Notes on the Roman Empire during Constantine, his successors and The decline of the Roman empire

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CONSTANTINE (312-337AD)•son of Contantius•became involved with a civil war• took army to Italy in 312 and came out victorious after battle at Milvian Bridge in Rome•Compromised with Licinius to share control•Converted to Christianity after he became after he became Augustus•All religions were allowed during his reign•Defeated Licinius when he began persecuting Christians, then became sole emperor•Built capital in 330 BC in modern day turkey called it ConstantinopleCONSTANTINES SUCCESSORS•After Constantine’s death his three sons divided the empire•Constantine II was killed in a battle and Constans and Constantius divided the empire between them•Great armies of Gaul and Danube almost got demolished during a battle between Constantius and a usurper•Julian, the successor of Constantius tried to unify the empire with paganism instead of Christianity•Died when trying to defend eastern borders against Persians•All successors of Julian were ChristiansTHE 5TH CENTURY INVASIONS•While roman emperors were worried about their empire and dynastic struggles (religion etc)•The Huns were invading western Europe•Since Huns fought on horse back, they easily defeated Germans•Romans allowed the Visigoths (western Germans) to refuge in the roman borders•Visigoths complained about the bureaucratic officials treating them badly•No action was taken•They rode in 378 and defeated imperial army (led by Valens at Adrianople)•Battles between Romans and Visigoths led to roman empire end in the west•Visigoths entered and destroyed Rome in 410•That brought a complete end to the western roman empire•In 476 Odoacer overthrew Romulus the last roman emperor and name himself king•Eastern part of empire survived until 1453 and is what we call Byzantine empireTHE DECLINE AND FALL OF Rome•Saint Augustine one of the first church father, wrote a book called “Rome’s fall in the city of god”•It was an analysis of Rome’s fall•Since then many writer wrote about the decline of Rome•There is no major reason why Rome declinedECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS•Rome suffered an economic crisis during the 2nd and 3rd centuries•This is one of the reasons the empire fell•The emperors did not have enough money to pay their soldiers who were needed to defend the borders•As a result there were harmful taxations and emperors could not provide peace needed•Slavery also played an important part of economic instability in the empire•The used of slaves prevented them from creating and coming up with new inventions, therefore there was little varied of goods produce in the empire•This led to little trade and commerce•Frequent civil wars broke down trade routes•by the middle of 3rd century these routes were almost no passable•in 250-270 a plague demolished the European population = to more poverty•in 285-305, Diocletian began controlling even the economic aspect of people’s livesotaxed heavilyoforced children to follow same route as father so that they would pay the same amountomany families became bankruptomany went to countryside and created self-sufficient manor farmsSUCCESIONS PROBLEMS•Civil wars were the bulk contribution the decline of the empire•These consumed valuable troops and gave Persians and Germans an opportunity to obtain roman territory•Trajan changed the rule that only roman or Italian candidates could become emperor•More candidates appeared•Rome got some of the best rulers•In order to end economic struggles, Diocletian began a system that stated that the next emperor would be chosen by merit instead of blood•Armies did not lose loyalty to leader•Showed it by being loyal to Diocletian’s successorsTHE BARBARIANS AND THE PERSIANS•Threats of invasions from the east was another factor of Rome’s inability to defend its western borders•The Parthians were not strong enough to control the roman empire but they constant threatened the Romans•Sassanians then took over the Parthian and extended religious freedom to Jews, Christians•Had sympathy to those who were persecuted by the Romans•Were often victorious over the roman troops in Syria, Palestine, Cappodicia and Mesopotamia.

Works citedAnatole, and John . People and Nations. Holt Rinehart, 1993.