CRISIS AND REFORMS CRISIS AND REFORMS DIOCLETIAN ( )

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1 CRISIS AND REFORMS After death of Marcus Aurelius (the end of the Pax Romana) the empire was rocked by political and economic turmoil for 100 years Emperors were overthrown regularly by political intrigue or ambitious generals In a 50 year period, at least 26 emperors reigned with only one of them who died of natural causes CRISIS AND REFORMS Economic and Social Problems High taxes placed a heavy burden on small business owners and farmers Farmland was worn out Farmers left their farms and went to work for wealthy patricians on large estates and farming small plots for themselves Though technically free, these farmers were not allowed to leave the land DIOCLETIAN ( ) He divided the empire into 2 parts to make it easier to govern He kept the wealthy eastern half of the empire He appointed a co-emperor to rule the western provinces DIOCLETIAN ( ) Tried to save the empire by imposing a strong oneman rule To slow INFLATION, the rapid rise of prices, he fixed prices for goods and services Forced farmers to stay on their farms Forced artisans to stay in their trade and their children to follow their father in the trade This was done to maintain a steady supply of food and goods 1

2 CONSTANTINE Continued Diocletian s reforms Granted toleration for Christians Built a new capital at CONSTANTINOPLE, making the eastern part of the empire the center of power Eastern empire would prosper while Western empire would decline MIXED RESULTS The reforms revived the economy in the short run Increasing the government s power, held the empire together for another 100 years Reforms failed to stop long term decline Internal problems combined with outside attacks brought down the empire FOREIGN INVASIONS For centuries Rome had to defend against Germanic tribes east of the Rhine River and north of the Danube River When Rome was strong, the legions held back the invaders Some Germanic groups along the border learned Roman ways and became allies of the Romans IMPACT OF THE HUNS HUNS, a nomadic people from Central Asia, had reached eastern Europe in 350 forcing out the Germanic tribes The Visigoths, Ostrogoths, and other Germanic peoples crossed into Roman territory seeking safety Armed bands of Germanic tribes moved into Roman territories forcing the Romans to withdraw from Britain, Spain and France. IMPACT OF THE HUNS ATTILA THE HUN begins a campaign across Europe in 434 Christians called him the scourge of God Attila dies in northern Italy in 453 causing the Hun empire to collapse But the campaign forced more Germanic people into the Roman Empire 2

3 ROME DEFEATED Roman legions were not the fearful force they had once been Romans suffered defeats at the hand of the Germanic tribes Visigoths defeated the Romans at Adrianople in 378 Visigoths overrun Italy and plunder Rome in 410 Vandals take over Gaul, Spain and North Africa ROME DEFEATED In 476, ODOACER ousted the last Roman emperor Often referred to as the Fall of the Roman Empire In reality, most of the western Empire had been already lost and its power was gone SMALLER POPULATION STAGNANT ECONOMY Beginning in the 3rd Century C.E. men began to enlist simply to gain weapons and spoils Loyalty once again went to the generals not Rome Germanic tribes started to take over the borderlands Eventually Rome hired MERCENARIES, hired foreign soldiers, from the outlying provinces and Germanic tribes who didn t care about Rome 3

4 SMALLER POPULATION Combination of warfare, famine, a declining birthrate, and plagues reduced the population from 50 million to 30 million in 200 years Fewer people meant fewer soldiers for the army Fewer people meant lower tax revenues SMALLER POPULATION Armies were not large enough to defend the empire Roads and bridges were not repaired which slowed down trade Less money to buy food for the poor in the cities Fewer people meant fewer farmers to grow food Oppressive and authoritarian emperors lost the support of the people Corrupt officials undermined loyalty Frequent civil wars over succession to the throne Raised taxes to crippling levels and seized goods from citizens Had to pay for putting down rebellions in the provinces and defending the border, Many merchants, artisans, and public officials went broke The government forced people to serve the state by repairing roads and bridges without pay Revolts and internal conflict destroyed large areas of farming and killed many farmers Many farmers left their land to seek their fortune in the army Heavy taxes drove many farmers out of business Harvests declined causing food shortages in the cities Patricians buy or take abandoned farm lands building giant private estates Patricians leave the cities behind, taking their leadership, for the safety of their fortified estates 4

5 STAGNANT ECONOMY Use of slaves left few jobs for landless farmers and the city poor People had no money to buy goods, slowing down business Fighting in the provinces disrupted trade and tax collection The western empire could not rely upon trade, food, financial or military aid from the east With all the internal and external problems Rome faced, people s faith was shaken in the idea of Rome s superiority People began thinking only of their needs and security People began neglecting their responsibility of service to the empire The people felt that the decaying empire was not worth defending Different parts of the empire made alliances with those who would eventually conquer them ROMAN HERITAGE LANGUAGE Latin becomes the universal language of educated people Latin is the basis of the Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian (ROMANCE LANGUAGES) and parts of the English languages ROMAN HERITAGE LAW European and North and South American legal systems are based upon Roman traditions such as innocent until proven guilty UNITED EUROPE Many countries have tried to maintain unity through language, laws and Christianity European Union & European Economic Community are the latest attempts 5

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