Below is the first in a series of essays on the fall of Rome by our Dutch correspondent H. Numan.
How long before the Dark Ages return?
by H. Numan
No doubt you are familiar with the term the Dark Ages. This was the chaotic period following the fall of the Roman empire. Most historians place this period from 476 AD, the official fall of Rome, until the crowning of Charlemagne in 800 AD. Nowadays you’re not supposed to use that term anymore. It wasn’t dark at all. Merely total chaos and absolute anarchy ruled, and in only Western Europe. That’s cultural Marxism at work: pretending something didn’t really happen or wasn’t half as bad.
We are on the brink of new Dark Ages. It’s interesting to see how that came to be the last time. He who doesn’t learn from history is doomed to do it again. But never the same way, for history never repeats itself the same way.
West — East
The Roman empire split in two parts: the Western empire and the Eastern empire. The Eastern empire evolved into the Byzantine empire. The Western empire fell. We’re not going to look why it split, that’s outside the scope of this essay. Both empires were under constant attack from barbarians outside. The Western empire by Germanic tribes, Goths and Huns. The Eastern empire by Huns, Germanic tribes, Sassanids and many more. Both empires had to use all resources they had to defend themselves. One fell, the other didn’t.
Did Rome fall in 476 AD? Not really. Rome had been besieged and plundered a couple of times before. Parts of its empire were taken by barbarian tribes, reconquered, lost again and retaken before they were permanently lost. The 476 AD date was just a nice date, fairly accurate and easy to remember. In the end, and that is well before 476 AD, the Western empire had shrunk to bits of Italy. Everything else was taken over by the Goths, Germanic tribes, Burgundians and others. For convenience’s sake I’ll call them all barbarians. I’ll explain that term a little further in this article.
How did that came to be? Why did the Western empire fall, and the Eastern empire survive? Well, the Eastern empire had the good fortune to be centered around the most strategic city in the world: Constantinople, millennia later renamed as Istanbul. Constantinople was very easy to defend. It is surrounded on three sides by sea and the other side had the strongest walls in the world. During the next 750 years Constantinople was besieged many times, but never taken. Rome, on the other hand, was not strategically located. It was still a very big city, but the government had moved to Ravenna, which was located somewhat better strategically and was easier to defend. If you don’t mind malaria, that is. Because part of its defenses were the surrounding marshes. That is one of the reasons why the Byzantine empire survived and the Western empire fell.
The Roman army
I think most readers are familiar with the Roman army. Only that famous army hadn’t existed anymore for well over 200 years. To become legionary, one had to be Roman citizen. If you weren’t, you could join the auxiliarii, the auxiliary troops. After serving honorably, you’d get a discharge bonus and Roman citizenship. Your son could become a real legionary, and most did. Pay was better in the legions, and service was shorter. In the early days of the empire, this was very attractive. During the later empire much less so, as by that time almost everybody had Roman citizenship. Barbarians were more than welcome to serve in the auxiliary; entire Germanic kingdoms (outside the empire) ran their economy by farming out their warriors as auxiliarii.
The difference between the legionarii and auxiliarii was large. It’s also quite important to know why, to understand why the Roman empire eventually fell. Not as the reason, but one of the reasons.
The legions were heavy infantry, fighting in close-order formation. The auxiliary troops were everything else, and they fought usually in open order formation. Heavy infantry is exactly that: heavy. Armour and equipment easily weighed in at +35 kg. Training was daily and gruesome. Every month at least three road marches of +80km in full gear were on the agenda. The remainder legionary spent a lot on the assault course, and training with weapons in full armor. That’s a whole lot tougher than what I had to do. The heavy equipment and continuous training were absolutely necessary to fight in close-order formations. You have first to learn it, and once you’ve mastered it, keep it up. Until you retire. Which, for a legionary, was after 25 years. Discipline was by necessity brutal.
The auxiliary didn’t exactly loaf around not doing much. Their usual formations were open order, and that requires much less training and (because of that) much less discipline, and far lighter equipment.
As you very well can understand, the legions weren’t exactly happy to see the auxiliary loafing around on a daily basis. Every day they were training their rear ends off under vicious centurions, while the auxiliary looked like he was having a holiday. The legions complained. Loudly, and often. Slowly the top brass gave in. Little by little. First the heavy helmet was replaced by a lighter version. Next to go was the large heavy shield. Replaced by a shorter and lighter shield. To compensate, the short stabbing sword (gladius) was replaced by a much larger slashing sword (spatha). The throwing pilum — a legionary carried always three of them — was replaced by a single stabbing spear. Which automatically changed the style from close order fighting into open order fighting. Slowly the legions merged into auxiliary. There was no difference anymore. Some legions kept the old famous name alive for a long time, but their great-grandfathers wouldn’t have recognized them.
