Q:

What was the climate of ancient Rome like?

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Quick Answer

The climate of Rome included freezing winters, frigid rains, warm and wet summers, moist winds and drought. Humidity and coolness were more prevalent in the early days of Rome. There were also varied weather patterns from 250 to 600 A.D., and experts believe there was a period of dryness by the third century.

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Before the decline of the Roman Empire, witness accounts stated that cool summers, freezing weather and harsh winters occurred when Rome was a kingdom and a republic. There were also reports of the Danube and Rhine Rivers freezing over, which allowed invading armies to venture into Rome. The southern part of Italy was marked with greater precipitation and arid weather. A cooler climate was present from 600 to 100 B.C. There were also conflicting reports of whether heavy moisture was present in the east from 1 to 600 A.D. By the time of Augustus' reign, the climate grew warmer. The winds were described as harsh, with one account mentioning that moisture-bearing winds ruined books.

Researchers believe that varying weather led to the collapse of the Roman Empire through agricultural disruption and mass migration of people from other places in Europe. Experts believe that many people also migrated to Rome to live in the Mediterranean climate. Cooling and severe droughts were weather patterns that had negative impacts on Roman society.

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