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Civilization Capitulates to Barbarism at the Danube in "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire"

Commenter Romanian calls our attention to this relevant passage from Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire about the decision of the Emperor Valens in 376 A.D. to permit — and even assist — the crossing of the Danube, until then the frontier of Roman civilization, by German barbarians.

Valens

In the opinion of Gibbon, the subsequent defeat and death of the Emperor Valens at the hands of the Germans at the Battle of Adrianople in 378 marked the beginning of the Fall of the Roman Empire in the West. Gibbon narrates:

In the disastrous period of the fall of the Roman empire, which may justly be dated from the reign of Valens, the happiness and security of each individual were personally attacked; and the arts and labors of ages were rudely defaced by the Barbarians of Scythia [Huns] and Germany [Goths]. The invasion of the Huns precipitated on the provinces of the West the Gothic nation, which advanced, in less than forty years, from the Danube to the Atlantic, and opened a way, by the success of their arms, to the inroads of so many hostile tribes, more savage than themselves. … But the attention of the emperor [Valens] was most seriously engaged, by the important intelligence which he received from the civil and military officers who were intrusted with the defence of the Danube. He was informed, that the North was agitated by a furious tempest; that the irruption of the Huns, an unknown and monstrous race of savages, had subverted the power of the Goths; and that the suppliant multitudes of that warlike nation, whose pride was now humbled in the dust, covered a space of many miles along the banks of the river. With outstretched arms, and pathetic lamentations, they loudly deplored their past misfortunes and their present danger; acknowledged that their only hope of safety was in the clemency of the Roman government; and most solemnly protested, that if the gracious liberality of the emperor would permit them to cultivate the waste lands of Thrace, they should ever hold themselves bound, by the strongest obligations of duty and gratitude, to obey the laws, and to guard the limits, of the republic. … As long as the same passions and interests subsist among mankind, the questions of war and peace, of justice and policy, which were debated in the councils of antiquity, will frequently present themselves as the subject of modern deliberation.

Indeed.

But the most experienced statesman of Europe has never been summoned to consider the propriety, or the danger, of admitting, or rejecting, an innumerable multitude of Barbarians, who are driven by despair and hunger to solicit a settlement on the territories of a civilized nation.

Gibbon published Volume II in 1781. A lot has happened since then.

When that important proposition, so essentially connected with the public safety, was referred to the ministers of Valens, they were perplexed and divided; but they soon acquiesced in the flattering sentiment which seemed the most favorable to the pride, the indolence, and the avarice of their sovereign. The slaves, who were decorated with the titles of praefects and generals, dissembled or disregarded the terrors of this national emigration; so extremely different from the partial and accidental colonies, which had been received on the extreme limits of the empire. But they applauded the liberality of fortune, which had conducted, from the most distant countries of the globe, a numerous and invincible army of strangers, to defend the throne of Valens; who might now add to the royal treasures the immense sums of gold supplied by the provincials to compensate their annual proportion of recruits.

As the New York Times explained this week, mass migration across the Danube offers the receiving country “an opportunity to rejuvenate its aging demographics and ensure its economic prosperity …”

The prayers of the Goths were granted, and their service was accepted by the Imperial court: and orders were immediately despatched to the civil and military governors of the Thracian diocese, to make the necessary preparations for the passage and subsistence of a great people … The Imperial mandate was at length received for transporting over the Danube the whole body of the Gothic nation … A probable testimony has fixed the number of the Gothic warriors at two hundred thousand men: and if we can venture to add the just proportion of women, of children, and of slaves, the whole mass of people which composed this formidable emigration, must have amounted to near a million of persons, of both sexes, and of all ages. … their gay and splendid apparel, their robust and martial figure, excited the surprise and envy of the Provincials. … An undisciplined and unsettled nation of Barbarians required the firmest temper, and the most dexterous management. The daily subsistence of near a million of extraordinary subjects could be supplied only by constant and skilful diligence, and might continually be interrupted by mistake or accident. The insolence, or the indignation, of the Goths, if they conceived themselves to be the objects either of fear or of contempt, might urge them to the most desperate extremities … a spirit of discontent insensibly arose in the camp of the Barbarians, who pleaded, without success, the merit of their patient and dutiful behavior; and loudly complained of the inhospitable treatment which they had received from their new allies. They beheld around them the wealth and plenty of a fertile province, in the midst of which they suffered the intolerable hardships of artificial famine. But the means of relief, and even of revenge, were in their hands; since the rapaciousness of their tyrants had left to an injured people the possession and the use of arms. … “That successful day put an end to the distress of the Barbarians, and the security of the Romans: from that day, the Goths, renouncing the precarious condition of strangers and exiles, assumed the character of citizens and masters, claimed an absolute dominion over the possessors of land, and held, in their own right, the northern provinces of the empire, which are bounded by the Danube.” Such are the words of the Gothic historian, who celebrates, with rude eloquence, the glory of his countrymen. But the dominion of the Barbarians was exercised only for the purposes of rapine and destruction. … The imprudence of Valens and his ministers had introduced into the heart of the empire a nation of enemies; … One of the most dangerous inconveniences of the introduction of the Barbarians into the army and the palace, was sensibly felt in their correspondence with their hostile countrymen; to whom they imprudently, or maliciously, revealed the weakness of the Roman empire. A soldier, of the lifeguards of Gratian, was of the nation of the Alemanni, and of the tribe of the Lentienses, who dwelt beyond the Lake of Constance. Some domestic business obliged him to request a leave of absence. In a short visit to his family and friends, he was exposed to their curious inquiries: and the vanity of the loquacious soldier tempted him to display his intimate acquaintance with the secrets of the state, and the designs of his master. The intelligence, that Gratian was preparing to lead the military force of Gaul, and of the West, to the assistance of his uncle Valens, pointed out to the restless spirit of the Alemanni the moment, and the mode, of a successful invasion. … The boldest hopes of rapine, perhaps of conquest, outweighed the considerations of timid prudence, or national faith. Every forest, and every village, poured forth a band of hardy adventurers …

Two years later in 378, the migrants killed Emperor Valens at the cataclysmic Battle of Adrianople.

A great number of brave and distinguished [Rome] officers perished in the battle of Hadrianople, which equalled in the actual loss, and far surpassed in the fatal consequences, the misfortune which Rome had formerly sustained in the fields of Cannae.

That was Hannibal’s greatest victory over the Romans, 594 years before Adrianople.

… Whatever may have been the just measure of the calamities of Europe, there was reason to fear that the same calamities would soon extend to the peaceful countries of Asia. The sons of the Goths had been judiciously distributed through the cities of the East; and the arts of education were employed to polish, and subdue, the native fierceness of their temper. In the space of about twelve years, their numbers had continually increased; and the children, who, in the first emigration, were sent over the Hellespont, had attained, with rapid growth, the strength and spirit of perfect manhood. It was impossible to conceal from their knowledge the events of the Gothic war; and, as those daring youths had not studied the language of dissimulation, they betrayed their wish, their desire, perhaps their intention, to emulate the glorious example of their fathers. … A formidable tempest of the Barbarians of Germany seemed ready to burst over the provinces of Gaul; … But the effects which were produced by the battle of Hadrianople on the minds of the Barbarians and of the Romans, extended the victory of the former, and the defeat of the latter, far beyond the limits of a single day. A Gothic chief was heard to declare, with insolent moderation, that, for his own part, he was fatigued with slaughter: but that he was astonished how a people, who fled before him like a flock of sheep, could still presume to dispute the possession of their treasures and provinces. …

Valen’s successor Theodosius the Great (ruled 379-395) stabilized the situation by practicing divide and conquer tactics with the fractious barbarians, recruiting some to uphold his power:

An army of forty thousand Goths was maintained for the perpetual service of the empire of the East; and those haughty troops, who assumed the title of Foederati, or allies, were distinguished by their gold collars, liberal pay, and licentious privileges. Their native courage was improved by the use of arms and the knowledge of discipline; and, while the republic was guarded, or threatened, by the doubtful sword of the Barbarians, the last sparks of the military flame were finally extinguished in the minds of the Romans. Theodosius had the address to persuade his allies, that the conditions of peace, which had been extorted from him by prudence and necessity, were the voluntary expressions of his sincere friendship for the Gothic nation. … The advocates of Theodosius could affirm, with some appearance of truth and reason, that it was impossible to extirpate so many warlike tribes, who were rendered desperate by the loss of their native country; and that the exhausted provinces would be revived by a fresh supply of soldiers and husbandmen.

They’re demographically vibrant!

The Barbarians still wore an angry and hostile aspect; but the experience of past times might encourage the hope, that they would acquire the habits of industry and obedience; that their manners would be polished by time, education, and the influence of Christianity; and that their posterity would insensibly blend with the great body of the Roman people.

A decade and a half after Theodosius’s death, the Visigoths sacked Rome in 410, the first time Rome had been sacked in 797 years. And then the Huns arrived, and then the last Roman emperor was deposed in 476, and there was a Dark Age or two.

Notwithstanding these specious arguments, and these sanguine expectations, it was apparent to every discerning eye, that the Goths would long remain the enemies, and might soon become the conquerors of the Roman empire. Their rude and insolent behavior expressed their contempt of the citizens and provincials, whom they insulted with impunity.

But everything has worked out fine in the long run, so letting the Barbarians cross the Danube in 376 A.D. was a good idea and a good precedent. Publishing his first volume in 1776, a mere 1400 years later, Gibbon could look back on the decline and fall of the Roman Empire with witty equanimity. Why can’t we look back on 2015 with the same ironic detachment?

