the Roman Empire


The Fall of the Western Empire

Fravius Odoacer was a mercenary leader in the Roman imperial army when he launched his mutiny against the Emperor Romulus Augustus. At Piacenza, he defeated Roman General Orestes, the emperor's powerful father.

Finally, on September 4, 476 A.D., Romulus, the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire, is deposed by Odoacer. Although Roman rule continued in the East, the crowning of Odoacer marked the end of the western Roman Empire.

The Fall of the Eastern Roman Empire

The Eastern Empire was also known as the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire declined for centuries before falling to the Turks. In 1453, Turkish Muslims attacked Rome. There were ten times more attackers than defenders and the cities fell by time. The Muslims slowly rolled back Byzantine territory until only Constantinople remained. They used primitive canon to blast holes into the city’s walls bringing the empire’s existence to a close. The last part of the Empire had fallen...


Where Did the Barbarians End Up?



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"The Fall of the Eastern Roman Empire: The Turks Conquer Constantinople." Examiner.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2014.


Murrel, Deborah, The Best Book of Ancient Rome. Kingfisher Publications Plc. 2004. 24, 25

Dowsell, Paul. The Roman Record. Usborne Publishing Ltd. 1998. 17