The irony of the beginning and the end of the end of Rome is that the mythic man who built Rome, Romulus, is the name of the last emperor to rule over the state of Rome. Romulus Augustulus was the last emperor of Rome, his reign ending in 476 BCE when Flavius Odoacer deposed the emperor in the name of Constantinople (Illustrated History of the Roman Empire). This change is most often considered the moment that marks the end of ancient Rome and the beginning of the Western European Middle Ages (Schafer and Cohen 100). According to what is known about the last emperor, he was merely a teenager when his empire fell and was allowed to live, retired to the region of Naples with an annual pension. The power of the emperor had run so low that the new regime felt no threat from his living presence (Sass, Weigand, Pearson and Hattikudur 111).
The problem with considering the ‘Fall of Rome’ is in determining exactly when Rome fell. If Rome is considered a concept more than a place, the fall of the empire might not have actually occurred until 1453 when Constantinople fell. If it is considered a place, the fall happened much earlier than the date of the deposing of Romulus Augustulus and occurred when Emperor Constantine moved the capital from Rome to Bosporus in Constantinople in 330CE. The only reason that it is considered to have fallen in 476BCE is because the line of emperors was broken during that event, but the fall of the Roman Empire can be considered through a vast number of events which makes the Empire either a short event in history or a very long event in history, spanning more than a millennia (Cunningham and Reich 108).
Rome was a phenomenon that has yet to be truly rivaled since its time. At its height, the empire of Rome was spread from Hadrian’s Wall in Briton to the River Euphrates in Western Asia. According to Heather “interconnected fortress systems, strategic road networks, and professional, highly trained armies both