How did the ancient Roman Empire perish
Under the splendor of Rome, there are ten thousand trillion dead bones. When Rome had to go through the crisis of the third century and had to go into decline, Diocletian the Great kept the empire in its existence by turning the empire into a prison of 40 million people, and ruthless oppression and tyranny became the hearts of all people in the empire. A knife on the top. Where there is oppression, there is resistance. Today, let us take a look at the unyielding resistance of the people under the Roman rule-the Bada Movement.
- The empire’s twilight: a long period of military anarchy
Just like everything will turn from prosperity to decline, the Roman Empire received the title of Augustus from Octavian, formally established the empire to the end of the Anthony dynasty. During the period, there was a rule of the first three heads and the last three heads, and also experienced Over the five sage emperors’ hard work.
Now, two hundred years have passed, and for an empire, all the contradictions accumulated within it have finally reached a critical point. And the explosion of all this opened the curtain with the end of an emperor’s life.
In 235 AD, the last emperor of the Severus dynasty of the Roman Empire, Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander (222-235), was killed by his soldiers during a battle with the Germanic barbarians, who later embraced him. Established his army commander Maximinus (Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus) as the emperor. This opened a terrifying precedent, that is, whoever holds the military power can be called emperor. In the past, although the emperor wanted the support of the army, no one had ever publicized this iron law so nakedly.
As soon as Maximinus succeeded to the throne, he suffered rebellions from various parts of the empire. The Roman Senate elected Maximus and Barbinus as emperors to show the restoration of the double-headed ruling system in the Roman Republic. Minus is the master. In 238, Maximinus sent his troops to Rome, but died in an army riot on the way, and the new emperor elected by the Senate was also in the fight again after the common threat was lifted. In the end, both were killed by the Imperial Guard. Rome has entered a long-term military anarchy. The battle between army generals for imperial power eventually broke the “Pax Romana” (Pax Romana) created by Augustus and his successors.
- Reform or Tyranny: Diocletian the Great
In 284 AD, Diocletianus Augustus lean on a railing and became emperor. He was born in a low-ranking family in Dalmatia. He rose in the army and was imprisoned during the chaotic period. The military support as the emperor, it seems that this is just the rise of another military master. However, Emperor Diocletian used unparalleled military and tactics to defeat the enemies inside and outside the empire and unified the empire again in the hands of one person in 299 AD.
During the reign of Emperor Diocletian, he adopted a series of measures to maintain the rule of the empire and find the root cause of the empire’s decline. His series of measures are collectively referred to as Diocletian’s reforms. The reforms have injected a shot into the dying body of the empire, but at what price did this reform come at?
The reform came at the cost of turning the Roman Empire into a large prison for 40 million people. Countless Roman citizens “thrown into the territory of any barbarian, and they absolutely do not regret leaving their hometown, because they would rather live the life of a free man under the appearance of slavery than the life of a captive under the appearance of freedom.” (Salevian “On the Reign of God”) And those oppressed who did not leave chose to take up arms and set off the largest peasant uprising in the later period of the Roman Empire-the Bada Movement.
Emperor Diocletian correctly recognized that the cause of the empire’s crisis was economic collapse. Therefore, he took a series of measures to reform the economy. In terms of currency, he reformed the currency system and created a currency with a fixed gold content in an attempt to stabilize the financial order. At the same time, it is supplemented by the means of price control to limit the highest and lowest prices, regardless of the actual value of the currency.
But the most important thing was to solve the imperial financial problems. He implemented the reform of the household registration system. In the cities, he required his sons to inherit his father’s inheritance, which completely stifled social mobility. In the countryside, no matter the landlord, self-cultivation farmers, tenant farmers, and slaves are all fixed on the land, a fixed tax is paid according to the area of the land. With the gradual development of this system, peasants were fixed on the land and became subordinate peasants, which Engels called the beginning of later European serfdom. This measure completely destroyed the self-cultivation farmers in the empire. As the social mobility that brought hope for survival and development to the poor in the society disappeared, the vitality of the economy also disappeared.
- Unyielding Will: Bhagavad Movement
The word bagauda (bagauda or bacauda) has a dual etymology. On the one hand, it means “robber” or “instigator” in Latin; on the other hand, it means “warrior” in Celtic. The first document about the Bhagavad movement was recorded in 284 AD. Their active area was completely confined to Gaul province. Taking advantage of the chaos within the empire and the invasion of barbarians at that time, the first peasant army was formed in Gaul. The threat is serious enough for Emperor Diocletian to appoint Maximian as Caesar and have him lead an army to suppress the rebellion.
In Appian’s record, we can get a glimpse of the magnificence of the Bhagavad movement at that time. “At that time, the unbridled looting in Gaul became more and more fierce, and there was a tendency to destroy everything. The roads were especially unsafe, and everything could be used for profit. All things were robbed by people and their rude ways.”
But compared to Appian’s preference for the Bhagavad movement to be a bandit movement, Zalevian’s account tends to be more towards the essence of this movement, and the peasants who were oppressed to the extreme finally resisted unyieldingly, “They (referring to the peasants) Enduring suffering is out of helplessness rather than willingness. Their souls yearn for freedom, and their bodies suffer the most painful enslavement.” From the beginning, the movement was a kind of resistance with the nature of a peasant movement. It was composed of self-cultivating farmers, tenant farmers, and slaves. , They rebelled against the big landowners who were supported by the imperial army.
The outbreak of the Bhagada movement is based on two main factors: one is the heavy tax burden, administrative corruption and the exploitation of the poor by unreasonable taxation. Zalevian records that “The Bhagada was raided by cruel and ruthless officials. People are oppressed people, people who have lost their lives. They have lost the right to enjoy the freedom of Rome.” The second is the response to the concentration of land, the polarization of the rich and the poor, and the increasingly repressive imperial rule. Thompson, the author of “Medieval Economic and Social History,” said: “Bagda represents a revolutionary model that tries to break away from the Roman Empire.”
In 289 AD, after five years of resistance, the Bhagavad movement finally ended under the joint suppression of the Roman Empire’s army and local slave owners and large landowners. However, this movement deeply inspired countless peasants and oppressed people in later generations. In the fifth century AD, in the same place, a group of peasants once again rebelled against social injustices in the name of Bhaganda. In the revolutionary wave that swept Europe in the nineteenth century, the Bhagavad movement was even regarded as the first “proletarian revolution.” In the internal turmoil and the invasion of foreign barbarians, many years later, the empire finally came to an end.
Diocletian the Great was very proud of his reforms from beginning to end, thinking that he had successfully continued the Roman Empire, but this continuation was at the cost of the miserable conditions of the people under Roman rule. He successfully turned Rome into a large prison of 40 million people, and used cruel exploitation to provide tax revenue for the empire. When everything served for the survival of the empire, the Roman empire was also destroyed at this moment. The imperial military strength for a while could not conceal the fact that he was already a dead bone in the mound. The internal “Baguda Movement” and the external barbarian invasions finally gave Rome, the oppressor of all people, a coffin.