48 Following


Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire - Edward Gibbon OMG IloveyourILyuvouryuIloveyoIyouIloveyou Edward Gibbon!!!!!!! You are the allotemie greatest history wrieter ever!!!! That ismy real feeling-htat Edawrd Givvon is one of the origninl Xmen, and his mutant super power is condensing massive amounts of history into readable and understandable form for everybody to grasp and enjoy. He could have adventures with Wolverine slicing up super villains and writing epic history together (with female Wolverine Kelly Hui in that skintight leather suit, hubba haubba).Hgappy Memoroisal Day everybody!!!! We had an wawawesome block party tonight, and in case it isn’t too totally obvious, this is another DBR, and I was bestowed in a dream the true purpose of DBR: it is a tool from the gods, stolen from Mt Olypus by Ceridewen (and I think Meretdith too) like the very Prometiius himself, brought to the lowly massses of mankind stolen from the gods as a tool to write book reviews about Grand Canyon books that would otherwise be unreviewable to mortal men. Brotheser KaARMORzov, Gavitys Rainbow, War and Peac e (In ever read it, but I looks complicated. Maybe someday) …and DELCINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE (DF from now on). What mortal man can stand, completely humbled and insignificant ant the bottom of these massive edifices, these mammoth monolths of literature, and hope to review them>?> WE shake our tiny fists at the sky and make ineffectual tantrums, cursing the inadequacy of our flawed reviewing skills, and yet there they stand…unmoved and uneroded by the winds and waters of ten thousand passing ages, pristine as the day the universe was set in motion, laughing at us in their timeless unaffected unreviewed-ness.. Mocking monuments of our minisculity. Mountains ripple like waves, kinetic and chaotic, but DF stands fast and unmoving. My original review of DF was terrible [insert], but DBR id the kryptonite that makes it possible, just like I thought about BK. So let’s not dally any more- let’s get to it!DF starts off in the most ridiculous manner imaginable.. With AND APOLOGY from Edward Gibborn that he’s so sorry that this is such an abbreviated condensation, and there are som nay things he didn’t touch upon in this book… art, and food …jewelery, I think… some other thngs and various assorted and sundry… as if anybody could find fault with a book about 1500 years of histyr and say “Oh, that wasn’t good enough.” NOT GOOD ENOUGH? It is the most amazing comprehensive analysis of anything ever, and he did it. One man- can you believe it>? What am I doing with my life? I have raise my glass in toast to this man. If here were here right now, I ould take him out and buy him a drink. And though I respect the man, I must wonder if this maybe false modesty? It’s like when you know you’re doing well (on a test, or in a sport, or playing a game)…you know when you’re “in the zone” and kicking ass…and there is simply no way Gibbon didn’t know he was writing one of the magnificent crowning achievements of human history. He knew the book was good,… heHAD TO. SO maybe all of the forward part with “I’m so sorry it isn’t better” is for show? Ihope not, because don’t insult yourself or me, Mr Gibbon, and let’s please dispesnse with this tomfoolery, because your book is quite wonderful, and you know it. But I really have to respect modesty, if it was real (and that is a big “if”), because there is no greatness without humility, and the converse (I think Lord Acton, but I raally cannot be sure at hteis moment) “those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad with vanity”. Such and such person (I forget his name) said this of the Japanese after they attacked Parrl Harbor, because it really was such a gamble to do so, and Admiral Yamamoto himself said “ I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant” or some such thimg very similar, if not exactly that.Wait. Where awas I.?I am going to get antoher beer.Now I”mrbrack. So it is very difficult to accept a complement graciously, because of some human nature, or maybe cultural- some places have a better time of it than I do, no doubt, but I at least think I could say “thank you I appreciate (whatever)” better than Gibbon. But if the man is modest, all the better, right? It is an admirable character trait which all should aspire to- ESPECIALLY those who bear responsibility and trust of others… to not become too self absorbed and enamored with one’s own status and achievements. But enough rambling about how great he is (show, don’t tell… am I right?) Why is this such a great work? Well,look at the Roman Empire. Certainly the British Empire was larger, and of course the current Anglo-American predatory oligarchical milary indusrital globalist fiat