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The rise of the Eastern Empire The fate of Western Rome was partially sealed in the late third century, when the Emperor Diocletian divided the Empire into two halves—the Western Empire seated in the city of Milan, and the Eastern Empire in Byzantium, later known as Constantinople.
The division made the empire more easily governable in the short term, but over time the two halves drifted apart. East and West failed to adequately work together to combat outside threats, and the two often squabbled over resources and military aid.
As the gulf widened, the largely Greek-speaking Eastern Empire grew in wealth while the Latin-speaking West descended into economic crisis. Most importantly, the strength of the Eastern Empire served to divert Barbarian invasions to the West.
Emperors like Constantine ensured that the city of Constantinople was fortified and well guarded, but Italy and the city of Rome—which only had symbolic value for many in the East—were left vulnerable.
English historian Edward Gibbon, who wrote in the late 18th century CE, points to the rise of Christianity and its effect on the Roman psyche while others believe the decline and fall were due, in part, to the influx of 'barbarians' from the north and west. Edward Gibbon has famously argued in his The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire that Christianity played a pivotal role, in that the new religion undermined the social mores of the empire which paganism provided. 16 rows · The Roman Empire was split by Theodosius. The Visigoths sack Rome This was the .
The Western political structure would finally disintegrate in the fifth century, but the Eastern Empire endured in some form for another thousand years before being overwhelmed by the Ottoman Empire in the s. Overexpansion and military overspending At its height, the Roman Empire stretched from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Euphrates River in the Middle East, but its grandeur may have also been its downfall.
With such a vast territory to govern, the empire faced an administrative and logistical nightmare.
Even with their excellent road systems, the Romans were unable to communicate quickly or effectively enough to manage their holdings. Rome struggled to marshal enough troops and resources to defend its frontiers from local rebellions and outside attacks, and by the second century the Emperor Hadrian was forced to build his famous wall in Britain just to keep the enemy at bay.
Being the Roman emperor had always been a particularly dangerous job, but during the tumultuous second and third centuries it nearly became a death sentence.
Civil war thrust the empire into chaos, and more than 20 men took the throne in the span of only 75 years, usually after the murder of their predecessor.
The political rot also extended to the Roman Senate, which failed to temper the excesses of the emperors due to its own widespread corruption and incompetence.
As the situation worsened, civic pride waned and many Roman citizens lost trust in their leadership. When these Eurasian warriors rampaged through northern Europe, they drove many Germanic tribes to the borders of the Roman Empire.
The Romans grudgingly allowed members of the Visigoth tribe to cross south of the Danube and into the safety of Roman territory, but they treated them with extreme cruelty. According to the historian Ammianus Marcellinus, Roman officials even forced the starving Goths to trade their children into slavery in exchange for dog meat.
In brutalizing the Goths, the Romans created a dangerous enemy within their own borders. When the oppression became too much to bear, the Goths rose up in revolt and eventually routed a Roman army and killed the Eastern Emperor Valens during the Battle of Adrianople in A.
The shocked Romans negotiated a flimsy peace with the barbarians, but the truce unraveled inwhen the Goth King Alaric moved west and sacked Rome.
The Edict of Milan legalized Christianity inand it later became the state religion in These decrees ended centuries of persecution, but they may have also eroded the traditional Roman values system. Christianity displaced the polytheistic Roman religion, which viewed the emperor as having a divine status, and also shifted focus away from the glory of the state and onto a sole deity.
Meanwhile, popes and other church leaders took an increased role in political affairs, further complicating governance. The 18th-century historian Edward Gibbon was the most famous proponent of this theory, but his take has since been widely criticized.
While the spread of Christianity may have played a small role in curbing Roman civic virtue, most scholars now argue that its influence paled in comparison to military, economic and administrative factors. But during the decline, the makeup of the once mighty legions began to change. Unable to recruit enough soldiers from the Roman citizenry, emperors like Diocletian and Constantine began hiring foreign mercenaries to prop up their armies.
In fact, many of the barbarians who sacked the city of Rome and brought down the Western Empire had earned their military stripes while serving in the Roman legions.In Volume VI (Chapters LVII - LXXI), Gibbon ends his masterful history by charting the rise of the Turkish nation and the birth of the Ottoman Empire, which becomes an unstoppable force as it eventually captures the remains of the Eastern ashio-midori.coms: Sep 21, · A doc-drama covering the rise and the fall of the Roman world including the founding by Julius Caesar and the building of Rome by Nero.8/10(K).
Roman Empire Timeline Timeline Description: End of the Western Roman Empire and the fall of Ancient Rome The last Roman Emperor Romulus Augustus is defeated by the German Goth Odoacer. This is the start of the Dark Ages in .
16 rows · The Roman Empire was split by Theodosius.
The Visigoths sack Rome This was the . Kids learn about the decline and fall of Ancient Rome. The western Roman Empire fell in AD.
Sep 01, · Watch video · Beginning in the eighth century B.C., Ancient Rome grew from a small town on central Italy’s Tiber River into an empire that at its peak encompassed most of continental Europe, Britain, much of.