Western Roman Empire

The fall of the Western Roman Empire was imminent after Orestes expelled the Rome emperor in August 475. Orestes occupied the vacant office for a period of two months. During that period of leadership, he was able to raise his son, Romulus, to the throne. As Romulus had not attained the majority age so that he can take the throne, his father continued to possess the real power over Rome. Though he had the supreme power and command on all activities in Rome, Orestes refused the Germanic forces’ request to allocate his land in Italy. He also refused to be granted a federal status. Indeed, during his reign, most German people had been accorded the federal status to mark the Western Roman Empire. This marked the fall of the Western Roman Empire, which was followed by the adverse activities in Rome.

In August AD 476, the Germanic forces, under their leader Odoacer, assassinated Orestes after he failed to comply with their regulations. Odoacer was a descendant of the Germanic Rugi or Sciri. Romulus, who had been given the ironic nickname Augustulus was dethroned and was exiled to an estate in Campania, where he lived on an annuity that was granted to him by Odoacer. Ideally, such developments ensured that the Western Roman rule ended. Although Julius Nepos had been exiled, he continued to exercise his leadership over Rome as he claimed the throne of the Western Rome with the support of the Eastern Roman Emperor. This authority was exercised from his place of exile in Salona in Dalmatia (Mitchell 116).

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However, it was not Odoacer’s intention to continue the Western Roman imperial rule and, by sending the imperial insignia and regalia to Constantinople, he was able to acknowledge the necessity of the influence of the Eastern Roman Emperor. The Germanic forces proclaimed Odoacer as their King and, like the Western Roman emperors of the former times he took up residence in Ravenna. It was vital to abolish the imperial rule in Western Rome in AD 476 because, in historical terms, it served a useful purpose in that the Federates, the Church and the Roman senatorial aristocracy had assumed public power both inside and outside the empire.

The Germanic mercenaries formed a vital component in the Roman army, in which the Roman army was a necessity in breaking and making of emperors. This was the case that characterized the normal putsch of 476 AD; however, it was followed by high demand of commodities and remuneration from the Germanic mercenaries. Their demand was that they wanted to have a settlement in Italy. As such, the mercenaries suggested that they would have to own a third of Italy’s land. The suggestion they provided was not unachievable and unreasonable as it may sound. In the past, the Roman soldiers had been demanding land as their reward. Most of the barbarian tribes had already been settled as federates. However, it is shocking to the Romans that the provincial system that is applicable to their territory will be applicable to Italy itself.

In addition, the economic and social order that characterized the society of the late antiquity and its political supremacy were not eliminated immediately; however, the society continued to be characterized by socio-economic disorder and the political absence of tranquility (Laet 246). The dethronement of the last Western Roman emperor did not usher in a revolution or represent a historical break between antiquity and the coming feudal society of the Italian Middle Ages. Indeed, centuries were needed for that feudal society to take shape. Initially, the Eastern Rome waived its claim to the restoration of an antique society in the Western Mediterranean to the end of the sixth century.

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Consequently, division of the Roman Empire was imminent after Theodosius the Great died. The Empire was divided into a Western and the Eastern half. This prompted for two differing legislative authorities. In an attempt to enhance uniformity in the law, the transmission that was accorded to each of the Emperor was significantly undertaken. However, the arrangements were not practically implemented, and sooner the legislation came to a halt. The Western Empire continued to recognize the effects of the Western provinces after the imperial line became extinct in 476 A.D. Towards the second half of the fifth century the Western Roman Empire finally came under the Germanic rule. The most significant pointers to the decay of the Western Roman Empire are to be seen in the incursions of the Germanic people and the military power they represented. In addition, it is also seen in the kingdoms they created on the Western roman territories and heir change-over from being an external to an internal factor in the fifth century the Western Roman Society. At the same time, the progressive weakening of those forces is still symptomatic of the society of antiquity in the Western Rome.

Odoacer’s followers settled in Italy largely peacefully, with only a brief flare of conflict with the indigenous inhabitants in 477-478. Odoacer allowed the Roman administrative machinery to function with a little interference. He was even able to extend Roman control to Dalmatia in present-day Croatia and was successful against the Vandals in Sicily. However, he was in turn deposed by the Ostrogothic king Theodoric, who invaded Italy in 489. After four years of struggle, Odoacer’s last stronghold was Ravenna. The besieged city fell on March 5, 493; 10 days later, on the Ides of March, Theodoric, in an apparent peacemaking gesture, invited Odoacer to a banquet, where he killed him. After Odoacer’s death, the Scirian identity disappeared from history.

The mercenaries united under the scepter of Odoacer were not sufficiently strong to defend Italy against the barbarians’ invasion. The Italians barbarians, Ostrogoths, were encouraged by the Grecian Sovereign that led the new Rome, the emperor of the East, under the command of Theodoric. The barbarians completed the conquest and retained possession of the Peninsula for sixty-four years, under the rule of eight successive kings. The new barbarians obtained a portion of land and slaves after their demands were met. However, they became weakened due to the salient climatic conditions that prevailed in the region. Ideally, the barbarians had passed from the harsh climatic conditions and attacks form the residents to the luxurious climatic condition of the region. This sudden change in the activities ensured that the barbarians were not able to undertake their activities with the utmost care. In 553, the barbarians were conquered and subdued by the Romans of the Constantinople. They had been despised as the successors of the same nation that their ancestors had vanquished.

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The Lombard’s’ invasion, in 568, was followed by the monarchical destruction of the esteemed Ostrogoths. Indeed, the Lombard’s were the most courageous, cruel, and proudest among the organizations that were from the Germany (Gibbon 56). However, their population was inconsiderable, and they rarely acknowledged the necessity of social ties in enhancing the unity. This was followed by subsequent changes in the leadership roles amongst the Lombard kings. Indeed, nearly six centuries elapsed since the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the renewal of the German Empire. The Empire had faced destructions from its opponents. For a long space of time, Italy had been oppressed and pillaged by barbarians of every denomination. They gratuitously led the country to demise, and believed that they were courageous. These activities had negative implications to the socio-economic performance of Italy in the end. Therefore, Italy was exposed to numerous outrages in which it took them substantially long time to meet the socio-economic demands of the population. The Lombard monarchy comprehended thirty dukedoms, although their number diminished under Charlemagne and his successor.

In conclusion, the fall of the Western Roman Empire led to the development of an amicable Italy empire. The socio-economic achievements of the region were enhanced by the developments that characterized the westernized Empire. Though the Roman Empire was faced by brutalism, the need for democratic leadership was the vital component to its success. In the current society, Italy is experiencing political stability that is enhanced by the socio-economic success. 

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