currency empire is larger, going by landmasses and population, the Mongolian Empire more square footage too. But Rome stands out, doesn’t it? It is so proximal in the chain of events, and became the foundation for much/most (dare I say all? I don’t dare to do that, but I may occasionally think this in the secret receses of my heart) of European and by extension Western culture (read: America, Australia. Bermuda etc. New Zealand, maybe) . Belize (foermely bristish hondorance). Probably is right to say that every empire is different, and may be a delusion to ascribe a special particularity to the Romans above an beyond this, yet ishard to refute. Our world carries with it today the imprint of Roman civilization in so many apsects… structure of government, architecture, language (all the Romance langugages, and a strong influence on English) law, even the writing of history itself (Herodotus)! So let us at least agree the Roman empire was had a profound impact on all that followed, and is a worthy of study of (?something) . But how can you look at something like that and take it all in? It’s like the human brian is really the most amazing thing ever. Theer is nothing in the universe that can remotely touch it… a sort of bio-electric appliance of fantastic capabilities. Memory and reasoning, language, calculation, spoken and subtley communicated. Imagination and creativity… this is the work of something divine, whether you want to call God or Divine Creator, or the majesty of evolution or the warm embrace of a sentient Mother Universe, goddess crystal whatever, but damn! It stands alone on a pedistal. The greatest thing nature has ever achieved. Then when you combine these brains into relationships and communities, societies and societies over time (histories) then you are really describing something like a massive sort of something…computer?… a bio-electric computer with trillions of synapses firing across space and time, interacting and following rules and pathways, fields of probability and with novel and unpredictable reactions thrown in as well… parthologies and unlikely circumstances all taken inot account in the broader wash of stochastic consideration. Then you come to see the totality of this human existence … maybe something like twelve or thirteen billion people who ever lived in the course of history… OFF TOPIC: This is an interesting question , isn’t’ itg? Howmany people have ever lived ever?? It is kindsog philosophical , becase whered you start the first-generation from the monkeys? It is very hard to say, and to pin down how manygrenerations, so this sort ofspecultaion is always bound to be extremely imprecise, but there are what- like seven billion people on the planet now, and that is more than have ever been before… I don’t know how to do the math here (but I suspect differential equations are likely to insinuate themselves into this conversation) but I;m very going to say thirteen billion. Please correction me ifi;m wrong. And what is also very philosophical , idon’t know there is a role in this discussion but many people believe in reincarnaition, but if there are more people now then ever before, we can’t all possibly have have previous human lives, many of us must be frist-time human beings, recently promoted from the animal kindsom. And this could work two possibly ways: first that suddenly many animals have been very good and got promoted to human status (oh, is this a promotion? nobody told me how wonderful.) or maybe there is a glut forming, like more souls used to get promoted from human to become … what’s next? Nirvana? I don’t know, but maybe there are so many people because of failure to promote, like a blockage in the serwrer system- maybe some sort of cosmic pressure is forming, I can’t really say...wait aminute.Okay- back ON TOPIC: All the many trillions of synapses of human brains over thousands of years are like a grand computer, and the people are all particles or participants … components of some sort (I don’t know how to build a computer)) in what is something sort of like a grand cosmic computer… but none of usknows what the program is (like Hitchiisekser’s Gruide theGalaxy….42!) And the Roman Empire is just one program that ran on that computer. (hELLENistic Greece was the Startup Wizard for that program, I suppose).What wasI ltaking a bout?So each and every one of us is walking around with one of these magnificanet brians in our skulls, providing mobility, and kind of rubbing up against other brains creating sparks of synapses firingand feeding each other’s fancy in crazy and complex ways. And if ONE brains is socomplex, then think how much more complex two brains interacting are.. And then how geometrically complex three brains interacting are.. Now you have 10^??? Neurons firing in god-loonely-knows