The Medieval Empire (English Edition)



THERE is no lesson which mankind has been so slow to learn as the necessity of continuous political and social change. Each succeeding form of social and of political structure has seemed final to the men who lived under it. The greatest thinkers of antiquity, Plato and Aristotle, while recognizing the fragility of existing politics, concur in their belief that fate holds no surprises garnered in her hand. Society goes through a necessary cycle of changes. Progress is followed by degeneration, degeneration by progress, and almost all the political inventions have been already made. The mysteries of Nature may indeed, according to Plato, bring to birth a generation of men in whose hands the State will reach ideal perfection; but the ideal can be forecast by the philosopher; no long and painful prologue of evolution necessarily stands between it and the present world; and it is conceived of rather as a fixed though brittle state, than as a moving and continuous process. Even the amazing revolution of things, which is summed up in the downfall of Greek City States and the foundation of the Roman Empire, did not Affect this deeply-rooted tendency of the human mind. The destinies of man were now conceived to be bound up with the fortunes of a new polity, but the polity was to be as durable as man himself, and though bricks and stones might crumble and perish, yet the city and the Empire of Rome were the imperishable guardians of human peace and safety. Was there not an ancient auspice that Mars, Terminus, and Juventas had refused to give place to Jove himself? The boundaries of the empire would never recede. Rome, founded on an eternal pact between Virtue and Fortune, would be young and warlike to the end of the world…

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The Medieval Empire (English Edition)

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