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"Barbarism and Superstition: the Middle Ages in Modern Times" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2020 10:13 p.m. PST

"I study, among other things, the fifth century. Normally, this is the definition of a niche activity; but it's not normal right now. For some fifteen months—since the killings in Paris in November 2015, since the EU Referendum, and since the US election—the fifth century has gone mainstream. For it was in the course of these hundred years that the Roman Empire partially collapsed as a political structure. Now everybody—from media dons to demagogues—is talking about the fall of Rome. What they are all saying is: we're living through it again. But are we really? If we stand back from terrorism, Brexit, Trump, and all of the mayhem, what we see is that, in this respect, our times might not be so different. For the last half millennium (if not longer), everybody has been talking about the Fall of Rome, making and remaking it in their own image.

At its height, the Roman Empire stretched right across the map of Europe and the Near East, from the Urals in Russia, to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, to the Grampians in Scotland. Apart from comprehending its scale, we also have to understand its shape: the boundary we think of now between Europe and North Africa, between the ‘western world' and the ‘Arab countries', did not exist in the ancient world. The Mediterranean was not a border but a crucial space of communication and exchange.

This political structure held together for over four hundred years. Then, in the course of the fifth century, the western Roman Empire broke apart. A number of separate kingdoms were established in Europe and North Africa, some of which went on to become the nation states of the modern map, in particular France and England. The shift from Empire to kingdoms is what people normally mean when they talk about ‘the Fall of Rome'. In the East, however, the Roman Empire did not fall: it kept going for another 1000 years. Although the Eastern Roman Empire is known now as ‘Byzantium', its inhabitants thought of themselves as Romans, and were very prickly when described as anything else…."
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Mr Elmo30 Jul 2020 5:10 a.m. PST

What they are all saying is: we're living through it again. But are we really?

Many of the documentaries I have watched ask how the Germans let the Nazis come to power.

During the last three years of the Weimar Republic, the government was so messed up it ruled by executive order.

What has your governor been doing lately?

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP30 Jul 2020 10:50 a.m. PST

Wise words, Elmo….

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2020 12:05 p.m. PST



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