A Conversation for The Role of Deforestation in the Fall of Rome

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Post 1

Delicia - The world's acutest kitten

The other cause that finally led to the fall of the empire seems to have been the growing number of urban loafers expecting to be taken care of by the state, and increasingly fewer citizens interested in defending that same state.
I doubt that the exorbitant needs of the very rich depleted the ressources, it seems to me that the comparatively much lower consumption of the relatively poor multitudes sums up much higher in the overall balance. Not to mention the litter.


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Post 2

MotDoc, Temporarily Exiled to Tartu, Estonia

Indeed, but many of the urban poor came to be that way as a result of the soil depletion, coupled with the spreading wetlands and malarial infections.


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Post 3

Delicia - The world's acutest kitten

In my opinion the land-town migration and hence a considerable portion of the urban poor have their main root in the agricultural surplus, and is thus a continous mechanism in settled society. That process may be added to occasionally by the factors you mention, but on the whole it comes down to: No agriculture, no city. When agriculture is jeopardized to a large degree one even finds the abandonment of cities. Usually the historians look for war or pestilence to explain why a big settled place was abandoned, and are all mystified when they don't find nothing. Only lately do they look for humble agriculture as the base of everything, and that's a rather big oversight.


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Post 4

MotDoc, Temporarily Exiled to Tartu, Estonia

Delicia,
Until relatively recent times history was a shortsighted discipline. Historians would spend their lives looking for the battle that brought down the kingdom, without thinking about why is was that a single battle could bring down a kingdom.
At any rate, it is true that by the end of the Empire urban populations were shrinking rather than growing.
smiley - martiansmile


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Post 5

Delicia - The world's acutest kitten

Ah, there we go. The Mediterranean has a history of desertification of land due to human influence. But you know, I'm absolutely entranced about that idea of yours that certain industries had to move out of Rome at an ever increasing distance due to fuelling shortage! smiley - ok

I find it strange that agriculture is about the last thing a historian will look at, but maybe it's not so strange, as in Europe there has been a certain disengagement from food producing, as our wellbeing doesn't depend of agriculture anymore, as it did in the past, and still does in the so called developing countries. (I have a bit of an issue with these terms as they imply there's such a thing as a "normal" stare or just one direction everything can develop to.)

To my mind there are a few more ideas pervading history writing leading it astray. For instance i think human migration is wastly overrated, due to the bible, Promised Land and all that, and the example of America. True, the first has been one of the few recorded early migrations and the last one of the most recent. So from there is extrapolated that idea that for instance Europe was populated in a similar manner, one people out, the other in, for instance by those mythic Indoeuropeans. Come to completely erroneous ideas about certain areas that way. For instance some still seriously think that during the Völkerwanderung everybody upped and went some place else like in that children's game, whatsitcalled.


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