Worthy Reads from February 6, 2019
Weekend Reading: Rereading: William Boyd: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré

Bret Devereaux: The Fremen Mirage, Part II: Water Spilled on the Sand—A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry https://acoup.blog/2020/01/30/collections-the-fremen-mirage-part-ii-water-spilled-on-the-sand/: 'Sallust’s complaints about Roman decadence—which date to the first century B.C. nearly five centuries before its ‘fall‘—are often quoted as somehow explaining Rome’s eventual demise, but Rome wasn’t even done expanding at that point. This isn’t the place to get into a complete periodization of the Roman state, but we’ll break it down into four broad periods based on Rome’s military expansion, and then address each one in turn: 1. Roman Expansion in Italy (509-265 B.C.), during which the Roman Republic consolidated control of the Italian Peninsula. 2. Rapid Roman Overseas Expansion (265 B.C.—14 A.D.), during which the Roman Republic (along with Augustus, the first emperor) defeated the other major powers of the Mediterranean and also rapidly subjugated large numbers of minor states and pre-state peoples. This period also sees political stresses within the Roman Republic eventually tear it apart, leading to a new monarchy under Augustus. 3. Consolidation, Stabilization and Frontier Defense (15—378 A.D.), during which expansion does not stop, but it does slow, and the greater military focus is on protecting what Rome has (which is, to be fair, nearly all of the territory worth having). This period is disrupted by a period of fragmentation and civil war called the 3a. Third Century Crisis (235-284), but Rome stabilizes and regains control of its older borders afterwards and holds them successfully for another century. 4. The Long, Slow Collapse of the West (378-476), during which the Western Roman Empire slowly collapses, while the Eastern Roman Empire remains prosperous, militarily successful and almost entirely intact. That is, you will forgive me on language for a moment, a long ass time...

#noted #2020-02-07