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Ch 9: AP World History: The Fall of the Roman Empire

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons and learn about the events and personalities that brought about the fall of the Roman Empire. These lessons are just a portion of our AP World History course.

The Fall of the Roman Empire - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

In this chapter, the historical events and personalities associated with the decline of the Roman Empire will come alive through a series of engaging and easy-to-follow videos. You'll learn how the ancient Roman republic reverted to a monarchy under the reign of Julius Caesar's great-nephew, Gaius Octavius. You'll also find out about the imperial and military crises that led to dynastic upheaval and the interim dispersion of the empire.

As the chapter progresses, you'll be introduced to Constantine the Great, the empire's first Christian ruler, and meet the man behind Justinan's Code of Law. You'll also learn about the different events and theories used to explain the decline and fall of the once-great republic and empire. After you've finished watching the videos, you should be able to discuss:

  • How the Roman Empire began under Gaius Octavius
  • The key figures and periods associated with major Roman dynasties
  • How the 3rd-Century Crisis transformed the Roman Empire
  • The reign of Constantine the Great and the legitimization of Christianity
  • How and why the Roman Empire came to an end

Video Objective
The Early Roman Empire and the Reign of Augustus Caesar Describe the historical developments that led Octavian to become the first Emperor of Rome.
The Aeneid by VirgilDiscuss the historical and literary qualities of Virgil's Latin epic poem.
Augustus' Propagandists: Virgil, Horace and Ovid Explain how the poetic works of Vergil, Horace and Ovid contributed to Octavian's coup.
Emperors of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty Examine the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero.
The Year of the Four Emperors and the Flavian Dynasty Discuss the Roman Civil War and the Year of the Four Emperors, including Galba, Otho and Vitellius. Identify the members of the Roman Imperial Dynasty, including Vespasian, Titus and Domitian.
The Five Good Emperors of Rome and the Nervan-Antonine Dynasty Provide an overview of the Five Good Emperors of Rome and the Nervan-Antonine Dynasty.
Emperors of the Severan Dynasty Describe the linear reigns of Septimius Severus, Caracalla, Geta, Macrinus, Heliogabalus and Alexander Severus.
Division of the Roman Empire: Diocletian and the 3rd-Century CrisisDiscuss the 3rd-Century Crisis and the Tetrarchy of Diocletian.
The Conversion of Constantine and the Ascent of ChristianityExplain how the conversion of Emperor Constantine transformed Christianity from persecuted underdog to state religion.
Justinian's Code of Law and Roman Emperors after ConstantineSummarize the reigns of the few remaining emperors after Constantine, ending with Justinian and his Code of Law.
The Fall of RomeUnderstand why the Roman Empire came to an end, including its impact on European and world history.
St. Augustine's City of GodDescribe the importance of St. Augustine in Roman history, including his religious thoughts and legacy.
Early Christian Art: History, Characteristics and SymbolismExamine the development, style and symbolism of early Christian art.
Early Christian Architecture: Examples, History and Characteristics Examine the development and style and of early Christian architecture, and provide examples.

11 Lessons in Chapter 9: AP World History: The Fall of the Roman Empire
The Early Roman Empire and the Reign of Augustus Caesar

1. The Early Roman Empire and the Reign of Augustus Caesar

This lesson is about Augustus, the first emperor of Rome. In this lesson we follow Augustus's meteoric rise to power, the collapse of the Roman Republic, and the rise of the Roman Empire.

Augustus' Propagandists: Virgil, Horace and Ovid

2. Augustus' Propagandists: Virgil, Horace and Ovid

This lesson explores the role of poetry in Augustus' rise to power. We look at the contributions of Virgil and Horace, two poets brought to Augustus' aid by his friend Maecenas. We also look at the legacy of Ovid, a poet who seems to have raised the emperor's ire.

Emperors of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty

3. Emperors of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty

This lesson will explain the soap opera-like reign of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty. Highlighting the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero, it will shed light on the Roman Empire's first ruling dynasty.

The Year of the Four Emperors & the Flavian Dynasty

4. The Year of the Four Emperors & the Flavian Dynasty

This lesson will explore the famous Flavian emperors: Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian. It will explain how this dynasty came to power during the Year of the Four Emperors. It will also highlight the details of each emperor's reign.

The Five Good Emperors of Rome & the Nervan-Antonine Dynasty

5. The Five Good Emperors of Rome & the Nervan-Antonine Dynasty

This lesson will identify the emperors of the Nervan-Antonine Dynasty. It will explain the rule of the Five Good Emperors of the era, while also highlighting the rule of Commodus, the last of the dynasty's emperors.

Emperors of the Severan Dynasty

6. Emperors of the Severan Dynasty

This lesson focuses on the Severan Dynasty, which ruled Rome from 193 CE to 235 CE. Although the lesson explains the military and social reforms of this dynasty, it also highlights the outlandish personalities of the individual rulers.

Division of the Roman Empire: Diocletian & the 3rd Century Crisis

7. Division of the Roman Empire: Diocletian & the 3rd Century Crisis

This lesson will explain the 3rd Century Crisis of the Roman Empire. It will focus on the political, civil and economic problems that caused the crisis, and will also highlight the role of Diocletian in the resolution of the crisis.

The Conversion of Constantine and the Ascent of Christianity

8. The Conversion of Constantine and the Ascent of Christianity

This lesson will explain the conversion of Constantine and the ascent of Christianity. In doing this, it will highlight the Edict of Milan and the famous Council of Nicaea.

Justinian's Code of Law and Roman Emperors After Constantine

9. Justinian's Code of Law and Roman Emperors After Constantine

This lesson will highlight the emperors after Constantine. It will specifically explore the reign of Justinian and the famous Justinian code of law. It will also discuss the Apostate and the battle of Adrianople.

The Fall of Rome

10. The Fall of Rome

This lesson explains the gradual fall of Rome. In doing so, it highlights corruption, division, and outside invasion as the main reasons for the fall of the Eternal City.

Early Christian Art & Architecture

11. Early Christian Art & Architecture

In this lesson, you will explore the early styles of art and architecture of the young Christian religion. Then, test your understanding about art, history, and the development of Christian symbols with a brief quiz.

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