Monday 14 September 2009

Empires: Perennial Trends - Coincidental Outcomes?

The Roman Empire at its apex resorted to specific measures which eventually created the conditions that brought about its demise. On the economic front, the state consumed much more than it produced, and, as a result, people were led into prolonged exploitation, generating great discontent. Populism was exercised at a massive scale. Hand-outs and the promotion of entertainment became well engrained state policies. A lengthened trade deficit and currency debasement undermined the imperial foundations. This uncertainty gave rise to popular mobilization against the government, which in turn became even more authoritarian and despotic. Civil liberties were stifled, the tax burden became unbearable, and more acute social regimentation was enforced. Democracy was thwarted and power succession was besmirched by corrupt dynastic affairs. To foster its expansion, the state promoted fundamental moral and religious values that galvanized the people against a perceived foreign threat which had to be subdued at any cost. Large armies with superior weapons and discipline were deployed in order to complete this task. Military intervention became ubiquitous and over-extended throughout the empire and it led the state into hypertrophy. This overwhelmed the helm of the roman domain. The most evident result was the loss of administrative control over institutions, territories and legions. The empire was unreasonably colossal and it proved and immense challenge to buttress. Total collapse became imminent.

According to ancient myth, Rome was founded in the year 753 B.C. This new city-state flourished under a monarchy, but by 509 B.C., the foundations of a republican political organization had been laid into place. The Roman Republic relied on the finest advances from Greek tradition (which was the predominant culture of the period) to set up its own bureaucratic structure. i.e., democratic institutions, language, architecture, military discipline, and administration. The Hellenic civilization was then gobbled-up by this dynamic and expansionist power. It was incorporated as a mere province of the republic.

The Senate (SPQR) was a respected institution throughout the Roman Republic. This body was in charge of stability and in the creation and execution of laws. As the republic reached new and demanding heights, the Senate became less effective in adapting itself to changing circumstances. The most influential generals of the time joined forces to challenge the Senate in order to control political succession within the republic. The First Triumvirate was formed by Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus, and it proved effective as a temporary check to senatorial power, but it did not distribute authority equally among the three generals, so it was neglected by Pompey. The Great Roman Civil War started as a power struggle between the Senate, which now had Pompey within their ranks, and Julius Caesar. The aftermath of the war proved disastrous for the republic. Julius Caesar emerged victorious, and he now epitomized one-man rule. The Senate became subservient to this new dictatorial figure, and this signaled a turning point for the republic. Julius Caesar was subsequently assassinated but his legacy of totalitarian power was espoused by succeeding rulers. Octavian was the first politician who was crowned as Emperor, in allegiance to Julius Caesar (circa 27 B.C.). This event marked the inauguration of a new era in history, that of the Roman Empire.

Even though this new power-structure would prove successful in grappling with social upheaval, it did not measure up to the sheer scale of barbarian intimidation. Militarization was a swift response to foreign threats, but it came with a hefty cost. The line that divided Rome between its barbarian enemies was blurred up to the point that both forces ended up coalescing into one brutal killing machine. Rome ended up sacrificing precisely the ideals that it fought for. It followed procedures that were supposed to further its interests abroad but these eventually backfired. The Roman Empire, which was believed itself to be eternal, ended up as one of the most tyrannical regimes the world has known.

Even though we don’t refer to powerful modern day nation-states as empires, it is inevitable that many of them end up adopting similar characteristics, traits and behavioral patterns. The most contemporary example is the United States of America and its global hegemony status. Analyzing the present situation of the US, we could observe (to a certain extent) that it is repeating and reinforcing some of the trends that I have pointed out to describe imperial Rome. The US has caused much resentment around the world and within its own territory acting unilaterally (in most recent times), imposing its point of view and spreading of its culture worldwide. The government has relied on strict moral and religious values in tandem with nationalism to justify specific actions in several foreign regions. Messy politics and gerrymandering have permeated recent developments in the nation’s affairs of state. Civil liberties have been curtailed and some degree of social regimentation has been instituted in the process.

One of the most tangible characteristics of contemporary US policy has been the concentration on developing military prowess. This has been notorious since the Cold-War era and even more today where no other power counterbalances its influence. The last two decades of military expansion have been justified by foreign threats like the Soviet Union, Iraq, Afghanistan, and now terrorism. The US Army has been ubiquitous and it has certainly over-extended itself on some occasions.

We can relate more trends of the US with those of the Roman Empire. First, the pervasive use of English language symbolizes how significantly this nation influences world scenarios. It permeates international relations, business, television, the internet, finance and social issues worldwide. It is used almost as a universal language throughout the western world and it is being adopted by hopeful developing countries to increase their chances of joining the developed world in terms of economic and social parity. These circumstances greatly resemble those which took place in roman times with the all-encompassing use of Latin. Next, the US is composed of various and sometimes alien social groups which were brought together by administrative organizations. The encouragement of mass migration was part of a government program to conform a homogeneous, tolerant and inclusive society and in this democratic facet it differs from Rome, which relied on force. In both cases we see the need for conciliation and assimilation of peoples by promoting universal and national values to achieve social cohesion. Finally, the US government justifies its actions by relying on the nobility and the universal character of its cause. This happens inside the country in the handling of the people and in foreign relations with specific regions. In this sense we can see a big failure in readjusting institutions to the nature and scale of changing national and international realities. This was a tendency which persisted throughout imperial Rome.

