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Sunday, January 7 2018
The Roman Border Walls Paradox
"Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? ... And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a Kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the Kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever"
A common factor in the decline and fall of all militarily-aggressive empires is what I would call the border walls paradox. While demanding that their own national borders were sacred, they had virtually no respect for the sovereign borders of everyone else - except of course nations that were either stronger (a principle that carried over into the age of nuclear weapons; see Who Would Throw A Nuclear Boomerang?), or who would be too costly in blood to invade (e.g. Alexander the Great's stop at the borders of India (see The Greek Empire: Alexander's March To India).
The Roman Empire is a prime proof of the paradox that others have repeated for centuries. They in effect made their own borders like a check valve in a water pipe - their own "freedom" forces could flow outward freely, while the defense forces, or even the people, of other nations were blocked from the self-declared "sacred homeland."
It worked at first, when it was purely a matter of march out and conquer, but when Rome's conquests became political and cultural hegemony (i.e. turning the real world into the Roman world - "planet Rome"), the check valve in the water pipe became like two powerful pumps driving water through a single pipe in both directions at the same time. Something had to blow because what was being kept out was already in.
Publius Aelius Trajanus Hadrianus Augustus, more popularly known as Hadrian, was the Roman Emperor from 117 to 138 AD. As shown on the map above, the Roman Empire by the second century had inflated to its greatest territorial extent, from the Middle East and north Africa, to southern Europe right up into Britain - where remnants of the Roman occupation, and of Hadrian himself, are still evident e.g. parts of "Hadrian's Wall," that was constructed as a northern border to "separate Romans from the barbarians," can still be seen today.
After beginning as a "crush and intimidate" empire, the Romans later sought to instill "Roman culture" on their subjects (i.e. Pax Romana). That included Roman citizenship (whether directly, or by brainwashing in which people viewed their own country as "foreign" e.g. the people who crucified the Messiah with their infamous "We have no king but Caesar") on people of other nations e.g. the apostle Paul, who was born in Roman-occupied Turkey, and Jesus Christ, who was born in Roman-occupied Judea, and many others, were native-born Roman citizens because Rome then regard the "world" as its own.
The name "Britain" is based on its Latin designation, Britannia, the name given to the "Roman Province of Britannia." The city of London too originated from a Latin name, Londinium, which was given to the Roman colony that was established there after the invasion by the Roman Emperor Claudius in 43 AD.
The "we are everyone" principle was used throughout the Roman Empire, including in Judea and Jerusalem. Hadrian renamed the land of Israel and Judea as "Syria Palaestina" when the Romans merged Syria and the land of the Philistines (i.e. Gaze) into a single Roman province - in doing so, totally ignoring the very existence of Judea and its people (in the same way that "Palestine," a term for the Philistines, does to this very day).
The same was done to Jerusalem; Hadrian renamed it as Aelia Capitolina, or Colonia Aelia Capitolina - "Colonia," a Roman colony, "Aelia," after Hadrian's own name Aelius, and "Capitolina," from the Roman pagan god Jupiter Capitolinus.
In the end, it was Roman imperial "success" that destroyed their empire. By the time that they started building national border walls, the only way that they could make them work was to retreat into them and isolate themselves from the rest of humanity that they had claimed were a part of their "world" - while suffering civil wars from the world conflict that was brought home and sealed inside themselves.
It's no accident that "Rome" today is again just a city on a swampy river.
This Day In History, January 7
1327: King Edward II of England was forced to abdicate.
1450: The University of Glasgow, Scotland, was founded.
1451: Amadeus VIII ("the Peaceful") died at age 68. Count and duke of Savoy, first member of the House of Savoy to assume the title of duke, under the name Felix V he was antipope for 10 years (see The Struggle For The Papacy).
1536: Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII, died.
1558: Calais, the last English territory held in France, was retaken by the French.
1598: Boris Godunov seized the Russian throne on the death of Feodore I.
1601: Robert, earl of Essex, led a treasonous revolt against Queen Elizabeth I. He was tried, found guilty and beheaded in the Tower of London (it reportedly took executioner Thomas Derrick 3 blows with the axe to sever the rebel traitor's head).
1610: Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei discovered the 4 largest moons of Jupiter with the newly-invented telescope (Galileo was not the inventor of the telescope, but he was the first to use it for astronomy). His outspoken belief that the earth went around the sun, rather than the sun around the earth, later got him into serious trouble with the Roman Catholic authorities of his day. Over 380 years later, Pope John Paul II stated that Galileo had been right after all (see also What Can You See In The Firmament Of The Heavens?).
1714: The typewriter was patented (but a working model was not actually built until years later).
1785: John Jeffries and Jean Pierre Blanchard made the first crossing of the English Channel in a hot air balloon (see also Who Was The First To Fly?).
1807: In retaliation for Napoleon's blockade of Britain, the British navy blockaded continental Europe (see also Russia Or Europe - Who Has Been The Invader?).
1904: The shipping distress call CQD - "seek you, danger" - was introduced. It was replaced by SOS two years later.
1927: A transatlantic telephone service between London and New York was introduced.
1935: Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and French Foreign minister Pierre Laval signed the Franco-Italian Agreement (see also Is Iniquity Liberal Or Conservative?).
1953: U.S. President Harry Truman announced that the U.S. had developed the hydrogen bomb, 8 years after the first atomic bomb. Truman is the only man, so far, to have ordered the use of nuclear weapons of mass destruction in war - his incineration of the civilian population of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 (see also Who Would Throw A Nuclear Boomerang?).
1959: The U.S. diplomatically recognized the new Cuban government of Fidel Castro - who had just overthrown the Mafia and CIA-backed regime of the puppet dictator Fulgencio Batista (see also When Do Liberals Become Conservatives?).
1979: Vietnamese forces, aided by Cambodian insurgents, captured Phnom Penh after a two-week invasion and overthrew the Khmer Rouge regime of Pol Pot.
1985: The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launched Sakigake, Japan's first interplanetary spacecraft. It was the first deep space probe to be launched by any country other than the U.S. or the Soviet Union.
1989: Akihito was sworn in as the emperor of Japan after the death of his father Hirohito who had reigned since 1926.