Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Gathering Hordes

Rome, Italy - CE 400

Proponents of the so-called "barbarian invasion" theory today warned of the "potentially disastrous" effects of hundreds of thousands of Visigoths, Huns, and Vandals plundering the imperial capital, including death, despoilment and dismemberment of the populace, and destruction of the city's ancient architecture and temples.

Senator Titus Claudius scoffed at the authors of the Foreign Barbarian Invasion: Impacts, Mitigation, and Risk Management report, saying, "Obviously, these people have warned of barbarian invasions before - and look - Rome is as rich and prosperous as ever." The Senator went on to proclaim that because of the unlimited amounts of land left to conquer and the unparallelled might of the Imperial army, no barbarians could ever pierce the walls of Rome. Additionally, the Senator said that preparing for an imminent invasion would divert needed funds from temple building and wine production.

The Foreign Barbarian Invasion report is the most strongly-worded warning yet about the conquering hordes problem, and was issued by a respected think tank commissioned by the Roman Legions to study the Barbarian issue. Lead author Consul Maximus Romeus comments, "We don't know the precise date at which the barbarian horde(s) will invade. We do know, however, that other cities in the empire have been sacked and burned, and that barbarian forces maintain a quick, mobile force on the edges of our imperial reach. An attack on Rome is inevitable. The effects of such an invasion are so severe that we should begin to prepare for when the barbarians decide to attack."

Consul Maximus Romeus goes on to list recommendations such as planning for strategic evacuation of the populace, limiting further imperial expansion, land reforms for farming sustainability, and a halt to the building of additional temples, public baths, coliseums, and palaces which have drained the treasury and taxed the peasants into extreme poverty.

Foreign Barbarian Invasion is the third report concerning destructive invading hordes released this year. Other reports from the Vestal Virgins and the Apollonian Order were issued in the spring and were similarly downplayed by the Senate.

Several high-profile Roman groups commented on the report. Roman Empire Research Associates (RERA) issued this: "We refuse to believe that Rome could be invaded, despite any overwhelming so-called evidence to the contrary. Rome is the center of the universe, blessed by the Gods, and has never been conquered in modern history. Rome cannot fall."

Another respected group, the Roman Defense Institute, had a different perspective. "Although the threat of barbarian invadors is real, we simply need to expand the army and build higher walls. These innovative steps will address the problem without disruption to our way of life or economy."

Representatives of Transition Rome, a small but growing group of citizens concerned about the "barbarian invasion" problem, commented, "This paper only confirms testimonies which have been gathered from across the empire. While we don't know when the barbarians will invade, our low levels of grain storage, depleted farmland and treasury, expensive costs of maintaining a standing imperial army, and high levels of debt and poverty make Rome more vulnerable than ever to attack, and so it only makes sense to prepare for the inevitable. Plus, preparing for an invasion will be fun."


Sharlene T. said...

I can't believe you didn't wave to me from your box... being prepared is so important and not to be taken lightly -- but, we persist in following those who tell us what we want to hear not what we need to do... thanks for sharing the parable...

Brad K. said...

The last little "it will be fun" snipe seemed a bit gratuitous.

But I notice that the Transition Rome group didn't accomplish much more than the Roman Senate.

If history repeats itself . .

I am waiting for China to switch over to all electric vehicles, with there construction schedule of one new coal-fired electric plant coming on line per week for the next year. That might lighten the demand on oil just a bit, but won't do much for US efforts to manage CO2 levels. The "fart in a whirlwind" analogy comes to mind.

That, and China was exploring vast oil reserves some decade ago or so - that might be coming online soon. No wonder Chinese Army officers are writing books about military action to put China in its rightful leading role in the world.

Interesting times didn't end with the Roman Empire.

randy said...

nice post. wow, top spot on Energy Bulletin!

Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

Brad - As a founding member of Transition OKC, I feel entitled to poke fun at myself and our relentlessly cheery attitude sometimes. :)!

Brad K. said...

Peak Oil Hausfrau,

The rest of the piece just seemed so well done, then at the end you dropped me from an instructive plateau to silly.

I love silly. I lean toward "novelty" songs and stories and movies.

I enjoyed your message, and your story telling. I even enjoyed trying to track the projection and fiction from historical fact.

And I couldn't help but mention the tinkling bell at the end of the symphony.

Anonymous said...

That was funny! Back here in Totnes in the Transition Network office, you had us rolling about on our threadbare carpet.

That's the second big laugh I've had today.

Thanks. Ben.

Shamba said...

Maximus Romeus, Consul ... LMAO!

A very good piece, thanks for the smiles.


Dakey Docket said...

Thank you for that...if it is ok (I am assuming it is...) I will forward it to my T group as something transcribed from some recently discovered papyrus!