Sunday, October 01, 2006

The complexity of causes: Pompey and the Fall of Rome

In 49BC Caesar crossed the Rubicon, and tyranny ruled Rome. Twenty years before, the laws of the Republic were swept away so that a terrifying threat could be ended...
What A Terrorist Incident in Ancient Rome Can Teach Us - Pirates of the Mediterranean - New York Times

IN the autumn of 68 B.C. the world’s only military superpower was dealt a profound psychological blow by a daring terrorist attack on its very heart. Rome’s port at Ostia was set on fire, the consular war fleet destroyed, and two prominent senators, together with their bodyguards and staff, kidnapped...
With the acquiescence of an anxious populace, Pompey passed laws that gave him unlimited power, and he crushed the pirates with an efficiency Rumsfeld would envy. (Pompey was not incompetent.) Caesar used those laws to seize power.

Would the Republic have survived if Pompey's power grab had been thwarted? Perhaps not, the Republic had many problems. Pompey's power, however, was a leading indicator that the end of the Republic was near.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chilling!

Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.

John said...

Alas, even those who remember history are too often doomed to repeat it. That's the difference between stupidity and tragedy.