Some'voluntary' taxes of the Roman Empire

Wordsworth, Emily Constance (1912). Some'voluntary' taxes of the Roman Empire. University of Birmingham. M.A.

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The decline and fall of the Roman empire were due even more to internal weakness than to external attack. The invasions of the barbarians did no more than deal the death blows to a system which was already in the last stages of disease. Of that disease the most conspicuous feature was financial exhaustion. The Romans throughout their history displayed a disastrous ignorance of economic causes and effects: their financial system was unwise in its administration, without foresight in its exactions, and suicidal in its expenditure. The landed and propertied classes which should have proved the mainstay of the empire were sacrificed to the maintenance of an idle city proletariat: in the later empire the burdens imposed on the men of moderate fortune were increased in order to support an elaborate bureaucracy and to satisfy the desire for luxury and display of the emperors and their entourage.
The result was a drying up of the sources of wealth, a decline in taxable material which was accompanied by an ever-increasing need of the resources to be acquired by taxation. The long continued wars caused a decline in prosperity – a depopulation and depoverishment which is remarked by all the writers of the fourth century - while the expenses of these wars, added to the expenses of the court and the bureaucracy, necessitated the exploitation of the propertied classes to the last possible penny.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.A.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.A.
College/Faculty: Faculties (to 1997) > Faculty of Arts
School or Department: School of Classics
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CB History of civilization
D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World


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