The Rise Of The Byzantine Empire

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After 450 years as a republic, Rome became an empire in the wake of Julius Caesar’s fall and the rise of its first emperor, Augustus. Initially, Rome was a prosperous, united empire. However, after becoming emperor in 284 AD, Diocletian soon realized that the Empire had grown too large for one to govern effectively. His solution was to divide power into a tetrarchy and share his title of emperor with Maximian, a military officer. Diocletian ruled the eastern half, which was greatly influenced by Greek culture, while Maximian ruled the western half of the Empire, which was mainly Latin. In addition, a pair of generals, Galerius and Constantius, was chosen as assistants and successors of Diocletian and Maximian (Ancient Rome). This system, however,…show more content…
He moved the capital from Rome to the eastern city of Byzantium and renamed it Constantinople. Yet 30 years after Constantine’s death, the Empire was once again divided. And in 476 AD, the Western Roman Empire ultimately collapsed and ended after a nearly 500-year run as the world’s greatest superpower (Andrews). On the other hand, the Eastern Empire, later known as the Byzantine Empire, further lasted and thrived for a thousand more years. Many military, economical, and political differences and factors contributed to the fall of only the Western Empire. The shortage of its military, the invasion and migration of barbarians, the over extension of its resources and boundaries, its unstable economy and infrastructure, great inflation and crippling taxation, corruption of its ruling class, and the lack of competent leaders all played a part in the Empire’s decline and fall that made a great mark in the history of human…show more content…
Generally, the East was more densely populated and urbanized for it consisted of older civilizations and the once-independent Greek city-states. It was also wealthier as it had more established trade routes, and valuable agricultural land that yielded high taxes. The East was also more developed and advanced. Its culture was rich and affluent, while science and technology also prospered (Lendering). The West, on the other hand, had its population spread out over a larger area and was less economically developed and urbanized. Moreover, the West had a large trade deficit with the East. The West purchased luxury goods from the East, but had no money to pay for in exchange. To make up for this shortage of money, the West’s government began producing more coins with less silver content, and this led to great inflation (The Fall of the Roman Empire). Constant wars and overspending also resulted in oppressive taxation that brought a large gap between the rich and the poor (Andrews). In addition, many of the wealthy even fled to the countryside to seek refuge from the taxmen. Moreover, the end of expansion of Rome in the second century eventually led to the shortage of the Empire’s supply of slaves and war treasures. And because Rome’s economy heavily depended on slaves, a labor deficit developed and the production of goods decreased. Barbarians also brought many problems to the Western Empire. These foreign tribes
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