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The Decline and Fall of the
Roman Empire
180 C.E. – 476 C.E.
Political and Social
 Large amount of land to control –
 Roman Empire gets too big
 Leadership problems - officials taking
bribes and don’t care about common
people (Poor Emperors). Lack of
good leaders willing/able to serve!
 Cheating on taxes and corruption of
the government = no money!!! 
Economic and Military Problems
A. Constant war destroys farmland =
less food for citizens = hunger
B. Plague kills many people
C. Inflation = distrust in money
D. Gov. hires Germanic warriors for
army = no loyalty to Rome = less
E. Constant invasions from tribes
III. Diocletian’s Reforms
A. Split the Empire into 4 parts but
really it became the West and the
B. He ruled over the East and
appointed a minor emperor to rule
the west = East becoming more
important already
C. Problems of RE too great to solve
even though his reforms were vast
IV. Emperor Constantine
A. Founded the new capital in the East in the
city of Byzantium and renamed it
Constantinople (Istanbul today)
B. Supported the East, let the West decay
C. Believed that Christian gods helped him
win a battle so he is the 1st Emperor to
allow and support Christianity in the RE
D. Christians no longer prosecuted =
the faith grows and spreads
V. Fall of Western Roman
A. Invaders from Gaul and Germany
such as the Visigoths + Vandals
B. Finally in 476 A.D., the last WRE
named Romulus Augustulus is
overthrown by a Germanic leader
named Odoacer
C. Roman Emperors never again rule
VI. Legacy and Lessons of
A. Allowed Greek culture to continue
B. Roman law = equality for all and
innocent until guilty = Rule of Law!
C. Use of Latin - medicine, plants and
D. Architecture – found in USA
E. Christianity as a world religion
F. Change from a voting republic to an
empire – can it ever happen to the