The Economic Ruin of the Roman Empire

5 Jan

coffeeshopthinking

Throughout the centuries historians have tried to explain why the Roman Empire fell.  In 1984, Alexander Demandt, a German historian, provided a list of two hundred and ten reasons for Rome’s decline, including some entertaining ideas like gout, earthquakes, and female emancipation.  The overall view of most historians has been that Rome reached its zenith in the second century, started to decline in the third, and finally collapsed in the fifth.  Historians credit A.D. 476 with the official demise of the western empire.  Rome fell through a gradual process because poor economic policies led to a weakened military which allowed the barbarians easy access to the empire.

In the third century, Rome’s emperors embraced harmful economic policies which led to Rome’s decline.  First, the limitation of gold and silver resources led to inflation.  Monetary demand caused emperors to mint coins with less gold, silver, and bronze.  For example, Emperor Claudius…

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