In the Epilogue to his “Caesar and Christ (1944), historian Will Durant noted that,
“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within. The essential causes of Rome’s decline lay in her people, her morals, her class struggle, her failing trade, her bureaucratic despotism,
her stifling taxes, her consuming wars.”
Lawrence Reed a historian and economist wrote in 2014 an essay titled: The fall of the Republic
I don’t really disagree with Durant’s statement. However, if pressed to describe in one word why the ancient Roman Republic fell, I wouldn’t choose any that Durant mentions here. I would not choose corruption, nor any of the other usual suspects: war, socialism, slavery, the welfare state, envy, civil strife, foreign invasion, erosion of character, taxes, bureaucracy, spending or debt. Those were all important factors, but they were symptomatic rather than causative.
More than anything else, the drawn-out demise of Rome’s 500-year-old Republic must be laid at the doorstep of the most corrosive influence in the affairs of humankind. It’s a mental poison that twists and warps even the best of men and women if they allow it to take root in their souls.
I refer to power—the exercise of control over others. Simply the pursuit of it, whether one ultimately attains it or not, is itself an intoxicant.
Since most people don’t want someone else to control them, one who wishes to control others must sooner or later convince his victims (if he doesn’t kill them first) that it’s good for them to either embrace it or refrain from resisting it. That invariably requires lies and deception and, ultimately, force and violence. The more I observe the ways that power-seekers behave—present company as well as the hordes from history’s dustbin—the more I’m convinced that power is the principal way that pure Evil manifests itself.”
The ESV Study Bible has commentaries on the Roman Empire and the Greco-Roman World at the time of the New Testament.
Under the title: “Religion and Magic” we find this comment:
“Most today think of Roman religion in terms of its pantheon of gods and goddesses, such as Jupiter, Venus, and Mars (or their Greek counterparts Zeus, Aphrodite and Ares). Certainly, this pantheon was central to civic life. Touring an ancient city, one would see dozens of temples (some of immense size) dedicated to such deities. These gods were thought to act as benefactors both to the individual and to the city. Yet, should one neglect these deities, they could become angry and injure the individual or society.”
Hitler’s Monsters: A Supernatural History of the Third Reich”
published 2018 by Eric Kurlander, Professor of History (Author)
“The Nazi fascination with the occult is legendary, yet today it is often dismissed as Himmler’s personal obsession or wildly overstated for its novelty. Preposterous though it was, however, supernatural thinking was inextricable from the Nazi project. The regime enlisted astrology and the paranormal, paganism, Indo-Aryan mythology, witchcraft, miracle weapons, and the lost kingdom of Atlantis in reimagining German politics and society and recasting German science and religion. Even as popular occultism and superstition were intermittently rooted out, suppressed, and outlawed, the Nazis drew upon a wide variety of occult practices and esoteric sciences to gain power, shape propaganda and policy, and pursue their dreams of racial utopia and empire.”
Bestselling author Sidney Kirkpatrick in his book “HITLER’S HOLY RELICS” tells the riveting and never before told true story of how an American college professor hunted down and recovered the most cherished symbols of Hitlers 1000 year Reich before they could become a rallying point in the creation of a Fourth and equally unholy Reich.
“From Paris to Stalingrad, the Nazis systematically plundered all manner of art and antiquities. But the first and most valuable treasures they looted were the Crown Jewels of the Holy Roman Empire.
Anticipating the Allied invasion of Nazi Germany, Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler had ordered a top-secret bunker carved deep into the bedrock beneath Nürnberg castle. Inside the well-guarded chamber was a specially constructed vault that held the plundered treasures Hitler valued the most: the Spear of Destiny (reputed to have been used to pierce Christ’s side while he was on the cross) and the Crown Jewels of the Holy Roman Empire, ancient artifacts steeped in medieval mysticism and coveted by world rulers from Charlemagne to Napoleon. But as Allied bombers rained devastation upon Nürnberg and the U.S. Seventh Army prepared to invade the city Hitler called “the soul of the Nazi Party,” five of the most precious relics, all central to the coronation ceremony of a would-be Holy Roman Emperor, vanished from the vault. Who took them? And why? The mystery remained unsolved for months after the war’s end, until the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, ordered Lieutenant Walter Horn, a German-born art historian on leave from U.C. Berkeley, to hunt down the missing treasures.
To accomplish his mission, Horn must revisit the now-rubble-strewn landscape of his youth and delve into the ancient legends and arcane mysticism surrounding the antiquities that Hitler had looted in his quest for world domination. Horn searches for clues in the burnt remains of Himmler’s private castle and follows the trail of neo-Nazi “Teutonic Knights” charged with protecting a vast hidden fortune in plundered gold and other treasure. Along the way, Horn has to confront his own demons: how members of his family and former academic colleagues subverted scholarly research to help legitimize Hitler’s theories of Aryan supremacy and the Master Race. What Horn discovers on his investigative odyssey is so explosive that his final report will remain secret for decades.”
“Hitler’s Holy Relics: A True Story of Nazi Plunder and the Race to Recover the Crown Jewels of the Holy Roman Empire”; Sidney Kirkpatrick, 2011
KEEP YOUR THOUGHTS PURE AND GUARD YOUR MIND AT ALL TIMES. Serving instead of being served is the answer to never LUST FOR POWER.