The rise of Constantinople, the persistent invasions of barbarians, and internal rot all contributed to the fall of Rome in 476 AD AnswerParty On!
Aureus of Augustus (1st century)
Decline of the Roman Empire
Ancient Rome portal
Ancient Rome was a Italic civilization that began growing on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants (roughly 20% of the world's population) and covering 6.5 million square kilometers (2.5 million sq mi) during its height between the first and second centuries AD.
The theme of the decline of the Roman Empire was introduced by one of the most influential modern historians, Edward Gibbon, in his widely read The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776). There is ongoing historiographical debate about what actually happened to the Roman Empire in the 4th–5th centuries. Many theories of causality have been explored and most concern the disintegration of political, economic, military, and other social institutions, in tandem with barbarian invasions and usurpers from within the empire. Gibbon was not the first to speculate on why and when the Empire collapsed. "From the eighteenth century onward," American scholar Glen W. Bowersock has remarked, "we have been obsessed with the fall: it has been valued as an archetype for every perceived decline, and, hence, as a symbol for our own fears." The story remains one of the greatest historical questions, and has a tradition rich in scholarly interest. In 1984, German professor Alexander Demandt collected 210 different theories on why Rome fell, and new theories have emerged since then.
The decline, seen in retrospect, occurred over a period of four centuries; while some modern historians question the significance of the date, the final dissolution of the Western Roman Empire is widely recognized as occurring on on September 4, 476, when Romulus Augustus, the last Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, was deposed by Odoacer, a Germanic chieftain. One reason was that Julius Nepos, the emperor recognized by the East Roman Empire, continued to live in Dalmatia, until he was assassinated in 480. The Ostrogoths who succeeded considered themselves upholders of the direct line of Roman traditions. (The Eastern Roman Empire was going through a different trajectory as it declined steadily after 1000 AD to 1453 with the Fall of Constantinople to the Turks.) Many events after 378 worsened the Western empire's situation. The Battle of Adrianople in 378, the death of Theodosius I in 395 (the last time the Roman Empire was politically unified), the crossing of the Rhine in 406 by Germanic tribes, the execution of Stilicho in 408, the sack of Rome in 410, the death of Constantius III in 421, the death of Aetius in 454, the second sack of Rome in 455, and the death of Majorian in 461 are emphasized by various historians. A recent school of interpretation argues that the concept of "fall" points backward, not forward, and says the great changes can more accurately be described as a complex transformation.
Late Antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages, in both mainland Europe and the Mediterranean world. Precise boundaries for the period are a matter of debate, but historian of the period Peter Brown proposed a period between the 2nd and 8th centuries. Generally, it can be thought of as from the end of the Roman Empire's Crisis of the Third Century (c. 235 – 284) to the re-organization of the Eastern Roman Empire under Heraclius and the Muslim conquests in the mid-7th century.
The Roman Empire underwent considerable social, cultural and organizational change starting with the reign of Diocletian, who began the custom of splitting the Empire into Eastern and Western halves ruled by multiple emperors. Beginning with Constantine the Great the Empire was Christianized, and a new capital founded at Constantinople. 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. The resultant cultural fusion of Greco-Roman, Germanic and Christian traditions formed the foundations of the subsequent culture of Europe.
Western Roman Empire
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization, Western lifestyle or European civilization, is a term used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, belief systems, political systems, and specific artifacts and technologies that have some origin or association with Europe. The term has come to apply to countries whose history is strongly marked by European immigration, such as the countries of the Americas and Australasia, and is not restricted to the continent of Europe.
Western culture is characterized by a host of artistic, philosophic, literary, and legal themes and traditions; the heritage of Celtic, Germanic, Hellenic,Jewish, Slavic, Latin, and other ethnic and linguistic groups, as well as Christianity, which played an important part in the shaping of Western civilization since at least the 4th century. Also contributing to Western thought, in ancient times and then in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance onwards, a tradition of rationalism in various spheres of life, developed by Hellenistic philosophy, Scholasticism, humanism, the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment. Values of Western culture have, throughout history, been derived from political thought, widespread employment of rational argument favouring freethought, assimilation of human rights, the need for equality, and democracy. Historical records of Western culture in Europe begin with Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Western culture continued to develop with Christianization during the Middle Ages, the reform and modernization triggered by the Renaissance, and with globalization by successive European empires, that spread European ways of life and European educational methods around the world between the 16th and 20th centuries.]citation needed[ European culture developed with a complex range of philosophy, medieval scholasticism and mysticism, and Christian and secular humanism. Rational thinking developed through a long age of change and formation, with the experiments of the Enlightenment, and breakthroughs in the sciences. With its global connection, European culture grew with an all-inclusive urge to adopt, adapt, and ultimately influence other cultural trends around the world. Tendencies that have come to define modern Western societies include the existence of political pluralism, prominent subcultures or countercultures (such as New Age movements), and increasing cultural syncretism - resulting from globalization and human migration.
Tremissis depicting Flavius Julius Nepos (474-480),
the last Emperor of the Western Court