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The ten theories

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Barbarian Invasions
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Terms in this set (5)
For years the well-disciplined Roman army held the barbarians of Germany in check. However, when the Roman soldiers were withdrawn from the Rhine-Danube frontier in the third century A.D. to fight in civil wars in Italy, the roman border was left open to attack. Gradually Germanic hunters and herders from northern ad central Europe began to raid and take over Roman lands in Greece and Gaul. In A.D. 476 the Germanic general Odovacar overthrew the last of the Roman emperors and named himself ruler of Italy. From then on, Germanic tribal chiefs ruled the western part of the Empire. Roads and bridges were left in despair and many fields were left untilled. Pirates and bandits made it unsafe to travel. Cities declined and trade and business began to disappear.
Crimes of violence made the streets of the Empire's larger cities very unsafe. According to Roman historians there were 32,000 prostitutes in Rome during the reign of Trajan. Emperors like Nero and Caligula became infamous for wasting money on lavish parties, where guest ate and drank until they became ill. Most important, however, was the growth of the roman passion of cruelty. The most popular amusement was watching the gladitorial combats in the coliseum. The poor the rich and most frequently the Emperor attended these. As gladiators fought, vicious cries and curses were heard from the audience. One contest after another was staged in the course of a single day. Should the ground of the arena be too soaked with blood, it was covered over with a fresh layer of sand and the revolting performances went on.
they claim consuming excesssive amounts of lead killed off the leaders of Rome. They argue that since only the wealthy could afford to have lead pipes bring water into their homes and to cook with lead utensils their death rate was increased considerably. This theory however, is challenged by those who point out the fact that the Eastern Empire lasted longer than the western Empire.
Maintaining an army to defend the borders of the empire from barbarian attacks was a constant drain on the government. Military spending left few resources for other vital activities, such as providing public housing and maintaining the quality of public roads, and the aqueducts and fountains. In the latter years of the of the Empire frustrated romans lost their desire to defend the Empire. Thus the government found it necessary to rely increasingly on hired soldiers from the unemployed city mobs or foreign countries. Such an army was not only unreliable but very expensive. Thus the roman Emperors were forced to raise taxes frequently-the majority of were paid by businessmen and farmers which hurt the economy. Some historians believe that this helped lead to the fall of the empire.
During the last four hundred years of the empire, the scientific achievements of the romans were limited almost entirely to engineering and the organizations of public service. They build marvelous roads, bridges and aqueducts. They established the first system of medicine for the poor. But since the romans relied so much on human and animal labor, they failed to invent many new machines or find new technology to produce goods more efficiently. As a result of inferior production techniques, the Romans were unable to provide important goods for their growing population.