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Still Waters

On March 24 536AD the sky suddenly darkened across continental Europe as a thick dust cloud rolled in and stayed put for 18 months.

Historians such as Prokopios record that the Sun shone as dimly as the Moon, sparking summer frosts and snow showers and providing too little light to ripen crops and fruit. Three years later a similar dust veil blocked out sunlight for several months.

The natural catastrophes led to widespread famine and was responsible for the Great Justinian Plague which wiped out one third of Europeans and probably dealt the fatal blow to the struggling Roman Empire.

http://www.telegraph...man-Empire.html

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Keel M.

Your titling left out one important thing (by necessity I know): these were North American volcanoes. Since they mention the tropics as well, I'm guessing it was the Ring of Fire that caused the Empire trouble. Very interesting.

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Ashotep

If that happened today there would be countries falling. We are all just one giant natural, or man made, disaster away from crumbling.

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jarjarbinks

Yes, when we will have less food, the most powerful country will sell their souls and start wars over the remaining food production on Earth.

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Bavarian Raven

Yes, when we will have less food, the most powerful country will sell their souls and start wars over the remaining food production on Earth.

And can you blame then?

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Athena1979

Are they sure it was volcanoes and not SUVs?

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lightly

the Roman Empire got "too big to fail" . So it did.

Edited by lightly
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Infernal Gnu

Once they switched their official religion to Christianity it was only a matter of time before one of the old gods got revenge, in this case Vulcan, the god of fire.

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Doug1029

On March 24 536AD the sky suddenly darkened across continental Europe as a thick dust cloud rolled in and stayed put for 18 months.

In 407 AD, the ruling council in Britain asked Emperor Honorius for aid in repelling attacks by the Picts and Scots. Honorius replied that there was no help to send, effectively acknowledging that Britain was no longer part of the empire (The last legion left in 383 AD, intending to return, which it never did.).

Rome fell to Alaric in 410 AD. In 476, Odoacer deemed the title of Emperor to be more trouble than it was worth and sent the Roman standards to Constantinople. By 536, the Roman Empire had been dead and gone for 60 years.

Rome was a long way down the road to its own destruction before any of those volcanoes erupted. At most, volcanoes only marked the beginning of the Dark Ages.

Also, numerous volcanoes have been named as the culprit with ones in South America and Krakatoa in the Pacific the leading contenders. We need better evidence as to which volcanoes were involved.

Doug

Trivia question for history buffs: what happened to the Roman standards?

Edited by Doug1029
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questionmark

well, one Aquila was found and is at the Museum of Cleveland... now I leave the "non-lost" to another buff...

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Zalmoxis

Interesting article. Thanks for the link.

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aearluin

I don't doubt that heavy vulcanism could bring a strong civilization to its knees, but claiming that vulcans destroyed the Roman Empire almost 1 century after the fall of Rome seems just plain stupid to me... Depends on definition, but the fall of the Western Roman Empire (and Rome) is usually considerd to have happened between 405 and 480, with the notorious "sack of Rome" taking place alrady in 410 as Doug1o29 mentioned above. Anyway, the empire had been crumbling on its own since the late 4th century AD. As for the Eastern Roman Empire (Constantinople), it only fell in the 1400s. Hence, vulcanic activity in the middle of the 6th century AD seems completely out the timeline to discuss any efects on the fall of the Roman Empire.

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