We learn about the Fall of the Roman Empire and the End of Roman Britain. Sophie and Ellie help tell the story of how the continuous barbarian attacks, corruption, overmighty generals and a manpower shortage led to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. We dive into the story of Britain to show what this meant for one part of the Empire. Then we go to Rome itself for the Sacking of Rome in 410AD. Sophie sings a song which brings to life the abandonment of Britain by Rome.
- Britain is now reconciled to Roman rule. The era of Boudicca is long past.
- Britain is heavily garrisoned with Roman soldiers to keep out the Irish, the Picts, the Angles and the Saxons.
- But the Roman Empire is getting weak.
- It is so big that the Empire is divided into a Western and an Eastern half. But this just fatally weakens it more.
- Corruption takes money away from funding the army
- Disease sweeps through the empire giving it a manpower problem
- The Roman Empire reacts by inviting tribes into the Empire to help defend it. But this just brings their enemies within the borders
- The Generals all want to be Emperor themselves. Their fighting weakens the Roman Empire
- Magnus Maximus takes the Roman legions to the continent to help make himself Emperor
- When he loses the legions are not replaced.
- Soldiers are taken off Hadrians Wall to defend Rome
- Then the final Roman soldiers go to help drive back the Goths who have stormed across the frozen River Rhine.
- Britain is defenceless. The Roman Emperor writes to the Britons to tell them that they are on their own.
- But none of this is enough to save the Western Roman Empire
- The Goth storm the city and sack Rome.
- After more and more attacks the Western Roman Empire is abolished.
If you’ve liked this episode you might like
Our story of how Hannibal tried to defeat Rome with his elephants
Our story of Boudicca’s doomed revolt against Rome
Or our exploration of the Roman Empire at the height of its power