What happened to the Romans after the fall of the Western Roman Empire?


In 476, the Germans overthrew the last Roman emperor and created a new kingdom in Italy under the leadership of the leader Odoacer. On this it is customary to end the centuries-old history of the great state.

But what happened to his nation? What was the fate of the once powerful people? Are Modern Italians Descendants of Ancient Romans?

Contrary to popular belief, the Roman Empire formally continued to exist

The intricate history of the last days of the state begins in 476, when Odoacer, the head of the German mercenaries, carried out a military coup in Italy. Thus, the Western Empire fell, and the Eastern, led by Emperor Zeno, continued to exist and threatened to brutally take revenge on the barbarians.

To avoid problems, Odoacer swore allegiance to Zeno, accepting the title of governor of Italy and vassal of Byzantium. At the same time, Julius Nepos remained the nominal emperor of Western Rome.

In 480, Odoacer got tired of being a Byzantine official, he captured the last western provinces, killed Nepot and declared himself king. The kingdom of Odoacer included the territories of modern Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia.

In response to the disobedience of Odoacer, Byzantium «set» on him a horde of one hundred thousand Ostrogoths led by Theodoric. Theodoric’s motive was simple, Zeno promised the Ostrogoths all of Italy, of course, also on vassal terms.

The war between the barbarians continued

In 535, in the new capital of Italy, the city of Pavia, a drama took place — the Ostrogothic queen Amalasunta was killed by conspirators. The emperor of Byzantium Justinian, under the pretext of revenge for her, tried to recapture the Apennine Peninsula from the barbarians.

The war was on

Roman culture entered a stage of protracted decline in the 3rd century. The main reasons for the fall are called the transition from a policy of conquest to defense, religious changes and an excess of slaves among the population.

The lack of trophy gold led to an economic crisis, the conversion to Christianity and a high proportion of slaves — to social contradictions. The empty treasury provoked the decline of military affairs, crafts, trade, and urban culture in general. And the weakness of the authorities — to separatism.

In a crisis, the Romans were forced to devote more time to agriculture, to leave the cities and settle in villages. In the 5th century, schools began to close. Literacy has become a rarity.

Wars finally finished off city life. Libraries were burned, architecture was destroyed, scientists were killed. From 476 to 550, Rome changed hands more than ten times. Southern Italy was completely devastated, Campania turned into a desert, the number of inhabitants of the peninsula was sharply reduced.


During the period of the barbarian kingdoms in Italy, the Roman administration, the old financial system, law and traditions were preserved. By the end of VI they were destroyed too.

The ancient Romans were assimilated by barbarian tribes and, centuries later, completely dissolved among the new conquerors. Modern Italians have nothing to do with the ancient nation.