IX. The Slow Change


476 A.D. symbolically marks the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the conclusion of a process that includes significant changes from the 3rd century A.D. on, when the political power of Rome was used to cope with rebellions and uprisings of the peoples who were part of the Empire or with which it bordered. Among these transformations, one should include the adoption of Christianity as the official religion of the Empire by the Emperor Theodosius, in 380 A.D., which will have a major impact on society and in the future of the Empire. In the late 3rd century and during the 4th century, the villae reached their peak, becoming monuments with the great oligarchy as a symbol of prestige. In the beginning of the 5th century, on the West of the Empire, successive Germanic population movements were registered crossing the border and not only do they not submit to Rome, but they also rebel against it. The invasion of Augusta Emerita by the Alans in 409 A.D. didn’t lead into the abandonment of the populations of Lusitania of the lands they inhabited. In the following centuries, the lack of power and of a centralized government, which could agglutinate life on Lusitania, led to an uneven evolution of the territory.

Learn more about the slow change in an article by Enrique Cerrillo Martín de Cáceres and María Cruz Villalón, present in the exhibition catalog.

Estela de la Luna
Moon plate
6th – 7th centuries A.D.
60 × 50 × 6 cm
Museo Nacional de Arte Romano, Mérida