 
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  1. Sounds about right.
    All the “migrants” are, of course, young men of what the US deems as “Military-age”

    http://www.cfr.org/drones/does-recent-shift-us-drone-policy-impact-signature-strikes/p30885

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hippopotamusdrome


    Sounds about right.
    All the “migrants” are, of course, young men of what the US deems as “Military-age”

     

    But could they field a modern army that could win a pitched battle against us? I don't think so.
    , @Alastair Trumpington

    All the “migrants” are, of course, young men of what the US deems as “Military-age”

     

    Somewhat off topic: I have a theory that a large proportion of the current wave of Syrians comes from the Alawite upper class, who have thus far managed to avoid personally taking part in the conflict but can no longer avoid it. They are essentially draft dodgers who would understandably rather go to Germany than face death at the hands of ISIS.
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  2. Is this a fruitful analogy, Steve? Those barbarians ended up kinda alright, re: their progeny made it so you can even post this.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    By 3500 A.D., everything should be fine.
    , @andy
    But it took about 1,000 years to civilize the barbarians - ten centuries lost to Western Civilization
    , @Diversity Heretic
    The Dark Ages, although not as bad as commonly portrayed by 19th Century historians, were definitely a decline from the Roman Empire. The Goths were just the start; Avars, Magyars and Northmen (Vikings), Saracens and others followed. I remember reading that the sanitation standards of Roman cities were not achieved in most of Europe until the 19th Century. And given modern dependence on technology, a new Dark Ages will be even more cataclysmic.
    , @Anonymous
    Is this a fruitful analogy, Steve? Those barbarians ended up kinda alright, re: their progeny made it so you can even post this.

    Do we actually know who are the present-day descendants of the Barbarians? Of the Goths?
    , @Mr. Anon
    "salvo says:

    Is this a fruitful analogy, Steve? Those barbarians ended up kinda alright, re: their progeny made it so you can even post this."

    It isn't in this respect. Arabs aren't Germans. In the last 1500 years or so, the descendents of those barbarians (and others like them) created modern Europe. During that same interval, the Arabs created modern Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States. Notice any differences?
  3. Byzantium lasted several hundred years longer, but they had the Theodosian Walls, and more importantly , according to Peter Frost “In the East, the Church was made subordinate to the Empire at an early date. In the West, the Church became a rival center of authority”

    It is interesting that the assertion of State authority over that of the Church (ie Byzantine Iconoclasm – “relics thrown into the sea … Monks were apparently forced to parade in the Hippodrome, each hand-in-hand with a woman, in violation of their vows”) came after major reverses at the hands of Islam. Maybe the Emperor had worked out what the problem was!

    An essay on the history of civil society: Ferguson, Adam, 1723-1816.

    THE boasted refinements, then, of the polished age, are not divested of danger. They open a door, perhaps, to disaster, as wide and accessible as any of those they have shut. If they build walls nd ramparts, they enervate the minds of those who are placed to defend them; if they form disciplined armies, they reduce the military spirit of entire nations; and by placing the sword where they have given a distaste to civil establishments, they prepare for mankind the government of force

    Read More
    • Replies: @Richard

    It is interesting that the assertion of State authority over that of the Church (ie Byzantine Iconoclasm – “relics thrown into the sea … Monks were apparently forced to parade in the Hippodrome, each hand-in-hand with a woman, in violation of their vows”) came after major reverses at the hands of Islam. Maybe the Emperor had worked out what the problem was!
     
    In the last days of the Byzantine Empire, when the emperor was trying to tie together alliances for the sake of saving what was left of it from conquest by the Muslim Ottoman Empire, the Orthodox priests were notorious for their apathy and backbiting. "Better the Sultan's turban than the Pope's mitre" was their watchword. They got what they wanted and 600 years later Christians are virtually extinct in Asia Minor.
    , @Busby
    I tend to think that the involvement of the emperor with the church was more harmful than not. The emperors became enmeshed in theological debates we would now characterize as "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?". Debates that created fault lines around the empire. In retrospect the greatest fault in their strategy was ignoring the rise of Islam while exhausting their resources in achieving a Pyrrhic victory against the Persians.
  4. @Haploid
    Is this a fruitful analogy, Steve? Those barbarians ended up kinda alright, re: their progeny made it so you can even post this.

    By 3500 A.D., everything should be fine.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon7
    "The Time Traveller smiled round at us. Then, still smiling faintly, and with his hands deep in his trousers pockets, he walked slowly out of the room, and we heard his slippers shuffling down the long passage to his laboratory..."
  5. @Haploid
    Is this a fruitful analogy, Steve? Those barbarians ended up kinda alright, re: their progeny made it so you can even post this.

    But it took about 1,000 years to civilize the barbarians – ten centuries lost to Western Civilization

    Read More
    • Replies: @IA

    But it took about 1,000 years to civilize the barbarians – ten centuries lost to Western Civilization
     
    Nonsense. By the tenth century Europe was completely civilized. There were about two centuries of chaos, roughly mid 6th to mid 7th. In 550 a boat of scholars landed at Cork. In 732 Charles Martel stopped Islam at Poitier.
  6. @Haploid
    Is this a fruitful analogy, Steve? Those barbarians ended up kinda alright, re: their progeny made it so you can even post this.

    The Dark Ages, although not as bad as commonly portrayed by 19th Century historians, were definitely a decline from the Roman Empire. The Goths were just the start; Avars, Magyars and Northmen (Vikings), Saracens and others followed. I remember reading that the sanitation standards of Roman cities were not achieved in most of Europe until the 19th Century. And given modern dependence on technology, a new Dark Ages will be even more cataclysmic.

    Read More
  7. The coveted shout-out, mine at last. But I have to confess something – someone else from this site, in one of his comments, attracted my attention to the parallels with Gibbon’s Decline of the Roman Empire and also provided many of the same quotes. In truth, I stand on the shoulders of giants.

    History was always one of my favorite subjects and it leads me to despair when I see how closely it repeats itself and how blind modern people are to the wisdom a little Classical education can bring them. Everybody acts as if everything is new, when nothing really is new where human nature is concerned. All that changes is the window dressing. And this thing, with the refugees, especially in the final quotes of the article, and the doomed hopes that they would morph into upstanding Romans when the Romans themselves were scarcely fit to remember the glory of their ancestors, just depresses me and makes me wonder about the future.

    A choice quote from Tacitus:

    “A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.”

    One from Horace:

    “Time corrupts all. What has it not made worse?
    Our grandfathers sired feebler children; theirs
    Were weaker still – ourselves; and now our curse
    Must be to breed even more degenerate heirs”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Thank you for this post, Romanian. And that was a nice acknowledgment you made of another poster.

    A choice quote from Tacitus:

    “A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.”


    What crime was Tacitus referring to?
    , @Lot
    Thank you. It was here:

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/the-camping-trip-of-the-saints/#comment-1084547

    We all owe Gibbon for his work. He was one of the greatest minds of his era, and devoted two decades to the book at the expense of his health and career.

    The best way to get a taste for Roman history though is Caesar's Gallic Wars, which is short, well written, and very exciting:

    http://classics.mit.edu/Caesar/gallic.mb.txt

    An annotated version in book form could be better if you need some background info. For example, when he says "our Province" in the first paragraph, a note would say this refers to the area of NW Italy and SE France that was already under Roman control.
  8. While many of the barbarians were Arian Christians, they were still duly impressed with the Empire they overran. Most of them attempted to govern as if they were a continuation of Roman rule, and there was even some semblance of normality in the 6th century AD. Over time though, social order, infrastructure, trade, and overall well-being decayed as the new elites did not possess a cultural identity which could maintain civilization. They played at being Roman elites, but the inner barbarian takes a long time to suppress.

    But I think there is another historical analogy we should concern ourselves with – the Arab conquest of the Middle East. The Arabs were for a long time a minority in the territories they conquered. They were content to rule and let their subjects continue life much as before, as that was the best way to make their Islamic rulers comfortable and wealthy.

    In the same way, the migrants arriving in Europe are not duly impressed with our culture. They like our gadgets and material things, but the rest they feel only contempt for, and they possess a religious belief that they should conquer for Islam. They also view Europeans as soft and weak. So I do not think they will try to adopt Western culture like the barbarians tried to adopt Roman culture and religion, but rather will attempt to rule over Europe as a minority population, as has been the pattern of Muslim invasions past. The process will not start out with an attempt at outright conquest, but with special privileges and autonomy achieved through a combination of the threat of mob violence and exploitation of Leftist multiculturalism. Over time that will evolve into more direct control.

    So in that sense, things could be even worse.

    Read More
  9. @Bill Jones
    Sounds about right.
    All the "migrants" are, of course, young men of what the US deems as "Military-age"
    http://www.cfr.org/drones/does-recent-shift-us-drone-policy-impact-signature-strikes/p30885

    Sounds about right.
    All the “migrants” are, of course, young men of what the US deems as “Military-age”

    But could they field a modern army that could win a pitched battle against us? I don’t think so.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cicero
    Do they have to? Look at Iraq, that recent past may become Europe's not-too-distant future.

    I do not believe that Eurofor will be wiped out in some Cannaeesque Battle of the Rhineland or any such thing, but I could easily see bands of "warriors for Social Justice (and Islam)" pillaging town after town without an effective or organized military response. The drip and drab losses of such insurgencies will break what is left of the West's military power as surely as losing a field campaign. After all, you can blow up an apartment building full of terrorists with artillery and drone strikes quite easily... when it is thousands of miles from your home in a country you give not one whit about. When it is half-filled with your own neighbors and family, that is a different story. Willpower, not fancy weapons is what wins wars. The weapons can only increase the effectiveness of a fighting nation's will to win, not replace it.

    While I was digging through info on Western Rome's fall, I discovered this play by Swiss author Friedrich Dürrenmatt: Romulus the Great.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romulus_the_Great

    It is an ahistorical piece where the last Emperor of Western Rome deliberately allows his nation to be destroyed by the Germans because he believes it is too violent and morally compromised to be allowed to continue to exist. I'll take a guess that if Frau Merkel ever read it, she was rooting for the Emperor, but not because she was proud of her German ancestors.

