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Comment count is 16
Monkey Napoleon - 2018-02-04

It's worth noting that the guys who took over the republic and changed everything that lead to their downfall were short-sighted progressives. They weren't conservatives pretending to be populist, they were exactly the kind of guys who would be the modern left's wildest wet dream. They were a strange mix of honestly wanting to do right by the people, and an unquenchable lust for power. They didn't see these two things as at odds in the slightest, and it was only later when the former thing became less important that the system they created blew up in their faces.

Modern politics is an extensive web of influence, power, and money, whereas Rome really fell to successful consolidation of that type of thing. In modern times, when you become a billionaire, you use your wealth to buy influence to protect your business interests. Back then, when you became truly wealthy, you bought an army, became a warlord, and then hopefully could leverage that to achieve power.

Money (our ultimate goal) and Power (their ultimate goal) are linked, certainly... but there is a fine distinction. With money, if you're too good at crushing those below you... it becomes pointless. With Power, it's just another display that you have it.

There are similarities, but the ones people bring up most often are superficial at best.

Dan Carlin has probably a good 40 hours of excellent content on the subject, and his sources are worth looking into if you can take that much and still want more.

Marlon Brawndo - 2018-02-04

I think there is definitely a parallel of the wealth you are seeing the rich accumulate today and the land grabs that took place when the peasant farmers fled to the cities because their grain lost value. Today the lower class has food stamps only so that Dems can secure votes and so that crime rates don't go up, even though most in DC would lie and say otherwise. And today it's far more complex because the wealthy are essentially siphoning off what companies would normally invest back into their own country via job training etc but instead they are still bailing via outsourcing. Either way you are looking at enormous wealth grabs to secure power and the likelihood of getting an emperor for the US people is low at this point.

Hazelnut - 2018-02-04

Here's an old joke. An American vacations in Belfast. The locals ask him, "Are you a Catholic or a Protestant?" He says, "I'm Jewish." "Sure," they answer, "but are you a Catholic Jew or a Protestant Jew?"

Hearing arguments over whether early Imperial Roman elites were more like Democrats or more like Republicans reminds me of that joke.

Mr. Purple Cat Esq. - 2018-02-04

And the winner by technical knockout is Hazelnut!!


Also I prefer this guy :p


Monkey Napoleon - 2018-02-04

To be fair, the thrust of my comment is that drawing parallels (as in the video description) isn't accurate. They were progressive in a lot of ways, and that has very little to do with us.

Their society would be as alien to us as... I dunno... tribal polynesian society.

Finding superficial similarities and saying "this didn't work out, and now we're doing it too!" is bullshit. WHEN the US fades from history, if not in a civilization ending cataclysm, it will be for different reasons born of a different society with different problems that tried different solutions.

The useful things we can learn from them is like looking through a microscope and trying to find the right magnification level that resolves a useful level of detail. Zoom out too far, and you start believing things that might of worked in a different societal context would break any society. Zoom in too close, and you find details that ignore the larger context which made them fail.

memedumpster - 2018-02-04

All my stars forever for Jean-Ralphio Saperstein teaches Japanese history.

Monkey Napoleon - 2018-02-04

You've never seen any of his stuff before?


memedumpster - 2018-02-04

No, I never have! The information to pointless gimmick content is way too skewed for me to retain any of the information, but the presentation is very entertaining.

cognitivedissonance - 2018-02-04

Currently reading SPQR by Mary Beard, and her portrayal of Cicero is amazingly close to what we know about Donald Trump. His thirst for power was only a side effect of needing a perpetually larger audience for his self-congratulatory wank.

Zoot42 - 2018-02-05

Is PoeTV just a republican circlejerk?

I'm probably gonna get hate here, but seriously, just after reading a few comments on posts on the front page today, common and debunked gems of Republican propaganda constantly pop out.

Stuff like:

"Assassinating Caesar was the only option and Brutus did it to save the Roman Republic" (this one's particularly bad),

"Pompey was bad, but not nearly as bad as Augustus",

"The Varian Disaster is the beginning of the end for the Principate",

"Caesar's civil war was the war between good (Optimates) and evil (Populares)" (I wonder where does Cicero fit on this moral scale).

These sort of historical hallucinations are no longer taken seriously even in Roman academia (and regarded as what they actually are: post-war propaganda), but continue to be spouted by some conservatives in the Empire and are really just as bad as most excuses Augustus uses. Seriously, do people still believe this mythology in 17AD? And if you do, sorry for ruining your circlejerk.

Bisekrankas - 2018-02-05

I liked this up to the point where hes just like 'yea and west rome fell because migration btw'. It has been a while since I studied this but I recall the reasons for the fall of westrome was a little more complex than that.

Bort - 2018-02-05

I'm hardly authoritative, but my take on it is, a run of good luck allowed Rome to expand, and when their luck ran out they had the unpleasant task of trying to rule / defend all the territory they'd conquered.

Points of good luck:

- Alexander the Great went east, not west.

- Rome was well-positioned for control of the Mediterranean.

- Italy was protected in the north by the Alps.

Rome used their good luck well, adopted good policies (such as allying themselves with conquered neighbors rather than enslaving them), and developed good military practices. For example, the fearsome Greek phalanx had weaknesses in terms of mobility and flexibility, so the Romans took the basic idea of the phalanx but made it into something that could easily break apart and re-form in various configurations. Plus they built thick walls around Rome which had everything to do with why Hannibal didn't destroy the Romans.

Eventually the Romans bumped into limits: Persians in the east, Germans across the Rhine, Picts in Scotland. The farther Rome went out the less power it could project, until Rome bumped into forces they couldn't beat.

For the last few hundred years of the (Western) Roman Empire, the borders were mostly static, but the question was often how much power could actually be projected that far from Rome. If a horde of Germans crossed the Rhine and set up some villages, and the Romans couldn't / didn't stop them, was it still Roman territory? Only the mapmakers know for sure.

One factor I have heard about is that, in the last several decades of the Roman Empire, the attitude towards "barbarians" changed. So the theory goes, the term "barbarian" had long been more like calling someone "unpatriotic" than a firm description of outsiders / enemies; conceptually, outsiders weren't inherently a problem, and were maybe even candidates for joining Rome. "Barbarians", yes, but that didn't mean a whole lot. But when Rome started treating "barbarians" as a class of people who are outside Rome and not to be trusted, that ended Rome's ability to deal intelligently with them. Alaric's sack of Rome happened, according to this theory, exactly because the Roman system would not let him address the Goths' needs in any other way except to go outside the system.

It's worth remembering that "barbarian" tribes were not biker gangs for the most part; a lot of them simply wanted land for their people, and doing so within the Roman Empire would not necessarily have been a problem. I'm not saying they were hippies either; more than likely, like virtually every other people of the time, they were willing to negotiate, fight, trade, or steal for what they needed. And for a long time, Rome had a lot to offer.

cognitivedissonance - 2018-02-05

Western Rome fell because the Christian hierarchy had no internal justification why they needed to support the secular state. We’re at the same place right now, the problem is that the church isn’t monolithic and there are Gnostic/Arian heretical sects masquerading as mainline Christian, which only minimizes any solidarity the church once had as they actively sabotage each other.

M-DEEM - 2018-02-05

Jesus christ which are we, ancient rome or nazi germany? Spring is coming and I need to know how to accessorize.

garcet71283 - 2018-02-10

Neither, we are the Hapsburg Empire.

M-DEEM - 2018-02-11

Under armour mandibular implants it is. Thx

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