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The fall of the great Western Roman Empire with the rise of Odoacer

The fall of the Roman Empire was driven by many factors and solider, Odoacer is seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire.

Rome in the 5th Century CE

The fall of the Roman Empire was driven by many factors and solider, Odoacer is seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire.  Throughout the 5th century, the empire’s territories in western Europe and northwestern Africa, including Italy, fell to mixed raiding or indigenous peoples in what is sometimes called the Migration Period, also known as the Barbarian Invasions, from the Roman and South European perspective.

Also known as the period of the Barbarian Invasions, it was a time of heightened human migration in Europe from about 400 to 800 CE, during the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages.

The first migrations of peoples were made by Germanic tribes, such as the Goths, Vandals, Angles, Saxons, Lombards, Suebi, Frisii, Jutes, and Franks; they were later pushed westwards by the Huns, Avars, Slavs, and Bulgars.

Various cities were used as new administrative capitals. Successive emperors, starting with Constantine, privileged the eastern city of Byzantium, which he had entirely rebuilt after a siege.

Odoacer seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire

Odoacer, a soldier, came to power in the Western Roman Empire in 476 CE. His reign is commonly seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire. In 476, after being refused lands in Italy, Odacer and his Germanic mercenaries took Ravenna, the Western Roman capital at the time, and deposed Western Emperor Romulus Augustus. The whole of Italy was quickly conquered, and Odoacer’s rule became recognized in the Eastern Empire.

By 476 CE, Odoacer dethroned Emperor Romulus, the Western Roman Empire. Invading “barbarians” had established their own governments on most of the areas 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.

Four broad schools of thought exist on the decline and fall of the Roman Empire: decay owing to general malaise, monocausal decay, catastrophic collapse, and transformation.

It is important to note, however, that the so-called fall of the Roman Empire specifically refers to the fall of the Western Roman Empire, since the Eastern Roman Empire, or what became known as the Byzantine Empire, whose capital was founded by Constantine, remained for another 1,000 years.

Theodosius was the last emperor who ruled over the whole empire. After his death in 395, he gave the two halves of the empire to his two sons, Arcadius and Honorius; Arcadius became ruler in the east, with his capital in Constantinople, and Honorius became ruler in the west, with his capital in Milan, and later Ravenna.

Although the eastern half still survived with borders basically unchanged for several centuries (until the Muslim conquests), the Empire as a whole had initiated major cultural and political transformations since the Crisis of the Third Century, with the shift towards a more openly autocratic and ritualized form of government, the adoption of Christianity as the state religion, and a general rejection of the traditions and values of Classical Antiquity.

The Latin-speaking west, under bizarre demographic crisis, and the wealthier Greek-speaking east also began to split politically and culturally. Although this was a gradual process, still incomplete when Italy came under the rule of barbarian chieftains in the last quarter of the 5th century, it deepened further afterward and had endless consequences for the medieval history of Europe.

In 476, after being denied lands in Italy, Orestes’ Germanic mercenaries, under the leadership of the chieftain Odoacer, captured and executed Orestes and took Ravenna, the Western Roman capital at the time, deposing Western Emperor Romulus Augustus. The whole of Italy was quickly conquered, and Odoacer’s rule became recognized in the Eastern Empire.

Meanwhile, much of the rest of the Western provinces were conquered by waves of Germanic invasions, most of them being disconnected politically from the east altogether, and continuing a slow decline. Although Roman political authority in the west was lost, Roman culture would last in most parts of the former western provinces into the 6th century and beyond.

The Roman world underwent a gradual but a lot of time drastic series of changes and the historians belonging to this school often prefer to speak of Late Antiquity, instead of the Fall of the Roman Empire.

Credit to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fall_of_the_Western_Roman_Empire

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