  10. This policy or resettling barbarians into Roman territory did not start in the fourth century. In started in the third century. The political turmoil and warfare along the borders left vast swaths of land depopulated. The solution landed upon was to invite German tribes to resettle into these lands. The condition was they disarmed and became farmers.

    These economic migrants also made up the auxilia used to defend the frontier in what Edward Luttwak describes as defense-in-depth. By the end of the fourth century, Rome was depending entirely on non-citizens for defense. I’m sure that will not be an issue for Europe as all of these Arab Muslim will embrace multiculturalism and abandon Islam in favor of materialism.

    Read More
    • Replies: @random observer
    Sweet. That makes the 20th century wars Western Civilization's "Crisis of the Third Century" analogue.

    My new favourite Roman/modern analogy.

    It has the flaws inherent in all such comparisons, but still a source of gratifying clarity.

    I wonder what figures of the recent past that would cast in such roles as Diocletian or Constantine. There is an oversupply of candidates for the roles of Valens, his lackeys, and of Honorius.
  11. Actually, that map needs more lines going from various locations on the Mediterranean to Rome labeled “slaves”. Some of those lines would trace the current route from Syria to Rome. The latifundia with their imported slaves displacing native yeomen is a better analogy.

    Read More
  12. @Bill Jones
    Sounds about right.
    All the "migrants" are, of course, young men of what the US deems as "Military-age"
    http://www.cfr.org/drones/does-recent-shift-us-drone-policy-impact-signature-strikes/p30885

    All the “migrants” are, of course, young men of what the US deems as “Military-age”

    Somewhat off topic: I have a theory that a large proportion of the current wave of Syrians comes from the Alawite upper class, who have thus far managed to avoid personally taking part in the conflict but can no longer avoid it. They are essentially draft dodgers who would understandably rather go to Germany than face death at the hands of ISIS.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Romanian
    Why would the Alawites leave when Assad is keeping the others in check and Western Syria is relatively safe and prosperous? The little kid that died was a Kurd, for instance. I'm sure most refugees are Sunni who hate Assad's guts.
  13. Assabiyah at work as least diverse (and populated) European country makes Euro 2016

    Iceland reach Euro 2016 but Lars Lagerback insists: ‘Nelson Mandela is a hero, I am not’
    There were celebrations throughout the night in Iceland as the country, which has only 21,508 registered players, qualified for its first tournament but the coach was keen to downplay his own role

    There were celebrations throughout the night in Iceland as the country, which has only 21,508 registered players, qualified for its first tournament but the coach was keen to downplay his own role (the roster might be more than 1% of Icelandic players which includes good amateurs.)

    http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/sep/07/iceland-qualify-euro-2016-lars-lagerback

    Only one one player does not have a standard Icelandic name, Jóhann Laxdal.

    http://www.uefa.com/worldcup/season=2014/teams/team=58/index.html

    Read More
  14. @Sean
    Byzantium lasted several hundred years longer, but they had the Theodosian Walls, and more importantly , according to Peter Frost "In the East, the Church was made subordinate to the Empire at an early date. In the West, the Church became a rival center of authority"

    It is interesting that the assertion of State authority over that of the Church (ie Byzantine Iconoclasm - "relics thrown into the sea ... Monks were apparently forced to parade in the Hippodrome, each hand-in-hand with a woman, in violation of their vows") came after major reverses at the hands of Islam. Maybe the Emperor had worked out what the problem was!

    An essay on the history of civil society: Ferguson, Adam, 1723-1816.

    THE boasted refinements, then, of the polished age, are not divested of danger. They open a door, perhaps, to disaster, as wide and accessible as any of those they have shut. If they build walls nd ramparts, they enervate the minds of those who are placed to defend them; if they form disciplined armies, they reduce the military spirit of entire nations; and by placing the sword where they have given a distaste to civil establishments, they prepare for mankind the government of force
     

    It is interesting that the assertion of State authority over that of the Church (ie Byzantine Iconoclasm – “relics thrown into the sea … Monks were apparently forced to parade in the Hippodrome, each hand-in-hand with a woman, in violation of their vows”) came after major reverses at the hands of Islam. Maybe the Emperor had worked out what the problem was!

    In the last days of the Byzantine Empire, when the emperor was trying to tie together alliances for the sake of saving what was left of it from conquest by the Muslim Ottoman Empire, the Orthodox priests were notorious for their apathy and backbiting. “Better the Sultan’s turban than the Pope’s mitre” was their watchword. They got what they wanted and 600 years later Christians are virtually extinct in Asia Minor.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Difference Maker
    Yes, it was a very strange, and if I may, Middle Eastern-like religious fanaticism, an obsession with being 'Hellenes', that throttled any rapprochement with the West, fractured any effort, and shrunk the Imperial horizon.
  15. Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times: Refugees Who Could Be Us

    WATCHING the horrific images of Syrian refugees struggling toward safety — or in the case of Aylan Kurdi, 3, drowning on that journey — I think of other refugees. Albert Einstein. Madeleine Albright. The Dalai Lama.

    And my dad.

    In the aftermath of World War II, my father swam the Danube River to flee Romania and become part of a tide of refugees that nobody much cared about. Fortunately, a family in Portland, Ore., sponsored his way to the United States, making this column possible.

    Read More
    • Replies: @415 reasons
    From that article:

    In Jordan, I once visited a refugee family hoping for settlement in the United States and saw a poster of Saddam Hussein on the wall; I wondered how that adjustment would go.
     
    Yea, I wonder.
    , @Romanian
    I replied somewhere else that I read that article and his father appears to have been a Polish Armenian from the part of Poland that was incorporated by Ukraine. He merely passed through Romania after escaping prison, didn't like what he saw (the beginnings of Communist rule), and went to greener pastures. Notably, he passed on France because he doubted that they would think of his future children as being entirely French, even though he was French educated and fluent in the language. Basically, he started out as a refugee, then became a migrant.
  16. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Romanian
    The coveted shout-out, mine at last. But I have to confess something - someone else from this site, in one of his comments, attracted my attention to the parallels with Gibbon's Decline of the Roman Empire and also provided many of the same quotes. In truth, I stand on the shoulders of giants.

    History was always one of my favorite subjects and it leads me to despair when I see how closely it repeats itself and how blind modern people are to the wisdom a little Classical education can bring them. Everybody acts as if everything is new, when nothing really is new where human nature is concerned. All that changes is the window dressing. And this thing, with the refugees, especially in the final quotes of the article, and the doomed hopes that they would morph into upstanding Romans when the Romans themselves were scarcely fit to remember the glory of their ancestors, just depresses me and makes me wonder about the future.

    A choice quote from Tacitus:

    "A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all."

    One from Horace:

    "Time corrupts all. What has it not made worse?
    Our grandfathers sired feebler children; theirs
    Were weaker still - ourselves; and now our curse
    Must be to breed even more degenerate heirs"

    Thank you for this post, Romanian. And that was a nice acknowledgment you made of another poster.

    A choice quote from Tacitus:

    “A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.”

    What crime was Tacitus referring to?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Romanian
    The Murder of Emperor Galba

    http://www.ourcivilisation.com/smartboard/shop/tacitusc/histries/chap2.htm

    Otho wanted to depose Galba, who was the first Emperor in the year of Four Emperors, so he hatched a conspiracy with some soldiers. Galba was eventually murdered, but not before fate had given the Romans a few chances to thwart the evil plan.

    "27. On 15 January, Galba was offering sacrifice in front of the Temple of Apollo (7). The soothsayer Umbricius pronounced the entrails of the victim to be ill-omened, and predicted the imminence of a plot and the presence of a traitor within the palace. As Otho was standing next to Galba, he overheard this and gleefully interpreted it in the contrary sense as favourable to his own designs. A few minutes later, his freedman Onomastus brought him a message: the architect and builders were waiting for him. This was the pre-arranged code indicating that the troops were already assembling and the plot ripe. ..... Here twenty-three members of the bodyguard gave him the imperial salutation. Otho was appalled that they were so few in number, but they quickly placed him in a chair, drew their swords and hurried him off. Roughly the same number of soldiers joined the party on the way — some privy to the plot, many bewildered, a proportion shouting and flourishing their swords, others again maintaining silence, with the intention of suiting their reaction to the event.

    28. The duty-officer at the barracks was the tribune Julius Martialis. It is hard to say whether he was overwhelmed by the mere idea of such an immense and wicked enterprise, or whether he feared that the rot went deeper among the men and that resistance on his part might spell death. In any case, he gave many people the impression that he was in the plot. The other tribunes, and the centurions, also preferred the advantage of the moment to the incalculable risks of honour. Their mood may be summed up thus: a shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.

    Swords were drawn to deal with recalcitrants. Near the Basin of Curtius, the panic of his bearers caused Galba to be flung sprawling from his chair. His last words are variously recorded by the conflicting voices of hatred and admiration. Some say that he grovelled, and asked what he had done to deserve his fate, begging a few days' grace to pay the bounty. The majority of the historians believe that he voluntarily bared his throat to the assassins, telling them to strike and be done with it, if this was what seemed best for the country. Little did the murderers care what he said.

    45. A complete transformation seemed to have taken place in both senators and people. They were now a mob stampeding in the direction of the barracks, each man trying to outstrip his neighbour in the race and catch up with those who led the field. They cursed Galba, complimented the soldiers on their choice, and covered Otho's hand with kisses. These demonstrations were multiplied in proportion to their insincerity. Otho for his part welcomed even single individuals who came up to him, and restrained the greed and menaces of his men by word and look. The consul-designate Marius Celsus had shown Galba affection and loyalty to the bitter end. For this the soldiers now demanded his head, for they resented his energy and high principle as if they were faults of character. It was only too obvious that they were looking for an excuse to set about bloodshed and plunder and the annihilation of every decent Roman. But Otho was not yet in a position to prevent outrage-though he could already command it. So he pretended to be angry, and by ordering Celsus to be put in irons and undertaking that he would receive a heavier punishment later on, rescued him from immediate death.

