Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/97

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

ian's contempt for honest industry." "Roman civilization was not a creative kind, it was military, that is destructive." What was the end of it all? The nation bred real men no more. To cultivate the Roman fields "whole tribes were borrowed." The man of the quick eye and the strong arm gave place to the slave, the scullion, the pariah, the man with the hoe, the man whose lot does not change because in him there lies no power to change it. "Slaves have wrongs, but freemen alone have rights." So at the end the Roman world yielded to the barbaric, because it was weaker in force. "The barbarians settled and peopled the barbaric rather than conquered it." And the process is recorded in history as the fall of Rome.

"Out of every hundred thousand strong men, eighty thousand were slain. Out of every hundred thousand weaklings, ninety to ninety-five thousand were left to survive." This is Dr. Seeck's calculation, and the biological significance of such mathematics must be evident at once. Dr. Seeck speaks with scorn of the idea that Rome fell from the decay of old age, from the corruption of luxury, from neglect of military tactics or from the over-diffusion of culture.

It is inconceivable that the mass of Romans suffered from over-culture. In condemning the sinful luxury of wealthy Romans, we forget that the trade-lords of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were scarcely inferior in this regard to Lucullus and Apicius, their waste and luxury not constituting the slightest check to the advance of the nations to which these men belonged. The people who lived in luxury in Rome were scattered more thinly than in any modern state of Europe. The masses lived at all times more poorly and frugally because they could do nothing else. Can we conceive that a war force of untold millions of people is rendered effeminate by the luxury of a few hundreds?

Too long have historians looked on the rich and noble as making the fate of the world. Half the Roman Empire was made up of rough barbarians untouched by Greek or Roman culture. (Seeck.)

Whatever the remote and ultimate cause may have been, the immediate cause to which the fall of the empire can be traced is a physical not a moral decay. In valor, discipline and science the Roman armies remained what they had always been and the peasant emperors of Illyricum were worthy successors of Cincinnatus and Caius Marius. But the problem was, how to replenish those armies. Men were wanting. The empire perished for want of men. (Seeley.)

Does history ever repeat itself? It always does if it is true history. If it does not we are dealing not with history, but with mere succession of incidents. Like causes produce like effects, just as often as man may choose to test them. Whenever men use a nation for the test, poor seed yields a poor fruition. Where the weakling and the coward survive in human history, there "the human harvest is bad," and it can never be otherwise.

The finest Roman province, a leader in the Roman world, was her colony of Hispania. What of Spain in history? What of Spain to-day? "This is Castile," said a Spanish writer, "she makes men and