Italy 500 CE

In Italy, Roman administration and society remains largely intact under the rule of the Ostrogoths.

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What is happening in Italy in 500CE

This map shows Italy in the period immediately after the fall of the Roman empire in the west.

Although the peninsula did not experience many large-scale invasions in the troubled third century, new taxation (which Italy had virtually escaped during the first two centuries of the empire) hit Italy hard. In the fourth century, Italy was divided into provinces, putting it on the same administrative footing as the rest of the empire, and Italians lost their privileged status in the imperial administration and army.

In the fifth, despite several major barbarian invasions, Roman administration and society remained largely intact here. The emperors, by now resident at Ravenna, were more or less cyphers, with real power in the hands of German military commanders. Finally, in 476, the last emperor in the west was despatched to Constantinople.

A German tribe, called the Ostrogoths, invaded Italy in 489 and now rule here. They are Arian Christians, and a gulf of suspicion separates them from the Roman population, who are Catholics. Nevertheless, civil government is still in the hands of the Roman governing class, and Roman law and administration carry on much as before.

Next map, Italy 750 CE


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