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Third century CE was time of great crisis in Roman Empire

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Legionnaires from the 3rd century CE
Legionaries from 3rd century CE | Illustration by Johnny Shumate

The third century CE was a time of the mighty crisis of the Roman Empire. The crisis of the 3rd century is also called the “age of anarchy” by historians; the “intermediate period”, the “epoch of the emperors-soldiers” and the “military monarchy”. The need to defend the borders against the invasions of Germanic tribes and the Persian army forced the emperors to excessively expand the army, whose maintenance costs increased and the Roman economy was unable to bear them.

In the supply system, the emperors imposed huge fiscal burdens on the population and supplemented the deficiencies in the treasury through the so-called “spoiling the coin”, i.e. putting into circulation a coin that contained a large admixture of base metals instead of precious metals.

The “corruption of the coin” led to hyperinflation, which was controlled by the tools of the command economy. Roman Empire between 200 and 280 CE reached dramatically high inflation. A bale of wheat then increased from 16 to 120,000 drachmas.

  • The Sydney Morning Herald, "Rome—Places to See", 28 Listopada 2008

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