howmany possible combinations…now look at an entire empiire of millions, and each one oftheose people playing a role. Slaves, soldiers, kids, artisans, senators, farmers, urban and rural, families --- each with a slightly different situation and navigating through all the subleties of their individual situations, nuances, social expectations, cultural upbringing, differences in each person’s health, education, cultural, religion, etc etc… This is what theBilble (or some other religious text, I don’t really know where) means when it is talking about whne you look upon the face of god , it ismore than a mere hunman mbeing can possibly take, and it would completely break you to even try. You would go insane. It would be like running a massive electric currnet through a tiny trnasistor… it would just burn out in a pathetic little fizzle, with a lone miserable little whisp os smoke, leaving behind the charred remnanats and a memory, nothing more. It is only mankind who attempts ot understand thises things. Do youthingk fish understand what a school is? Brids undstand a flock? Lions a pride? Crabs a ___? It is too much…and then a man lke Givbron does it. But of course he can’t realy look all that complexity in the face, but takes the still-monstrous question of OF HOW DID SUCH AN INTRICATE AND FAR FLUNG, DIVERSE AND HIGHLY COORDIANTED ORGANIZATION FAIL? Why the decline and fall? how did such a web, once established, become undone? Ther is somany reasons.I’ll take the first bite. SO he talks about the emperors. There’s like 150 of them.. I think you get a different nubmerif you count it differently. Who even remembers most ofthem? If you feel bad that you aren’t famous, just think: each one of these guys was the ultimate powerful individual on the planet in their day, and now… pushing up daisies, completely forgotton, except to collectrors of classical esoterica.. And even fanatics don’t really REMEMBER those old emperors, but just read a few writings which may or may not be accurate, and look at a statue or bust (heh) that is supposed to loook like they did… that’s not remembering. It is futile. Utterly futile to try to be remembered in this way…only by having children that carry on one’s line, or maybe make a contribution that has an enduring benefit (discover a cure to a disease, write a great pieceo f literature) Then even consider thatn there are some emereors that didn’t even get mentioned int this !book!!! Those are like the “loser emperors” I guess.In my preisent state, I can remember only a few emperoors:Valerian- got captured by the (Syrians?- I don’t know). Persians I think. They kept him in prison, trying to negotiate some surrender of roman troops, whatever… these negotitaions, you know? And politics back in Rome was certainly a factor. So the Romans said “we don’t negotiate”, and the Syrians flayed Valerian’s skin from his body and made a flag out of it, and waved it around on the boarder to the Roman Empire, like “In your face, we flayed your leader!” SOmething like “Silence f the lambes” , where the guy tried to make the suit of human skin. “It puts the lotion oin the baskert…” Trajan- has the most phallic monument to himself in the middle of Rome.[insert picture of it] Compensating for something? I really don’t’ know. I mean, if I was to build a m onomumnet to myself (so vain111) would I really want it to be phallic? There’s other sides to me too, you know. Go for something more well-rounded. But he also build alt lot of other things around rome, so very good to tourists thses days. ?(infrastructure?? Something,)Theodosius- something? There was a story abourt him.Tiberius- everybody remembers b/c of Capt KirkNero- loserCaligula- movieJanus- ?Then there is one emperor who used to be a SLAVE and he went all the way from the bottom to the top- became the leader of the known worled. What was his name? Maximus Minimums? Minimux maximsna? Somethingkrlieke that. Talk about social mobility, huh? That’s pretty danmn impressive! We kind of look down on the brutality of the romans and think we are more civilized than that, but when we had slavery in this country, do you think one of them could have become president? Noway? But with romans it could/, so maybe we should apprecitale that there was at least some ways a person could advance in roman society. But of course it was through the military, because the romans were very militaristic. But then, when I go back to Buffalo, it is a very encoemriically depressed area, and kids groiwing up there in the city don’t have muchof a chance, and joining the military is a way out for them too- and somer people thinkk this is very unfair… the poor exposed to dangers and the rich don’tr have tovouleunteer to go in harm’s way. It’s called like “backdoor draft” or “poverty draft”, and certainly I see the unfairness of this, but I also see it is a hope for some when they havfe few options, and even in my family, so I cannot critizcite this too much without being a hyporcirte.Elizabatyh sayd I should continue to drink when I werite this, and she is a lovely woman, who I would not refuse this most reasonable request. This is at TOAST TOR ELAIZABRTYE!