Wednesday, July 10, 2013

otium negotiumque

The Last Wars of the Western Empire: Part 2: Rethinking the Fifth Century | darkagewargaming

The other side of the story concerns the aims of those aristocrats themselves.  Roman high aristocratic culture, as mentioned in Part 1, relied on a balance of otium (leisure) and negotium (business – service of the state).  Such aristocrats liked to moan about the burdens of office but in fact they were desperate to obtain such positions.  They needed them for competition within their peer group (offices brought honorific titles and all-important precedence) and in order to exercise power and patronage.  A prominent role at the core of the Empire brought untold opportunities to exert influence.  Involvement in the heart of government was therefore central to their way of life.  In the fourth century, aristocracies in different parts of the empire began to show the beginnings of regional identities (partly through links of family and patronage).  The Italian senatorial aristocrats resented their exclusion from the heart of the ‘inside-out’ Empire.  When the emperor Gratian returned to Italy (380) the Gallic and British aristocracy backed usurpers who would, they hoped, bring the government back to Trier while the Italians fought tooth and nail to hang on to their newly re-acquired place at the political centre.


Nothing has changed. European (continental ie weak blooded European) elites still ally with barbarians and for the same aims.

Instead of Arians and other barbarians from the North, this time it's the coloured and islamic hordes.

Plus ca change.
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