Fall of The Roman Empire
The Decline of the Roman Empire, also called the Fall of the Roman Empire, or the Fall of Rome, is a historical term of periodization for the end of the Western Roman Empire. Edward Gibbon, in his famous study The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776), was the first to use this terminology, but he was neither the first nor the last to speculate on why and when the Empire collapsed. "From the eighteenth century onward," Glen W. Bowersock has remarked, "we have been obsessed with the fall: it has been valued as an archetype for every perceived decline, and, hence, as a symbol for our own fears." It remains one of the greatest historical questions, and has a tradition rich in scholarly interest. In 1984, German professor Alexander Demandt published a collection of 210 theories on why Rome fell, and the number of new theories since then has only increased.
The traditional date of the fall of the Roman Empire is September 4, 476 when Romulus Augustus, the last Emperor of the Western Roman Empire was deposed by Odoacer. Modern historians question the relevance of this date, as the Ostrogoths who succeeded considered themselves as upholders of the direct line of Roman traditions, and noting, as Gibbon did, that the Eastern Roman Empire was going from strength to strength and continued until the Fall of Constantinople in 29 May 1453. Some other notable dates are the Battle of Adrianople in 378, the death of Theodosius I in 395 (the last time the Roman Empire was politically unified), the crossing of the Rhine in 406 by Germanic tribes after the withdrawal of the legions in order to defend Italy against Alaric I, the death of Stilicho in 408, followed by the disintegration of the western legions, the death of Justinian I, the last Roman Emperor who tried to reconquer the west, in 565, and the coming of Islam after 632. Many scholars maintain that rather than a "fall", the changes can more accurately be described as a complex transformation. Over time many theories have been proposed on why the Empire fell, or whether indeed it fell at all.