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ROMAN COLLAPSE Mosaic of Plato’s School Third Century Anarchy • Instability based on succession • devastating plague decimates population • economic malaise • Germanic tribes • Persian resurgence • loss of hope. Spiritual Upheaval • Gods, mystery religions and neoplatonism – mithraism • Christianity • religion in the empire – change from an emotionless civic religion – search for spiritual fulfillment. Mithras (sun) slaying the bull (night) Internal Problems • Political breakdown – end of independence of cities – bloated bureaucracy, expensive army – constant assaults from external threats Internal Problems • Social breakdown – lack of connection to/with Roman Empire – decreasing urban middle class – rising banditry and loss of entire provinces – decrease in trade and use of road system – Appian Way Roman Roads Via Appia Economic Collapse • Money is silver or gold • Lack of revenue – only tax citizens – expansion of citizenship • Include less silver in each coin to “create” more money to pay army • Merchants raise prices • Hyper-inflation – 1000% inflation between 256 and 280 Rise of the Military • increasing external threats makes control of the military key to control of the Empire Rise of the Military • military gains an increasingly large role in selection of emperor • focus on defense stops construction in cities – aqueducts in 235 AD • 235-285 known as the period of the Barracks Emperors – 19 emperors, only 1 did not die violently. The Dominate • A series of strong emperors from the frontiers were successful in repulsing the Germans and Persians • regained lost portions of Gaul and in the East • these rulers changed the structure of the Empire into a more authoritarian state – court ceremonial – prostration, costume, make-up. Diocletian (284-305) • Produces stability • enlarges army – German invaders turned into soldiers. • Regiments society with caste system. Diocletian • two emperors – East and West, title is Augustus – each would have an assistant, title is Caesar • assistant and successor – known as the Tetrarchy • uses any tactic to preserve nation – price controls to combat inflation – persecution of Christians. Tetrarchy at time of Diocletian Diocletian’s division of the empire How are people living? • Slaves: 1 of 3 people is a slave • Employment: forced to have same job as parent to ensure economy would continue • Women: increased freedom, but except for widows, all still have lives controlled by men • Farmers – living at poverty level Peasant Survival 2% Produce for subsistence 12% Produce saved 6& for seed Payment in kind for tax/rent 20% 60% Produce sold for tax/rent Sold to buy goods for consumption Constantine (306-337) • Diocletian’s death - power struggle • founds Constantinople • dynastic state • legalizes Christianity. Crisis of the Fifth Century • Policies of Diocletian and Constantine delay destruction • East remains stronger economically • West faces economic exhaustion – remains agricultural – decrease in trade – no manufactured goods – aristocracy remains withdrawn from economy – inflation, population decline, increasing poverty. Crisis of the Fifth Century • Germans hired to fight Germans – revolts • Visigoths flee Huns – after being cheated, fight Romans, victorious at Adrianople (378), kill Emperor Valens • Visigoths under Alaric resume rampage – 406 recall of troops on Rhine to block Alaric – Vandals and others cross and occupy west – 410 Goths plunder Rome. Twilight of the West • Lost of Rome destroys Roman morale • continued pressure from east pushes Germans • Germanic peoples carve out own kingdoms in the west • Huns dominate central and eastern Europe • Rome only controls Italy – German generals actually run the country • 476 Odovacar deposes last emperor. The end of the Western Romans 476 CE Why did it end?
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