E. Napp Objective: To identify and explain reasons for the fall of the Western Roman Empire Do Now: Multiple-choice questions from previous lessons

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The Fall of the Roman Empire

E. Napp
Objective: To identify and explain reasons for the fall of the Western Roman Empire
Do Now: Multiple-choice questions from previous lessons

  1. The language of the Romans, _________, was the basis of many modern European languages.

  1. Roman

  2. Spanish

  3. Latin

  4. Italian

  1. A similarity between Alexander the Great’s empire and the Roman Empire is that both

  1. Started as small republics

  2. Were undermined by new religions

  3. Adapted and spread Greek civilization

  4. Disintegrated after initial conquests

  1. Why did the Romans create a republic?

  1. Romans wanted a direct democracy

  2. Romans wanted a king to make all decisions

  3. Etruscan kings were selfish and did not care about the Romans

  1. Rome’s cultural contributions to Western civilization rested on

  1. Adaptation and preservation of Greek and other cultures

  2. Conquest of Teutonic tribes and outlying peoples

  3. Suppression of religious movements

  4. A long succession of brilliant emperors

  1. Which was a result of the other three?

  1. Increased invasions by Germanic tribes

  2. The decline of the Roman Empire

  3. Loss of power by the Roman Senate

  4. High taxes and economic chaos

6. One contribution of ancient Roman culture was the development of

(A) the concept of zero

(B) the process of making silk

(C) a republican form of government

(D) the printing press

What present-day countries were part of the Western Roman Empire?


What part of Europe did the Germanic invaders attack? ________________________________________________________________________________

What part of the Roman Empire was not attacked:


Cornell Notes Outline: The Fall of Rome (Add Key Words and Summaries)

The Key Words:

The Notes:

  1. Invasions

  1. Large groups of Germanic tribes invaded the western portion of the Roman Empire in the 5th century A.D. (C.E.)

  1. Romans referred to Germanic invaders as Barbarians

  1. Ethnocentric term for an inferior person/culture

  1. The Romans were too weak to stop them

  2. As a result of the German invasions, the empire ceased to exist in Western Europe

  1. But survived in the Eastern Mediterranean as the Byzantine Empire

  1. The Western Roman Empire ended officially in 476 A.D.

  1. Other Factors

  1. The Roman Senate lost all of its power

  1. The military deposed and installed mediocre emperors

  2. Weak, corrupt, and incompetent emperors

  1. Invasions disrupted commerce

  1. Shortages of food and supplies in cities

  2. Rising prices or inflation

  3. Unemployment

  4. Unable to collect enough taxes

  1. An empire so vast  difficult to maintain/control

  1. Comparing Roman and Han

  1. Similar problems

  1. Conquered vast territories

  1. Nomadic invaders

  2. Fighting invaders strained wealth and manpower of both empires

  3. Made poor by these wars

  4. Lower classes dissatisfied

  1. Corruption and weakness in governments limited power to correct any of these problems

  2. Tried to divide empires into eastern and western portions to make empires manageable

  1. But too little too late

The Summaries:

Working with Documents:
Document 1
Excerpt from The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon.
The decline of Rome was the natural and inevitable effect of immoderate greatness (large size)…The introduction … of Christianity, had some influence on the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. The clergy successfully preached the doctrine of patience; the active virtues of society were discouraged and the last remains of military spirit were buried in the cloister; a large portion of public & private wealth was consecrated to the …demands of charity and devotion …
According to the excerpt from Gibbon, what were two causes for the fall of Rome? Explain both.

Document 2
This excerpt, from The New Deal in Old Rome by Henry Haskell, blames the decline on the heavy taxation required to support the government expenses.
Part of the money went into … the maintenance of the army and of the vast bureaucracy required by a centralized government…the expense led to strangling taxation… The heart was taken out of enterprising men…tenants fled from their farms and businessmen and workmen from their occupations. Private enterprise was crushed & the state was forced to take over many kinds of businesses to keep the machine running. People learned to expect something for nothing. The old Roman virtues of self-reliance & initiative were lost in that part of the population on relief (welfare)…The central government undertook such far-reaching responsibility in affairs that the fiber of the citizens weakened.

  1. Why did the Roman government have large expenses? Describe the effects of high taxes.




Document 3
This excerpt, from Romans without Laurels by Indro Montanelli, blames the fall on “internal decay,” specifically that of the military.
Rome, like all great empires, was not overthrown by external enemies but undermined by internal decay. . . .The military crisis was the result of …proud old aristocracy’s…shortage of children. (Consequently) foreigners poured into the…Roman army [was] composed entirely of Germans…

  1. What does this author identify as the cause of problems in the military?

Document 4

4a. According to the map above, what was the cause of the fall of the Roman Empire?

4b. Was this a unified attack?


Task: What caused the fall of the Western Roman Empire?
List causes for each of the categories on the left using the documents and your studies of Ancient Rome Political – Social, Political, Economic, and Military.





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