Not only the army changed; so did society. First of all, the late Roman Empire (West and East) suffered from severe plague epidemics, depopulating entire areas. The available manpower for the army simply wasn’t there anymore. Another major change was the advent of Christianity. Certainly in the beginning of Christianity, serving in the army was out of the question. When the religion became the state religion, pacifist ideas were quickly forgotten. However, serving in the army wasn’t exactly what you wanted to do as a Christian. It was much easier, far more comfortable and a lot more prestigious to build your career in the church. The army was out, the church was in. Poor boys weren’t available for military service, and rich boys didn’t fancy it.
That meant that almost all senior officers now were barbarians as well. The auxiliary had always fought under their own chieftains, but as junior officers only. Now those barbarian chieftains became field and general officers. In the past all field and general officers had always been Romans. Not any more. Romans much preferred a career in the church. You’d pray a lot, sure. But you didn’t have to do road marches and the assault course. There was very little risk, the food was excellent and career possibilities limitless.
What’s a barbarian? Someone who isn’t a Roman. That’s all. Forget our notion of a smelly hairy man clothed in animal skins wielding a club. Some did, no doubt. A barbarian was (usually) a Germanic tribesman. Most tribal leaders spoke some Latin as second language, wore normal clothes and wanted nothing more than to become real Romans themselves. They fit the bill exactly for a multicultural society: as long as you act like a Roman, think as a Roman, dress like a Roman, you are a Roman. Many of those barbarian leaders intermarried with Roman wives. In the eyes of most Romans — certainly the elite — they simply were Romans. The problem is that once more non-Roman Romans became Roman, the less Roman they felt.
A good example is Flavius Stylicho. His dad was a Vandal, his mum a Roman. He became one of the ablest and most loyal generals of the late Roman Empire. Something like the mayor or Rotterdam today, Aboutaleb. But much more reliable, and without the very questionable religious ideology of Aboutaleb. Who is a very strict mohammedan, coming from a very strict mohammedan (muslim brotherhood) father. And is notoriously vague about his personal ideology.
A bad example is a colleague of Stylicho. His name was Alaric; he was a Visigoth. Him you could see as the forerunner of Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London. Sadiq is first and foremost a mohammedan, then a Marxist (disguised as ‘socialist’), and only after that British citizen. Both were ambitious cutthroats. Alaric also became a Roman general. Later he changed sides and became the Visigoth king who was the first barbarian to sack Rome. Whether Sadiq Khan will do the same, we have to wait and see. Not too long, I’m afraid.
It wasn’t a problem that the auxiliary fought under their own tribal leaders. They had always done that. However, once those tribal leaders became senior government officials, that was deadly. As captain (centurion) or colonel (tribune/legate), they could pilfer their unit’s funds, nothing more. As general they formed part of the government and consequently were able to pilfer state funds and change government policy to their advantage. Many did.
To translate this into our current problems: the 100% Turkish party Denk was elected to the Dutch parliament, with no fewer than three seats. They are very visible. Many more of the mohammedan persuasion are in parliament and are much less visible. Such as that nice moderate ‘Christian’ Democrat Mohammed El Isis or that friendly Labor member Hassan Al Qaeda. They have just as much to say as Denk does, but nobody notices them.
So why did the West Roman empire fall while the Byzantine empire did not? Because at the very last second (it was that close) a coup was staged within the Byzantine palace itself, under Marcianus. They murdered the barbarian leaders and took over command. A purely selfish act, I fully admit that. But it did save the empire in the nick of time. The lesson was learned. Hiring mercenaries, no problem. But never again as generals. That lesson came too late for the Western empire. It had already fallen.
The moral of this story is not simply to bar mohammedans from the army. In our society the armed forces are subjected to parliamentary control. In the Dutch parliament there are at least (haven’t counted them) 10 to 15 mohammedans. Roughly 10%. Those parliamentarians you can easily compare with Roman generals. In essence, they are the Roman equivalent. Those mohammedans in our parliament have access to the power of government; they influence policy, control legislation and decide how and what to fund with tax money.
Mohammedans think they will control our society within fifteen years. I think they’re a bit pessimistic. My estimate is much earlier. Probably within ten years. In the next episode I’ll go into that.
— H. Numan