- from Roman Empire
For centuries after the rule of its first emperor, begun in 27 B.C., the Roman Empire was the most powerful state in the ancient world. But beginning in the third century, fierce tribes of people the Romans called barbarians invaded the empire. (To the Romans, anyone who was not Roman and did not speak Latin was a barbarian.)
Roman armies were unable to stop them. The western emperors lost their power, and this part of the empire slipped away, piece by piece.
Finally, in A.D. 410, barbarians called Goths stormed Rome, destroyed its buildings, and carried away its valuables. Not long after, the Romans were forced to give up control of Britain, Gaul (France), and Spain. The final blow came in A.D. 476, when a barbarian named Odoacer declared himself king of Italy, ending the Western Roman Empire.