• Pajamas Media
The parallels aren't perfect, but there is much to contemplate about America when reading about the fall of the Roman empire.
Some of my recent background reading includes Christopher S. Mackay’s The Breakdown of the Roman Republic: From Oligarchy to Empire (2009). The introduction includes a description of what the Roman historian Sallust, writing The Catilinarian Conspiracy in the 30s BC, saw as the cause of the fall. The Roman republic had successfully defeated its only real serious mortal threat, Carthage, in the Punic Wars, but now:
Peace and wealth — things that are otherwise desirable — were an oppressive cause of misery for those who had easily endured hard work and danger and events both doubtful and dire. For this reason, there grew a greed first for money and then for rule, and these were like the raw material for all evils. For avarice overthrew good faith, honesty and all the other virtues, and in place of them it taught arrogance, cruelty, neglect of the gods, and the
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