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The Romans saw themselves as having a highly advanced civilization, and they looked down on the cultures of the people who lived beyond the borders of their empire.

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Title: The Romans saw themselves as having a highly advanced civilization, and they looked down on the cultures of the people who lived beyond the borders of their empire.


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  • The Romans saw themselves as having a highly
    advanced civilization, and they looked down on
    the cultures of the people who lived beyond the
    borders of their empire.

3
Sprechen Sie Deutsches?
  • The people who lived northeast of the Roman
    Empire spoke languages similar to modern German.
  • These Germanic tribes included the Vandals,
    Lombards, Alamanni, Goths, Franks, and
    Burgundians.
  • Most of the tribesmen did not know how to read,
    but unlike the Huns, they tended to farms and
    were not nomadic.

4
War and Peace
  • By 100 CE, some Germans began to come into
    contact with Roman civilization at border
    garrisons.
  • They greatly admired the material aspects of
    Roman culture, such as arms, domestic wares, etc.
  • Small numbers were accepted for service with
    Roman legions, and small scale German-
  • Roman trade relations emerged involving cattle
    and slaves.

5
For the first century CE, they were not a real
danger to Rome
  • 1)Poverty ensured poor armor and weapons
  • 2) they had limited tactics, consisting of
    ambushes and a mass charge
  • 3) Divisions into numerous small tribes meant a
    lack of political cooperation
  • 4) There was no real, continual government beyond
    the clan.
  • In peacetime, tribal assemblies made up of all
    free men and warriors decided issues of peace and
    war. They would elect temporary war chiefs, whose
    legitimacy ended after hostilities.

6
Gradually, changes occurred in the tribes over
the next 250 years
7
Though kinship remained the primary bond, a new
kind of political formation evolved
  • Older, successful warrior chieftains took in
    younger aspirants,
  • who then raided and shared the booty with each
    other.
  • This arrangement produced a professional, more
    lethal warrior group,
  • where bonds were now between man and lord,
  • the latter signaling the beginning of a small
    aristocracy.

8
  • At the same time, as inter-tribe conflict
    increased,
  • spurred in part by the desire to partake of Roman
    material culture,
  • tribes began electing fewer, longer serving
    war-chiefs.

9
Romans recruit more Germans
  • Increasing numbers of Germans began to serve as
    Roman auxiliary forces just beyond the Roman
    borders, learning new tactics, acquiring better
    materials, coming to admire Roman society even
    more.

10
Here come the Huns!
  • In 376, the Huns forced the Visigoths (western
    Goths) to leave their homeland near the Danube
    River in modern Austria.
  • The Visigoths asked Emperor Valens permission to
    settle inside the Roman Empire.
  • Valens agreed, but charged the Visigoths unfair
    prices for food and other supplies.
  • When the Visigoths protested, Valens ordered them
    to leave.
  • The Visigoths refused, and formed an army.
  • Whatever Valens' reasons, he acted alone and
    engaged a massive Gothic force of an estimated
    200'000 warriors near Adrianople.
  • The result was a catastrophe.
  • Valens army was completely annihilated.
  • Valens himself perished in the battle (9 August
    AD 378). His body was never found.
  • The Visigoths pushed their way into the Roman
    Empire and settled down,
  • and the Romans gave them refugee status and let
    them stay.

11
Theodosius
  • Theodosius, a young Christian general of Spanish
    origin, was chosen to succeed Valens.
  • He ruled along with Gratian and Valentinian II,
  • By 388 both were killed by a rebellious general
  • Theodosius became the last emperor to rule both
    halves of the Roman Empire
  • Theodosius was able to regain the upper hand
    militarily,
  • by making treaties with both the Visigoths and
    the Sassanids.
  • In 391 AD Theodosius made it illegal to practice
    pagan religious rituals even in your own house.
  • Only Christianity (and to some extent Judaism)
    were now legal in the Roman Empire. By the time
    he died in 395 AD, he left a firmly Christian
    empire.

