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Lecture 2: A Flawed Colossus Lecture on why the Roman Empire was destined to fail.

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Alicia Mc Kenzie

A Flawed Colossus September 13 , 2010 Rivers were the easiest way f transportation. A lot of the major cities are located on rivers  Easier to do everything  Also serve as boundaries o Rhine and the Danube*?  Early kingdoms and provinces were also bounded by rivers  Easiest way to mark boundaries between one state and the other Structural Flaws Distance and communication  So large that orders to be known from one side to the other o By ship o Took a number of weeks o Never 100% guaranteed the order would be received  Roads were built o So the army could travel Dependence on civitas-unit  Municipality as basic governmental cell o If the empire was a honeycomb, the civitas was a cell Expense of the army  The army was the biggest budget unit for the empire  Troops would be stripped from one area to another Complex and abuse-prone taxation system  To support the army was a large reason  Decurion's became tax collectors o Decurions were municipal chancellors*? Dominance of aristocracy in the West  States were larger o They had to much power  Could buy their way out of taxation  Bribe officials if they were breaking the law The Third Century Crisis External Threats  Persians, Rhine frontier, 'Barbarians', tribal units o Persians and the romans fought for centuries, perpetual war Inflation  Devaluate of the coinage  5% precious metal o Silver coins were made out of bronze, coated in silver Military Emperors  Effective military leader at the helm  The army started to produce emperors o Lower social levels than the aristocracy o Created instability Political Fragmentation  Gallic Empire (260-273) o Formed in response to Germanic peoples raiding into Gaul and Spain  Local regimes would fill the gap when the empire was not there Diocletian and the Tetrarchy  Four emperor system o 2 senior emperors (Augustus) o 2 juniors (Caesars)  Junior emperors married the daughters of the senior emperors  Equal responsibility among themselves o Senior emperors would have additional prestige o It is not in human nature to share power, therefore the tetrarchy fell into some difficulties  They reorganized the army and provinces  Divided civil and military authority  Divided the army into 2 groups o Watching borders o Putting out fires  Edict on Prices o Repealed because it didn’t work  Reform of coins o Re
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