Reflecting on the Pax Romana, what do
you think may lead to the fall of Rome?
After the Pax Romana. the
Roman Empire began to
The Decline of the Roman
After Pax Romana, the Western part of
Roman Empire declines for many
Weak leaders = weak Empire
Leads to division and then the collapse
of Roman Empire.
Defense of the Empire
costs too much
Economic difficulty and
the devaluation of Roman
Roman emperors continued to debase
• Debasing = backing the coinage up with less
Can’t discipline military,
it now includes invaders
Need more soldiers; people begin to fight for pay,
not their country.
Rulers hire corrupt soldiers who fight for a price
Leads to lack of military discipline and loyalty
Loss of faith in Rome
and the family http://www.utexas.edu/courses/romanciv/Romancivimages23/
The rich started to
spend their money on
products from the East,
making Rome weaker.
Population decline due
to a poor understanding
Notice anything out of the
ordinary in this picture?
Invasions on the borders
Invaders include Visogoths, Ostrogoths,
Franks, Huns, and Persians.
New political problems,
civil conflict and weak
• Pandemic strikes Rome and further depletes
• Military rivalries drained money and made
Romans enemies of each other.
Eeeek! Moral decay!!
People lose faith in Rome
Crime and unemployment increase
How do the Roman Emperors try
to prevent the decline?
• Rules from 284- 305
• Divides Empire into
East and West.
• He rules East from
the capital of
official to rule West
Back to the Christian Church
Christianity spreads rapidly through Mediterranean area
because of missionaries.
Romans become uneasy with Christianity gaining so much
Roman leaders like Nero and Diocletian begin to blame
Christians for any problems.
Many Christians become martyrs.
Martyr= person who suffers/dies for beliefs
**Christianity is sometimes named as a cause for the decline of
Rome because people’s loyalty was to God instead of Rome.
The Great Emperor Constantine
Takes throne in 313 AD.
During battle, had a vision of the
Took this as a sign and ended
persecution of Christians in the
Issued the Edict of Milan –
freedom of worship to all citizens;
Takes throne in 380 AD.
Declares Christianity official religion of
Outlaws other religions.
Closing Remarks of Christianity
Because of Constantine and Theodosius,
Christian Church became example of
Loyalty to church became more important
than loyalty to the emperor.
As Roman Empire loses power in West,
Church grows and becomes foundation for
Christian Church becomes unifying force in
The Huns and Visigoths
4th century, nomadic group called Huns
invade area north of Roman Empire.
The Visigoths in this area, flee to Empire.
Visigoths eventually dominate the Roman
military; Romans fear a takeover.
Romans attack Visigoths but lose.
The End of the Empire
476 AD Visigoths overthrow Rome and
end Western Roman Empire.
Eastern Empire survives another
thousand years – becomes Byzantine
Byzantium’s name becomes
Extra Credit Opportunity
Due Monday, February 5th. (15 points)
Write a two page essay comparing the Roman
Empire to the United States.
• You can take several approaches to this:
• Focus on the greatness and importance of both.
• Focus on the causes of Rome’s decline and how the
U.S. may be showing the same weaknesses.
• Focus on the governmental structure and it’s impact.
• Focus on the tactics of the military.
• Anything else that is reasonable and that you are
interested in researching (the impact of Christianity,
great leaders, etc.)
• MLA Format, citation of resources (should include
multiple resources), carefully proofread.
Which cause of DECLINE do you think is
the most important in causing Rome to