Economic Constriction In Europe After The Fall Of The Roman Empire

Submitted By isabelelayne
Words: 769
Pages: 4

Isabel Garcia 10/26/14

What was the nature of the economic Constriction in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire? Where and how was the economy still functioning? What were the impediments to economic development? After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Europe underwent a long and harsh period of economic constriction. The noted date of the fall of the Roman Empire is when Germen general Odoacer overthrew the last Roman emperor in the West in 476. This event has come to symbolize all that had been characterized as Roman civilization declining, weakening and disappearing. There was no established large centralized rule. Europe experienced a large amount of economic constriction following the collapse of the Roman Empire, although, there was one place where economy continued to prosper, the church. Holding mostly all funds, the church and the feudal system were able to keep Europe afloat economically, but was also the impediment preventing economic development. Before and after 476, during the time of the fall of the Roman Empire, Europe began to experience economic constriction. Western Europe went from being a very large and prosperous society to practically having to start from scratch. With a population decrease of about 25 percent, Rome’s height was roughly 1 million people, and by the end of the tenth century it numbered around 10,000. With this major regression, there was no one to maintain the city. Buildings began to collapse from lack of care and maintenance. Lots of Western Europe’s long distance trade routes vanished as Roman roads deteriorated due to lack of funds. The act of barter replaced the no longer established currency and Illiteracy also, became more common as certain groups of barbaric peoples such as, the Visigoths, the Franks, the Lombard’s, the Saxons, the Goths and the Angels slowly became the dominant peoples of Western Europe. Western Europe had become what it most loathed. Following the downfall of the Roman Empire, the Church was the only power with economic stability. A highly fractured and decentralized society, known as feudalism arose creating an organization of power, property and rights. The European world at that time was a very dangerous and insecure place where, with the absence of Roman authority, people relied on the protection from the individuals they were in debt to, the landowners. Later known as Roman Catholic, the church also created a stable environment, but only for those willing to convert and follow the terms of the church itself. Its hierarchal arrangement of priests, monasteries, bishops and popes represented and followed some systems of the original Roman Empire. The systems include the administrative, political, educational and welfare functions the Empire relied on. The church subsequently became very wealthy. It provided a type of springboard for the conversion of many “pagan” peoples. The Church had a sense of unlimited power as it controlled the base of all economy. Ordinary people followed their rulers into