The Roman Empire at its largest extent covered approximately 6.5 million square kilometers of land mass. It had some 88,000,000 people within its borders. It political capital was the city of Rome in Italy. The Roman Empire is thought to have been the most powerful empire in the world with many countries falling under its invasion forces. It was ruled by a sole Emperor and a political Senate. Due to the vastness of the Empire and its great cultural, scientific and economic advances The Roman Empire has had a remarkable influence on the development of language, religion, architecture, philosophy, law, and forms of government in Europe. Its influences have extended beyond Europe to other countries due to the expansion of the European countries throughout the modern world.
The Divide of the Roman Empire
The Roman Empire began to crumble after it was divided into two territories the east and the west. This occurred in 395 AD. The current emperor Theodosius died leaving the empire to his two sons. Honorius took the West and Arcadius the East, but neither of these men were very strong leaders and they were not very interested in running and empire. Most of the work fell to their advisors. The surrounding countries were quick to notice that these new rulers were not as strong or dedicated as previous emperors and they began to take advantage of that. The Roman generals also took advantage as most were very ambitious.
One particular Roman General named Constantine III declared himself emperor at York, in what we now know as Great Britain, and marched the troops out of England and into France rallying the French Roman army to his side. His plan was to march on Rome and become the emperor of the empire. Unfortunately his move left the border of France unprotected and in January 409 AD, a lot of Alans, Vandals, and Sueves crossed the Rhine and came into the Roman Empire. They brought their families and settled in the country. Another ambitious general named Gerontius was sent by Constantine III to Spain to gather more troops. He instead declared himself emperor and amassed an army with the help of the Alans, Vandals, and Sueves. A battle ensued between the armies of Constantine III, Gerontius and a Roman army sent to meet them. Both Constantine III and Gerontius were killed and their armies taken to Rome to defend it against the Visigoths. This left England, Spain and France unprotected and there were taken over by the Germans. The Visigoths not only fought the Roman Empire, but in 410 AD they took the city of Rome and sacked it. They then marched on meaning to conquer Africa, but their leader died and they instead settled in southern France.
After these events other groups such as the Vandals fought and conquered various Roman territories such as Africa and the empire never regained control of them.
The Fall of Rome
The city of Rome was the political capital of the Roman Empire and was a very important city to the roman people. As the empire slowly disintegrated it become weaker and the power that it held over surrounding areas began to slip. The Empire was still divided into two sections the east and the west. The rightful leader of the Western Empire Julius Nepos was overthrown by his magister militum Orestes. Orestes installed his own son Romulus as the leader of the Western Empire. The eastern empire rulers continued to regard Julius Nepos as the rightful leader and helped him to send an army to invade Italy. Whilst the army defeated Orestes, unfortunately the leader of this army Odoacer proclaimed himself ruler of Italy and gained the support of the Eastern emperor Zeno. Odoacer gained popularity among the people of Italy and they formed a kingdom of their own in 493 AD. The city of Rome and the entire west was lost to the Roman Empire.