Segments in this Video

Decline of the Holy Roman Empire (03:36)


Three landmark events contribute to the fall of the Roman Empire: the battle of Adrianople, the pillaging of Rome, and the deposition of the last emperor. Two brothers, Valentinian I and Valens, rule the two sections of the empire in 376 AD.

Memory of Humanity (03:53)

Imagine the impact if the Roman Empire existed in modern times. Romans fortify their borders and organize their forces into mobile units. Valentinian I punishes any barbarians who try to attack; the emperor dies in the middle of the night from a brain hemorrhage.

Turning Point in History (04:20)

Valentinian I's death results in tragic consequences because no one can lead Rome effectively. After the Huns attack the Goths, the deposed people travel to the Roman Empire seeking asylum. Ignoring the emperor's edict, soldiers set up refugee camps and ransom off the Goths.

Battle of Adrianople (06:09)

If the Goths had surrendered to the Huns, the refugees would have been massacred or enslaved. The Barbarian attacks on the Roman Empire create individualized societies in Burgundy, France, England, Germany, and Italy. Gratian and Valens decide to suppress the Goth uprising; the refugees massacre the imperial army.

Rome Is Sacked (03:05)

Valens should have waited for the Western Army before attacking the Goths. Legend states that the emperor is burned alive in a farmhouse where he took refuge. Gratian returns to protect the West; the Goths attack the capital in 410 C.E.

No Longer Invincible (04:17)

The Roman Empire loses its provinces from Barbarian attacks. The Middle Ages begin and the Eastern portion of territory transforms into the Byzantine Empire. Political intrigues, military defeats, and the loss of civic virtue contributed to the destruction of Rome.

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Rome, 4th century AD. The Empire is now too vast to be ruled by a single man. For the first time, it is decided to divide it into two. Valentinian, an excellent general, rules the Western Empire. Valens, his brother, a far less talented man, governs the Eastern Empire. After receiving a delegation from the barbarian chiefs, Valentinian plunges into one of his habitual, violent rages. On this occasion, his body gives up: suffering a brain hemorrhage, he collapses and dies during the night. His son, Gratian, replaces him as head of the Western Empire at the worst possible moment. The Goths, driven from their own lands by the Huns, cross the Empire’s frontiers. Valens, Emperor of the East, brings his army home to Adrianople to confront the Goths. Rather than wait for reinforcements from the West, he decides to deal with the problem alone. Valentinian would have scant difficulty in slaughtering the Goth army, but Valens, because of his incompetence, presents the barbarians with an unlikely victory on a plate. The Romans will never manage to drive the Goths from their Empire. Worse, the Goths will sack Rome in 410 AD, and the Western Roman Empire will disappear in 476. A stroke is at the origin of the destruction of the most powerful empire ever known.

Length: 26 minutes

Item#: BVL145601

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

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