69 million page views

Rome, Hungary... nothing new under the sun

Reader comment on item: Middle East Provocations and Predictions
in response to reader comment: Islamic Chaos Threatens The West

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Sep 16, 2015 at 20:12

Hello, Dave

...by classical historian Mikhail Rostovtzeff. To summarize as best I can: He theorized that all civilizations eventually declined because the original animating principles, often conceived by elite founders, became diluted and were lost through overly ambitious expansion. For example, Rome's decline could be traced to its imperial conquests and the subsequent inclusion as citizens of vast numbers of rough people in Europe and Asia who had no previous experience with, or knowledge of, Roman democracy. The impetus for such inclusion can be noble, in that people want to share their civilization's successes with others. But eventually, too many benighted newcomers destroy the system. Unfortunately, history may be repeating itself through the West's immigration policies.

Rostovtzeff was correct, though he only gave half the story. Yes, Rome eventually disintegrated because, essentially, "the conquered overwhelmed the conquerors". This also happened to Rome's conquerors, the Ostrogoths, who eventually got absorbed by the local (very mixed) Italian population. It also happened to the Mongols, who conquered China and then were absorbed by it.

The other half of the story, is that without conquering all those people, those countries would not have been "great". We can therefore lament the fall of Rome (and of Europe, a fall now in progress) at the hands of formerly subject peoples; but without having conquered those peoples, Europe would not have been "great", and there would be nothing to lament.

I have seen the "Golden Age" of Rome described as the time of "Five Good Emperors" of the Nerva-Antonine Dynasty: Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius, during a "period of prosperity from 96 CE to 192 CE". Territorially, Rome reached its apex under Trajan in 117 CE. That coincided with the crushing defeat of a Jewish rebellion.

96 CE, moreover, was approximately the time when the Apostle John wrote his epistles and the Book of Revelation. John was the last living close companion of Jesus; and his epistles reveal that in his day, the church had largely been taken over by men who rejected John's teaching ("Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us."). The book of Revelation also reveals the "seven churches, which are in Asia" to have largely fallen into apostacy.

The coming of Rome's "Golden Age", then, was marked by increased wealth, yes; but also by the scattering of the Jews and the apostasy of the Christians. Before this time, Rome had been the crucible of new religions, of new ideas, of new everything; and coincidentally, of a 200-plus year period of one conquest after the other. Before the Golden Age, in short, Rome was vigorous; but during it, it became flabby.

One can trace parallel periods for Europe and the US. Europe was a vibrant, expanding enterprise from the late 1500s until the end of WWII. During this time, the Industrial Revolution transformed humanity, largely from factories in Britain and America. Since WWII, this vibrant growth and ingenuity, along with world-wide conquest, gave way to relative peace and stability (regulated by the UN Charter), to unprecedented wealth and availability of cheaply-obtained products, to apostasy in both Judaism and Christianity, and to decadence and obesity.

The migrant crisis now plaguing Europe is not an isolated event. Ever since the collapse of the British Empire, and kindred empires of the Dutch, French, etc., Western Europe has hosted ever-increasing populations of people coming to the "mother country" from its former possessions. They've come there, largely because the "mother country" had become rich, filthy rich, ludicrously rich.

As for America, our period of true greatness was not when we landed a man on the moon; it was when we conquered an entire continent, when major new religions found expression: Baptists, Mormons, Pentecostals, Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses and others. Those religions, in turn, overspread the earth alongside Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, etc. missionaries from Europe. Whole continents were spiritually transformed during this period. At the same time, industry and technology flourished.

Nowadays, we have a sense that the world is being vitally transformed by computers getting smaller and smaller, and having new "aps" written for them. This has had a great social impact; but in real terms, compare this to the harnessing of electricity itself, without with computers would not exist; or the discovery of 90% of the known elements, of the building of railroads, which still ply the same routes they did 150 years ago. Up until the early 1800s, man could only travel as fast as a horse could gallop or a ship could sail -- which was also his condition 3000 years ago. The steam engine changed that in the space of a few years. THAT is what I call a vibrant, lively civilization; the situation we now have, in our "Golden Age", wherein people can eat all they can hold and puke the excess into flush toilets with PVC plumbing, and take a selfie of them doing this to post on Facebook, is not something I would call "vibrant".

