Economic, Economic And Economic Growth Of The Roman Empire

Superior Essays
The extensive growth of the Roman Empire from 218BC to 133BC lead to the most extensive political, economic and social transformations in western civilization. From its origin as a city-state on the peninsula of Italy, to its rise as an empire covering much of Southern Europe, Western Europe, Near East and North Africa by 133BC, the Roman Empire spread its power and influence and became “the unchallenged mistress of the western Mediterranean.” By the latter part of the 2nd Century BC, this rapid expansion brought about severe political, economic and social problems. The vast expanse of area meant that the empire could no longer afford infrastructure, defence and administrative costs, which in turn severely weakened its administration and …show more content…
The Roman Senate decided certain matters without reference to the assembly of the people. While there was still considerable opposition to Roman power in the Mediterranean, the Romans suddenly found themselves as the only western super-power and the governing of this power would soon prove difficult for the former republica ways. With the administration of new provinces came the question of how to control and run them. The past history of leading monarchies and tyrants had proved that single man ruling did not work so instead the Senatus Populusque Romanus was developed. Theoretically, this system was designed to ensure that all political operations had the people’s best interests at heart. The system valued the sharing of political roles and no man having too much power for any length of time. With each new province, Rome created new praetorships to fill the roles. Mackay wrote “with the number of territorial provinces exceeding the annual number of praetors... the senatorial oligarchy would find it more and more difficult to deal with the administrative burden of providing the necessary governors.” As the number of required magistrates grew, and the power base expanded, more people gained auctoritas or more competition, leading to corruption and greed. As a solution, the Romans believed that someone needed to be in charge for a longer period of time. …show more content…
The expansion of empire led to an influx of wealth into Italy, much of it into the hands of the Roman élite, and the investment of this wealth in land and the exploitation of slaves captured during years of continual warfare gradually transformed the economy of much of central Italy. Hopkins wrote “huge numbers of people, values and resources flowed into Italy and the existing political structure had no way of absorbing or administrating it all.” However instead of this wealth benefiting all the classes, the majority went to the governing classes. These classes became wealthier while the poorer classes were exploited. As Rome became a dominant power throughout the Mediterranean the instability came not from outside its borders but from within. Many of the best agricultural lands in Italy were devastated from wars, as many Roman farmers had burned their fields and crops to prevent enemy soldiers from living off the land, and many wealthy opportunists had profited during the war and were no longer inclined to finance small farmers. Slavery fuelled the Roman economy, and its rewards for the wealthy turned out to be disastrous for the working classes. Alongside this growth of the large estates, was the shrinkage of the towns and a decline in the quality and extent of ancient civilisation. The cities began to wither away and urbanisation slowed down as the empire became more and more based around a

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    In the early 4th century, taxes were so steep that many families bankrupted and began to starve. By the end of the 4th century, many landowners were forced to abandon their land in order to pay their taxes. To counteract the fact that a large number of the empire was starving, Roman officials began to offer what was called “Bread and Circuses.” Officials would offer food and entertainment to the poor at no charge. The entertainment would consist of gladiator events and chariot races. This not only kept the poor contempt for the time being, but was also a good way to win votes in the political elections.…

    • 722 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Being one of the most influential empires in the world, Rome had expanded greatly, having control over many places. This power and authority did, however, have its downsides. Ironically, the factor that put Rome on the world stage also took them off of it. The empire was so thinly spread, it was hard to control every…

    • 1879 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    This caused the Empire to fall because without enough money, it wasn't able to support itself and its people financially or pay the many debts they had because the people kept buying and buying luxury goods they couldn't afford. Obviously, without money, a country/kingdom/empire etc. cannot survive, especially if it covers a vast amount of territory and peoples. High rates of unemployment also contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire. A huge cause of unemployment was slavery, believe it or not.…

    • 1190 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Sqr In Ancient Rome

    • 797 Words
    • 4 Pages

    The Roman Republic started in 133 BC but eventually fell in 27 BC. The Roman Republic fell because there were so many jobless citizens because their slaves did all the work so the economy started to go downhill from there. Armies gained a lot of fame from other empires and used it to fight against Rome and that started a Civil War in 80 B.C.E. Lastly, greed was considered to be the main factor in how the Roman Republic fell.…

    • 797 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    As their empire grew so did their problems, which eventually led too their downfall. There are several reasons as to why the Roman Empire fell apart , all in which was correlated to one another including social, cultural and political reasons. As the empire expanded over millions of miles of land, it became harder and much more expensive to maintain its army, who had to protect and defend its borders from barbarian attacks. These “barbarians” were Germanic tribes, one of the many were the Goths who made their way through the empires borders. Military spending was a huge burden on the empire, all their money was being spent on the army leaving all other responsibilities on hold such as public housing, aqueducts, and maintaining quality roads.…

    • 789 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Roman Empire Achievements

    • 1336 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Wealthy romans began to move to country side areas to avoid taxmen and to save the little they have left. Clearly, heavy inflation and taxes has increased the gap between rich and poor. Especially the poor suffered under the devastating economic situation. Unable to to trade with foreign vendors, thy were soon left behind economically causing unemployment of the working class. (http://www.tribunesandtriumphs.org/roman-empire/causes-for-the-fall-of-the-roman-empire.htm) Additionally to all the financial misery, earthquakes and…

    • 1336 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The Roman Empire was one of the largest empires in its time period. It had acquired wealth and power on three continents and constantly growing its reaches to the next. It was one of the first with a much advanced government, military, and economic capabilities in which the empire flourished with its combined Greek and Latin culture. But as its constant growth and expansion was its advantage it also became one its major disadvantage, a small city to vast empire which ruled over the Mediterranean was becoming troublesome to govern. Also, the birth of Christianity and Judaism and their respective growing of followers had consumed Rome bringing conflict in the empire.…

    • 1211 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    For this reason, and the fact that families could not pay their taxes, many left the area. This caused agriculture and the economy to decline significantly. Emperors weren’t succeeded lawfully, but by conquest. During this time, Rome’s leaders and armies began to fight against each other for power, leaving the Roman Empire weak and susceptible to…

    • 1079 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Both empires raised taxes to support their growing armies. As these taxes increased, the peasant population became unable to pay them. Since rich landowners in both of the empires were not required to pay taxes, many peasants fled to these landlords for protection. In Rome, this affected trade by making the tax on several products rise, creating inflation within the empire. According to document 1, China had to make changes in order to maintain the growing empire.…

    • 1745 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Hannibal’s invasion caused the destruction of their land (farmers burned their land to prevent Hannibal from living off of it during his stay there). Because most of these farmers did not have the money to restore their farmland, patricians bought out most of the land and combined them to make…

    • 806 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays

Related Topics