Of Greeks And Romans
By Doug Krieger
THE BORG AND THE “COLLECTIVE”
It could be said that the Romans, with all their cravings for Empire and military prowess, were like the Borg of Star Trek—incorporating, through “assimilation-style conquests,” the culture, the strengths, the wealth, etc., of their foes; until Rome’s COLLECTIVE stretched the expanse of the “civilized world.”
Initially, this ancient Borg did not set out upon empire from their city states—they simply responded to threats from their neighbors; Carthage in the western Mediterranean and Macedonia (Greece) in the east, etc.
Each time Rome got drawn into a conflict, they then, in order to maintain their control, found themselves trying to keep the peace—this ultimately led to an immense, hegemonic effort entitled PAX ROMANA (“The Roman Peace” or “The Peace of Rome”), which reached its territorial height around 100 A.D.
Rome’s altruistic quest for “Republic” was doomed because its army and generals, and the “military and (if you would) industrial complex” (i.e., an economy based upon expansion and maintained by force) grew so powerful, intruding upon every aspect of Roman life that the inevitability of an imperial government became its only recourse: IMPERIAL ROME. This, of course, established the caesarian dictatorship; and, in the course of time the very force which established the empire (i.e., the generals and the army) would cause Rome’s downfall.
Now . . . continue to bear with me . . . I’m leading up to something . . .
The legendary legions of Rome were matched by her bombastic expressions of all things Roman. Everything was super sized, including her entertainment venues, roads, aqueducts, shrines, and the pomp and splendor of her elaborate celebrations; especially, military. Nothing could match the “glory that was Rome!” Every copycat European King, Emperor, or Dictator has known this—be he Charlemagne, Napoleon, or Hitler.
THE EFFIMINATE GREEKS
The Greeks, through the uniting of their city-states by Phillip II, the Macedonian, initially bore some resemblance to the militarism of their western counterparts—especially, after Phillip’s son, Alexander the Great, conquered the vast regions of the east. However, from Greece’s commencement, she was enthralled with her own cultural sophistication: Learning, philosophy, science, the arts, etc. Now, here were a people with some class!
Ancient Rome, very early (cir. 800 BC), came under Greek influence—especially, when Greek colonies were set up in southern Italy and Sicily; likewise, the Hellenized Etruscans in the north, and in Naples and Sicily in the south, virtually surrounding Rome with the culture of the Greeks. A somewhat strange ambivalence of all things Greek initiated the engagement—yet, once the Roman’s got used to it, they became utterly enamored with this “superior civilization” with its literature, arts, sophistication, entertainment, gods and her general pleasures of life.
Notwithstanding “who was Borging whom” here (for you see, the Greeks “think” they got the last laugh when Rome’s eastern Empire, Byzantium, in the “Grecian Portion” of the Roman Empire, ascended and Rome itself fell in 476 AD), the Romans still had an inherent distain for the “wimpish Greeks” with all their “thoughts and letters” and “effeminate ways.”
A sort of “heartland mentality” possessed these hard-working, boorish farmers with superstition ruling their lives and very often harsh words for the “decadent Greeks” peppered the expressions of the ancient Romans. Yet, just as Greece reached the zenith of her culture, along with her political, military, and artistic development—these Roman farmers began to realize that a lot of what the Greeks had to offer could be incorporated into a “new civilization” as long as Rome would “rule over it.”
Thus, both the Latin and Greek branches of Hellenism came under the political domain of the Roman Empire; and, thusly was Hellenism (i.e., “Greek Culture”) gradually transformed from the original Greek influence to the Roman state and finally to the society of Europe—now, that’s a sweeping picture of what happened, and where we are today.
So who got Borged? Cato, the famed Roman Senator (234-149 BC) launched an “anti-Hellenic movement,” but it failed—eventually, every branch of Roman learning; philosophy, oratory, science, art, religion, morals, manners, and dress succumbed to Greek manners and customs. By the end of the second century, the old “heartland ways” of the Romans were transformed into Greco-Roman culture that has SURVIVED UNTIL TODAY—you may have heard of it: Western Civilization!
Nevertheless, these “sophisticated farmers”—though they ingested all things Greek—were prone to hearken back to their agrarian origins. They never forgot “how the West was won” and they certainly knew that these erstwhile “effete sophisticates” (i.e., Greeks) couldn’t hold a candle to IMPERIAL ROME! And, let’s get one thing clear (and this is precisely how the Romans felt about the Greeks)—these Greeks are wimps, effeminate, and—when it comes right down to it—couldn’t govern an Empire if it were given to them!
ADDING A TOUCH OF “RELIGION” – THAT’S ROME!
