The Gallic Aristocracy and the Roman Imperial government in the fifth century A.D.






The Gallic Aristocracy and the Roman Imperial government in the fifth century A.D.

Minor, Charles Paul

Master of Arts, Texas Tech University, December (1976)

Abstract

The fourth century proved to be almost as peaceful and prosperous for Gaul as the third century had been tumultuous and destructive. The civil wars, barbarian raids and the great plague of the third century were highly disruptive to the economy of Gaul. The depopulation of the countryside caused much arable land to fall into disuse. Many peasants fled from their lands or turned them over to landed magnates, either to obtain protection from the troops and barbarians or to escape the increasingly higher taxes imposed on land owners by the imperial government to finance the wars against the rebels and barbarians. With the exception of the rebellion of Magnentius, 350-53, and the civil war against the emperor Gratian by Maximus in 383, however, the fourth century was a time of general peace and recovery in Gaul. The barbarian raids, though they did not cease, did subside in number somewhat, and it was possible for peasants to return to their land and to put much of the land back into agricultural production.

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