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HIST 2106 Early Medieval Europe The Fall of Rome

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  1. HIST 2106Early Medieval EuropeThe Fall of Rome

  2. Terms to Know • Aetius (433-454) • Attila the Hun (434 – 455) • Odovacer (475-493)

  3. Problems of the Late Empire • Army: half a million troops, but frontier forces poorly disciplined, equipped and paid • Taxation: Army costs soared; elites avoided taxes; inflationary economy • Disorder: civil war, banditry & invasion • Religion: Christianity’s pacifism, asceticism discouraged participation

  4. After the Sack of Rome • Constantine III (Britain), Theodosius’s son Honorius (Rome), Constantius (general), Ataulf (Visigoth): vie for control of the Empire • Burgundians settle West bank of Rhine (Worms) • Visigoths settle Gaul (Narbonne to Bordeaux) • Burgundians & Visigoths become federates • Ataulf and Constantius, in turn, marry Honorius’ sister, Galla Placidia, seeking co-imperial status

  5. Aetius & Empire • Aetius (433-454), Roman general raised by Huns, led Hunnish force against Galla’s regency & alliance with Eastern Empire • Ceded North Africa to Vandal kingdom of Gaiseric • Battled and moved Burgundian federates to Savoy Galla Placidia (395-423), mother & regent for Valentinian III

  6. The Huns

  7. Attila (434 – 455) & the Huns • By 434, their Empire stretched from South Russia to the Baltic • 450: Defeated by Aetius at Battle of Chalons • After Aetius’ death, Huns again menaced the Empire, demanding subsidies, taking plunder, sacking cities • Pope Leo I convinced Attila to leave Italy

  8. To 476 & the End of Rome • 455: Vandals sack Rome; seize prisoners • Ricimer: Roman general and power behind the throne rebuilds Rome, fights against civil unrest and Germanic invasions • 476: German legions demanded federate status and were denied; their leader, Odovacer (475-493), acclaimed as king and deposed Romulus Augustus • After 476: no new emperor is proclaimed in the West