Roman Empire

World Views
4:30 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

World Views: October 25, 2013

Listen to the entire October 25, 2013 episode.

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot discuss record levels of smog that are forcing the closure of schools and businesses in Northeast China, and heavy-handed tactics by Russia toward its former Soviet neighbors.

University of Oklahoma historian Kyle Harper joins the program to talk about how smallpox and the bubonic plague contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire. His latest project focuses on the effects of disease and climate change on the history of civilization.

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World Views
12:18 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Germ Theory: How Disease And Climate Change Toppled The Roman Empire

The Roman Colosseum - September 26, 2009.
Credit Yellow.Cat / Flickr Creative Commons

Listen to Suzette Grillot's conversation with historian Kyle Harper.

University of Oklahoma historian Kyle Harper says there have been thousands of answers to what caused the fall of the Roman Empire. Overexpansion, economics, and the rise of Christianity are all valid explanations, but he’s exploring the role of disease and climate change.

“When we look back at the Roman Empire now, we can see that changes in the Romans' environment, both the climate, but also the kind of species that live in and around humans, especially pathogens, play an enormous role in the collapse,” Harper says.

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