    46. After that, the troops got their way in everything. They chose their own pretorian prefects.
    There was a demand for the remission of the payments traditionally made to centurions to secure exemption from duty. This was a kind of annual tax payable by the other ranks. As much as a quarter of a company's strength would be scattered high and low on leave or loitering in the actual barracks, so long as they squared the company commander. The extent of these exactions and the methods employed to meet them were nobody's business. Highway robbery, theft or taking on jobs as servants were the means by which they paid for their time off. Besides this, the richer a soldier was, the more he was subjected to fatigues and ill-treatment until he agreed to purchase exemption. Finally, when his money had given out and he had got into an idle and unhealthy state, he would return to his unit, reduced from affluence to poverty and from vigour to sloth. This process was repeated interminably; and the same destitution and indiscipline ruined man after man, driving them herd-like down the slope that leads to mutiny, dissension and, in the last resort, civil war. 47. The long day of villainy drew to its end. There remained the last horror — a mood of jubilation. The senate was summoned by the urban praetor, the other magistrates surpassed each other in feats of flattery, and the senators hurried hot-foot to the meeting. A decree was passed giving Otho the tribunician power, the title 'Augustus' and all the imperial prerogatives. Everybody made a desperate effort to obliterate the taunts and insults which had been freely bandied about; no one was actually made to feel that they rankled in Otho's mind, and whether in fact he had renounced revenge or merely postponed it was a question which remained unanswered owing to the shortness of his reign.

    49. The body of Galba lay disregarded for many hours, and under cover of night marauders offered it repeated outrage. Finally his steward Argius, an old retainer of his, buried it in a humble grave in the grounds of Galba's private villa. The head fell into the hands of army sutlers and servants, who were responsible for impaling and mutilating it. It was only on the following day that it was found in front of the tomb of Patrobius, a freedman of Nero who had been sentenced by Galba. It was then laid with the ashes of the body, which had already been cremated.

    Such was the fate of Servius Galba. In the course of seventy-three years he had lived a successful life spanning the reigns of five emperors — reigns which proved luckier for him than his own. He came of a family that could boast ancient nobility and great wealth. His own personality was something of a compromise: he had good qualities and in equal measure bad. Having won a reputation, he neither despised nor exploited it. He harboured no designs upon other people's property, was thrifty with his own, and where the state was involved showed himself a positive miser. A tolerant attitude towards courtiers and officials attracted no censure when they happened to be honest; but his lack of perception if they were not was quite inexcusable. However, distinguished birth and the alarms of the time disguised his lack of enterprise and caused it to be described as wisdom. In the prime of life he attained military distinction in the Rhineland; as proconsul, he administered Africa with moderation, and his control of Nearer Spain in his latter years showed a similar sense of fair-play. Indeed, so long as he was a subject, he seemed too great a man to be one, and by common consent possessed the makings of a ruler — had he never ruled. "

  17. @Sean
    Byzantium lasted several hundred years longer, but they had the Theodosian Walls, and more importantly , according to Peter Frost "In the East, the Church was made subordinate to the Empire at an early date. In the West, the Church became a rival center of authority"

    It is interesting that the assertion of State authority over that of the Church (ie Byzantine Iconoclasm - "relics thrown into the sea ... Monks were apparently forced to parade in the Hippodrome, each hand-in-hand with a woman, in violation of their vows") came after major reverses at the hands of Islam. Maybe the Emperor had worked out what the problem was!

    An essay on the history of civil society: Ferguson, Adam, 1723-1816.

    THE boasted refinements, then, of the polished age, are not divested of danger. They open a door, perhaps, to disaster, as wide and accessible as any of those they have shut. If they build walls nd ramparts, they enervate the minds of those who are placed to defend them; if they form disciplined armies, they reduce the military spirit of entire nations; and by placing the sword where they have given a distaste to civil establishments, they prepare for mankind the government of force
     

    I tend to think that the involvement of the emperor with the church was more harmful than not. The emperors became enmeshed in theological debates we would now characterize as “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”. Debates that created fault lines around the empire. In retrospect the greatest fault in their strategy was ignoring the rise of Islam while exhausting their resources in achieving a Pyrrhic victory against the Persians.

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    • Agree: jtgw
    • Replies: @jtgw
    Also, the Church was not nearly as subordinate as Sean makes out. Monasteries resisted iconoclasm fiercely and eventually won against the heretical emperors: the Eastern Orthodox Church to this day commemorates the restoration of icons on the first Sunday of Lent every year.
  18. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Haploid
    Is this a fruitful analogy, Steve? Those barbarians ended up kinda alright, re: their progeny made it so you can even post this.

    Is this a fruitful analogy, Steve? Those barbarians ended up kinda alright, re: their progeny made it so you can even post this.

    Do we actually know who are the present-day descendants of the Barbarians? Of the Goths?

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  19. Much more relevant for the United States:

    Your forgetting another mistake from Valens’ time.

    From wikipedia:

    Valens inherited the eastern portion of an empire that had recently retreated from most of its holdings in Mesopotamia and Armenia because of a treaty that his predecessor Jovian had made with Shapur II of the Sassanid Empire.

    Lesson: Avoid making deals with Sassanids-although I assume most people here, ignorant of history, would disagree.

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    • Replies: @SPMoore8
    What's actually relevant to the United States is the ongoing Latinization of our country, making deals with modern day "Sassanids" (Iran) is much less of an issue for us, although it appears to be a big issue with Israel.

    Basically, to Americans, what happens in the Middle East is irrelevant as long as the oil flows. The US has already fought to long wars in the region (not counting things like Libya) and has done so with very little popular support and nothing in the way of distributing the burden in terms of taxes or conscription.

    Not being ignorant of history, I also know it's a bad idea to give blank checks to allies.
    , @Mr. Anon
    "Lesson: Avoid making deals with Sassanids-although I assume most people here, ignorant of history, would disagree."

    I haven't noticed that people here are ignorant of history. Quite the contrary. You are, perhaps.
  20. This Gibbon/Rome discussion is fruitful. Something that was on the mind of Gibbon as well as Ferguson (quoted elsewhere) was the effects of luxury (i.e., consumerism) on national virtue and vigor. Nobody today considers consumerism as anything but an unalloyed good, and the decline in vigor and virtue aren’t even on the radar.

    Anyone arguing for self-sacrifice today would be characterized as a victim of false consciousness imposed by the shadowy plutocracy, meanwhile, all the hard and difficult work is farmed out to strangers, on the presumption that the privileged natives will continue to live luxurious lifestyles forever, because, after all, isn’t that what life is all about? Our current generations might be able to get away with this shell game or Ponzi scheme, but our descendants will probably not be so lucky.

    A couple more quotes from Ferguson — Adam, not the home of the Gentle Giant:

    The fact is, that men are perpetually exposed to the commission of error in this article [that is, luxury], not merely where they are accustomed to high measures of accommodation, or to any particular species of food, but wherever these objects, in general, may come to be preferred to their character, to their country, or to mankind; they actually commit such error, wherever they admire paultry distinctions or frivolous advantages; wherever they shrink from small inconveniencies, and are incapable of discharging their duty with vigour. The use of morality on this subject, is not to limit men to any particular species of lodging, diet, or cloaths; but to prevent their considering these conveniencies as the principal objects of human life. And if we are asked, Where the pursuit of trifling accommodations should stop, in order that a man may devote himself entirely to the higher engagements of life? we may answer, That it should stop where it is.

    This was the rule followed at Sparta: The object of the rule was, to preserve the heart entire for the public, and to occupy men in cultivating their own nature, not in accumulating wealth, and external conveniencies. It was not expected otherwise, that the axe or the saw should be attended with greater political advantage, than the plane and the chisel. When Cato walked the streets of Rome without his robe, and without shoes, he did so, most probably, in contempt of what his countrymen were so prone to admire; not in hopes of finding a virtue in one species of dress, or a vice in another.

    Luxury, therefore, considered as a predilection in favour of the objects of vanity, and the costly materials of pleasure, is ruinous to the human character; considered as the mere use of accommodations and conveniencies which the age has procured, rather depends on the progress which the mechanical arts have made, and on the degree in which the fortunes of men are unequally parcelled, than on the dispositions of particular men either to vice or to virtue.

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  21. @Busby
    I tend to think that the involvement of the emperor with the church was more harmful than not. The emperors became enmeshed in theological debates we would now characterize as "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?". Debates that created fault lines around the empire. In retrospect the greatest fault in their strategy was ignoring the rise of Islam while exhausting their resources in achieving a Pyrrhic victory against the Persians.

    Also, the Church was not nearly as subordinate as Sean makes out. Monasteries resisted iconoclasm fiercely and eventually won against the heretical emperors: the Eastern Orthodox Church to this day commemorates the restoration of icons on the first Sunday of Lent every year.

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  22. @Steve Sailer
    By 3500 A.D., everything should be fine.

    “The Time Traveller smiled round at us. Then, still smiling faintly, and with his hands deep in his trousers pockets, he walked slowly out of the room, and we heard his slippers shuffling down the long passage to his laboratory…”

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  23. @anony-mouse
    Much more relevant for the United States:

    Your forgetting another mistake from Valens' time.

    From wikipedia:

    Valens inherited the eastern portion of an empire that had recently retreated from most of its holdings in Mesopotamia and Armenia because of a treaty that his predecessor Jovian had made with Shapur II of the Sassanid Empire.

    Lesson: Avoid making deals with Sassanids-although I assume most people here, ignorant of history, would disagree.

    What’s actually relevant to the United States is the ongoing Latinization of our country, making deals with modern day “Sassanids” (Iran) is much less of an issue for us, although it appears to be a big issue with Israel.

    Basically, to Americans, what happens in the Middle East is irrelevant as long as the oil flows. The US has already fought to long wars in the region (not counting things like Libya) and has done so with very little popular support and nothing in the way of distributing the burden in terms of taxes or conscription.

