Fall of Rome (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: The Fall of Rome occurred as the result of internal strife and external attacks and resulted in a transfer of imperial power to Constantinople.
Summary of Event
The decline and eventual fall of the powerful Roman Empire can be traced back to severe problems beginning with the reign of Marcus Aurelius, a brutal persecutor of the Christians. His violent reign (r. 161-180 c.e.) experienced increased interior rebellions in addition to attacks on the empire’s borders. The subsequent reign of his brutal and incompetent son Commodus from 180 to 192 (when he was strangled) is regarded by many historians as the beginning of Rome’s long decline.
The third century c.e. saw increased tension between the opulent city-dwellers and the barely civilized peasants. Caracalla reigned from 211 to 217 and granted Roman citizenship to all freemen living in the Roman Empire, with the intent of imposing additional taxes on them. Severus Alexander ruled with “wisdom and justice” from 222 to 235, with his death beginning a period of great confusion throughout all Italy. Of his twelve successors who ruled in the next thirty-three years, all but one died a violent death, usually at the hands of the soldiers who had...
(The entire section is 1620 words.)
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