12
Weak Succession
  • En Theodosius died, he left the empire to his 2
    sons
  • Honorius took the West
  • Arcadius the East
  • This division of the empire into eastern and
    western parts was the decisive one,
  • which sent the two on separate ways.
  • When split in the past, the empire still
    functioned as a unit.
  • One of the two emperors had always enjoyed
    seniority over the other.
  • However, the accession of Arcadius and Honorius
    is widely seen as the division of the Roman
    empire into two completely separate parts.
  • But like other Emperors brought up in a royal
    court, neither of them was very good at ruling
  • Or even very interested

13
Step I to Disaster Stilicho
  • Most of Honorius' work was done by a Vandal named
    Stilicho. He had joined the Roman army and risen
    through the ranks to become and important
    general.
  • After three years of ever-increasing destruction
    of the West's imperial infrastructure, Honorius
    was persuaded to the arrest and execution of
    Stilicho, who despite his failure to stem the
    tide, had been an effective and skillful general
    of the legions....
  • The effect of Stilicho's downfall was disastrous.
    Stilicho's many German soldiers thereafter all
    went over to Alaric, King of the Visigoths, in
    order to avoid persecution by the Romans.
  • This left Honorius without any effective force to
    stand off the attack of Alaric in 410.

14
Back in Italy, the Visigoths were attacking.
  • The Visigoths had been living inside the Roman
    Empire since the battle of Adrianople in 378 AD.
  • But they had not been treated very well
  • the Romans had kept them from getting food or
    building decent houses.
  • Under their new king, Alaric (AL-arr-ick), the
    Visigoths demanded gold from Honorius.
  • When he said no, the Visigoths marched on Rome.
  • Alarics soldiers formed a siege around Rome.
    When the city was close to starvation, the Roman
    citizens opened the gates and allowed the
    conquering army to enter.
  • in 410 AD they took the city and sacked it (break
    stuff, take stuff, kill people and leave).
  • The Visigoths did not stay, but eventually
    settled in the south of France

15
Step II to Disaster Revolt
  • Roman generals also saw that the new young
    emperors were weak and so this was a good time to
    attack.
  • First, Constantine III, a general in
  • England, declared himself emperor
  • at York in 405 AD.
  • He took all the Roman troops out of
  • England, across the English Channel to
  • France, and he marched his army
  • through France, collecting the French
  • troops so they could all march on Rome.

16
  • Constantine III next tried to take over Spain.
  • He sent his general Gerontius to Spain,
  • but then Gerontius decided to make himself
    Emperor instead of working for Constantine III.
  • In order to get a good-sized army together,
    Gerontius seems to have agreed to let the Alans,
    Vandals, and Sueves into Spain, and they promised
    to help him out.

17
Step III to disaster Occupation
  • But while Constantine III was doing this, nobody
    was watching the border.
  • Many Alans, Vandals, and Sueves crossed the Rhine
    (which was frozen solid) and came into the Roman
    Empire.
  • There were no troops there to stop them, so they
    just travelled around France taking whatever they
    wanted.
  • Both women and men came, and they brought their
    children, so they seem to have meant to stay.

18
  • Then the Roman government sent out a general to
    stop Constantine III. Constantine III was killed,
    and so was Gerontius.
  • All of their soldiers (the ones from England and
    the ones from France, and maybe the ones from
    Spain too) were taken back to Italy to deal with
    the Visigoths.
  • This left England, France,
  • and Spain pretty much
  • open for Germans to take over.

19
  • While the empire continued in the East, Rome was
    attacked again
  • In 476 AD a Visigoth warrior named Odoacer Forced
    the emperor, Romulus Augustus, to abdicate his
    throne.
  • Odoacer chose not to
  • be Augustus himself,
  • nor to serve another
  • western Augustus, but
  • to be the viceroy of one
  • Roman emperor in
  • Constantinople.
  • The western Roman empire had ceased to be.
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