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the demise of rome

The Demise of Rome

Throughout this activity, there will be areas of the slide that you can click to move to the next slide. Click it already!!!

  • Continue!

This is a self guided activity. The power is in your hands!! Throughout the activity, you will see pictures or buttons. These are in place to give you the say on when you advance in the activity. When you are ready to move on, just click the button or picture and you’ll be on your way! Enjoy!



pax romana

During the First and Second Centuries CE*, Rome was at its most prosperous. The PaxRomana, or “Roman Peace”, encompassed the entire Mediterranean and stretched 3,000 miles from east to west. Many of its 50 million citizens would experience a way of life that would continue to inspire the world, even after its fall.




Sadly, like all great things, Rome would see its end. A troubling combination of plague, famine, political turmoil, and barbarian invasion brought Rome to its knees.

- A city affected by the plague is a terrible place to be. With so many people dying at once, the living often had difficulty finding places to put all the dead bodies.


all was not lost

Romans were a strong people! The grandest empire the world had ever seen was not built by a bunch of lightweights, after all! Intense reform and powerful, competent leaders would ensure Rome’s survival, at least in some form, for many more centuries.

All was not lost!!


what you will be learning about

The fall of Rome is a long, somewhat complex story, but very interesting. Particularly interesting are some of the Emperors of the later Roman Empire: Diocletian, Constantine, and Justinian.

In this activity, you will be learning about some of the difficulties surrounding the decline of the Roman Empire to provide a base from which you will learn about the 3 emperors mentioned above.

What you will be learning about…


rome third century ce
As you have learned, Rome reached the apex of its brilliance during the first two centuries of the Common Era. The Third Century, however, would see more troubling times for Rome.Rome, Third Century CE


Rome during the third century was a different beast. Famine wiped out crops, plague decimated the population, and political turmoil threatened to break the empire apart. It also didn’t help that the barbarian peoples of western Europe were becoming more troublesome for an army already stretched thin. Can you imagine the difficulty of defending a realm 3000 miles wide without the ability to communicate quickly?


emperor diocletian
Rome needed a true leader to weather the storm of the 3rd Century. This leader’s name was Gaius Aurelius ValeriusDiocletianus, or Diocletian. After crushing many of the rebellions plaguing Rome, Diocletian could turn his attention to defending the borders from barbarian attacks. In 293, Diocletian would reform the government in a way that would shape Rome forever. Emperor Diocletian


tetrarchy the rule of four

Tetrarchy: The Rule of Four

In 293, Diocletian would found the ‘tetrarchy’. A tetrarchy is a system of government in which there are four different rulers. This meant that the new government would have four emperors, two ruling over the eastern half and two ruling over the western half. Each half would have one major emperor, or Augustus, and one minor emperor, whom the Augustus would appoint to help him run his half of the empire. Each tetrarch would have his own capital city in a territory under his control.





A tetrarchy is a little more political than that (hint hint). Try again…..

Try again!!!

you ve got it

A tetrarchy is a system of government in which there are four rulers.

On to the other emperors

from diocletian to constantine
From Diocletian to Constantine

What were his contributions?

Diocletian’s reign as emperor marked a age of intense governmental and military reform. When his time as emperor came to an end, a brilliant new emperor, Constantine, would be there to take the empire forward.

emperors of the later roman empire
Emperors of the later roman empire

Emperor Justinian

“The Great”

(r. 527-565)


Third Century Rome saw its share of poor emperors, but the following centuries would see it share of rather competent leaders. You are going to learn about three such leaders today: Diocletian, Constantine, and Justinian. Just click on the picture of the bust to be taken to the information. When you are confident that you are familiar with the information, click the “Next” button in the lower right corner to go on to the quiz.

Emperor Diocletian (r. 284-305)

Emperor Constantine “The Great”

(r. 306-337)

constantine the great
Constantine “The Great”

Constantine ruled from 306 to 337. While Constantine was the emperor, a couple of key changes were made to the Roman Empire.

In 324, Constantine founded Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) and made it the official capital of Rome.

Under Constantine’s rule, the persecution of Christians was ended. Christianity was even made the official state religion of the Roman Empire.



In 324 CE, Constantine founded the city, Constantine, and used it as Rome’s new capital.

On to the other emperors


So sorry, that is incorrect.

What city did Constantine (hint hint) found?


emperor justinian the great
Emperor Justinian “the Great”

Justinian “The Great” ruled from 527 to 565. Jumping almost 200 years from Constantine to Justinian may seem a bit odd, but Justinian is a Roman emperor of particularly import. By the time Justinian had come to rule what was left of the Roman Empire, The Western half had already fallen to Germanic Barbarian invaders nearly 60 years prior. Justinian was a dedicated, strong leader who would solidify Roman rule in the eastern province for nearly 900 more years.

Justinian’s Contributions

justinian s contributions
Justinian’s contributions

Justinian made three major contributions to the glory of Rome:

He dedicated much of his rule to restoring the former glory of the empire. He would launch successful conquests on North Africa, Parts of Spain, and retook the Italian Peninsula. Though these lands wouldn’t be held for very long after Justinian’s death, their conquest was still a major accomplishment.

Justinian sought to solidify and systematize Roman law in the form of the Corpus IurisCivilis, or “Body of Civil Law.” Though Roman law had existed long before such a document, the document served to solidify the law as it was laid down. The Corpus IurisCivilis is a precursor to all modern civil law.

Justinian initiated a score of public works to beautify the city of Constantinople. Constantinople has seen its share of wars, but it was and is a truly beautiful city. One such example that stands today is the Hagia Sophia (click the name!).


the hagia sophia
The hagiasophia

The Hagia Sophia is a truly magnificent building. This is a modern depiction; the Sophia as it was when it was built did not have the minarets. The minarets are a later addition to the church, added by Islamic peoples when they conquered Constantinople and converted the church into a mosque.

Justinian’s Contributions


The Hagia Sophia is a beautiful example of the impact that Jusinian’s reforms had on the city of Constantinople

On to the other emperors

oh no that is not the right answer
Oh no! That is not the right answer.

Back to the question


Think “something a little more official”.


I’m not ready, get me out of here!!


This quiz will only be five questions, taken from all of the information given. Hopefully you are able to answer all five, but you should at least be able to get 4. If you don’t feel like you are ready to take the quiz, then click the button and it will take you back to the very first slide in the whole activity. If you think you are ready, click the ready button




CORRECT!! Keep up the good work



CORRECT!! Keep up the good work



CORRECT!! Keep up the good work



CORRECT!! Keep up the good work




you ve made it
You’ve made it!

That’s it. That’s all there is to it. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about great Romans like Diocletian, Constantine, and Justinian.

Thanks for stopping by!!!!!

(This information will be on the test)