By Gregory Aldrete, Ph.D., university of Wisconsin, environment-friendly Bay

There to be a time once the Roman empire had established a prosperous civilization with a robust economy, reliable ruling and legal systems, a formidable army, and also a rich and unique culture. Castle just had it all in the 2nd century AD. However things were not claimed to continue to be the same.

You are watching: Why did the empire decline after the death of marcus aurelius in a.d. 180?

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The proposed dates for the fall of the Roman realm span 1600 years. (Image: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock)

The Roman realm was at its best in the second century AD. However, ~ a few centuries, this old superpower weakened, collapsed, and also finally disappeared. Left behind in the dark squalor of the center Ages, the human being seemed to have nothing continuing to be from the glory and sophistication. The seemed prefer the Roman empire had taken v it all those gold achievements and civilization.

It would certainly be how amazing to check out the collapse of among the most an effective empires in history is so mysterious that no chronicler seems come be quite sure around it.

This is a transcript from the video collection The roman inn Empire: from Augustus to the fall of Rome. clock it now, ~ above Wondrium.

Proposed days for the end of the roman Empire

The earliest date said for the please of the Roman empire is 31 BC, as soon as the battle of Actium happened. The advocates of this date think that the loss of note Antony through Octavian to be the beginning of the finish of the roman Republic. It was at this suggest that things began to unravel because that the roman inn Empire. One more suggested day is 27 BC once the Principate to be established. However, there is a consensus amongst historians that the move from Republic to realm did no hurt roman inn civilization. Quite contrary, it continued to thrive and also reached its top one century later on when the Five an excellent Emperors reigned.

It is the end of the regime of the Five good Emperors that marks the most agreed-upon day for the roman collapse. In 180 AD, the philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius died, and also his kid Commodus take it his place. The power of this mentally unable emperor is a clear exit from the golden e of Rome, as it brought about many disastrous changes in the empire.


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The fatality of Marcus Aurelius marked the downward motion of the roman inn Empire. (Image: Musée Saint-Raymond/CC BY-SA/3.0/Public domain)

A few decades after ~ the fatality of Marcus Aurelius, the famous dilemm of the third Century fight the empire. A succession of polite wars, it is not enough ability governments, economic crises, inflation, devaluation that the currency, and also repeated barbaric invasions plagued the empire.

The empire did stumble v the adhering to years, however the irreversible downward activity of the empire started in 180 AD. Most historians agree on this date; even the old Romans were conscious that this day was a far-ranging historical moment in the fate of their empire. About this major turning point, the Roman chronicler Cassius Dio said, “Our history now descends from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and also rust.”

This downward motion was temporarily halted with the regime of Diocletian and also other armed forces emperors that were able to finish the chaos, journey the barbarians out, and bring stability to the empire.

Learn much more about the roman Empire’s crisis of the 3rd century.

Constantine and His Conversion come Christianity


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Constantine’s conversion come Christianity may need to the roman inn Empire’s decline. (Image: NewTestLeper79/GFDL/Public domain)

The 4th century ad is the next frequently argued date because that the death of the roman inn Empire. At that time, civil wars broke out again. In 312, Constantine finished these polite wars and also converted to Christianity as the an initial emperor ever before to execute so.

Constantine had far-ranging influences throughout Roman background in at the very least two aspects. Christianity had a an individual and inward-looking nature that remained in sharp comparison with the outward and public emphasis of roman inn civilization. Constantine’s conversion resulted in the death of the roman Empire because the worths of Christianity replaced those of classical paganism.

Learn an ext about the Five an excellent Emperors.

Barbarian Invasions: A far-reaching Factor

Another element used as a emphasis of suggested dates is the invasion of barbarian tribes that gained more intensity during the 4th century. Among the most crucial events proposed together the possible date of the roman inn collapse is 378 AD. In the year, Goths defeated and killed Emperor Valens in ~ the fight of Adrianople. In ~ this time, it became clear that the empire might not resolve the threat of barbarians. The battle of Adrianople debunked the invincibility that the roman inn Army.

The next feasible date of the demise of Rome is 410 AD. King Alaric the the Visigoths struck Italy and also captured and also sacked the city that Rome. The physics damage can have to be insignificant, however the record of the capital shattered the picture of Rome, which was a turning point in the background of the empire. Another far-reaching looting the Rome taken place in 455 advertisement by Gaiseric and the Vandals. There was a third significant barbarian strike in 476 AD. During this invasion, Odoacer defeated Romulus Augustulus and declared himself as the King the Italy.

Common Questions about the roman Empire’s Collapse


Q: What to be the troubles that the roman Empire confronted during the third-century crisis?

A few decades after ~ the fatality of Marcus Aurelius, the famous situation of the 3rd Century struggle the roman Empire and also a sequence of civil wars, it is not enough ability government, financial crisis, inflation, devaluation the the currency, and repeated barbaric invasions plagued the empire.


Q: walk the Roman empire fall after the death of Marcus Aurelius?

The fatality of Marcus Aurelius had a severe affect on the Roman empire when his holy spirit unstable boy Commodus took his place. But Diocletian and other military emperors regulated to temporarily placed off the loss of Rome.


Q: What was Constantine recognized for?

Constantine convert to Christianity in 312 and also ended civil wars plaguing the roman Empire. He to be the first emperor that converted to Christianity and contributed to its spread.

See more: What Does Redshirt Mean In Basketball, And The Reasons Why Players Do It


Q: Why to be the fight of Adrianople important?

The Goths defeated and killed Emperor Valens at the fight of Adrianople. That marks the moment when it ended up being clear that the roman inn Empire could not address the risk of barbarians. The battle of Adrianople debunked the invincibility the the roman inn Army.


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