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Toynbee and James Burke argue that the entire Imperial era was one of steady decay of institutions founded in republican times, while Theodor Mommsen excluded the imperial period from his Nobel Prize-winning History of Rome — It is agreed that depopulation of the West was a major occurrence, though how severe it was is still debated.
Starting with the titles, the emperor of Rome had the title of Pontifex Maximus, chief priest. It didn't help matters that political amateurs were in control of Rome in the years leading up to its fall. Although he was not necessarily a Christian himself he wasn't baptized until he was on his deathbedhe gave Christians privileges and oversaw major Christian religious disputes.
There is no simple answer to how, when and why the greatest power of the ancient world vanished. Too often the strong centre required to govern such large territories was simply missing. The more shaky wooden stairs a family had to climb, the cheaper the rent became.
To make up for the lack of money, the government began producing more coins with less silver content.
Anyone who could not pay the rent was forced to move out and live on the crime-infested streets. But since the Romans relied so much on human and animal labor, they failed to invent many new machines or find new technology to produce goods more efficiently. Being the Roman emperor had always been a particularly dangerous job, but during the tumultuous second and third centuries it nearly became a death sentence.
The Byzantine Emperors ruled as Roman Emperors, and the people behaved as Romans, still obsessed with chariot races and grand buildings.
Barbarians now fought to keep other barbarians from entering the empire.