The Reigns of Valentinian and Valens - Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 25 Part 3

A common sight on the streets of Rome in the late empire was abandoned children.  The economy was in a bad way.  Taxes were rising.  Many parents simply gave up the struggle of trying to cope with another mouth to feed.  It is a harrowing thought to think of the suffering involved, both on the part of the abandoned children and the desperate parents.  But there was some help at hand.  Valentinian was a brutal badly educated tyrant. If he didn't like you, he'd kill you. But deep down he had some well buried human compassion that as ruler of the world he was able to indulge.

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