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Section 6-5. Roman Decline. The Empire’s Problems. Political Instability Marcus Aurelius’ son, Commodus was mentally unstable and bankrupted the treasury.

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section 6 5

Section 6-5

Roman Decline

the empire s problems
The Empire’s Problems
  • Political Instability
    • Marcus Aurelius’ son, Commodus was mentally unstable and bankrupted the treasury.
    • This ushered in an era of instability during which Rome’s armies were busier fighting each other than protecting the borders from barbarians.
the empire s problems1
The Empire’s Problems

2. Economic Decline

  • Warfare disrupted trade and production of goods; destroyed farmland causing food shortages.
  • Because people were making less money and prices for goods were rising, the empire minted more coins
the empire s problems2
The Empire’s Problems
  • With more coins being minted, the percentage of gold and silver in each coin had to be cut, leading the coins to be worth less than they once were; this led to inflation- a rise of prices tied to a decrease in the value of money.
  • To keep the army fighting, the government had to pay them more and raise taxes on land owners.
unsuccessful reforms
Unsuccessful Reforms
  • Several emperors tried to stop the empire from spiraling out of control in the late 200s and early 300s AD.
    • Diocletian (r. 284-305 AD)
    • Constantine (r. 312-337 AD)
    • Theodosius (337- 395 AD)
      • Note: These reigns are approximate. Because of the dividing of the empire, several Caesars reigned at the same time.
unsuccessful reforms1
Unsuccessful Reforms
  • Diocletian (r. 284-305 AD)
  • Expanded the army to stop barbarian invasions.
  • Divided the empire into administrative sections (2 units, each with a sub emperor, known to historians as the Tetrarchy).
  • Edict of Prices- wage and prices freezes
unsuccessful reforms2
Unsuccessful Reforms
  • Constantine (r. 312-337 AD)
  • Continued Diocletian’s reforms
  • Moved the capital of the empire from Rome to Byzantium the city became known as Constantinople.
unsuccessful reforms3
Unsuccessful Reforms
  • Theodosius (r. 337-395 AD)
  • Divided the empire into 2 sections to make it easier to govern.
  • Western part: Roman Empire; Eastern part: Byzantine Empire
barbarian invasions1
Barbarian Invasions
  • Came to Italy for: warmer climate and better grazing land.
  • Often fought among each other, only unifying feature was language.
  • Visigoths:
    • most important group to hold control over Roman territory in the 400s AD
    • 410 AD-Alaric led his men into Italy sacking and capturing Rome.
barbarian invasions2
Barbarian Invasions
  • The Huns
    • From the steppes of central Asia
    • Romans combined with the Visigoths to fight the Huns off in 451 AD.
    • Plague and famine took their toll on the Huns and when Attila died in 453 AD, they retreated to Eastern Europe.
end of the empire
End of the Empire
  • Vandals sacked and plundered Rome in 455.
  • Franks and Goths divided Gaul among themselves.
  • In 476, the last Roman Emperor in the West, Romulus Augustulus was deposed by a German soldier named Odoacer, and he proclaimed himself king of Italy.