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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire [ch. VII, last 2 paragraphs]
History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire ^ | 1776 | Edward Gibbon

Posted on 03/13/2012 10:06:07 AM PDT by matt1234

Since Romulus, with a small band of shepherds and outlaws, fortified himself on the hills near the Tyber, ten centuries had already elapsed. During the four first ages, the Romans, in the laborious school of poverty, had acquired the virtues of war and government: by the vigorous exertion of those virtues, and by the assistance of fortune, they had obtained, in the course of the three succeeding centuries, an absolute empire over many countries of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The last three hundred years had been consumed in apparent prosperity and internal decline. The nation of soldiers, magistrates, and legislators, who composed the thirty-five tribes of the Roman people, were dissolved into the common mass of mankind, and confounded with the millions of servile provincials, who had received the name, without adopting the spirit, of Romans. A mercenary army, levied among the subjects and barbarians of the frontier, was the only order of men who preserved and abused their independence. By their tumultuary election, a Syrian, a Goth, or an Arab, was exalted to the throne of Rome, and invested with despotic power over the conquests and over the country of the Scipios.

The limits of the Roman empire still extended from the Western Ocean to the Tigris, and from Mount Atlas to the Rhine and the Danube. To the undiscerning eye of the vulgar, Philip appeared a monarch no less powerful than Hadrian or Augustus had formerly been. The form was still the same, but the animating health and vigor were fled. The industry of the people was discouraged and exhausted by a long series of oppression. The discipline of the legions, which alone, after the extinction of every other virtue, had propped the greatness of the state, was corrupted by the ambition, or relaxed by the weakness, of the emperors. The strength of the frontiers, which had always consisted in arms rather than in fortifications, was insensibly undermined; and the fairest provinces were left exposed to the rapaciousness or ambition of the barbarians, who soon discovered the decline of the Roman empire.


TOPICS: Books/Literature; History
KEYWORDS: edwardgibbon; gibbon; godsgravesglyphs; history; phillip; romanempire; rome
Gibbon writes this excerpt in the following context: the ascension of Emperor Phillip (aforementioned "Arab") by usurpation c. 204 AD; the 1000th anniversary of Rome; and the conduct of the "secular games" which "dazzled the eyes of the multitude."
1 posted on 03/13/2012 10:06:14 AM PDT by matt1234
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To: matt1234
the ascension of Emperor Phillip (aforementioned "Arab") by usurpation

The empire's biggest problem was that it never definitively settled the issue of succession.

All emperors were either usurpers or they had acquired their title to the throne by descent from or adoption by a usurper.

Thus any successful soldier had inherently as good a title as any other, and for that matter as good a potential title as the guy on the throne.

This led emperors to, understandably, be nervous about successful soldiers and kill them on a regular basis. Which led some good generals to revolt in self-defense who might otherwise have been perfectly content to remain loyal.

Contrast this with the French or Ottoman empires, where no general, no matter how successful, had any hope of gaining the throne by revolt. Thus he could remain loyal without worry of being executed for winning battles.

Hereditary succession to absolute power has its own problems, but probably fewer than the constant succession and civil wars of the Romans and Byzantines.

2 posted on 03/13/2012 10:18:18 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: matt1234

Wish I had time to read the book. Sounds more like a script than a history.


3 posted on 03/13/2012 10:19:32 AM PDT by Sequoyah101 (Half the people are below average.)
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To: matt1234

This has a familiar ring, doesn’t it?


4 posted on 03/13/2012 10:24:57 AM PDT by TexasRepublic (Socialism is the gospel of envy and the religion of thieves)
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To: matt1234

correction: “204 AD” should be “244 AD”


5 posted on 03/13/2012 10:25:50 AM PDT by matt1234 (Bring back the HUAC.)
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To: Sherman Logan
The empire's biggest problem was that it never definitively settled the issue of succession.

Gee whiz! It sounds almost like today where the populace and the judiciary are so ill educated that they cannot define "natural born citizen" and enforce the principle.

