Did lead poisoning cause downfall of Roman Empire? The jury is still out

Ancient Rome’s emperors did some pretty bizarre stuff—bursting into uncontrollable fits of laughter, appointing a horse as a priest, dressing in animal skins and attacking people… the list goes on. Why did they act this way? Possibly… lead poisoning.

There are any number of factors that contribute to the demise of an entire civilization, like the collapse of the Roman Empire circa 476 AD. The empire’s slow decline is typically attributed to barbarian invasions, failed military campaigns, economic challenges, government corruption, and an over-reliance on slave labor, among other factors. But it’s also been suggested that the toxic effects of lead poisoning

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