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10 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
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Barbarian Invasions
Roman soldiers pulled from borders to fight civil wars in Italy. Germanic hunters & herders invaded, tribal chiefs ruled West, let roads & bridges go unrepaired, fields untilled, pirates & bandits made travel unsafe, cities declined, trade & business disappeared.
Decline in Morals & Values
Violence made streets unsafe. Leaders wasted money on lavish parties. Romans cruel - gladiator combat in Coliseum.
Environmental & Public Health Problems
Leaders killed off by consuming LEAD (rich could afford lead pipes to pipe in water, cooked with lead utensils)
Lead and the rich
Excessive Military Spending to Defend the Empire
Having Armies defend borders consumed gov't money. No money for public housing & roads. Romans fell out of Army, gov't hired soldiers = unreliable, expensive. Gov't had to raise taxes, hurt businessmen & farmers.
Inferior Technology
Romans built roads, bridge, aqueducts - excelled in engineering & public services. Established medicine to help poor. Relied on slaves/animal labor so no need to invent machines or automate production.
Inflation
After Marcus Aurelius, Romans stopped conquering -> stopped getting gold -> used less gold in coins -> inflation.
Political Corruption
No effective system for choosing new emperor. Senate, old emperor & emperor's private army (Praetorian Guard) & army argued over new emperor. PG gradually got full authority, new emperor bribed PG. Then began selling throne to highest bidder. Assassination, corruption ruled.
Rise in Christianity
Christianity made followers pacifists -> oppose war. Couldn't defend Rome from barbarian attacks. Money that could have been used to defend Rome used to build & maintain churches & monasteries.
Unemployment
Farmers on small farms couldn't use slaves like large farms. Large farms sold crops cheaper. Small farmers lost farms, flooded cities - emperor had to import grain to feed 100,000 unemployed in Rome alone.
Urban Decay
Rich had domus/house with marble walls/floors, glass windows. Poor lived in apartment buildings called 'islands' that covered an entire block. 44,000 apartment houses in Rome at one time. Upper floor apts cheaper, dangerous, crowded. Many homeless on streets.