    Not being ignorant of history, I also know it’s a bad idea to give blank checks to allies.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Whiskey
    The US is a major oil producer. Chinese demand will rebound but unlikely to 2009-2013 levels. Iran needs oil at around $200 a barrel or so to keep men with guns paid.

    Thus their only recourse is to suppress or eliminate Gulf AND US oil production.

    Thus we will get war, or simply surrender to Iran and live like its 1899.
  24. “But it took about 1,000 years to civilize the barbarians – ten centuries lost to Western Civilization.”

    Considering the machinations of Western Civilization societies, past and present, they are no different than “barbarians” of yesteryear.

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  25. Gibbon comments on World War T too: “We may observe that the use and value of those effeminate slaves [eunuchs] gradually rose with the decline of the empire.”

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    • Replies: @Lot
    There was one heroic eunuch in Roman history:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narses

    He reconquered much of Italy from the Goths on behalf of the Eastern Roman Empire in a series of brilliant battles, then defended it from a Frankish invasion.

    In retrospect, it would have been preferable for the Eastern Empire to have made peace with the Goths in Italy. The hundreds of years of war between the increasingly civilized Germanics and the Eastern Romans left Italy devastated and depopulated. The Byzantines after these wars were unable to defend their eastern frontier from the Muslim conquests, and likewise the Gothic kingdoms of Northern Africa and Spain were also conquered.
  26. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Would evolutionary theory predict that women would be aroused by the sight of groups of military men, especially when such groups are seen moving into new territory? It could explain why women seem to tend to be so supportive of current mass immigration patterns.

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  27. Steve,

    A quote from Aristotle’s Politics is also germane here:

    Another cause of revolution is difference of races which do not at once acquire a common spirit; for a state is not the growth of a day, any more than it grows out of a multitude brought together by accident. Hence the reception of strangers in colonies, either at the time of their foundation or afterwards, has generally produced revolution; for example, the Achaeans who joined the Troezenians in the foundation of Sybaris, becoming later the more numerous, expelled them; hence the curse fell upon Sybaris. At Thurii the Sybarites quarrelled with their fellow-colonists; thinking that the land belonged to them, they wanted too much of it and were driven out. At Byzantium the new colonists were detected in a conspiracy, and were expelled by force of arms; the people of Antissa, who had received the Chian exiles, fought with them, and drove them out; and the Zancleans, after having received the Samians, were driven by them out of their own city. The citizens of Apollonia on the Euxine, after the introduction of a fresh body of colonists, had a revolution; the Syracusans, after the expulsion of their tyrants, having admitted strangers and mercenaries to the rights of citizenship, quarrelled and came to blows; the people of Amphipolis, having received Chalcidian colonists, were nearly all expelled by them.”

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  28. @MEH 0910
    Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times: Refugees Who Could Be Us

    WATCHING the horrific images of Syrian refugees struggling toward safety — or in the case of Aylan Kurdi, 3, drowning on that journey — I think of other refugees. Albert Einstein. Madeleine Albright. The Dalai Lama.

    And my dad.

    In the aftermath of World War II, my father swam the Danube River to flee Romania and become part of a tide of refugees that nobody much cared about. Fortunately, a family in Portland, Ore., sponsored his way to the United States, making this column possible.

     

    From that article:

    In Jordan, I once visited a refugee family hoping for settlement in the United States and saw a poster of Saddam Hussein on the wall; I wondered how that adjustment would go.

    Yea, I wonder.

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  29. The deification of roman emperors had already been in vogue well before the eastern empire separated from the west. One must remember that Julius Caesar himself was Pontifex Maximus and Augustus later became the same. Some more clever authors remark on the progression of this deification with examples of currency stamped with the faces of the emperors as the empire aged.

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  30. @andy
    But it took about 1,000 years to civilize the barbarians - ten centuries lost to Western Civilization

    But it took about 1,000 years to civilize the barbarians – ten centuries lost to Western Civilization

    Nonsense. By the tenth century Europe was completely civilized. There were about two centuries of chaos, roughly mid 6th to mid 7th. In 550 a boat of scholars landed at Cork. In 732 Charles Martel stopped Islam at Poitier.

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  31. These discussions comparing the modern Western situation to that of imperial Rome are great, and I salute the contributors with the depth of knowledge to post extensively.

    That said, in the minds of the social justice warriors who largely determine the tone of media coverage, the frame of reference for such a comparison is different from that of most people here. They think the fall of the Roman Empire was a good thing. The Romans were oppressors, so it’s good that they were defeated. What followed is irrelevant. From the POV of the SJW’s, it only matters that the bad, evil Romans received their comeuppance.

    Rejoicing more in the defeat of the enemy than in a successful long-term outcome seems to be a trait those on the social justice left.

    Anyway, in my observation, leftists generally hate the Romans and quite seriously believe that they were far worse than their contemporaries.* Suggesting that the current invasion of Europe has any parallels in late antiquity generally elicits comments along the lines of “so? Your point is …?”

    *In fairness to the lefties, this is not new. In Western popular culture, Rome has generally been seen as the Big Bad since at least the early 20th century, probably because of that whole feeding Christians to the lions thing. (Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christwas published in 1880.) For some reason, the Christian West prefers to remember the lions in the Colosseum rather than the fact that there would be no “Christian West” without the Romans.

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  32. @Romanian
    The coveted shout-out, mine at last. But I have to confess something - someone else from this site, in one of his comments, attracted my attention to the parallels with Gibbon's Decline of the Roman Empire and also provided many of the same quotes. In truth, I stand on the shoulders of giants.

    History was always one of my favorite subjects and it leads me to despair when I see how closely it repeats itself and how blind modern people are to the wisdom a little Classical education can bring them. Everybody acts as if everything is new, when nothing really is new where human nature is concerned. All that changes is the window dressing. And this thing, with the refugees, especially in the final quotes of the article, and the doomed hopes that they would morph into upstanding Romans when the Romans themselves were scarcely fit to remember the glory of their ancestors, just depresses me and makes me wonder about the future.

    A choice quote from Tacitus:

    "A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all."

    One from Horace:

    "Time corrupts all. What has it not made worse?
    Our grandfathers sired feebler children; theirs
    Were weaker still - ourselves; and now our curse
    Must be to breed even more degenerate heirs"

    Thank you. It was here:

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/the-camping-trip-of-the-saints/#comment-1084547

    We all owe Gibbon for his work. He was one of the greatest minds of his era, and devoted two decades to the book at the expense of his health and career.

    The best way to get a taste for Roman history though is Caesar’s Gallic Wars, which is short, well written, and very exciting:

    http://classics.mit.edu/Caesar/gallic.mb.txt

    An annotated version in book form could be better if you need some background info. For example, when he says “our Province” in the first paragraph, a note would say this refers to the area of NW Italy and SE France that was already under Roman control.

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  33. @Anonymous
    Thank you for this post, Romanian. And that was a nice acknowledgment you made of another poster.

    A choice quote from Tacitus:

    “A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.”


    What crime was Tacitus referring to?

    The Murder of Emperor Galba

    http://www.ourcivilisation.com/smartboard/shop/tacitusc/histries/chap2.htm

    Otho wanted to depose Galba, who was the first Emperor in the year of Four Emperors, so he hatched a conspiracy with some soldiers. Galba was eventually murdered, but not before fate had given the Romans a few chances to thwart the evil plan.

    [MORE]

    “27. On 15 January, Galba was offering sacrifice in front of the Temple of Apollo (7). The soothsayer Umbricius pronounced the entrails of the victim to be ill-omened, and predicted the imminence of a plot and the presence of a traitor within the palace. As Otho was standing next to Galba, he overheard this and gleefully interpreted it in the contrary sense as favourable to his own designs. A few minutes later, his freedman Onomastus brought him a message: the architect and builders were waiting for him. This was the pre-arranged code indicating that the troops were already assembling and the plot ripe. ….. Here twenty-three members of the bodyguard gave him the imperial salutation. Otho was appalled that they were so few in number, but they quickly placed him in a chair, drew their swords and hurried him off. Roughly the same number of soldiers joined the party on the way — some privy to the plot, many bewildered, a proportion shouting and flourishing their swords, others again maintaining silence, with the intention of suiting their reaction to the event.

    28. The duty-officer at the barracks was the tribune Julius Martialis. It is hard to say whether he was overwhelmed by the mere idea of such an immense and wicked enterprise, or whether he feared that the rot went deeper among the men and that resistance on his part might spell death. In any case, he gave many people the impression that he was in the plot. The other tribunes, and the centurions, also preferred the advantage of the moment to the incalculable risks of honour. Their mood may be summed up thus: a shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.

    Swords were drawn to deal with recalcitrants. Near the Basin of Curtius, the panic of his bearers caused Galba to be flung sprawling from his chair. His last words are variously recorded by the conflicting voices of hatred and admiration. Some say that he grovelled, and asked what he had done to deserve his fate, begging a few days’ grace to pay the bounty. The majority of the historians believe that he voluntarily bared his throat to the assassins, telling them to strike and be done with it, if this was what seemed best for the country. Little did the murderers care what he said.

    45. A complete transformation seemed to have taken place in both senators and people. They were now a mob stampeding in the direction of the barracks, each man trying to outstrip his neighbour in the race and catch up with those who led the field. They cursed Galba, complimented the soldiers on their choice, and covered Otho’s hand with kisses. These demonstrations were multiplied in proportion to their insincerity. Otho for his part welcomed even single individuals who came up to him, and restrained the greed and menaces of his men by word and look. The consul-designate Marius Celsus had shown Galba affection and loyalty to the bitter end. For this the soldiers now demanded his head, for they resented his energy and high principle as if they were faults of character. It was only too obvious that they were looking for an excuse to set about bloodshed and plunder and the annihilation of every decent Roman. But Otho was not yet in a position to prevent outrage-though he could already command it. So he pretended to be angry, and by ordering Celsus to be put in irons and undertaking that he would receive a heavier punishment later on, rescued him from immediate death.

