Thursday, May 15, 2008

Republics and Republicans.

"Nowadays, when all anyone seems to know about the Roman Empire is that it fell, comparisons are constantly offered between the Romans and the Americans which have little to do with historical reality. Most attractive is the one which assumes that the "fall of Rome," like the soon expected fall of America, was due to moral weakness and gross (preferably sexual) self-indulgence. The analogy would be less foolish if it were the case that Roman morality declined in the fifth century A.D., when the barbarians came. Actually, the first complaints about the city's moral decline were heard in the second century B.C. at a time when Rome was not falling but rising and there was as yet no such thing as an emperor. We live in a country founded by colonial gentlemen who not only understood Roman history but were fond of quoting it in Latin. Recently, the United States has produced a generation of leaders who do not even know that Rome was a republic and that it did not become a hereditary monarchy until the emperor Augustus gave up on the old constitution at about the time of Christ."
-from The End of Kings: A history of Republics and Republicans. The cause of my low writing output yesterday and last night. I probably won't type much until I finish the last fifty pages this morning. Two thumbs up. A must read. Thank you, staghounds.


jimbob86 said...

"Recently, the United States has produced a generation of leaders who do not even know that Rome was a republic ......."

..... Hell, we have produced a generation of voters (most of them, anyway)who seem to think the United States is a Democracy..... it is not (and the choir says "Duh."), it is a Democratic Representative Republic..... but most of those voters don't understand them there big werds.... either that or they do understand them and refuse to acknoledge the fact, as it contradicts the precepts of their StateAsGod Religion.

GunGeek said...

I remember about 30-ish years ago reading an article in the scholarly Reader's Digest magazine on the fall of the Roman Empire.

The basic gist of it was that it was the Roman baths that caused the empire to collapse. All that soaking in hot water caused the men to be unable to produce sufficient little swimmers (especially of the male variety) to create enough new future soldiers.


Old Grouch said...

Also widespread use of lead for water pipes and cooking pots, especially among the patricians -> chronic lead poisoning of the governing class.

OA said...

There was also a massive amount of lead from the (lead-lined) Roman baths.

Seems to me that more apt comparisons might be drawn with 1920's America.

staghounds said...

Happy to help. It's as though it was written for you, isn't it?

staghounds said...

Had been written, that is. I was cutting and pasting.