Roman Economic Problems

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In the third century BCE, Rome engaged in three disastrous and catastrophic wars with Carthage known as the Punic Wars; the last one ending in the complete obliteration of Carthage. Rome won each war, but the result brought more disasters than rewards. Rome was not completely ready for the task that came after; they had not prepared “for their success.” A city located inland of Italy was now challenged with the responsibility of scattered territories off the coast of Italy while, also dealing with increasing strife inside its own city. Roman farmers forced to sell their lands, the rich getting even richer, unemployment, and political corruption are just some of the many problems Rome would have to face. In short, the impact of the external…show more content…
The wars of the 3rd century BCE left many small farmers in Italy financially ruined, thereby forced to sell their lands to the patricians, who “established vast plantations called latifundia.” Farmers were forced out of the market because crops from the new territories proved much cheaper. The war also caused an increase in the number of slaves. Thus, the patricians depended on slave labor to maintain these plantations, consequently forcing the displaced farmers to “simply flood the cities instead” because of the lack of job opportunities. This caused an increase in the population in Rome from “one hundred thousand” to “more than a million people.” The newly conquered lands of the Punic Wars also provided Rome with an opportunity to tax the provinces. As Rome needed money to “maintain an army to defend the border of the Empire from barbarian attacks”, Rome began to increase tax rates in order to provide for the resources the city need, which in turn resulted in an increase in inflation. The farmers were also taxed thus contributing to the disparity between the rich and poor. In short, the Romans turned to tactics like raising taxes and depending on slave labor to solve the economic crisis in the city, however this only led to more

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