Middle Ages & The Ring that Bound Them
In Response To: Arthur and Aurelius, Revisited ()

I've started reading a new book,

"The Inheritance of Rome: A History of Europe from 400 to 1000" by Chris Wickham

The book's Introduction includes the following statement:

"No common identity in 1000 linked Spain to Russia, Ireland to the Byzantine empire (in what is now the Balkans, Greece and Turkey), except the very weak sense of community that linked Christian polities together."

Such a statement completely disregards the web of royal culture that bound all of these regions to each other from time immemorial! The so-called "Fall of Rome" in the 5th Century did not change royal culture one iota. The tribal and feudal structures that replaced Roman provinces in Europe did not reflect the collapse of central authority. Actually, just the opposite. Tribalism and Feudalism were perfected in the East and as solutions to a perennial royal problem, span of control. Europe was fractured in the Middle Ages because the ruling family based in Byzantium wanted it that way. It gave them more stability rather than less.

Note: We should coin this phenomenon the "Jerusalem Syndrome". After a move by the royal family from one capitol city to another, the pride of the former capitol would inevitably have to be crushed.

Byzantium was perfectly capable of creating a powerful new European dynasty at will, which is exactly what it did in order to block the rapid expansion from Spain into France of a new empire created by the breakaway Islamic branch of the royal family. Charles Martel would have been a Byzantine and appointed by the Byzantine throne to establish a powerful yet still subordinate Frankish dynasty. Martel's eventual successor Charlemagne would also have been of Byzantine stock and this is the real reason that Empress Irene could entertain the idea of intermarriage with a nominal King of the Franks.

Another new book out this year is,

"How Rome Fell" by Adrian Goldsworthy

Goldsworthy concludes that Rome's fall was the result of interminable civil war rather than climate change, eroded values, and other factors that have been proposed over the years. However, Goldsworthy does not include Byzantium in his study and therefore can't discern that the real reason Rome ultimately declined was that it had been abandoned by the main line of the royal family. The money left and the motivation to keep Rome strong departed with it.

Goldsworthy includes an Epilogue to address the philosophical question of whether America is Rome, and one most recently popularized by Cullen Murphy.

Despite attempts to downplay the idea, N.Y./D.C. is in fact the New Rome (as successor to Constantinople, Vienna, and London) and like its predecessors is currently in the process of experiencing the "Jerusalem Syndrome" itself. Wealth is leaving America in search of a "greener" pasture (that is more strategically placed and with less restrictions, taxes, and stiff-necked protestors), such as Dubai. History is repeating, or as someone (Mark Twain?) once said, it is at least "rhyming". I think many if not most would agree that a "New World Order" is needed. But who will decide what that will be? Maybe it's already been decided!

Here's something for all the "ghouls and goblins" that are staying home tonight:

"Fall of the Republic"

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