((((elizabther))))))I have to start fresh here. There was a time when there were multiple empreros… 2, as many as four… and posers ursupers and other crazy stuff going on. This one killed that one, and the like. Some of them were only ruling for less than a year. Insanity. Let’s talk about the other owne. The fall due to social decline of the interference of Christiantiy and Islam. Like that gourp “Social Distortion” huh? Haha. It is really mamazing how Gibbon desribes it- mery complex. Uh…you knwoi think there migth be such thingk as “too drunk to writne a DBR”. Tha’s maybe whet I’mat right now. THINKRoman polythesism glorified war and militarism, and was well suited for the early period of Roman expansion, but Crhittsiantiy was pacificsti n nature, and poorly suited to that, so there is that. And givren girves many details sbout how early Christians fought with each other, and was highly fragmented, so for a very liong time, it was questionable whether it was going to “make it’ as anestriblished religion, but then that also made it disperse and harder for Roman authoriteis to control than if it were a big centralized institution with a home office, etc. If you goto Polermo, you can see the catacombs- it is the best thing to see there, and some so old it was places where early Christians had clandesirine worship, very subversive, and once somebody makes the decision to start violating the law and flaunting the authoriteis by going to a secret church.. Well, you know who your friends are, and who you can trust, and it is a place where other secret things can go on as well…things that end up subverting the empire, like a sort of “underground railroad” to help young crhistian men avoid conscription in the Roman army… secretly transported and given secrret identitiy in another christian community someplace else.. Very James bond sutff… The Romans might have done better to make Christianity legal earlier … tius happended in the US with alcohol… tried to make it illegal (no DBR) and then it was creating so much crime and chaos, it was just better to make it legal. Marijouna witll be the same way, I guarnettee you. Then some more things happened and the empire split in two. Oh, first CONSTANTINE was the first Christian emperor… I think he got it from his wife. He made it accepted, and it spread everywhere- that’s really why Europe is christian (culture, predominatly for the last 1000-2000 years) . JUSTINIAN. Oh? Was it Justinian? Who moved the capiatal from Rome fot Conastanritnopel. IT sasleI think so. If you go there, you can start to get a sense that this was a more fortifiable city… water on three sides, and the land narrows… easier to defend.. But was this the reason? Who can know what hidden in Justinanas’ mind to make such a move? If it is for defense, it is a sign of weakness, or a loss of confidence in the might of the empire… Isantbul is further away from the German clans who came raiding down from the North. On the other hand, it is a city of opulent wealth, maybe more ostentatious than Rome, in the degree to which it is decorated. It has the benefit of more “modern” and developed architecture, and funding from the days when Rome reached from England to Persia… the height, so Constatntoiplew is really more of a showcase city, and the Romans were very showy to beging with. It’s funny a little bit when you look at Italian cars- no Roman empire there. FIAT is a piece of shit and if you slam the door, itls like a tin can. Ferrarri is very showy, but not in a way evocative of the Roman Empire. I think if the Romans built a car, it would be like a Cadillac- just garish and excessive in every way- display of weatlh with no taste whatsofer. Money can’t buy taste- you just need to see donaldTRump to know that.Wait -that’s off topic. I was talking about…Jsutinian moved rome to Istanbul. This is also a story unto itself. Very rewarding that this creature called the Roman Empire- undulating and unfolding like some protoplasm in a dish- very simple in some ways, but magnificently complex when you look at the details… responding in ordered and divinable ways to stimuli (economic, political, cultural), and gibron has the microscope like a sicnetists, and telling us what he sees and how he it behaves. OH… I can’t last too much more. Probably it’s better if I go to bed now.Just to wrap up- Gibbon made a mastripice this book. And mony tepica I didn’t even dover, which are all in there. I can’t thnk right now.