Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Teutonic Tribes Spread Out Through Europe

The history of civilization is, in reality, an account of the dominance of one nation after another. A nation rises to great peaks of power and civilization, establishes an empire over all the second-rate nations within its reach, passes through a relatively short period of majestic greatness, and then begins to decline towards mediocrity, or a position of no account, or annihilation. From time to time during this downwards progress there are moments of apparent rebirth, or rather a renewal of strength and virility, which seem to hold the seeds of hope. Such upsurges of power, of new vigour, invariably prove to be the last flickers of authority condemned to extinction; their life is short, and when they die out, they leave the crumbling edifice of empire weaker than ever.

The great and magnificent Empire of Greece, which reached its peak of greatness during the period when Pericles of Athens was at the head of affairs, had already lost all claims to greatness when its neighbour to the west began to emerge as a potential Imperial power. From the foundation of their city in 753 B.C., the Roman people had been compelled by an ever-increasing need for living-space to extend their frontiers. In a long and slow process covering seven hundred years, they conquered near neighbours and distant peoples, continuously extending the area over which their authority was effective. Simultaneously with this territorial aggrandizement they developed a civilization which formed a stable foundation on which to build the edifice of empire, so that when they were at the peak of their authority they were also the leaders of culture.

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