6 posted on 03/13/2012 10:27:47 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: matt1234
There is a bizarre fringe theory called "New Chronology" which argues -- if I have this right -- that known human history does not stretch over the span of years that most people believe.

The New Chronologists would say that human history is something like 1500 years old at most. Past historical events just get re-told and are assumed to be new and separate events. I think they would point to the Trojan War (1100 BC) and the Crusades (1100-1300 AD) as the same event, just told differently and assumed to be separate events.

I find it mildly amusing that the Roman Empire reached a point of mixed power and decline when The Arab became emperor. A New Chronologist might almost argue that Barack Obama and Philip the Arab are exectly the same man and that the tale of his ascension is just being re-told in a different way.

Crackpot theory to be sure, but the world sure is a funny place.

7 posted on 03/13/2012 10:32:20 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy ("And the public gets what the public wants" -- The Jam)
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To: Sherman Logan
The empire's biggest problem was that it never definitively settled the issue of succession.

And the donatives (i.e., bribery) given by the emperors to the soldiers was a factor that aggravated the instability. Often the soldiers supported whomever offered them the most money.

8 posted on 03/13/2012 10:35:54 AM PDT by matt1234 (Bring back the HUAC.)
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To: TexasRepublic
This has a familiar ring, doesn’t it?

Yes. It's amazing that it was published in 1776.

9 posted on 03/13/2012 10:37:31 AM PDT by matt1234 (Bring back the HUAC.)
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To: Sherman Logan

About to be beheaded on the deck of a warship in the Golden Horn, the Emperor Maurice turned towards his successor Phocas and uttered his last words: “Don’t forget to pay the army.”


10 posted on 03/13/2012 10:58:33 AM PDT by pierrem15 (Claudius: "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.")
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To: ClearCase_guy
A New Chronologist might almost argue that Barack Obama and Philip the Arab are exectly the same man and that the tale of his ascension is just being re-told in a different way.

In the quoted excerpt, Gibbon also mentions a Syrian and a Goth who preceded Phillip. The Syrian was Emperor Elagabalus, an open homosexual who brought eunichs to the imperial court in Rome. The Goth was Emperor Maximinus (AKA Maximin) who was described as very tall and brutish.

11 posted on 03/13/2012 10:58:39 AM PDT by matt1234 (Bring back the HUAC.)
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To: Sherman Logan
Gibbon and his ideological buddy boy Paine would probably be even more “harsh” on Rome's Empire had there been a system of heredity monarchs. I guess Gibbon would reckon the Praetorian Guards a better system of checks and balances rather than a family of welfare leeches vying for power.

Either way the actions would have been the same; power struggles, oppression through "compassion", welfare to appease the masses, over expansion through the ages, massive debt, inflationary practices especially by the “Dominus et deus” I guess the Nixon of Emperors with his price controls, confusing/repressive taxation polices which were different from province to province, “hospitable” immigration "appeasement" (In the West), messing with the currency, depopulation of actual citizens, etc...

In the end once the individual is detroyed by government policies (Some by "suicide" who are granted some type of control over government) and becomes apathetic, "Empires" die.

12 posted on 03/13/2012 11:38:16 AM PDT by rollo tomasi (Working hard to pay for deadbeats and corrupt politicians)
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To: pierrem15

Sounds like excellent advice.


13 posted on 03/13/2012 12:09:02 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: matt1234

Emperor Maximinus: “By this axe I rule!”


14 posted on 03/13/2012 2:53:46 PM PDT by WMarshal (Where is the next Sam Adams?)
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To: StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; decimon; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; 2ndDivisionVet; ...

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks matt1234.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


15 posted on 03/23/2012 6:03:32 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him)
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To: matt1234; SunkenCiv

My pet economic theory is that by the time of Teddy Roosevelt’s progressive movement America had built up a massive treasury of wealth and resources. From that time until today we’ve added very little to the storehouse of wealth, but have taken a lot out. We’re living off the principle and not the profit. Each successive regulation and bureaucrat kills the innovation and the destruction of the old regime, now proven useless by said innovation. If we had today’s regulatory regime during TR presidency you’d still be riding a horse (for safety and sustainability). That’s what kills empires - they lose their will to win through merit and politics trumps proficiency.


