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The political crisis of the third century in the Roman Empire occurred, after the assassination of the emperor Septimus Severus in 235 A.D. This was followed by a fifty period in which a number of military generals claimed the throne in succession, with the result that the Empire split temporarily into three rival states, Gaul, Britannia and Hispania, and the Palmyrene Empire. Predicably, the period was characterized by disorder and tumult, with civil wars, foreign invasions, and a series of famines and epidemics breaking out throughout the empire.
The empire also had to deal with rampant inflation, as each successive emperor coined money in order to pay his troops. This had the effect of disrupting the trade networks that had spanned the empire. Eventually, the crisis came to an end, with the emperor Aurelian beginning the process of consolidating the rival factions. But the effects of the crisis endured, and the Empire would never be as politically cohesive as it was before. Beginning in 284, the emperor Diocletian, along with Maximian would attempt a series of reforms to reorient the Empire to the new political realities, dividing it in two. Constantine would reunite it, but the empire would be almost continuously rocked by civil war after his death.
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