The Architects of Rome Demise: The Role of Septimius Severus and His Successors in the Decline of the Roman Empire as a Political Entity

Brown, Jack
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University of Delaware
The decline of the Roman Empire occurred over the course of the third century. Rome went from the unchallenged master of the Mediterranean to a weary giant, beset by foes. The reasons for this decline are myriad. A number of military defeats that occurred over the decades certainly played a major role. However, the economic policies of the Roman emperors during the third century were instrumental in ruining the empire. Beginning with the rise of Septimius Severus in 193 AD and continuing with his successors, the Severan dynasty and the barracks emperors, the emperors indulged in economic policies that severely damaged the stability of the empire, including overspending, particularly on the Roman military, as well as currency debasement and inflation. In addition to problems with the Roman economy, the period was also characterized by frequent civil wars, in which generals tried to claim the title of emperor, and assassinations, with soldiers murdering the emperor when he displeased them. It was a period of chaos from which the empire never truly recovered.
History , Septimius Severus , Roman Empire