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The Roman Empire, in many ways, expanded past the point where it was able to effectively administer its territories. Administering such a massive empire led to a number of serious problems that included economic stagnation, political turmoil, and changes in the culture that had made conquests possible in the first place. The Emperor Diocletian acknowledged the difficulty to governing when he divided the empire into Eastern and Western administrative units. Even this step did not avert many of the central problems confronting the Empire, which faced consistent pressure from Germanic tribes from the late third through the fifth century A.D. In 476 A.D., the date traditionally given for the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, Germanic invaders under Odoacer captured Rome itself and removed the sitting emperor, Romulus Augustus, from the throne. The Eastern Roman Empire would persist for centuries, however.
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