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2 The Disintegration of the West.docx

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University of Maryland
HIST 111
Janna Bianchini

The Disintegration of the West 1/30/13 Romulus Augustulus (boy Emperor) imprisoned by Odoacer and he takes the imperial crown - Europe plunges into Dark Ages as was the Fall of the Roman Emperor Constantine had become sole emperor of Eastern and Western Empire - But left it divided among three sons when died - From that point on, empire shifts back and forth by having multiple emperors at once or just one - Empire is increasingly Christian in 4 C b/c spread in efficient infrastructure and was well- organized (true even before Constantine conversion) th Life of Roman in 4 Century - Period of abundant wealth for elites, Senator class was 5 times richer than in first century o Gap between rich and poor considerably widened b/c period of unprecedented high taxation as a result of WAR  Rome was fighting the Persians in the East and Germanic Tribes in north/ west o Eastern Empire much more advanced intellectually, prosperity (wealth), and # of cities  Wealth was more evenly distributed across social spectrum o West had large parts that were economically underdeveloped and predominately agriculture  Wasn’t well equipped to handle high taxations, creation of western oligarchy of senatorial elites (birth and wealth sets them above) - Multiple emperors originated in need to fight war on two fronts, but E and W divided politically o Emperor Theodosius dies in 395 and left co- emperors in E and W and ends up being permanent and E and W emperors never politically reunited Western Empire - Barbarian- tribes of various diff ethnicities (many Germanic) that are each independent w/ own chief/ king (can be very powerful) o Tribes are not organized or unified, but are disruptive o “Barbarian” was Greek word for someone uncivilized (i.e. not Roman) - Huns- conquered anything came across, barbarian tribes driven further west as a result (refugee issue) o The Barbarian Invasions/ Migrations- Reach Roman frontier, less act of war as move into territory - Goths o Visigoths (Western Goths)- cross Roman frontier to escape huns (live in refugee camps b/c Romans didn’t want to help)  Frustration led to conflict, killed Roman emperor, Romans then allowed them to settle on their side of Danube  Alaric- King of the Visigoths,
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