After the death of Marcus Aurelius, in AD 180, Rome was plagued by various serious political struggles.
The Praetorian Guard (the emperor’s personal soldiers) chose or deposed emperors at will, and there were 60 emperors between AD 235 and 284 alone.
The empire fell into anarchy and was beset by famine, plague and invasion.
Diocletian (emperor form AD 284) tried to make the empire easier to govern by splitting it in tow – East and West. He asked Maximian to rule the west.
Diocletian retired ‘to grow cabbages’ at this palace in Dalmatia, and soldiers tried to choose a new emperor.
Constantine, commander of the Roman armies in Britain, defeated his rivals to become emperor. It is said that before the main battle, he saw a Christian cross in the sky. After his victory, he became Christian.
In AD 330, Constantine made Byzantium (modern-day Istanbul) his capital and called it Constantinople.
After Constantine’s death, the empire fell into chaos again. It became split permanently into East and West.
The Western empire suffered attacks from barbarians. Vandals invaded Spain and North Africa. Goths and Hus such as Attila attacked from North.
In AD 410, Visigoths led by Alaric invaded Italy and sacked (burned and looted ) Rome. In AD 455, Vandals sacked Rome again. In AD 476, the Western empire finally collapsed.