Yes, we are following in the footsteps of Rome, and of all the "great civilizations" of mankind. Every now and then, such as when Syrian migrants want to kick down fences and take over our country, we sense that something is afoot' but, as Solomon said in the Bible,

Ecclesiastes 1:9King James Version (KJV)
9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

Thank you for your comment.

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".


Submit a comment on this item

Reader comments (68) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
1common sense [133 words]Charles MartelOct 26, 2015 12:11226069
Muslim or Islamist Winter - In Palestine and Israel [226 words]RobertOct 26, 2015 03:39226063
"Self-Hating Jews" - The Narative of a Harvard Professor and his side kick - Stevem Levitsky & Dlen Weyl [404 words]RobertOct 24, 2015 14:05226050
Re: The truth about Jerusalem's grand mufti, Hitler and the Holocaust [354 words]YJ DraimanOct 23, 2015 14:33226035
1"PM Netanyahu's Speech at the 37th Zionist Congres" - ISRAEL [207 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
RobertOct 21, 2015 13:51225732
2014 "Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East. by Barry Rubin and Wolfgang G. Schwanitz" [260 words]RobertOct 24, 2015 06:01225732
POST WWI DIVISION OF THE TERRITORY OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE [1869 words]YJ DraimanOct 19, 2015 16:34225710
It is harder to make peace than war! [398 words]YJ DraimanOct 19, 2015 02:57225698
Patronize, Invest and Support - as opposed to BDS [173 words]RobertOct 14, 2015 12:09225636
"I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore" [359 words]YJ DraimanOct 14, 2015 02:24225627
SO; the Jewish Carpenter Said to the Jewish Fisherman...... [148 words]M. ToveyOct 15, 2015 11:14225627
(More on the current) "Muslim Reformation" & the New York Times [326 words]RobertOct 12, 2015 11:16225587
Muslim [Arab] Reformation - as in the Protestant (European) Reformation [207 words]RobertOct 12, 2015 10:14225585
2The culprit is Islam [27 words]Sujay Rao MandavilliOct 11, 2015 21:59225578
Israel should send troops to arrest Abbas for inciting violence. He is not above the law [304 words]YJ DraimanOct 11, 2015 18:19225571
Temple Mount in Jerusalem is Jewish territory and has been since prior to the building of the two Jewish temples [427 words]YJ DraimanOct 15, 2015 20:46225571
2Worldwide alert: the real Muslim mission [745 words]YJ DraimanOct 9, 2015 02:39225524
World War 3 [99 words]bob2yayOct 14, 2015 23:19225524
Portending of Many Things To Come... [272 words]M ToveyOct 20, 2015 11:43225524
2The Arab-Palestinian grand Mufti of Jerusalem played a central role in plotting the pro-Nazi coup in Iraq and extermination of Jews in Europe. [527 words]YJ DraimanOct 23, 2015 14:20225524
The Mufti's dead. Now what? Yesh atid? [548 words]Michael SDec 3, 2015 15:17225524
War Crime Allegations Confirmed. [16 words]Reynald de ChatillonApr 12, 2018 01:28225524
Palestinian Refugees vs. Syrian Refugees [160 words]RobertOct 6, 2015 12:13225483
Noam "Don Quixote" Chomsky - On US Foreign Policy [273 words]RobertOct 6, 2015 09:06225473
3Declare Syria a Palestinian State [97 words]RobertOct 4, 2015 17:01225451
3NO FLY ZONE - To be imposed by Israel? [309 words]RobertOct 4, 2015 11:42225446
Israel is not a "startup state". [12 words]Michael SOct 8, 2015 21:43225446
"Start-Up" Nation [51 words]RobertOct 9, 2015 05:43225446
"Start-Up Nation" = Israel (Book) [59 words]RobertOct 11, 2015 09:08225446
1Actors and TV Personalities: Do they make good Presidents? [910 words]Michael SSep 16, 2015 16:10225069
If Only Those on the Global Stage Were Just Acting - Instead of Acting Out [56 words]M. ToveySep 18, 2015 18:34225069