You see, the Romans “tried” the “Greek thing” called the Republic—and it didn’t work! Greece, with all its philosophy and inquiry, contemplation and ultimate denial of all things divine (even though they “mouthed the talk of the gods”) were weakened by all their learning and intellectual posturing. Words like atheism and agnosticism didn’t come from the Latin—but from the Greek! Furthermore the Greeks viewed dictatorship—especially, Rome’s version of it—as the worst possible form of government.
Imagine, a bunch of Romans sitting around Mars Hill listening to the likes of the Apostle Paul? Sure—like we Romans have time for this? How can I put this so you can grasp the difference between Rome and Greece? How about this story . . .
The famed Greek mathematician, Archimedes, just about drove the Romans nuts with his military inventions, circles and methods of defense protecting the besieged Greek colony of Syracuse in Sicily. The Romans tried to “Borg” him by capturing the colony. Alas! Their efforts were foiled when they finally breached the walls of Syracuse’s defenses. A Roman soldier simply walked into a house with an old man hunched over his papers. The soldier demanded the old man identify himself; instead, Archimedes brushed the demand aside and told the soldier not to bother him while he was working on his circles! So, as all good Romans were inclined to do: He killed the old man and the rest is history!
The “effete liberal Greeks” really, as far as the Romans were concerned, didn’t take religion seriously. Sure, Alexander the Great thought he was a demigod (Zeus his father and all), but eventually, “all their learning” watered down the glue needed to rule the people. The Romans figured it out—you can only maintain control through “divine decree!” All this “questioning” of ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY is counterproductive and nonsensical—the bottom line is: It doesn’t work!
In point of fact, the Romans, in today’s vernacular, realized the Greek culture was so “secularized” and, ipso facto, inherently ungovernable, that it was useless when it came to the “real world of Rome.” Indeed, the Greeks embodied today’s “relativism” to the uttermost; and, worse yet, their history and culture—as a result of their secularism and relativism—was wrought with what the Romans perceived to be an “immoral life-style” that was irreligious and even counter to “family values!” (Homosexuality among the Greeks was inwrought into their cultural fabric—and the Romans knew that)—notwithstanding some Greek Americans attempt at depicting ancient Greece to the contrary.
The point of the matter is this: Ruling an Empire demands absolutes like “good and evil” – “for us or against us” – the power to govern cannot (as the Romans discovered) be sustained for long without an IMPERIAL DICTATORSHIP—the people demand it, and the people get what they demand! Without a serious RELIGIOUS COMPONENT in the governance of the people—then the incursions of secularism, relativism, aberrant life-styles, etc., will weaken the fabric of governance and, worse yet, cause the Empire to become militarily vulnerable to “barbaric forces” or “intolerant religionists” bent on destroying us—and that could happen if we are not as absolute as they are! Sure, the “appearance” of the Roman Senate abides—but when “push comes to shove” THE EMPEROR TRUMPS ALL!
Ah, so you found where I’m going with this little lesson in ancient history. Did someone see some parallels? Just where on earth did these Romans go? Sure, we’ve always had a “mixture” (I mean, after all, we’re the “Greco-Roman” world.). But, we can’t let our “lesser demons” get the upper hand. They need to be kept in toe—especially, when it comes to governing and, in particular, when we peer into the “face of Satan” and realize that only EVIL can be countered with the absolute determination of divine edict!
My dear friends—in case you’re wondering what the “driving force” behind today’s Rome is all about—and just who are today’s “effete-effeminate-cultured-secularized-relativists” – then, think no further! The agrarians in the heartland of Americana have spoken—ROME HAS RISEN—and if you don’t think so, you’ve probably got your head buried in your circles!
Is PAX AMERICANA making the same mistakes as PAX ROMANA? Does history repeat itself? Will the Republic—or has it already—embraced what Charles Krauthammer calls the world’s first-ever COMMERCIAL REPUBLIC and, de facto, is already IMPERIAL? How can you be a “Commercial Republic” without being an EMPIRE? Neo-conservatives have a field day in diminishing the reality of what’s politically taken place!
The truth be known—Kerry, and his Thebian Greek brigades—are losing the “cultural wars.” As long as the security and commercial aspirations of the EMPIRE continue to trump all else—and as long as the “agrarian, religious heartlanders” can be mobilized to defeat these insidious, effete, effeminate Greek attempts to undermine the COMMERCIAL REPUBLIC (a.k.a., The Empire)—then PAX AMERICANA will not only hold, she’ll expand!
The “cultural elites” just don’t get it—and even if they did, do you think that the NASCAR-gun-toting-Country Music crowd cares? Maintaining control and thwarting the efforts of today’s secular and religious barbarians is not the job for wimps (e.g., the French, the Spanish—old secularized Europe, and their Kerry-style buddies on the Left and East Coasts)—it’s the challenge AND responsibility of the New Rome, with her Moral Majority, Military Might and Multi-Nationals, united in the cause for “peace” – viz., PAX AMERICANA!