But eventually the dust would settle and the victors, whoever they might be, would at some point restabilise the empire, often with a new map, showing the latest lines of geographic possession.
In 1929, the Italian Antonio Gramsci was in a fascist prison, writing about what he considered to be a new interregnum – a Europe that was tearing itself apart. He anticipated civil unrest, war between nations and repeated changes in the lines of geographic possession.
At that time, he was attributed as saying, "The old world is dying and the new world struggles to be born. Now is the time of monsters."
And, of course, looking back from our vantage point in the twenty-first century, we have no difficulty in confirming that he was correct in his prognosis. The world war that followed brought forward the worst traits in mankind. The sociopaths of the world came centre-stage. By the time the dust had settled, tens of millions were dead.