Throughout history we have seen great civilisations rise, decline and fall. History has this annoying habit of repeating itself, none more so than in the case of human endeavour. As someone famous once said “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
Are we doomed to repeat the mistakes that toppled other great civilisations? We need to look at them, and the causes for their decline, for the answer
When did ancient Egypt begin and end?
The dynastic period started with the reign of Egypt’s first king, Narmer, in approximately 3100 BCE, and ended with the death of Cleopatra VII in 30 BCE. During this long period there were times of strong centralised rule, and periods of much weaker, divided rule, but basically Egypt remained one, independent land.
After the rule of these kings, Egypt went into an age of decline. The country was attacked and conquered by various people, until finally, Egypt became part of the Roman Civilisation.
So, in brief, they were taken over by another civilisation, either by war or by stealth.
When was the first Greek civilisation?
The civilisation of Ancient Greece emerged into the light of world history in the 8th century BC. Normally it is regarded as coming to an end when Greece fell to the Romans, in 146 BC. However, major Greek (or “Hellenistic”, as modern scholars call them) kingdoms lasted longer than this.
By 146 BCE Romans had conquered the Greek city-states. Heavy taxes were paid by the provinces to support the luxury of Rome; the conquered people began to resent this. Greece didn’t really decline as a culture because the Macedonians (Alexander the Great) and the Romans both adopted and spread Greek culture.
Again, invaded and taken over by another civilisation.
When was the Roman civilisation?
This timeline highlights the major events in the history of Ancient Rome. This timeline goes from 753 BC to 27 BC and then from 64 AD to 1453 AD. Rome was founded by Romulus. Romulus was the first of the seven Roman kings.
In 476 C.E. Romulus, the last of the Roman emperors in the west, was overthrown by the Germanic leader Odoacer, who became the first Barbarian to rule in Rome. This was the origin of the phrase “Barbarians at the gate”, meaning the influx of an army intent on conquest. The order that the Roman Civilisation had brought to western Europe for 1000 years was no more.
Gibbon, in his work “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” also attributes increasing decadence and hedonism for the collapse.
So, in addition to invasion we can add decadence to the mix.
When did the Aztecs civilisation begin and end?
Itzcoatl’s successor Montezuma (Moctezuma) I, who took power in 1440, was a great warrior who was remembered as the father of the Aztec Civilisation. By the early 16th century, the Aztecs had come to rule over up to 500 small states, and some 5 to 6 million people, either by conquest or commerce.
The Spanish and their Indian allies outnumbered the Aztecs which led to their defeat. Disease was a very important factor that led to the fall of the Aztec Civilisation. The Spanish brought many deadly diseases when they arrived in Mexico. The diseases, like smallpox, caused many Aztec die.11 May 2016
So, again we see invasion and conquest, by force and by stealth, as well as introducing a new player into the mix: disease.
So, four of the world’s greatest civilisations, risen and fallen, all brought to their knees by a few common denominators
Invasion, by force or by stealth
Decadence and hedonism
Let us now look at our civilisation, what I would call the Industrial Civilisation.
We have managed, over the last 500 years, to make sure that every one of our citizens receives an education, has proper health care, has food and water and, up until now, has felt secure in his and her homes. The average lifespan of our citizens has doubled in the last 500 years
However, the last 20 years have shown an alarming increase in invasion by stealth, of decadence and hedonism, and in disease, generally those diseases which we thought we had eradicated many years ago.
Are we headed for decline?
It certainly looks that way – Politicians willing to allow our country to be subsumed into another Empire, Barbarians at the gate, willing to blow us and themselves to pieces for their beliefs,
Decadence and hedonism – The slide into sexual depravity and the “Panem et Circences” (Bread and Circuses) that is the output of the television companies are indicators of that
Disease – TB, Smallpox, HIV Aids, all diseases that we had cured or under control, now running rampant in our inner cities. Diseases that we had never heard of – Monkey Pox, Ebola, Dengue Fever also getting a foothold.
All these signs are pointing in one direction – Decline and Fall
“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
© Grimy Miner 2018