69 million page views

Oriental obscurantism at its best

Reader comment on item: Cyprus on the World Stage
in response to reader comment: Occidental exceptionalism

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Nov 7, 2011 at 18:06

Debanjan Banerjee wrote :

"My Answer --- What is the scientific proof that the Romanians of today are infinitely grateful for being subjugated by a Roman tyrant a millenia or two ago ? Is it again your exceptional viewpoint that suggests that any land which have had been under Western culture for some time should always be grateful for the same till eternity ?<

I don't rule out that possibly in India there are few reliable maps and hence a person writing from India is unaware of the fact that it takes just several hours to get from Poland's southern border to Romania by car or by bus.You can see sometimes Romanians peddling in our marketplaces. One of the most beautiful parts of Romania is Transsylvania with its old German church-castles ( originating from the times of Turkish slave hunters' raids in the 15th-16th centuries) , Romanians are very amicable and talkative and the moment you ask them about Trajan and his 'coloni' their eyes light up and they become enthusiastic. They are proud of their Latin origin and language. And why shouldn't they?One third of Romanian vocabulary still preserves Latin features and also its grammar has remarkable features of ancient Latin. The Romanian plural genitive '-or' reflects '-orum' to name just one example I remember from the time I tried to learn some basic Romanian.

A brief look at the history of Romanian literature or the Romanian national idea shows clearly the same point and your queer question just reveals how little you know - or I think how little you want to know.

And calling Trajan "a Roman tyrant a millenia or two ago" shows not just your ignorance but your total lack of interest in the subject which you bring up here. But I understand how effectively Islam kills curiosity. Just for you information.Trajan next to Titus,Nerva, Antoninus Pius, Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius belong to the ideal of Roman rulers because of their human qualities .

> I said --- > Then you should understand that as an empire Rome survived and thrived based upon her ability to conquer more and more territories and incorporate as many slaves as possible into her economic system.

You said --- > "The last conquests were those under Emperor Trajan in Dacia (for which today's Romanians are infinitely grateful to him and very proud of him ) and Mesopotamia. The latter were soon lost, the former abandoned after circa 150 years under Aurelianus. Yet the Empire continued to live on losing or voluntarily abandoning territory after territory."

My Answer ---> It seems that you did not read my answers carefully. I did not say in my first statement that Rome ceased to existence straightaway after it stopped expanding her empire. <

So what you said "as an empire Rome survived and thrived based upon her ability to conquer more and more territories" turns out not to mean now that having lost "the ability to conquer more" shouldn't have survived? No? Now you are telling me the contrary to what you have just said and complain that I didn't read your answers "carefully"? Unfortunately , I did read it carefully and understand you have not the slightest idea of the subject matter.

> What I mentioned that Rome was not thriving at her best when she gradually started losing her empire.<

The happiest times of the Roman Empire were under Antoninus Pius and Hadrian. The first renounced the policy of conquests and instead of occupying Northern Britain built the Antonine Wall whose scanty remnants stand still in Scotland. Under his successor Emperor Hadrian this wall abandoned it with Caledonia lying between this wall and his own wall.So Rome was losing territories and yet it was thriving.

> The biggest argument for the argument that Rome started to lose her glorious days after she gradually started losing her empire was in the way how Rome gradually turned from being Republic towards under the rule of a tyrant. <

That's again nonsense because it was under Octavianus Augustus that Rome's expansion reached its new peak stretching to the Elbe. Britain was conquered and Romanized under Claudius, Mauretania was annexed by Caligula.

> My Answer ---> OK if you understand so much more about Rome then please give me two solid reasons why Rome turned from being a republic to being ruled by a dictatorial empire ? And also tell me if there are any lessons to be learned from this by the so-called Enlightened democracies of modern World ?<

If you want to learn what was really happening between 133 to 31 B.C. I recommend Theodor Mommsen. The reason for the change lay deeply in the Roman society itself. The republic stood and fell with its free peasantry that provided citizen-soldiers with their discipline, patriotism and abilities. But military victories brought wealth to Rome that undermined the economic foundation of free peasantry and gradually eroded and ruined it. The result was, on the one hand, corruption and the ensuing destruction of the republican electoral system and , on the other ,rapid growth of power of individual generals that concentrated the wealth and bought offices in the state.They finally divided power between themselves (triumvirates) and later engaged in internecine civil wars that ended only in Actium with Octavianus' victory over Marc Anthony. Incidentally, the first period of the empire is called "Principatus" and not empire, let alone tyranny.After a hundred years' civil war nobody felt the new order as "tyranny"

As to lessons for the posterity, they are obvious. Concentration of wealth in few hands and erosion of the state-building social class is the root cause of today's problem of the West (the US and Europe) and if this evil is compounded with mass barbarian (its today's counterpart is Moslem) immigration, then the downfall and civilizational regress are an inevitable and horrible result.

