Fall of the Western Roman Empire

decline of the Roman Empirefall of the Roman Empirefall of Romecollapse of the Western Roman Empirefallcollapse of the Roman Empiredecline of the Western Roman Empirecollapsedeclinefall of the Western Empire
[[File:Roman Republic Empire map.gif|thumb|Animated map of the Roman Republic and Empire between 510 BCE and 530 CEwikipedia
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Western Roman Empire

Western EmpireWesternWest
The Fall of the Western Roman Empire (also called Fall of the Roman Empire or Fall of Rome) was the process of decline in the Western Roman Empire in which the Empire failed to enforce its rule, and its vast territory was divided into several successor polities. He challenged the notion that Germanic barbarians had caused the Western Roman Empire to end, and he refused to equate the end of the Western Roman Empire with the end of the office of emperor in Italy.
The Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476, and the Western imperial court was formally dissolved in 480.

Goths

GothicgothDeewan Lal Chand
Irreversible major territorial loss, however, began in 376 with a large-scale irruption of Goths and others.
The Goths (Gut-þiuda; Gothi) were an East Germanic people, two of whose branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Western Roman Empire through the long series of Gothic Wars and in the emergence of Medieval Europe.

Gothic War (376–382)

Gothic WarGothic War of 376–382Gothic Wars
Irreversible major territorial loss, however, began in 376 with a large-scale irruption of Goths and others.
Between about 376 and 382 the Gothic War against the Eastern Roman Empire, and in particular the Battle of Adrianople, is commonly seen as a major turning point in the history of the Roman Empire, the first of a series of events over the next century that would see the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, although its ultimate importance to the Empire's eventual fall is still debated.

Roman Empire

RomanRomansEmpire
The Roman Empire lost the strengths that had allowed it to exercise effective control over its Western provinces; modern historians mention factors including the effectiveness and numbers of the army, the health and numbers of the Roman population, the strength of the economy, the competence of the Emperors, the internal struggles for power, the religious changes of this period, and the efficiency of the civil administration.
Shortly after, the Migration Period involving large invasions by Germanic peoples and the Huns of Attila led to the decline of the Western Roman Empire.

Late antiquity

late antiqueancientlate
While the loss of political unity and military control is universally acknowledged, the Fall is not the only unifying concept for these events; the period described as Late Antiquity emphasizes the cultural continuities throughout and beyond the political collapse.
Migrations of Germanic tribes disrupted Roman rule from the late 4th century onwards, culminating in the eventual collapse of the Empire in the West in 476, replaced by the so-called barbarian kingdoms.

Romulus Augustulus

Romulus AugustusRomulusAugustulus
By 476 when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustulus, the Western Roman Emperor wielded negligible military, political, or financial power and had no effective control over the scattered Western domains that could still be described as Roman.
His deposition by Odoacer traditionally marks the end of the Roman Empire in the West, the end of Ancient Rome, and the beginning of the Middle Ages in Western Europe.

Migration Period

barbarian invasionsGreat MigrationsGreat Migration
However, he did give great weight to other causes of internal decline as well and to the attacks from outside the Empire. He challenged the notion that Germanic barbarians had caused the Western Roman Empire to end, and he refused to equate the end of the Western Roman Empire with the end of the office of emperor in Italy.
The Migration Period was a period that began as early as 300 AD in which there were widespread migrations of peoples within or into Europe during the decline of the Roman Empire, mostly into Roman territory, notably the Germanic tribes and the Huns.

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Decline and Fall of the Roman EmpireHistory of the Decline and Fall of the Roman EmpireThe Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Since 1776, when Edward Gibbon published the first volume of his The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Decline and Fall has been the theme around which much of the history of the Roman Empire has been structured.
The six volumes cover the history, from 98 to 1590, of the Roman Empire, the history of early Christianity and then of the Roman State Church, and the history of Europe, and discusses the decline of the Roman Empire among other things.

Sack of Rome (410)

Sack of Romesacked Romesack Rome
As one convenient marker for the end, 476 has been used since Gibbon, but other key dates for the fall of the Roman Empire in the West include the Crisis of the Third Century, the Crossing of the Rhine in 406 (or 405), the sack of Rome in 410, and the death of Julius Nepos in 480.
The previous sack of Rome had been accomplished by the Gauls under their leader Brennus in 390 or 387/6 BC. The sacking of 410 is seen as a major landmark in the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

Crossing of the Rhine

crossed the Rhinecrossedcross the Rhine
As one convenient marker for the end, 476 has been used since Gibbon, but other key dates for the fall of the Roman Empire in the West include the Crisis of the Third Century, the Crossing of the Rhine in 406 (or 405), the sack of Rome in 410, and the death of Julius Nepos in 480.
The crossing transgressed one of the Late Roman Empire's most secure limites or boundaries and so it was a climactic moment in the decline of the Empire.

Germanic peoples

GermanicGermanic tribeGermanic tribes
Heavy mortality in 165–180 from the Antonine Plague seriously impaired attempts to repel Germanic invaders, but the legions generally held or at least speedily re-instated the borders of the Empire.
With the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, a series of Germanic kingdoms emerged, of which, Francia gained a dominant position.

Alaric I

AlaricAlaric I king of the VisigothsAlaric the Great
In 391 Alaric, a Gothic leader, rebelled against Roman control.
He is best known for his sack of Rome in 410, which marked a decisive event in the decline of the Roman Empire.

