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Lecture 6

MMW 12 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Chalmers Johnson, Odoacer, Serfdom

Making of the Modern World
Course Code
MMW 12
Janet Smarr

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****1/27/17 Lecture: Rome in Trouble
Thriving economy and culture
3-4th Centuries AD - increasing problems:
Waves of Barbarian invasion” and migration from outside the empire
They migrated because:
search for better land and climate for food production
wars among barbarian tribes
pressure from Central Asian Invaders
NOT: desire access and control seaports
1st wave: Vandals, Celts, and Goths fleeing Germans (3rd early 4th c)
Rome turn to the 1st wave as ally and buer against that were
coming next.
You fight for us and we’ll give you special trade deals.
Germans are being pushed by the Huns
2nd wave: Germans and Goths fleeing Huns (later 4th c)
In exchange for helping Rome fight the Huns
Reaction for Goth entering Roman territory —>NOT what
happened: intermarrying and merging into populations
Stiletto the Vandal as Roman general
Many “barbarians” served in the Roman army
Alaric, whose troops sacked Rome, had been trained by the Roman
Drawing in foreigns into the army —> become Roman citizen
there is a lot of land available and not cash
Money troubles:
Military expense —> bankruptcy of govt —> disastrous $$ policies
3rd c: debasing the currency —> economic collapse
Silver coin. Diocletian needed money. His alternative was to raise
4th c: raising taxes very high —> labor fight —> serfdom
Serfdom: Landowners collect taxes from their tenants; tenants (people
who live in the land) cannot freely move. They must pay their taxes to the
landowners. Beginning of a system called serfdom.
Lasted in Europe for ~1,000 yrs. (4th c - 14th c)
Further decentralizes gov’t power
Making a system of tax collection
It actually undermine the gov’t
Local landowners are collecting as much as they could
Became very powerful
Farmers couldn’t move to a better city
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