> I said ---> Romans never forced anybody to become a Roman citizen simply because no Roman citizens could be made a slave and put into gladiatorship.<

You said --> First, there was a difference between being a free citizen and a Roman citizen.You could be a free citizen without being a Roman citizen as was usually the case in the Roman province. As a free citizen you couldn't be made a slave. And as to gladiators it involved much more than just being a captive or a slave. The institution developed from the ancient Etruscan funeral duels and you needed to go through a long course of special training before you were allowed to fight on the arena. Do you believe that Roman spectators were interested in trembling exhausted human wrecks fighting each other ?

My Answer --- > Sorry your argument did not refute my viewpoint. What I said was that Rome did not offer citizenship to her conquered people becasue she feared that doing so would deprive her of many slaves who were the lifeblood of Roman economy.<

Have you googled "Constitutio Antoniniana" ? I doubt you have. And if you have, then you have hardly grasped its point. Am I right ?

> You just give the argument about the difference between Free citizens and Roman citizens and look the other way regarding gladiatorship since Romans may have invented them from their erstwhile Etrsucan rulers.<

There is a difference between "inventing" and "borrowing". In the early republic gladiators were not known and after the uprising of Spartacus gladiatorial games never assumed such a mass character as before simply because too numerous gladiators could be dangerous. Do you know when the gladiators' uprising took place and how difficult it was to suppress it? From that time on gladiators became kind of professional sportsmen popular among people as inscriptions in Pompeii indicate.

> Tell me this simple fact , do you believe that the whole practise of gladiatorship was pure evil or not ? This barbaric practise took the lives of thousands of innocent lives through centuries whereby men were well trained in killing techniques and then sent to fight and kill and maime their own fellow human beings as well being devoured by Lions , tigers , Panthers and bears. Do you consider that this barbaric and inhuman acts were civilized that you make excuses for them ? <

You say it as a defender of human rights and a Moslem Ghandi , don't you ? I have always found it suspect and irrational when Moslems who as a whole have no idea of facts, processes and past value systems and who consider all non-Islamic cultures as "jakhilya" , out of a sudden start moralizing and preaching sermons. Frankly, as a follower of a deeply inhuman, immoral and evil religion(=Islam) you are the last person on earth to have a right to blame Romans or any other kafirs for anything, the more so as your point is not a scientific inquiry, because all that nonsense called "Islam" is contradiction of science pure and simple, but to glorify Islam and Moslems which you do in due course.

> I am proud that Ottomans or for that matter no other Muslim dynasty ever practised a macabre spectacle of death in an industrial form like your glorious Roman empire did.<

Just look at the Skull Tower of Nis or perhaps you will prefer the Skull Cathedral of Otranto or the heaps of bones at Batak ? There you can see the Turkish barbarity at work caught red-handed for history so to say.

Anyway, I suspect that sometimes there is a closest link between pride and ignorance. Some people's pride stands in direct proportion to their lack of knowledge and unwillingness to acquire it.

> Your overall arguments suggest to me that you are blinded by an Westen exceptional and superior attitude which denies even the very basic humanity of Turks and Muslims in general. I do not know how do you reconcile this to your so-called enlightened and civilized attitude ?<

The difference between us and you is that we have had rationalism and enlightenment and you belong to an archaic pre-rational phase of the development of mankind. What you represent is obscurantism, mental and cultural regress. Wherever you come highly developed and flourishing countries change into barbarian barren Oriental slums. Leaving aside historical examples I recall the center of Marseilles before its occupation and colonization by Maghreb Moslems and now. It's a no-go zone even for tourists.What is it unless barbarization and regress in the country that gave birth to Voltaire and Diderot ?

In Europe we have already seen all that regress you want to impose upon us in the name of your primitive stupid Oriental fairy tale invented by an illiterate Arab criminal to glorify his own person. We had our middle ages and I don't want us Europeans to live once again in them only because some Moslem obscurantists and anti-rationalists like you find it an excellent and happy-making idea.


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".

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2024 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.)