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The Fall of the Roman Empire

The Fall of the Roman Empire

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The Fall of the Roman Empire

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Presentation Transcript

  1. The Fall of the Roman Empire The Dark Age Begins

  2. Causes for collapse • Antagonism between the Senate and the Emperor • Decline in Morals • Political Corruption and the Praetorian Guard • Fast expansion of the Empire • Constant Wars and Heavy Military Spending • Barbarian Knowledge of Roman Military Tactics • Failing Economy • Unemployment of the Working Classes (The Plebs) • The 'Mob' and the cost of the 'Games' • Decline in Ethics and Values • Slave Labor • Natural Disasters • Christianity • Barbarian Invasion

  3. Economic Reasons • As productivity declined, Rome became more dependent on foreign products. • A breakdown in the labour force occurred as the traditional work ethic declined. • The infrastructure of the cities declined and began a steady decay. • A balance of trade deficit began to occur. • The cost of government, including the military and welfare, became burdensome. • Class economic warfare broke out between the rich and poor. • Parts of the empire were not taxed while others were overtaxed. • Small farms started to fail and collapse.

  4. Political Reasons Decline in patriotism • Democracy did not exist in reality • Citizens lost their tie (voting rights) to the state • Patriotism based on loyalty to an emperor, not to Rome • Most emperors did not inspire respect or loyalty East/West Empire split • Two empires created problems regarding loyalty (Rome or Constantinople?) • Empires disagree with one another = political instability Poor succession of Emperors • Murders, forced suicides, and civil wars frequently accompanied the transition from one emperor to the next

  5. Social Reasons Population decline • Hunger • Plagues • War Decline in intellectual culture • People did not dedicate themselves to public service and intellectual pursuits (opportunities were not available) • People instead spent their leisure time watching chariot races and gladiatorial contests (bread and circus) Religious divisions • Eastern and Egyptian cults took away the popularity and status of traditional Roman religion • New faiths like Christianity directly questioned and challenged concepts such as imperial divinity

  6. Military Reasons • Roman Legions • Civil wars and disunity • Legion Generals and leaders became powerful political figures – undermined confidence in army • Long borders • Maintaining expansive borders against enemies became an expensive exercise • Military spending high = less funding for public works • Mercenaries • Rome hired mercenaries to protect borders, loyalty was not guaranteed • Invasion (Goths, Celts, Germanic tribes 370-500AD) • Barbarian offensives against Roman borders successful

  7. Barbarian Offensives

  8. Barbarians attack! Now we will watch a BBC documentary called 'Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire'. The episode focuses on the Barbarian invasions and the final days of the Roman Empire in the West. Please make notes. Enjoy...

  9. Review Questions • What impact did the Barbarian offensives have on the collapse of the Roman Republic? • Were they the sole cause of the collapse of the Roman Empire? Why? • Why do you think the Barbarian attacks had such a significant impact on the collapse of the Roman Empire?