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"In The Footsteps Of Rome" - Is Renewal Possible?

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[QUOTE=r3volution 3.0;6502572][QUOTE=Swordsmyth;6502557]And they got their taste for globe straddling empire as well as other forms of extravagant government spending from the Greeks among others.[/QUOTE]

The Roman republic was aggressively expansionist from the very beginning. I can provide specific examples if you like.

Now, I will agree that ultimately it was the sheer size of the empire which caused its fall.

The basic story goes something like this.

1. In a pre-telecommunication era, it was just too easy for rebel generals on the frontier to revolt against emperors in Rome (or vice versa)
2. Hence the emperors were chronically insecure in their position.
3. Hence they had to pay huge sums to the army and the Roman mob to remain in power.
4. Hence they needed huge revenues.
5. Hence they imposed crushing taxes, debased the currency, imposed price controls, destroyed the money economy, and implemented feudalism.
6. Hence the tax base shrank such that it was no longer adequate to pay the army.
7. Hence the army became weak, unable either to maintain order within the empire or defend the frontiers.
8. Hence the barbarians just walked right in and deposed Romulus Augustulus without much ado, even to much applause.

[quote]There were many other ways that bringing in/absorbing far too many foreigners contributed to their decline and fall as well.[/quote]

Classical Roman, Greek, Near Eastern, Germanic, Celtic, and Slavic religions were quite compatible, all being polytheistic, and in many cases historically related. It was only with the arrival of Christianity that religion became an issue of serious political concern (excepting earlier issues with the Jews). There was certainly no balkanation resulting from religious diversity prior to Christianity, and what there was after Christianity came much later in the game, and was mostly a problem for the Byzantines after the Western Empire had already fallen. How about race? it was never much of a concern to anyone. Emperors came from all over the empire: Italians, Spaniards, Africans, Greeks. I'm aware of no example of a civil war or other civil disorder based on race. How about language? Language barriers can always generate friction, but, in the Western Empire, everybody had pretty much adopted Latin (if in a vulgar form) before the empire started experiencing serious problems. In general, the sorts of identity politics we "enjoy" today were basically alien to classical civilization. These sorts of things cannot explain the decline and fall.[/QUOTE]