It was indeed the last territorial fragment of the Roman empire that was conquered when, in 1461, the tiny Byzantine statelet of Trebizond was absorbed into the Ottoman empire.
In that sense, it was indeed the capital of a Roman empire that fell to Mehmet II, the Turkish sultan, when in 1453 he stormed the great walls built by Theodosius’s grandson a thousand years earlier to gird Constantinople, the “Queen of Cities”.
Britain had remained free – and mysterious, dangerous, exotic. In the popular Roman imagination, it was a place of marsh and forest, mist and drizzle, inhabited by ferocious blue-painted warriors. Here was a fine testing-ground of an emperor's fitness to rule.
The curtain came down on the Roman empire, so it is usually claimed, on 4 September 476, when a young man by the name of Romulus Augustulus was formally stripped of the imperial purple by a Gothic chieftain and packed off to retirement near Naples.
Economic factors are also often cited as a major cause of the fall of Rome. Some of the major factors, like inflation, over-taxation, and feudalism are discussed . Other lesser economic issues included the wholesale hoarding of bullion by Roman citizens, the widespread looting of the Roman treasury by barbarians, and a massive trade deficit with the eastern regions of the empire. Together these issues combined to escalate financial stress during the empire's last days.
By approving Christianity, the Roman state directly undermined its religious traditions. Finally, by this time, Romans considered their emperor a god. But the Christian belief in one god — who was not the emperor — weakened the authority and credibility of the emperor.
Constantine enacted another change that helped accelerate the fall of the Roman Empire. In 330 C.E., he split the empire into two parts: the western half centered in Rome and the eastern half centered in Constantinople, a city he named after himself.
He may not have understood how the pagan cults, including those of the emperors, were at odds with the new monotheistic religion, but they were, and in time the old Roman religions lost out.
In September 476 AD, the last Roman emperor of the west, Romulus Augustulus, was deposed by a Germanic prince called Odovacar, who had won control of the remnants of the Roman army of Italy. He then sent the western imperial regalia to Constantinople.
Why did the Romans invade Britain in 43 AD? Their empire already extended from the Channel coast to the Caucasus, from the northern Rhineland to the Sahara.
Over time, Christian church leaders became increasingly influential, eroding the emperors' powers. For example, when Bishop Ambrose threatened to withhold the sacraments, did the penance the Bishop assigned him. Emperor Theodosius made Christianity the official religion in 390 C.E. Since Roman civic and religious life were deeply connected—priestesses controlled the fortune of Rome, prophetic books told leaders what they needed to win wars, and emperors were deified—Christian religious beliefs and allegiances conflicted with the working of empire.
The Roman empire in western Europe - a centralised superstate which had been in existence for 500 years - had ceased to exist, its single emperor replaced by upwards of a dozen kings and princes.
At the same time the Vandals took over the Roman territory in Africa, Rome lost Spain to the Sueves, Alans, and . A perfect example of how interconnected all the "causes" of Rome's fall are, the loss of Spain meant Rome lost revenue along with the territory and administrative control. That revenue was needed to support Rome's army and Rome needed its army to keep what territory it still maintained.
There is no doubt that decay—the loss of Roman control over the military and populace—affected the ability of the Roman Empire to keep its borders intact. Early issues included the crises of the Republic in the first century B.C.E. under the emperors and , as well as that of the in the second century C.E. But by the fourth century, the Roman Empire had simply become too big to control easily.
The decay of the army, according to the 5th-century Roman historian , came from within the army itself. The army grew weak from the lack of wars and stopped wearing their protective armor. This made them vulnerable to enemy weapons and provided a temptation to flee from battle. Security may have led to the cessation of the rigorous drills. Vegetius says the leaders became incompetent and rewards were unfairly distributed.