History repeats itself
edited: Sunday, November 26, 2006
By Tom A Schafer
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Sunday, November 26, 2006
Become a Fan
My thoughts...whatever they are worth.
Here's a brief history of the decline of the Roman Empire to ponder.
Pertinax, an old soldier was made emperor by favour of the praetorians and their prefect. He lost that favour because in a conscientious effort to rectify the mistakes of Commodus and the evils which had sprung up during his rule, he tried to tighten discipline instead of relaxing it.
He lasted for a mere three months, until the praetorians mutinied, broke into the palace, murdered Pertinax, paraded his head through the streets on a pike, and offered the imperial throne to the highest bidder.
Having disbanded the imperial guard and replaced it with a force 50'000 strong, from men of his own legions, Severus set about coming to terms with his two rivals, Pescennius Niger in Syria and Clodius Albinus in Britain. This he finally did in a most conclusive fashion by defeating them in turn: Niger at Issus in AD 194, and Albinus at Lugdunum in Gaul in AD 197.
Severus did not understand himself as fully established till he had inspired wholesome fear in the minds of any potential rivals by dooming several senators to death. Much because the rude soldier was accepted with reluctance by a body which still looked upon itself as the supreme constitutional authority.
In the years immediately before his accession Severus had held command on the most dangerous of all the Roman assignments, the banks of the river Danube. There he had learnt that the empire's need was defence, not aggression. But so too, that the aggressive barbarians needed to be kept in healthy awe of the Roman power. Severus was not far from being a barbarian himself. Grim, hard, unscrupulous, he lacked any statesmanly qualities, and yet he was free from wanton cruelty or vindictiveness. In his own, crude ways Severus commanded the empire as he had once commanded his troops as a general.
These things were the beginning of the end of the Roman Empire. Is it too symbolic of me to connect things that are happening now as a sign of things to come? History seems to repeat itself, mainly due to the fact that we cannot learn from our mistakes. This seems to me as an almost complete description of our current president, with the exception of the final line.
Are we witnessing our own demise? This is a question that demands immediate answering, but is it something we are wiling to face?