As the Roman Empire came apart at the seams, the safest place to be was on the very edges of that dying empire.
I have recently been reading the books, by Robert Harris, detailing the life of the great thinker, orator and statesman, Cicero.
It is uncanny how many parallels with modern day life can be drawn from the novels, ‘Imperium’ and ‘Lustrum’…(the third in the trilogy is yet to be published).
Of all the cumulative reasons why the Roman Empire came apart, endless wars, an over reliance on slave labour and corruption in government appear to be at the forefront.
As I read chapter on chapter, I couldn’t help but draw parallels with the state of our world today…and viewed with horror an emerging pattern of decline and fall.
The template of decline and fall remains the same regardless of time.
Wealthy Romans drank water transported through lead pipes into their villas.
The water contained up to 100 times more lead that that from spring wells.
Lead poisoning leads to erratic behaviour, mental decline etc., much of which could be viewed in the conduct of the ruling elite during the final days.
Much the same appears to be happening now, even to the point of corrupt and debased behaviour within the ranks of the ruling elite.
I never cease to be both amazed and appalled at the continuing scandals.
We appear to be not so much governed, as presided over by people we would otherwise be embarrassed to call our friends…integrity and compassion being somewhat lacking!
When Rome fell, the world entered the “Dark Ages”.
The Dark Ages lasted several hundred years, but birthed a new Age of Enlightenment.
The light of civilization was carried back into mainland Europe, from, of all places, Ireland.
The edge of empire for me is a mindset, a refusal to be drawn into the madness.
A resoluteness to live with integrity.
A desire to continue to cultivate and practice compassion, even when our leaders applaud war and attempt to vindicate suffering and destruction.
In these days of crumbling empire, (for this mayhem cannot last much longer!), it is not such a bad place to be…the edge of empire.
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