Henri Pirenne

H. PirennePirennePirenne hypotheses
From at least the time of Henri Pirenne scholars have described a continuity of Roman culture and political legitimacy long after 476.
Traditionally, historians had dated the Middle Ages from the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, a theory Edward Gibbon famously put forward in the 18th century, and which is inexorably linked to the supposition of a Roman "decline" from a previous classic ideal.

Crisis of the Third Century

crisis of the 3rd centuryCrisisconfusion in the Imperial seat
As one convenient marker for the end, 476 has been used since Gibbon, but other key dates for the fall of the Roman Empire in the West include the Crisis of the Third Century, the Crossing of the Rhine in 406 (or 405), the sack of Rome in 410, and the death of Julius Nepos in 480.
The empire survived until 476 in the West and until 1453 in the East.

Bagaudae

BacaudaeBacaudic
Later Welsh legend has Maximus's defeated troops resettled in Armorica, instead of returning to Britannia, and by 400, Armorica was controlled by Bagaudae rather than by imperial authority.
In the later Roman Empire, bagaudae (also spelled bacaudae) were groups of peasant insurgents who arose during the Crisis of the Third Century, and persisted until the very end of the western Empire, particularly in the less-Romanised areas of Gallia and Hispania, where they were "exposed to the depredations of the late Roman state, and the great landowners and clerics who were its servants".

Battle of Adrianople

Adrianople*Adrianople (378)
In 378 Valens attacked the invaders with the Eastern field army, perhaps some 20,000 men – possibly only 10% of the soldiers nominally available in the Danube provinces – and in the Battle of Adrianople, 9 August 378, he lost much of that army and his own life.
Part of the Gothic War (376–382), the battle is often considered the start of the process which led to the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century.

Barbarian kingdoms

barbarian kingdomGermanic kingdomsBarbarian territories
Barbarian kingdoms had established their own power in much of the area of the Western Empire.
These kingdoms were foederati of the Roman Empire, and even after the fall of the Western Roman Empire in AD 476 they continued to at least nominally consider themselves subject to the Eastern Emperor.

Principate

early EmpireRoman PrincipateAugustan
The new supreme rulers disposed of the legal fiction of the early Empire (seeing the emperor as but the first among equals); emperors from Aurelian (reigned 270–275) onwards openly styled themselves as dominus et deus, "lord and god", titles appropriate for a master-slave relationship.
Often, in a more limited and precise chronological sense, the term is applied either to the Empire (in the sense of the post-Republican Roman state) or specifically the earlier of the two phases of 'Imperial' government in the ancient Roman Empire, extending from when Augustus claimed auctoritas for himself as princeps until Rome's military collapse in the West (fall of Rome) in 476, leaving the Byzantine Empire sole heir, or, depending on the source, up to the rule of Commodus, of Maximinus Thrax or of Diocletian.

Battle of the Frigidus

Battle of FrigidusCivil War of 392–394clashed
They were defeated and killed at the Battle of the Frigidus, which was attended by further heavy losses especially among the Gothic federates of Theodosius.
The defeat of Eugenius and his commander, the Frankish magister militum Arbogast, put the whole empire back in the hands of a single emperor for the last time until the final collapse of the Western Roman Empire (not considering the purely nominal claim of Zeno in 480).

Rump state

rumpremnant staterump states
Rome abandoned the province of Dacia on the north of the Danube (271), and for a short period the Empire split into a Gallic Empire in the West (260–274), a Palmyrene Empire in the East (260–273), and a central Roman rump state.
* After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, various generals defended regions of the former empire until they were conquered by various Germanic kingdoms.

Roman emperor

EmperoremperorsEmperor of the Roman Empire
He challenged the notion that Germanic barbarians had caused the Western Roman Empire to end, and he refused to equate the end of the Western Roman Empire with the end of the office of emperor in Italy.
Though during his own lifetime Odoacer maintained the legal fiction that he was actually ruling Italy as the viceroy of Zeno, historians mark 476 as the traditional date of the fall of the Roman Empire in the West.

Britannia

BritainBritannia BarbaraWest Britannia
Theodosius had to face a powerful usurper in the West; Magnus Maximus declared himself Emperor in 383, stripped troops from the outlying regions of Britannia (probably replacing some with federate chieftains and their war-bands) and invaded Gaul.
After the Roman withdrawal, the term "Britannia" remained in use in Britain and abroad.

Theodosius I

TheodosiusTheodosius the GreatTheodosian
In 395, after winning two destructive civil wars, Theodosius I died, leaving a collapsing field army and the Empire, still plagued by Goths, divided between the warring ministers of his two incapable sons.
Neither ever showed any sign of fitness to rule, and their reigns were marked by a series of disasters.

Rome

RomanRomaRome, Italy
On hearing that Rome itself had fallen he breathed a sigh of relief:
After the fall of the Western Empire, which marked the beginning of the Middle Ages, Rome slowly fell under the political control of the Papacy, which had settled in the city since the 1st century AD, until in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870.

Alans

AlanAlanicAlanian
They were exploited by corrupt officials rather than effectively resettled, and they took up arms, joined by more Goths and by some Alans and Huns.
As the Roman Empire continued to decline, the Alans split into various groups; some fought for the Romans while other joined the Huns, Visigoths or Ostrogoths.