The History And Decline Of The Roman Empire

"If," writes Roman historian Edward Gibbon in his A History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," a man were called upon to fix the period in the history of the world when the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus;" the period from 98 to 180 A.D. Yet in the next century the Roman empire crumbled. There were civil wars between 180 and 285 A.D. Of twenty-seven emperors or would-be emperors all but two met violent deaths. Meanwhile, the Persians raided to Antioch in the East and in Europe the barbarians broke through the frontiers. Huge tracts of country ...

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reasons can be seen as a cause to the powerful Empire's crumbling.

Financial burdens began to be imposed on the local magistrates and senators, and by the second century many cities had spent themselves into debt. There was the cost of repairing and maintaining the temples, public baths, and the like. There were also heavy expenditures for civic sacrifices, religious processions, feasts and for the games necessary to amuse the proletariat. The expenditure on the public spectacles kept mounting. A hundred million dollars a year is a moderate estimate of what was poured out on the games. There was likewise an attempt to combine subsidy to Italian farmers with charity to needy children. This was called the alimenta and was instituted by Nerva, who reigned from 96 to 98 AD. His system was to lend money at five per cent instead of twelve per cent to farmers with the proviso that the interest should be used to support needy children. Boys received seventy cents a day, and girls ...

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did not seem to mind. As often happens today, they were quite willing to resign their control of affairs and to let the government take care of them. The financial problems of the large empire slowly tore it apart.

Society as a whole fell to its knees as the empire began to sway and tumble. Government paternalism, bureaucracy, inflation, ever-increasing tastes for the brutal spectacles of the amphitheater and the circus were symptoms of spiritual uneasiness which had begun when political freedom was tossed away in the interests of peace, security, and materialism. There was the cancer of slavery and the equally dangerous practice of keeping a segment of the population permanently on ...

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Added: 2/2/2006 08:09:24 AM
Category: World History
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2214
Pages: 9

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