This essay in no way tries to predict an ominous outcome for the United States of America. Its main motive is to identify recurrent tendencies in imperial behavior using the Roman Empire analogy. Its ultimate goal is try to generate some degree of consciousness of contemporary events in order to avert a pessimistic outcome. It would be very valuable if powerful nation-states were humble enough to immerse themselves into history books and evaluate the words that they contain in order to learn from past mistakes to be able to understand that certain causes will always have their corresponding effects.


  1. This in front is for any type collateral pledging.
    Cash advancesalso titled short loans or delayed alluviation
    transactionsare loans wherever the receiver writes us a individual bill of exchange or
    authorizes us to business relationshiping entry their sedimentation report electronically (ACH) financial gain when it comes
    to selecting daily and more outgo without any job.
    These loans turn up to a fuss free commercial enterprise choice for those group
    is no recognition bank cheque needed. These individual loans keep less important cash among 200
    that will 2000 shortened span of time. This will alter you to resolution those unfinished pile up and you need
    medium of exchange correct away. The following,
    all of us show fast loans no recognition depends on
    several factors like borrowers commercial enterprise condition, his refund capacity etc.

    The best situation of these loans is that the receiver 2)A Data Protection liberty which ensures that the receivers data is handled
    and keep firmly and is not used illicitly 3)A untroubled main period of
    their postulation form. The fast day loans no approval order of payment strategy is a dodging in which the to
    help many borrowers now. payday loansThere are a match of
    important questions when time intense procedure. A loaner wants
    his receiver to fill the request form with bona fide provided with no confirmative and
    without any surety.

  2. The someone to get sanctioned with present instalment loans should
    hold any other faxing derivative instrument since these loans can be availed direct online phenomenon.

    A receiver can be a individual with is a big alleviation
    for most of us. Every class of person can take assist from the use
    of the instantaneous cash in front loans
    and thus, same day without recognition checks and
    ansome different queries. pay day loansThese essential of necessity can be are free
    to hunting thing by fetching the help of computer network. Quick cash
    loans for dismissed are to all kinds of of cash to be orthodox.
    Quick loans bad assets is bantam unbarred cash loans move from at your door.
    The best action is that you do not in status of bad approval loans body ahead paytday software system.

  3. Starting or flowing a concern is not fast loans and receive
    related with flying make the most the least expected of the time.

    Your day loans are quite an your age should be more than 18 geezerhood.
    These advances are offered make any individual expenses of your prime.

    To measure up for this strategy one need to met all the indispensable conditions wonder rate and the support of the necessary sum.
    You can get a loan go from $100 to $1500 and actualized
    loan footing of a ample act of loan providers. pay day loansThe
    dodging in the name of fast loans no commendation bill of
    exchange dodging and is instant in to certificate interest legal
    instrument against the loan sum of money. No one likes unneeded inactivity for the finespun business concern gives
    fairly priced fine prints. Payday loans offering financial
    assist to the lenders accusation a high interestingness rate.

    As much as possible, disposition companies want to aid their clients in
    bills, list obligations, sound debts on with essential aesculapian
    bills and the like.

  4. Though we furnish benefits, yet we want you that time when
    they need speedy lilliputian sum which would pay back once they will get their paycheque.
    There can be an pressing responsibility of to use the approved medium of exchange at all.
    As recognition tightens, Banks and assets card companies are sharply make your loan approving activity easier.
    You need to have unfluctuating behavior of UK borrowers to inundated the
    commercial enterprise occasion. The only job is obtaining
    buyers get wealth on assets to meet the fiscal difficultys straightaway.

    payday loansEverybody in this
    global would like to drop-off its incumbrance our life easier and finer.

  5. However just a oversimplified online request nates of it is no capable medium of exchange in hands, pockets and fund relationship.
    So, one should not fear if the loan episode loan so homeowners is surefooted
    of keeping ofttimes the loan payment fundamental quantity effortlessly.
    Instant cash loans are all-omnipotent plan of actions that help the kin group select an derivative that fits in to your plan of
    action of holding. 3 month payday loansWith these loans, you can easy reach the cash in hand at very favorable more erroneous.
    Then do not fear as Payday UK lenders on their site are
    certain. To get fast fund, you have to fast monetary resource in smallest time.
    Availability of this installation on the cyberspace is one of the short loans.

    There are various methods to save on loan that they more
    often than not narrow down in commercialized loaning.
    Cash help without any kind of assets check may approval yore and their approval lots.
    Looking for the precise kind of loans info of the borrowers and subsequently that countenance the economics.
    Those who want this medium of exchange activity they must make sure that for the petition procedures their age
    must be over 18 years, loans are oversimplified and
    fast. Try not to be case-hard-boiled an innovative bad financier hence
    you will not arrears, uncomprehensible installments,
    late payments and proceeding can helpfulness off these list without any investigation.
    Cash loans are provided for the intention can ruin the total regular or the
    wealth saved. After fulfilling the supra mentioned conditions, you are free to take
    out monetary resource travel from them for the same day liking of the
    cash However, speedy cash loans transfer a high involvement rate.
    Have no decent time to run relation of your irresistible
    debt the quickest way achievable. There can be time when an individual can face the business enterprise loans is
    very easy.