    46. After that, the troops got their way in everything. They chose their own pretorian prefects.
    There was a demand for the remission of the payments traditionally made to centurions to secure exemption from duty. This was a kind of annual tax payable by the other ranks. As much as a quarter of a company’s strength would be scattered high and low on leave or loitering in the actual barracks, so long as they squared the company commander. The extent of these exactions and the methods employed to meet them were nobody’s business. Highway robbery, theft or taking on jobs as servants were the means by which they paid for their time off. Besides this, the richer a soldier was, the more he was subjected to fatigues and ill-treatment until he agreed to purchase exemption. Finally, when his money had given out and he had got into an idle and unhealthy state, he would return to his unit, reduced from affluence to poverty and from vigour to sloth. This process was repeated interminably; and the same destitution and indiscipline ruined man after man, driving them herd-like down the slope that leads to mutiny, dissension and, in the last resort, civil war. 47. The long day of villainy drew to its end. There remained the last horror — a mood of jubilation. The senate was summoned by the urban praetor, the other magistrates surpassed each other in feats of flattery, and the senators hurried hot-foot to the meeting. A decree was passed giving Otho the tribunician power, the title ‘Augustus’ and all the imperial prerogatives. Everybody made a desperate effort to obliterate the taunts and insults which had been freely bandied about; no one was actually made to feel that they rankled in Otho’s mind, and whether in fact he had renounced revenge or merely postponed it was a question which remained unanswered owing to the shortness of his reign.

    49. The body of Galba lay disregarded for many hours, and under cover of night marauders offered it repeated outrage. Finally his steward Argius, an old retainer of his, buried it in a humble grave in the grounds of Galba’s private villa. The head fell into the hands of army sutlers and servants, who were responsible for impaling and mutilating it. It was only on the following day that it was found in front of the tomb of Patrobius, a freedman of Nero who had been sentenced by Galba. It was then laid with the ashes of the body, which had already been cremated.

    Such was the fate of Servius Galba. In the course of seventy-three years he had lived a successful life spanning the reigns of five emperors — reigns which proved luckier for him than his own. He came of a family that could boast ancient nobility and great wealth. His own personality was something of a compromise: he had good qualities and in equal measure bad. Having won a reputation, he neither despised nor exploited it. He harboured no designs upon other people’s property, was thrifty with his own, and where the state was involved showed himself a positive miser. A tolerant attitude towards courtiers and officials attracted no censure when they happened to be honest; but his lack of perception if they were not was quite inexcusable. However, distinguished birth and the alarms of the time disguised his lack of enterprise and caused it to be described as wisdom. In the prime of life he attained military distinction in the Rhineland; as proconsul, he administered Africa with moderation, and his control of Nearer Spain in his latter years showed a similar sense of fair-play. Indeed, so long as he was a subject, he seemed too great a man to be one, and by common consent possessed the makings of a ruler — had he never ruled. “

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    • Replies: @Kamran
    Holy fuck that guys website is insane. Every single link links to another of his conspiracies. He must be an autistic psycho of some sort.


    Here he repudiates Edwin Hubble's theory of the expansion of the universe and presents his own theory instead: http://www.ourcivilisation.com/thacker/bigbang.htm
  34. @Alastair Trumpington

    All the “migrants” are, of course, young men of what the US deems as “Military-age”

     

    Somewhat off topic: I have a theory that a large proportion of the current wave of Syrians comes from the Alawite upper class, who have thus far managed to avoid personally taking part in the conflict but can no longer avoid it. They are essentially draft dodgers who would understandably rather go to Germany than face death at the hands of ISIS.

    Why would the Alawites leave when Assad is keeping the others in check and Western Syria is relatively safe and prosperous? The little kid that died was a Kurd, for instance. I’m sure most refugees are Sunni who hate Assad’s guts.

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  35. @MEH 0910
    Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times: Refugees Who Could Be Us

    WATCHING the horrific images of Syrian refugees struggling toward safety — or in the case of Aylan Kurdi, 3, drowning on that journey — I think of other refugees. Albert Einstein. Madeleine Albright. The Dalai Lama.

    And my dad.

    In the aftermath of World War II, my father swam the Danube River to flee Romania and become part of a tide of refugees that nobody much cared about. Fortunately, a family in Portland, Ore., sponsored his way to the United States, making this column possible.

     

    I replied somewhere else that I read that article and his father appears to have been a Polish Armenian from the part of Poland that was incorporated by Ukraine. He merely passed through Romania after escaping prison, didn’t like what he saw (the beginnings of Communist rule), and went to greener pastures. Notably, he passed on France because he doubted that they would think of his future children as being entirely French, even though he was French educated and fluent in the language. Basically, he started out as a refugee, then became a migrant.

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  36. @David
    Gibbon comments on World War T too: "We may observe that the use and value of those effeminate slaves [eunuchs] gradually rose with the decline of the empire."

    There was one heroic eunuch in Roman history:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narses

    He reconquered much of Italy from the Goths on behalf of the Eastern Roman Empire in a series of brilliant battles, then defended it from a Frankish invasion.

    In retrospect, it would have been preferable for the Eastern Empire to have made peace with the Goths in Italy. The hundreds of years of war between the increasingly civilized Germanics and the Eastern Romans left Italy devastated and depopulated. The Byzantines after these wars were unable to defend their eastern frontier from the Muslim conquests, and likewise the Gothic kingdoms of Northern Africa and Spain were also conquered.

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  37. @SPMoore8
    What's actually relevant to the United States is the ongoing Latinization of our country, making deals with modern day "Sassanids" (Iran) is much less of an issue for us, although it appears to be a big issue with Israel.

    Basically, to Americans, what happens in the Middle East is irrelevant as long as the oil flows. The US has already fought to long wars in the region (not counting things like Libya) and has done so with very little popular support and nothing in the way of distributing the burden in terms of taxes or conscription.

    Not being ignorant of history, I also know it's a bad idea to give blank checks to allies.

    The US is a major oil producer. Chinese demand will rebound but unlikely to 2009-2013 levels. Iran needs oil at around $200 a barrel or so to keep men with guns paid.

    Thus their only recourse is to suppress or eliminate Gulf AND US oil production.

    Thus we will get war, or simply surrender to Iran and live like its 1899.

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  38. @Haploid
    Is this a fruitful analogy, Steve? Those barbarians ended up kinda alright, re: their progeny made it so you can even post this.

    “salvo says:

    Is this a fruitful analogy, Steve? Those barbarians ended up kinda alright, re: their progeny made it so you can even post this.”

    It isn’t in this respect. Arabs aren’t Germans. In the last 1500 years or so, the descendents of those barbarians (and others like them) created modern Europe. During that same interval, the Arabs created modern Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States. Notice any differences?

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  39. @anony-mouse
    Much more relevant for the United States:

    Your forgetting another mistake from Valens' time.

    From wikipedia:

    Valens inherited the eastern portion of an empire that had recently retreated from most of its holdings in Mesopotamia and Armenia because of a treaty that his predecessor Jovian had made with Shapur II of the Sassanid Empire.

    Lesson: Avoid making deals with Sassanids-although I assume most people here, ignorant of history, would disagree.

    “Lesson: Avoid making deals with Sassanids-although I assume most people here, ignorant of history, would disagree.”

    I haven’t noticed that people here are ignorant of history. Quite the contrary. You are, perhaps.

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  40. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Steve,

    Did Jews (those either identifying as such or identifying as Christians) have any influence on Roman decisionmaking as to immigration and citizenship in the Empire? I am thinking in particular of the Valens decision as to the Goths, but perhaps there are other examples of specific instances or more general policies and philosophies.

    Jews often say of their presence in Europe, “We came with the Romans,” so they must have at least had some presence and interaction.

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  41. Bulgaria is encompasses old Thrace and Moesia, the provinces which the Goths devastated. As such, they know better. Ottoman oppression helped too.

    http://front.bg/analizi/u-nas/znam-kakvo-shte-stane

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  42. The Ottoman Empire often looked at itself as being the true successor to the Roman Empire and referred to the city of Rome as the “red apple,” something to be reach for and plucked. The Ottoman sultans also were the self-proclaimed caliphs of the Muslim world. Perhaps when the smoke clears, we’ll look back and say ISIS was a first attempt to re-establish both the caliphate and a Muslim empire stretching over Asia and Europe.

    Read More
  43. As the New York Times explained this week, mass migration across the Danube offers the receiving country “an opportunity to rejuvenate its aging demographics and ensure its economic prosperity …”

    This is one of my pet peeves about demographic commentary.

    If you are bringing in lots of foreigners, and/or if those foreigners are having lots of children, it’s not your demographics that are being rejuvenated. It’s theirs. It’s like how some American commentators brag about how, unlike Europe, “we” in America have replacement-level fertility.

    No, “we” don’t, unless you think that a nation has no a priori relationship with the people who created and settled it.

    Can you imagine elites in Israel saying, “The Arabs are rejuvenating our demographics, hooray!” But that’s par for the course in every other Western country. If terms like “cuckservative” and “Cultural Marxist” didn’t exist, we would have to invent them.

    Is it too much to ask for an elite media establishment that doesn’t regard the European peoples as demographically expendable?

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  44. @Romanian
    The Murder of Emperor Galba

    http://www.ourcivilisation.com/smartboard/shop/tacitusc/histries/chap2.htm

    Otho wanted to depose Galba, who was the first Emperor in the year of Four Emperors, so he hatched a conspiracy with some soldiers. Galba was eventually murdered, but not before fate had given the Romans a few chances to thwart the evil plan.