Ezekiel 38-39 gun is loaded and cocked [423 words]Michael SSep 22, 2015 23:58225069
How Far North? [30 words]M. ToveySep 28, 2015 10:04225069
Happy Iceberg Day, Russia and China! [421 words]Michael SSep 28, 2015 23:01225069
Mission Accomplished [307 words]Michael SOct 1, 2015 05:54225069
The Ezekiel Scenario Needs No Further Explanation - The Players are Now Speaking for Themselves [53 words]M. ToveyOct 2, 2015 11:13225069
Russians confronting Israeli jets. [50 words]Michael S.Oct 5, 2015 17:41225069
Near Misses Now, Wait for the Did Not Miss's [33 words]M. ToveyOct 6, 2015 10:33225069
But Whose Mission? [180 words]M. ToveyOct 7, 2015 11:51225069
Russia, the US and other wildebeasts [784 words]Michael SOct 9, 2015 19:12225069
Erdogan burning the Reichstag [661 words]Michael SOct 10, 2015 16:34225069
IFF - Friend or Foe - Confusion to the Max - Lemmon to Falk - Push the Button, Max [141 words]M. ToveyOct 12, 2015 17:02225069
moons, eclipses, all that. Don't squander your pension fund, expecting something [358 words]Michael SOct 15, 2015 05:35225069
Comments on Egypt [22 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
DavidSep 14, 2015 15:21225034
ISIS - the equally violent 7th century's Mahomet [140 words]marlanSep 14, 2015 08:59225025
Islamic Chaos Threatens The West [177 words]DaveSep 12, 2015 18:06225009
Rome, Hungary... nothing new under the sun [921 words]Michael SSep 16, 2015 20:12225009
East Asia Tells The Tale [178 words]DaveSep 20, 2015 16:51225009
After this, no more cycles [745 words]Michael SSep 23, 2015 16:55225009
ME Tour d'Horizon [289 words]Richard HobbsSep 12, 2015 15:54225008
This, that & the other [89 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
David W. LincolnSep 12, 2015 14:08225006
Thoughts about Moslum Refugees in Europe [41 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Steven ShermanSep 12, 2015 10:47225002
2What's the Difference? [52 words]DajjalSep 11, 2015 22:04224993
1The Difference Between Islam and Islamism [40 words]Cheap SpeechSep 16, 2015 12:32224993
1Agree--except on Iran [276 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Dan SimonSep 11, 2015 18:37224989
Counterpoints: Iranian current predisposition versus Russian predisposition and reactions. [72 words]Robert Arthur GillisSep 11, 2015 21:24224989
1Are the mullahs "distracted by millenarian religious fantasies" or not? [169 words]Dan SimonSep 13, 2015 02:51224989
1But consider Russia, and "The (Not so Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," and other possible negative attributes. [127 words]RobertOct 5, 2015 15:55224989
Excellent analysis [53 words]Gary HauptliSep 11, 2015 13:43224985
WOW [182 words]Barry BlackSep 11, 2015 10:11224983
Mostly in Agreement [441 words]Ron ThompsonSep 11, 2015 10:09224982
Quantify Please [41 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Stephen BalogSep 11, 2015 10:01224981
Precisely [38 words]Barry BlackSep 12, 2015 09:39224981
2Help the losing side in Syria? [38 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
PeterSep 11, 2015 09:03224979
Multiculturalism for Turkey and Saudi Arabia [51 words]RobertOct 6, 2015 18:27224979
The history of Israel [604 words]Michael SOct 10, 2015 23:23224979
2Middle East TRUTH [390 words]Uncle VladdiSep 11, 2015 00:47224976
lessons lost [119 words]cvtSep 10, 2015 09:40224966

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to Rome, Hungary... nothing new under the sun by Michael S

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List


eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2019 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)