Climate Change and the Fall of the Roman Empire


Climate Change and the Fall of the Roman Empire

Lecture by Michael McCormick

Given on April 24, 2011, at the University of Maine




Michael McCormick is the Francis Goelet Professor of Medieval History at Harvard University. His research and teaching focuses on the archaeology and history of the fall of the Roman Empire and the origins of medieval civilization.

In “Climate Change and the Fall of the Roman Empire,” McCormick explores what bio-molecular evidence and climate change data suggest about the impact of volcanic events on the collapse of the Roman Empire and the rise of Carolingian Europe. Drawing on ice core evidence and primary documentary research for the period 750 to 950 AD, McCormick examines the impact of volcanic events on the collapse of the Roman Empire and the rise of Carolingian Europe. Climate cooling caused by eight volcanic events, resulted in nine major winter anomalies that affected food production and human survival.

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