Topics: Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, Pope Pages: 3 (1273 words) Published: September 14, 2014
As noted in more detail in the SparkNote on the Fall of the Roman Empire, beginning in the middle of the 3rd century CE, the Roman Empire faced increasing Germanic tribe infiltration and internal political chaos. Romans set up generals as emperors, who were quickly deposed by rival claimants. This pattern continued until Diocletian (r. 284-305) rose to power in 285. He and Constantine (324-337) administratively reorganized the empire, engineering an absolute monarchy. Constantine the Great patronized Christianity, particularly in his new city Constantinople, founded on the ancient site of Byzantium. Christianity became the Roman state religion under Theodosius (r. 379-95). Germanic tribal invasions also proceeded, as did battles with the Sassanids in the East. From 375, Gothic invasions, spurred by Hun marauding, began en masse. Entanglement with imperial armies resulted in increased migration into Roman heartlands as far as Iberia. The Empire underwent a certain Germanization. After the death of Theodosius, the Eastern Empire followed its own course, evolving into Hellenized Byzantium by the seventh century. Repeated sackings of Latin Rome (410, 455), contraction of food supplies, and deposition of the last Western emperor by the Odovacar (476), ended any hope of recoveringPax-Romana in the Mediterranean basin. Gaul was controlled by a shifting patchwork of tribes. Heroic attempts of the Eastern Emperor Justinian (r. 527-565) to retake once-Roman Italy, North Africa, and parts of Gaul, were only temporarily successful, as western apathy, the tax burden the campaigns imposed, and Lombard invasions into Italy prevented any lasting gains beyond southern Italy. By 600 CE, Byzantium consisted of a sliver of North Africa, Nilotic Egypt, a few Mediterranean Islands, the southern Balkans and Thrace, as well as Anatolia and the Levant littoral. The Avar Khanate was well-established beyond the Danube, Franks occupied Germany and France, just as the Visigoths controlled...
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