    "27. On 15 January, Galba was offering sacrifice in front of the Temple of Apollo (7). The soothsayer Umbricius pronounced the entrails of the victim to be ill-omened, and predicted the imminence of a plot and the presence of a traitor within the palace. As Otho was standing next to Galba, he overheard this and gleefully interpreted it in the contrary sense as favourable to his own designs. A few minutes later, his freedman Onomastus brought him a message: the architect and builders were waiting for him. This was the pre-arranged code indicating that the troops were already assembling and the plot ripe. ..... Here twenty-three members of the bodyguard gave him the imperial salutation. Otho was appalled that they were so few in number, but they quickly placed him in a chair, drew their swords and hurried him off. Roughly the same number of soldiers joined the party on the way — some privy to the plot, many bewildered, a proportion shouting and flourishing their swords, others again maintaining silence, with the intention of suiting their reaction to the event.

    28. The duty-officer at the barracks was the tribune Julius Martialis. It is hard to say whether he was overwhelmed by the mere idea of such an immense and wicked enterprise, or whether he feared that the rot went deeper among the men and that resistance on his part might spell death. In any case, he gave many people the impression that he was in the plot. The other tribunes, and the centurions, also preferred the advantage of the moment to the incalculable risks of honour. Their mood may be summed up thus: a shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.

    Swords were drawn to deal with recalcitrants. Near the Basin of Curtius, the panic of his bearers caused Galba to be flung sprawling from his chair. His last words are variously recorded by the conflicting voices of hatred and admiration. Some say that he grovelled, and asked what he had done to deserve his fate, begging a few days' grace to pay the bounty. The majority of the historians believe that he voluntarily bared his throat to the assassins, telling them to strike and be done with it, if this was what seemed best for the country. Little did the murderers care what he said.

    45. A complete transformation seemed to have taken place in both senators and people. They were now a mob stampeding in the direction of the barracks, each man trying to outstrip his neighbour in the race and catch up with those who led the field. They cursed Galba, complimented the soldiers on their choice, and covered Otho's hand with kisses. These demonstrations were multiplied in proportion to their insincerity. Otho for his part welcomed even single individuals who came up to him, and restrained the greed and menaces of his men by word and look. The consul-designate Marius Celsus had shown Galba affection and loyalty to the bitter end. For this the soldiers now demanded his head, for they resented his energy and high principle as if they were faults of character. It was only too obvious that they were looking for an excuse to set about bloodshed and plunder and the annihilation of every decent Roman. But Otho was not yet in a position to prevent outrage-though he could already command it. So he pretended to be angry, and by ordering Celsus to be put in irons and undertaking that he would receive a heavier punishment later on, rescued him from immediate death.

    46. After that, the troops got their way in everything. They chose their own pretorian prefects.
    There was a demand for the remission of the payments traditionally made to centurions to secure exemption from duty. This was a kind of annual tax payable by the other ranks. As much as a quarter of a company's strength would be scattered high and low on leave or loitering in the actual barracks, so long as they squared the company commander. The extent of these exactions and the methods employed to meet them were nobody's business. Highway robbery, theft or taking on jobs as servants were the means by which they paid for their time off. Besides this, the richer a soldier was, the more he was subjected to fatigues and ill-treatment until he agreed to purchase exemption. Finally, when his money had given out and he had got into an idle and unhealthy state, he would return to his unit, reduced from affluence to poverty and from vigour to sloth. This process was repeated interminably; and the same destitution and indiscipline ruined man after man, driving them herd-like down the slope that leads to mutiny, dissension and, in the last resort, civil war. 47. The long day of villainy drew to its end. There remained the last horror — a mood of jubilation. The senate was summoned by the urban praetor, the other magistrates surpassed each other in feats of flattery, and the senators hurried hot-foot to the meeting. A decree was passed giving Otho the tribunician power, the title 'Augustus' and all the imperial prerogatives. Everybody made a desperate effort to obliterate the taunts and insults which had been freely bandied about; no one was actually made to feel that they rankled in Otho's mind, and whether in fact he had renounced revenge or merely postponed it was a question which remained unanswered owing to the shortness of his reign.

    49. The body of Galba lay disregarded for many hours, and under cover of night marauders offered it repeated outrage. Finally his steward Argius, an old retainer of his, buried it in a humble grave in the grounds of Galba's private villa. The head fell into the hands of army sutlers and servants, who were responsible for impaling and mutilating it. It was only on the following day that it was found in front of the tomb of Patrobius, a freedman of Nero who had been sentenced by Galba. It was then laid with the ashes of the body, which had already been cremated.

    Such was the fate of Servius Galba. In the course of seventy-three years he had lived a successful life spanning the reigns of five emperors — reigns which proved luckier for him than his own. He came of a family that could boast ancient nobility and great wealth. His own personality was something of a compromise: he had good qualities and in equal measure bad. Having won a reputation, he neither despised nor exploited it. He harboured no designs upon other people's property, was thrifty with his own, and where the state was involved showed himself a positive miser. A tolerant attitude towards courtiers and officials attracted no censure when they happened to be honest; but his lack of perception if they were not was quite inexcusable. However, distinguished birth and the alarms of the time disguised his lack of enterprise and caused it to be described as wisdom. In the prime of life he attained military distinction in the Rhineland; as proconsul, he administered Africa with moderation, and his control of Nearer Spain in his latter years showed a similar sense of fair-play. Indeed, so long as he was a subject, he seemed too great a man to be one, and by common consent possessed the makings of a ruler — had he never ruled. "

    Holy fuck that guys website is insane. Every single link links to another of his conspiracies. He must be an autistic psycho of some sort.

    Here he repudiates Edwin Hubble’s theory of the expansion of the universe and presents his own theory instead: http://www.ourcivilisation.com/thacker/bigbang.htm

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    • Replies: @Romanian
    Man, I was just looking for an okay translation of Galba's end by Tacitus. This guy was the first in the list that was ok. It's my fault that few mainstream sites have digital versions of Tacitus that show up on Google? It's like Dylann Roof finding out about interracial crime from some small fry group's website, instead of the CNN or MSNBC website.
  45. @Kamran
    Holy fuck that guys website is insane. Every single link links to another of his conspiracies. He must be an autistic psycho of some sort.


    Here he repudiates Edwin Hubble's theory of the expansion of the universe and presents his own theory instead: http://www.ourcivilisation.com/thacker/bigbang.htm

    Man, I was just looking for an okay translation of Galba’s end by Tacitus. This guy was the first in the list that was ok. It’s my fault that few mainstream sites have digital versions of Tacitus that show up on Google? It’s like Dylann Roof finding out about interracial crime from some small fry group’s website, instead of the CNN or MSNBC website.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Kamran
    Dude, relax. I'm not blaming. Just remarking, I haven't come across something so unusual on the web in a while. It was hard to follow his writing in some of his rants.
  46. The more videos and pictures of “refugees” I see, the more I think Europe needs to reaquaint themselves with the fable of the scorpion and the turtle.

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  47. @Romanian
    Man, I was just looking for an okay translation of Galba's end by Tacitus. This guy was the first in the list that was ok. It's my fault that few mainstream sites have digital versions of Tacitus that show up on Google? It's like Dylann Roof finding out about interracial crime from some small fry group's website, instead of the CNN or MSNBC website.

    Dude, relax. I’m not blaming. Just remarking, I haven’t come across something so unusual on the web in a while. It was hard to follow his writing in some of his rants.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Romanian
    I was going for a different tone. More like African-American commiserations :p
  48. @Kamran
    Dude, relax. I'm not blaming. Just remarking, I haven't come across something so unusual on the web in a while. It was hard to follow his writing in some of his rants.

    I was going for a different tone. More like African-American commiserations :p

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  49. @Richard

    It is interesting that the assertion of State authority over that of the Church (ie Byzantine Iconoclasm – “relics thrown into the sea … Monks were apparently forced to parade in the Hippodrome, each hand-in-hand with a woman, in violation of their vows”) came after major reverses at the hands of Islam. Maybe the Emperor had worked out what the problem was!
     
    In the last days of the Byzantine Empire, when the emperor was trying to tie together alliances for the sake of saving what was left of it from conquest by the Muslim Ottoman Empire, the Orthodox priests were notorious for their apathy and backbiting. "Better the Sultan's turban than the Pope's mitre" was their watchword. They got what they wanted and 600 years later Christians are virtually extinct in Asia Minor.

    Yes, it was a very strange, and if I may, Middle Eastern-like religious fanaticism, an obsession with being ‘Hellenes’, that throttled any rapprochement with the West, fractured any effort, and shrunk the Imperial horizon.

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  50. From “The Fall of the Roman Empire” by Peter Heather (published 2005)

    “In the summer of 376, a vast throng of people – men, women and
    children – suddenly appeared on the north bank of the River Danube
    asking for safe haven in Roman territory. One source, not our best,
    reports that 200,000 refugees appeared beside the river; Ammianus,
    that there were too many to count.

    The Romans quickly learned what lay behind all the mayhem.
    Again in Ammianus’ words: ‘The seed-bed and origin of all this
    destruction and of the various calamities inflicted by the wrath of Mars,
    which raged everywhere with extraordinary fury, I find to be this: the
    people of the Huns.’

    Ammianus was writing nearly twenty years later, by which time the
    Romans had a better understanding of what had brought the Goths to
    the Danube. Even in the 390s, though, the full effects of the arrival of
    the Huns were far from apparent. The appearance of the Goths beside
    the river in the summer of 376 was the first link in a chain of events that
    would lead directly from the rise of Hunnic power on the fringes of
    Europe to the deposition of the last western emperor, Romulus
    Augustulus, almost exactly one hundred years later. None of this was
    even remotely conceivable in 376, and there would be many twists and
    turns on the way. The arrival of Goths on the Danube marked the start
    of a reshuffling of Europe-wide balances of power…..”

    Heather concludes his book:

    “The west Roman state fell not because of the weight of its own ‘stupendous fabric’, but because its Germanic neighbours had responded to its power in ways that the Romans could never have foreseen. There is in all this a
    pleasing denouement. By virtue of its unbounded aggression, Roman
    imperialism was ultimately responsible for its own destruction.”

