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::Fall of the Western Roman Empire

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Animated map of the Roman Republic and Empire
Animated map of the Roman Republic and Empire between 510 BCE and 530 CE
  Republic
  Empire
  Eastern/Byzantine Empire
  Western Empire

The Fall of the Western Roman Empire (also called Fall of the Roman Empire or Fall of Rome) was the period of decline in the Western Roman Empire in which it failed to enforce its rule, and its vast territory was divided into numerous successor polities. The Roman Empire lost the strengths that had allowed it to exercise effective control; modern historians mention factors including the effectiveness and numbers of the army, the health and numbers of the Roman population, the strength of the economy, the competence of the Emperor, the religious changes of the period, and the efficiency of the civil administration. Increasing pressure from "barbarians" outside Roman culture also contributed greatly to the collapse. The reasons for the collapse are major subjects of the historiography of the ancient world and they inform much modern discourse on state failure.{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}}<ref>e.g. Why Nations Fail. Acemoglu D and Robinson JA. Profile Books (Random House Inc.) 2012. ISBN 978-1-84668-429-6. pp. 166–175</ref>

Relevant dates include 117 CE, when the Empire was at its greatest territorial extent, and the accession of Diocletian in 284. Irreversible major territorial loss however began in 376 with a large-scale irruption of Goths and others. By 476, when Odoacer deposed the Emperor Romulus, the Western Roman Emperor wielded negligible military, political, or financial power and had no effective control over the scattered Western domains that could still be described as Roman. Invading "barbarians" had established their own power on most of the area of the Western Empire. While its legitimacy lasted for centuries longer and its cultural influence remains today, the Western Empire never had the strength to rise again.

The Fall is not the only unifying concept for these events; the period described as Late Antiquity emphasizes the cultural continuities throughout and beyond the political collapse.


Fall of the Western Roman Empire sections
Intro  Historical approaches  Height of power, crises, and recoveries  313\u2013376: Abuse of power, frontier warfare, and rise of Christianity  376\u2013395; invasions, civil wars, and religious discord  Military, financial, and political ineffectiveness: the process of failure  395\u2013406; Stilicho  408\u2013410; the end of an effective regular field army, starvation in Italia, sack of Rome  405\u2013418 in the Gallic provinces; barbarians and usurpers, loss of Britannia, partial loss of Hispania and Gaul  421\u2013433; renewed dissension after the death of Constantius, partial loss of the Diocese of Africa  433\u2013454; ascendancy of Aetius, loss of Carthage  455\u2013456; failure of Avitus, further losses in Gaul, rise of Ricimer  457\u2013467; resurgence under Majorian, attempt to recover Africa, control by Ricimer  467\u2013472, Anthemius; an Emperor and an army from the East  472\u2013476; the final emperors, puppets of the warlords  From 476; last Emperor, rump states  Legacy  See also  Notes  References  

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