Saturday, December 31, 2016

Edward Gibbon on public virtue and the collapse of the Roman Empire

Gibbon quote from The Decline and Fall of the Roman EmpireIncidentally,  historically, the Roman Empire includes the Byzantine Empire although most people in the West don't realize this.

Gedanken our Geschichte (Thoughts on History)
Edward Gibbon on public virtue and the collapse of the Roman Empire


Matt Franko said...

"For it was not the barbarians – ‘those innocent barbarians’ – who had destroyed the Western Empire. ‘If all the barbarians conquerors had been annihilated in the same hour, their total destruction would not have restored the empire of the West.’ It had been rotted from within."

Maybe the barbarians let in were the cause of the rot within....

Unknown said...

one of my favorite Roman history stories was how Diocletian helped to usher out the empire and usher in the feudal type society just by changing the tax code. One of his reforms was supposedly to institute a type of sales tax that only applied when inter-estate transactions, kind of like a sales tax. The problem was that Diocletian exempted all intra-estate transactions from the tax. So the rich assholes started trying to make their large estates (lil kingdoms) as self sufficient as possible. These workers were given land to live on in the estate and had to leave for almost no material reason. The peasants became dependent and subservient to their patron (soon to become "lord"). Diocletian also instituted a strict caste -labor system where workers had little choice but to follow into their father's profession for life (although you could always join the army!). Both were classic fundamentals of Feudal Europe and they came about from seemingly minor tweeks to make the current system function for a little longer. Similar in the way that changing the seemingly small rule in the 80's that allowed C-suite executiive compensation with stock has fundamentally changed the American wealth and business landscape.