Decline of Roman Empire - Background In the third century...

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Background: In the third century A.D., Rome faced many problems. They came both from within the empire and from outside. Only drastic economic, military, and political reforms, it seemed, could hold off collapse. A Century of Crisis A. End of the reign of the emperor Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 161–180) marked the end of two centuries of peace and prosperity, known as the Pax Romana. B. rulers that followed in the next century had little or no idea of how to deal with the giant empire and its growing problems. As a result, Rome began to decline. Rome’s Economy Weakens Economic Problems A. Hostile tribes outside the boundaries of the empire and pirates on the Mediterranean Sea disrupted trade. B. Having reached their limit of expansion, the Romans lacked new sources of gold and silver. C. Desperate for revenue, the government raised taxes. It also started minting coins that contained less and less silver. D. It hoped to create more money with the same amount of precious metal. However, the economy soon suffered from inflation, a drastic drop in the value of money coupled with a rise in prices. E. Agriculture faced equally serious problems. 1. Harvests in Italy and western Europe became increasingly meager because overworked soil had lost its fertility. 2. years of war had destroyed much farmland. 3. Eventually, serious food shortages and disease spread, and the population declined. Military and Political Turmoil A. By the third century A.D., the Roman military was also in disarray. B. Over time, Roman soldiers in general had become less disciplined and loyal. C. They gave their allegiance not to Rome but to their commanders, who fought among themselves for the throne.
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  • Fall '16
  • Mario Alvarez
  • empire

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