16 posted on 03/23/2012 6:36:39 PM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: Sherman Logan

“the Roman people, were dissolved into the common mass of mankind, and confounded with the millions of servile provincials, who had received the name, without adopting the spirit, of Romans”

This was the root cause of the decline.


17 posted on 03/23/2012 7:04:29 PM PDT by chesley (Eat what you want, and die like a man. Never trust anyone who hasn't been punched in the face)
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To: matt1234
Ecclesiastes 1:9 pretty much says it all.
18 posted on 03/23/2012 7:09:33 PM PDT by chesley (Eat what you want, and die like a man. Never trust anyone who hasn't been punched in the face)
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To: ClearCase_guy

“There is a bizarre fringe theory called “New Chronology” which argues”

Is there any way in which that could make sense, or do you really have to be crazy to believe it?


19 posted on 03/24/2012 1:32:49 AM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

King Solomon said it best: “There is nothing new under the Sun.”

In other words, history repeats itself because humans are not learning from their past errors.


20 posted on 03/25/2012 4:28:47 AM PDT by SatinDoll (No Foreign Nationals as our President!)
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To: ClearCase_guy
Trojan War (1100 BC) and the Crusades (1100-1300 AD) as the same event, just told differently and assumed to be separate events

thats the dumbest thing i have read in a while.

21 posted on 03/25/2012 8:29:49 AM PDT by beebuster2000
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To: dsc

The “New Chronology” is the result of work by Russian statistician Anatoly Fomenko. From Wikipedia:

Mathematical work

Anatoly T. Fomenko is a full member (Academician) of the Russian Academy of Sciences (1994), the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (1991), the International Higher Education Academy of Sciences (1993) and Russian Academy of Technological Sciences (2009), as well as a doctor of physics and mathematics (1972), a professor (1980), and head of the Differential Geometry and Applications Department of the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics in Moscow State University (1992). Fomenko is the author of the theory of topological invariants of integrable Hamiltonian system. He is the author of 180 scientific publications, 26 monographs and textbooks on mathematics, a specialist in geometry and topology, variational calculus, symplectic topology, Hamiltonian geometry and mechanics, and computer geometry. Fomenko is also the author of a number of books on the development of new empirico-statistical methods and their application to the analysis of historical chronicles as well as the chronology of antiquity and the Middle Ages.

Fomenko is the author of extensive writings in his original fields of mathematics, and is also known for his original drawings inspired by topological objects and structures.
[edit] Historical revisionism

Fomenko is a supporter of drastically revising historical chronology. He has created his own revision called New Chronology, based on statistical correlations, dating of zodiacs, and by examining the mathematics and astronomy involved in chronology. Fomenko claims that he has discovered that many historical events do not correspond mathematically with the dates they are supposed to have occurred on. He asserts from this that all of ancient history (including the history of Greece, Rome, and Egypt) is just a reflection of events that occurred in the Middle Ages and that all of Chinese and Arab history are fabrications of 17th and 18th century Jesuits.

He also claims that Jesus lived in the 12th century A.D. and was crucified on Joshua’s Hill; that the Trojan war and the Crusades were the same historical event; and that Genghis Khan and the Mongols were actually Russians. As well as disputing written chronologies, Fomenko also disputes more objective dating techniques such as dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating (see here for an examination of the latter criticism). His books include Empirico-statistical Analysis of Narrative Material and Its Applications and History: Fiction or Science?.

Most Russian scientists considered Fomenko’s historical works to be pseudoscientific.[2][3]


22 posted on 03/27/2012 8:11:33 AM PDT by Yollopoliuhqui
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To: Yollopoliuhqui

“Most Russian scientists considered Fomenko’s historical works to be pseudoscientific.”

Thanks. I think I’ll go along with most Russian scientists, unless and until more information surfaces.


23 posted on 03/29/2012 4:25:37 PM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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