I'm thinking of writing a timeline about a surviving Western Roman Empire. The PoD would be Majorian's fleet not getting burnt by traitors, allowing him to reconquer North Africa. Because of the extra revenue, he's able to keep some of his army around, so Richimer can't kill him. He survives and sets the west on a path to revival. My question concerns the economy of a surviving Roman Empire.

In OTL, the economy of the Roman Empire under the Principate was thriving. Contrary to popular belief, the Empire was not based on slavery and subsistence, but rather on a thriving trade economy resembling that of early modern Europe.

https://ezrapoundcantos.org/index.p...6-andrej-zgur-the-economy-of-the-roman-empire
https://artefacts.mom.fr/Publis/Dark_2001_[Proto_Industrialization].pdf

Such findings are supported by other works, such as Peter Temin's The Roman Market Economy or Kim Bowes' The Roman Peasant Project. With this in mind, after the Crisis of the Third Century, all of this came to a screeching halt. After that, peasants were bound to their landlords' land and jobs became hereditary. The state became almost entirely devoted to preserving itself. These drastic measures resulted in many rebellions throughout the fifth century.

So, my question is, how long would it take for a surviving Rome to recover to the levels of its glory days? As a related question, was the Empire under Justinian on its way to recovery before the disasterous Gothic Wars, the wars with Persia, climate change, and the plague?

As an aside, how many people would actually be interested in reading such a TL?
 
In OTL, the economy of the Roman Empire under the Principate was thriving. Contrary to popular belief, the Empire was not based on slavery and subsistence, but rather on a thriving trade economy resembling that of early modern Europe.
This debated and even trades and manufacturing The Unromanized in Rome, says as high as 90% of them in the city were slaves and or former slaves during the imperial era
but this point is irrelevant by late antiquity as slavery declined to quote from https://acoup.blog/2022/08/26/collections-why-no-roman-industrial-revolution/

the ‘new modernists’ that won it would hardly contend that the Roman economy was very much like the Europe of the 1600s and the 1700s, verging into modernity. Instead they stress that Rome, while it was a complex agrarian economy, was nevertheless still a fundamentally agrarian economy, which in turn demanded different mindsets, risk calculations and so on.
So I would not say rome was close to early modern europe but that did not matter by the 5th century there would not be a return to the past even in the east under anastasius and the early Justinian reforms free coloni who had contract with to the estate owner were able to leave the estate and have property the adscripticii which were just one step above slaves the reason why we dont see these revolts in the byzantine empire is because the leasing contracts were very professional and had strict requirements these also existed prior to the fall of the west its just that they were not as enforced in the east and there was no Justinian making changes to the law on these issues or battling corrupt officials.
As a related question, was the Empire under Justinian on its way to recovery before the disasterous Gothic Wars, the wars with Persia, climate change, and the plague?
The roman economy was well beyond recovery barbarian invasions had become smaller in the reign of marcian and Anastaisus reforms revived copper coin and improved the tax system trade was big as we see Byzantine coins as far as Transoxiana

The volcanic eruption and plague + Justinian wars made the situation bad Justin II did do some efforts to fix it until he got himself into a war with Persia Tiberiuis paying off the avars+ war cost + and his bad spending habits meant that by maurice time he was broke.

As an aside, how many people would actually be interested in reading such a TL?
Can be very interesting we need more good late antiquity timelines.
 
The roman economy was well beyond recovery barbarian invasions had become smaller in the reign of marcian and Anastaisus reforms revived copper coin and improved the tax system trade was big as we see Byzantine coins as far as Transoxiana

The volcanic eruption and plague + Justinian wars made the situation bad Justin II did do some efforts to fix it until he got himself into a war with Persia Tiberiuis paying off the avars+ war cost + and his bad spending habits meant that by maurice time he was broke.
I agree fully with this, the West was so unstable that I never really see it recovering. Even if it did it might never recover to be almost the exact same market economy. The whole look and way of doing business had changed.
When the empire had a mini recovery in the fourth century it was a whole different economy with large estates becoming far more important.
 
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