The decline of the Roman Empire refers to the societal collapse encompassing both the gradual disintegration of the political, economic, military, and other social institutions of Rome and the barbarian invasions that were its final doom. This slow decline occurred over an estimated period of 320 years which many historians believe finally culminated on September 4, 476 when Romulus Augustus, the last Emperor of the Western Roman Empire was deposed by Odoacer, a Germanic chieftain.

Many scholars maintain that rather than a definite “fall” or “collapse” of the Roman Empire, the changes can be more accurately described as a complex transformation.

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