Sam Krupski / World History CP with Mr. Masterson / January 2nd, 2011 / Period #7 - Q2
The Fall of the Roman Empire - 6.4
Key Vocabulary/Terms:
  • Inflation - a drastic drop in the value of money coupled with the rise in price(s).
  • Mercenaries - foreign soldiers who fought in war for money.


Key People/Places:

  • Diocletian - a strong-willed army leader, became the new emperor at that time.
  • Constantinople - the city of Constantine.
  • Attila - a powerful chieftain that terrorized both halves of the empire with his relentless 100,000 soldiers.




A Century of Crisis


New rulers, as others died, had struggles and hardly a clue as to what to do with such a vast empire they had to control.



Rome’s Economy Weakens


  • Hostile tribes and pirates disrupted the daily life of Rome.
  • Inflation began due to the lack of gold and/or silver goods.
  • Trying to create coins using less of the semiprecious metals caused even more inflation(s).
  • Harvests became meager and bare.
  • War struggles tore across farmland and harvesting crops.
  • Also, disease spread between everyone at that time.


Military & Political Turmoil

  • Roman military was completely disarrayed and unorganized.
  • Soldiers began to be disloyal and even not follow the general's rulings.
  • Normal, every day citizens started to represent the place they lived, Rome.



Emperors Attempt Reform


Rome survived for another harsh 200 years, then began the fall and deterioration of the empire.


Diocletian Reforms the Empire

  • Diocletian became the new emperor and allowed absolutely NO personal freedoms.
  • Diocletian reformed and even changed the empire.
  • Split it into two halves - east and west. He controlled the east, whereas his co-leader led the west.
  • East was richer and wealthier than the west side.


Constantine Moves the Capital

  • Constantine, the co-leader that ruled the west, eventually ruled the east.
  • He moved the capital of that area to Byzantium.
  • This new capital was in between the east and west sections.
  • Eventually, he changed the name to Constantinople.



The Western Empire Crumbles


This took many years for the decline to actually happen.


Germanic Invasions
  • Germans lived on northern borders and was at full peace with Rome.
  • In A.D. 370 Mongol nomads (known as the Huns) moved into the region and brought complete wreckage and chaos.
  • Germans quickly fled to Rome and through Spain and North Africa, afterward.
  • In A.D. 410, German hordes overran Rome and beat it for three days.

Attila the Hun
  • The east had everything except for Constantinople.
  • The west had awful famine/disease that halted the overthrowing of that area.
  • In A.D. 435, Attila died though Germanic forces still ran.


An Empire No More


  • The final Roman leader was a 14-year-old boy named Romulus Augustulus; he died in 476 A.D.
  • Roman power was gone in the west.
  • Though, the eastern half actually flourished and grew stronger.