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1 Mardukhai  Wed, Oct 13, 2010 3:54:48pm

While financial problems did weaken the western empire, it was simply ground down by war, endless war -- from the Visigoths to the Huns, there was no end to them.

2 amphibian  Wed, Oct 13, 2010 4:35:18pm

Don't forget, Wells was a commie until the day he died. He might have been right or wrong about a given issue, but this does throw his judgment into question. Grain of salt is indicated.

I'd say that the beginning of the end of Rome was Adrianople. After this, it was necessary to replace the citizen army with one composed of foreign hirelings, and for Rome to lose its monopoly on technological and tactical knowledge.

3 DocMartyn  Wed, Oct 13, 2010 4:47:20pm

Now let us think, what exactly powered the Roman Empire?
Human muscle; from slaves.
What happens to slaves? They have a replacement rate much less than 1.
How do you replace slaves? Go and attack the next non-Roman state at you border.
What happens when your Empires get bigger? As the Empire gets bigger, the need for slaves gets bigger, the boarder gets bigger. However, the Empire is a circle, so the ratio of land area to boarder is R^2/2*R. The ratio is an exponential function. The border gets bigger, quicker, than the size of the Empire. Moreover, when small, you can move troops from one end to the other in weeks/months; but as it gets bigger, you can't.

So Rome's wealth came from conquest, as it got bigger, conquest became harder and harder, defending against the neighbors (who knew they were next), became harder and harder.
At its peak, the slave to citizen ratio was 5:3, it was all down hill from there.
I think geometry, rather than morals is the problem here.
I also find this lamenting the loss of a fascist slave state puzzling.

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