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    • Replies: @Luke Lea
    Are radical Islamists the new Huns? If the moderate Muslim majorities will not fight for their rights, is it the West's responsibility to take them in? I don't think so. A people that will not help itself cannot be helped. That applies to us in the West just as much as to those in the Middle East.
  51. @Hippopotamusdrome


    Sounds about right.
    All the “migrants” are, of course, young men of what the US deems as “Military-age”

     

    But could they field a modern army that could win a pitched battle against us? I don't think so.

    Do they have to? Look at Iraq, that recent past may become Europe’s not-too-distant future.

    I do not believe that Eurofor will be wiped out in some Cannaeesque Battle of the Rhineland or any such thing, but I could easily see bands of “warriors for Social Justice (and Islam)” pillaging town after town without an effective or organized military response. The drip and drab losses of such insurgencies will break what is left of the West’s military power as surely as losing a field campaign. After all, you can blow up an apartment building full of terrorists with artillery and drone strikes quite easily… when it is thousands of miles from your home in a country you give not one whit about. When it is half-filled with your own neighbors and family, that is a different story. Willpower, not fancy weapons is what wins wars. The weapons can only increase the effectiveness of a fighting nation’s will to win, not replace it.

    While I was digging through info on Western Rome’s fall, I discovered this play by Swiss author Friedrich Dürrenmatt: Romulus the Great.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romulus_the_Great

    It is an ahistorical piece where the last Emperor of Western Rome deliberately allows his nation to be destroyed by the Germans because he believes it is too violent and morally compromised to be allowed to continue to exist. I’ll take a guess that if Frau Merkel ever read it, she was rooting for the Emperor, but not because she was proud of her German ancestors.

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  52. Maybe someone should do a Classics illustrated Comic Book version of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire? Then someone might make it into a movie and these stupid fuckers can see how this story is going to turn out.
    I think these idiots would welcome a Dalek Invasion if it kept another Hitler from being elected. If they think Mohammed is better than Hitler on the Jewish Question they must have the historical literacy of Goober on the Andy Griffith Show.

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  53. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Why can’t we look back on 2015 with the same ironic detachment?

    Civilizations have been destroyed from within for many thousands of years.

    For people of White European descent that has worked out well because if all those previous civilizations hadn’t been destroyed we wouldn’t be here

    - France, Germany etc would just be part of Greater Sumeria, or Greater Babylonia, Egypt, Persia etc.

    I expect that it being our turn to have our civilization destroyed from within would be why it’s harder to be detached.

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  54. The only permanent destruction that civilizations suffer is from racial change.

    It is shocking to me that so many White parents are nonchalant about the misery they are leaving to their children just so they won’t be called “rayyyccisss”.

    There is a special place in Hell for cowards like that.

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  55. I assume these migrants are aware that Western Europe is running out of welfare money, and more and more of what there is will have to go towards paying for old white people’s pensions and hip operations?

    There’s a looming battle between young immigrants and old whites, and even old white people can be dangerous when threatened by immigrants trying to steal their pensions.

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    • Replies: @Jason
    Too bad those old White people can't be roused to defend their own White children though.
  56. @unpc downunder
    I assume these migrants are aware that Western Europe is running out of welfare money, and more and more of what there is will have to go towards paying for old white people's pensions and hip operations?

    There's a looming battle between young immigrants and old whites, and even old white people can be dangerous when threatened by immigrants trying to steal their pensions.

    Too bad those old White people can’t be roused to defend their own White children though.

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  57. It is interesting why Valens lost at Hadrianople. Constantine had broken the Legions into smaller units and posted them in urban areas to ensure regional loyalty. The frontiers were guarded by (in their modern-day formulations), national guard troops and special forces. As a result, the Legions ceased to train in and lost their ability to wage large-scale formation warfare. When the Legions assembled at Hadrianople, they were poorly led and poorly trained for the task at hand. When the Goths attacked their flank, the Romans could not “wheel” their formation to counter the attack. The Goths rolled up the Roman flank and, as at Cannae, surrounded and slaughtered the Romans.

    The analogy between the current mass migrations into the Anglo-Saxon Empire and the disaster at Hadrianople can be extended to current US military doctrine. Like the Romans, the United States has also altered is military doctrine to replace training to wage large-scale formation warfare with small unit actions by special forces chasing barbarian raiders around the periphery of the Empire. It is a good guess that the United Stats has also lost its ability to wage large-scale formation warfare. The Russians, however, continue to train to fight such wars.

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  58. @The Z Blog
    This policy or resettling barbarians into Roman territory did not start in the fourth century. In started in the third century. The political turmoil and warfare along the borders left vast swaths of land depopulated. The solution landed upon was to invite German tribes to resettle into these lands. The condition was they disarmed and became farmers.

    These economic migrants also made up the auxilia used to defend the frontier in what Edward Luttwak describes as defense-in-depth. By the end of the fourth century, Rome was depending entirely on non-citizens for defense. I'm sure that will not be an issue for Europe as all of these Arab Muslim will embrace multiculturalism and abandon Islam in favor of materialism.

    Sweet. That makes the 20th century wars Western Civilization’s “Crisis of the Third Century” analogue.

    My new favourite Roman/modern analogy.

    It has the flaws inherent in all such comparisons, but still a source of gratifying clarity.

    I wonder what figures of the recent past that would cast in such roles as Diocletian or Constantine. There is an oversupply of candidates for the roles of Valens, his lackeys, and of Honorius.

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  59. Demographic replacement is cultural suicide. Wasn’t that Auster’s thesis in a nutshell?

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  60. @Zach
    From "The Fall of the Roman Empire" by Peter Heather (published 2005)

    "In the summer of 376, a vast throng of people – men, women and
    children – suddenly appeared on the north bank of the River Danube
    asking for safe haven in Roman territory. One source, not our best,
    reports that 200,000 refugees appeared beside the river; Ammianus,
    that there were too many to count.

    The Romans quickly learned what lay behind all the mayhem.
    Again in Ammianus’ words: ‘The seed-bed and origin of all this
    destruction and of the various calamities inflicted by the wrath of Mars,
    which raged everywhere with extraordinary fury, I find to be this: the
    people of the Huns.’

    Ammianus was writing nearly twenty years later, by which time the
    Romans had a better understanding of what had brought the Goths to
    the Danube. Even in the 390s, though, the full effects of the arrival of
    the Huns were far from apparent. The appearance of the Goths beside
    the river in the summer of 376 was the first link in a chain of events that
    would lead directly from the rise of Hunnic power on the fringes of
    Europe to the deposition of the last western emperor, Romulus
    Augustulus, almost exactly one hundred years later. None of this was
    even remotely conceivable in 376, and there would be many twists and
    turns on the way. The arrival of Goths on the Danube marked the start
    of a reshuffling of Europe-wide balances of power....."

    Heather concludes his book:

    "The west Roman state fell not because of the weight of its own ‘stupendous fabric', but because its Germanic neighbours had responded to its power in ways that the Romans could never have foreseen. There is in all this a
    pleasing denouement. By virtue of its unbounded aggression, Roman
    imperialism was ultimately responsible for its own destruction."

    Are radical Islamists the new Huns? If the moderate Muslim majorities will not fight for their rights, is it the West’s responsibility to take them in? I don’t think so. A people that will not help itself cannot be helped. That applies to us in the West just as much as to those in the Middle East.

    Read More
  61. This is the best illustration I’ve seen of Santayana’s dictum, “Those who do not study the past are doomed to repeat it.”

    Can we blame the Ivy League for this failure? World history gets short shrift in the contemporary academy, which emphasizes critical thinking but requires few historical facts be learned upon which such thinking can be exercised.

    Ignorance begets naivete.

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  62. This is the best illustration I’ve seen of Santayana’s aphorism, “Those who do not study the past are doomed to repeat it.”

    Can we blame the Ivy League for this failure? History gets short shrift in the contemporary academy, which emphasizes critical thinking but requires few facts be learned upon which such thinking can be exercised. Knowledge good => ignorance bad.

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  63. Quote from Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Vol. 2

    “The inaction of the negroes does not seem to be the effect either of their virtue or of their pusillanimity. They indulge, like the rest of mankind, their passions and appetites; and the adjacent tribes are engaged in frequent acts of hostility. But their rude ignorance has never invented any effectual weapons of defence, or of destruction; they appear incapable of forming any extensive plans of government, or conquest; and the obvious inferiority of their mental faculties has been discovered and abused by the nations of the temperate zone. Sixty thousand blacks are annually embarked from the coast of Guinea, never to return to their native country; but they are embarked in chains; and this constant emigration, which, in the space of two centuries, might have furnished armies to overrun the globe, accuses the guilt of Europe and the weakness of Africa”.

    Excerpt From: Gibbon, Edward. “History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire — Volume 2. Pg. 4597-4599″ iBooks

    The Africans must have read this and realized Gibbon was right! They certainly can take over Europe and are out to prove it.

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  64. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Forget about Rome. This happened recently in Africa. After the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, millions of refugees were allowed into the Democratic Republic of Congo. Within 12 years, 6 million (with an M) Congolese were killed in wars by the refugees and their opponents. The Congolese government was destroyed and it’s leader, Mobutu, died shortly afterwards. His successor, Laurent Kabila, was also killed by Rwandan agents. Till today, Congolese minerals and diamonds worth billions of dollars have been stolen by the refugees, their backers and their opponents.
    The same thing happened in Kosovo. The Albanians were originally refugees. Today, Serbia has lost a huge chunk of it’s history and territory. Sometimes it pays to be stone hearted. Listening to the UN is a recipe for disaster

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  65. Please do not allude to germans being goths or huns scythians it is quite deceptive we have no idea who these people were? Thank you

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  66. […] Related: The evil of encouraging refugees. Related: The EU reveals its priorities. Related: Refugees in the Roman era. Related: Revenge of the rest against the west. Related: Immigration and absolution. Related: […]

    Read More

Comments are closed.

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