Fall and Decline of the Roman Empire
Fall and Decline of the Roman Empire HIST 1010
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Myrissa Webb on Friday September 23, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 1010 at Auburn University taught by Dr. Bohannan in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 8 views.
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Date Created: 09/23/16
Decline and Fall of Roman Empire 9/22/16 18th century. Edward Gibbon wrote a book on the Fall and Decline of the Roman Empire. He wants to point the blame to Christianity and their 1) passive attitudes, 2) their unwillingness to fight for the empire, 3) and their faith instead of reason. People try to find a single thing that caused the fall of the Roman Empire. Historians today say that great empires don’t fall for a single reason. Most fo their problems were internal that weakened it making it vulnerable to outside forces. 1 Military. People started not wanting to serve in their army. They had to staart recruiting people, Foederati, mercenaries around Rome, but not Romans. Rome's failure to serve in its own army weakens their defense. 2 Politics. It was all in the hand of one emporor. There was no constiitutional way to choose the next one. Usually when an emporor died cival war would break out. Incessant fighting over how is going to be next. A really good emporo was Marcus Aureluus. He was a nice gue. His only fault was he put family over his position. So when it came time that he was about to die, he tapped his son, Commodus, for the next emporor. HE was wretched. HE started the reign of bad emporors. Next was Septimus Severus, his motto was "take coare of soldiers, scold the rest" 3 Economic. Economic interdependence. The empire was ecomomicaly and fundamentally two parts. The eastern half was more Greek and the Western half was more Latin. They used economies to try to unify them. Each half knew how to make certain goods so that they depended on each other. However, this was breaking down slowly. They became more self sufficent. The ecomony became unproductive because they didn’t have an abundance of slaves (because they stopped annexing) and they were expensive. The reason the empore lasted so long is because of its emperorrs. Diocletian came to power and was concerned. He takes major steps to fix Rome. He is desperately concerned with the commmaders out on the frontier. They abuse their power (war lords). He seperates civil authority and military authority. He divided the regions up into prefectures and had prefects ruled them. They were strictly civil and not military. He then tried to fix the systmen of choosing the next emporor. He chose a co-emporor (like a Vice President) to rule when he died. That way that person would already have the job training. He created a chain of commanders. Constintine, however, comes to power militarily, and this ruins Diocletians system of succetian. He made Christianity the Religion of the Empire. HE became a Christian (a cross in the sky) before the Milvian Bridge. He also moved the capital to Constantinople. Barbarian Invasion. Germanics were an inferior culture, to the Romans. Tacitus wrote a description of them. They were illiterate and organized in tribes. Rome was strict with how violent they were Comitatus, (Latin word for war band). When it was time to rage war the tribal chief would get all men and tell them to go to war. If they came back alive they could pilferage and loot everything. This was Vassalage. The chief would take care of them. Very personal. Beginning of Feudalism. Justice system. Two kinds: 1)Trial of Compurgation: swear to supernatural that it is truth 2) Trial by ordeal: burn your hand and two weeks later if it had healed you were innocent and if it wasn’t, you were guilty. Around 400, Barbarians came in and settled down. A little part stayed, Bizintine Empire (READ IN BOOK). Theodoric the Ostrogath came in like all Germanic did. They felt like they were Romans living there. This was the foundation of modern Europe