Posts Tagged ‘Lead’

Rome Fell While Rising, Rome Won By Losing

June 12, 2019

How Rome fell is not easy to conceive: as aspects of Rome were falling, aspects of Rome were rising. Ah, and what is “Rome”? A civilization, that is, the embodiment of systems of thoughts and mentalities, moods. Some of these moods went down in flames, and had to do so, while, and because, others blossomed.

For example, way back, Romans made human sacrifices (as did everybody else, it seems). After severe military losses against Celts, Rome sacrificed a couple of prisoners. After doing away with the raiding Celts, Rome was ashamed of those sacrifices and never did one again (some will sneer that executions of war prisoners for centuries to come were little else…) So that was a mood which crashed and burned.

More cogently, in the ancient Republic, the Pater Familias, father of the family, had right of life and death on the entire family. That right was removed later. Another mentality that went down the trashcan of history.

Other progressive legislations ascended, even in the thick of imperial fiat. Caracalla for example made Roman citizenship universal (the Franks would duplicate that idea later: by 600 CE, all denizens of the Frankish empire were “Franks”… although a century earlier the Franks were a small minority of Gallia). Cynics have pointed out that enabled the Roman government to tax everybody…

Lead Emissions are proportional to overall metal production, for technical reasons. The Frankish renaissance of metallurgy is blatant on this graph. It happened because the Franks conquered Eastern Europe, and one can see that was even before Charlemagne’s birth. Data from Greenland ice cores.

The forceful, ordered from the top, rise of Christianism brought the rule of softer notions, for example that the most cruel games of the circus were overindulged in. While that was good, the Christian drive against animal passions of the worst type was accompanied by a drive against some of the most necessary animal or specifically human passions. For example, criticism against authority, thus against the emperor as god, or god himself, became a capital crime. But there is no more fundamentally human passion than harsh thinking.

Christian theofascism brought, in no small measure, however indirectly, the fall of the Occidental Part (Pars Occidentalis). Indeed Theodosius, using the Goths, defeated the secular army of Occident, made mostly of Romanized Franks fighting under the banner of Hercules (symbolizing the most altruistic hard work for the community), in 394 CE. That left Occident without defense, but for a curtain of Slatic Franks which was pierced at the 406 CE Winter Solstice, when the Rhine could be galloped across…

This said, there were nice, progressive aspects to Christianism: although, overall, a catastrophe in the Fourth and Fifth Centuries, some elements of civilizations invented them, very few of them, were worth keeping.

Those progressive elements were brandished by the Franks shortly thereafter. See, for example, Martin of Tours, a Roman officer who as he was approaching the gates of the city of Amiens, met a scantily clad beggar. He cut his military cloak in half to share with the man (around 350 CE).  

The Franks, under Consul Imperator King Clovis, invented Christianism with a human face. And the first application of that newly found humanity was to annihilate the Goths (Vouillé  507 CE). Being more human doesn’t just make you a better beast, it makes you win wars.

Another mood the Franks resurrected, after 5 centuries of Octavian-Augustus launched intellectual fascism, was the pleasure of debate and iconoclasm. Clovis, a fierce fighter, who killed the king of the Goths with his own hands, was excellent at that.

The basic undoing of the Roman Republic was its capture by a class of super wealthy idiots. They comprised the Senatorial class. Sounds familiar?There were up to 600 Senators; numbers varied; Octavian-Augustus, the first “emperor”, who called himself “First”, Princeps, executed 100 Senators… Not counting the many killed in battle during the Civil War, just prior.

Having the entire society guided and owned by a few hundred families was antithetical to the Republic: the Plebs had gone on strike against that, centuries prior. But this time, the reaction of the Plebs was too little too late.

The wealthy idiots owners of everything important censored any deep thinking that contradicted them. We see this nowadays.

But the hyper wealthy couldn’t censor the gathering ecological and military crises. Roman society depended crucially upon metals, to make tools and weapons. As the Islamists swept all in the way (they had just eradicated Persia), emperors desperately needed metals to make the equivalent of big guns then, the Gregian Fire. So the emperor came from Constantinople, and striped the metallic roofs of Rome. The gathered metal never reached Constantinople, as the Islamists seized it:

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Paul the Deacon’s History of the Lombards, book 5, chapters 11-13 (PL95, cols 602 and 604):

  1.  But the emperor Constans, when he found that he could accomplish nothing against the Langobards, directed all the threats of his cruelty against his own followers, that is, the Romans. He left Naples and proceeded to Rome.  At the sixth mile-stone from the city, pope Vitalian came to meet him with his priests and the Roman people. And when the emperor had come to the threshold of St. Peter he offered there a pallium woven with gold; and remaining at Rome twelve days he pulled down everything that in ancient times had been made of metal for the ornament of the city, to such an extent that he even stripped off the roof of the church of the blessed Mary which at one time was called the Pantheon, and had been founded in honor of all the gods and was now by the consent of the former rulers the place of all the martyrs; and he took away from there the bronze tiles and sent them with all the other ornaments to Constantinople. Then the emperor returned to Naples, and proceeded by the land route to the city of Regium (Reggio) ; and having entered Sicily during the seventh indiction he dwelt in Syracuse and put such afflictions upon the people—the inhabitants and land owners of Calabria, Sicily, Africa, and Sardinia – as were never heard of before, so that even wives were separated from their husbands and children from their parents. The people of these regions also endured many other and unheard of things so that the hope of life did not remain to any one. For even the sacred vessels and the treasures of the holy churches of God were carried away by the imperial command and by the avarice of the Greeks. And the emperor remained in Sicily from the seventh to the twelfth indiction, but at last he suffered the punishment of such great iniquities and while he was in the bath he was put to death by his own servants.

XII.  When the emperor Constantine was killed at Syracuse, Mecetius (Mezezius) seized the sovereignty in Sicily, but without the consent of the army of the East.  The soldiers of Italy, others throughout Istria, others through the territories of Campania and others from the regions of Africa and Sardinia came to Syracuse against him and deprived him of life. And many of his judges were brought to Constantinople beheaded and with them in like manner the head of the false emperor was also carried off.

XIII. The nation of the Saracens that had already spread through Alexandria and Egypt, hearing these things, came suddenly with many ships, invaded Sicily, entered Syracuse and made a great slaughter of the people – a few only escaping with difficulty who had fled to the strongest fortresses and the mountain ranges – and they carried off also great booty and all that art work in brass and different materials which the emperor Constantine had taken away from Rome; and thus they returned to Alexandria.

The problem we have now are all too similar. Not yet military disasters, but ecological disasters are already upon us, and they have everything to do with the ravenous class which owns and direct today’s modes of thinking. And feeling.

After its near-death experience in the Fifth Century, Rome rose again, but on better principles. Rome won, by losing its most evil ways. Too bad much of the population died in parts of Occident (in the Orient and Spain this would happen from Islamist conquest). One may have to thank the do-goodism of Christianism which led to the outlawing of slavery by Saint Queen Bathilde.

However, we don’t have the luxury now of waiting centuries for better moods to gather momentum. We may run out of oxygen well before that.

Patrice Ayme