slavery

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.

Read more