"No warning can save people determined to grow suddently rich" - Lord Overstone

  • 1 day Why Are Investors Overlooking Gold Stocks?
  • 1 day The App That Democratized Trading Is Now Worth $5B
  • 1 day Super-Cycles: Why Gold Is Set For A Breakout
  • 1 day U.S. Sanctions Russia For Election Meddling And Cyberattacks
  • 1 day Snap Shares Tank Over ‘Slap Rihanna’ Campaign
  • 1 day How Low Can Bitcoin Go?
  • 1 day Amazon’s Japan HQ Raided In Anti-Monopoly Push
  • 1 day Is Barrick Gold Close To Finding A Bottom?
  • 2 days Morgan Stanley’s Top 10 Short-Term Stock Picks
  • 2 days China: The Land Of The Ultra-Rich
  • 2 days Alibaba Soars On Reports Of China Listing
  • 2 days What Killed Toys ‘R’ Us?
  • 2 days SEC And IRS Take An Aggressive Stance On Cryptocurrencies
  • 2 days Bears And Bulls Face Off In Gold Markets
  • 2 days Bitcoin Is Winning Over The Housing Market
  • 2 days Markets Slide Sideways As Trade War Fears Linger
  • 3 days Why Aren’t Millennials Investing?
  • 3 days Bitcoin And Banking: The Next Mobile Payment Revolution
  • 3 days SEC Cracks Down On Silicon Valley’s “Disruptive Tech”
  • 3 days Wyoming Eliminates All Taxation On Gold And Silver
The App That Democratized Trading Is Now Worth $5B

The App That Democratized Trading Is Now Worth $5B

Investors and customers have rallied…

Snap Shares Tank Over ‘Slap Rihanna’ Campaign

Snap Shares Tank Over ‘Slap Rihanna’ Campaign

Snapchat’s share prices tumbled after…

Markets Surge Despite Tillerson Exit

Markets Surge Despite Tillerson Exit

Markets are enjoying a less-threatening…

John Rubino

John Rubino

John Rubino edits DollarCollapse.com and has authored or co-authored five books, including The Money Bubble: What To Do Before It Pops, Clean Money: Picking Winners…

More Info

Ominous Parallels: The Roman Empire, The European Union, And Mass Migration

This weekend's Paris attacks, occurring in the middle of one of history's largest mass-migrations, has the feel of uncharted territory. But it's actually an eerie echo of something that happened nearly two thousand years ago in more-or-less the same place.

According to some historians, the fall of the Roman Empire wasn't pre-ordained. By AD 300 it had its problems, including far-flung, hard-to-defend borders and recurring currency crises, but was generally stable and prosperous. Then a new power arose in the East. The Huns were horse archers who could out-ride and out-shoot their neighbors, and they terrorized the Vandals and Goths who lived in what is now Germany and the Balkans, driving them west to Rome's borders.

Rome chose to let half a million "barbarians" enter, hoping to use them as soldiers and laborers. Instead, it found itself with invading armies and unstable, uncontrollable political coalitions. The complete story is winding, convoluted and full of unfamiliar names, but it ends with the division of the Empire into two parts and the destruction of the original, Italian half. Here's a History Channel synopsis of the process:

The arrival of the Huns and the migration of the Barbarian tribes

The Barbarian attacks on Rome partially stemmed from a mass migration caused by the Huns' invasion of Europe in the late fourth century. When these Eurasian warriors rampaged through northern Europe, they drove many Germanic tribes to the borders of the Roman Empire. The Romans grudgingly allowed members of the Visigoth tribe to cross south of the Danube and into the safety of Roman territory, but they treated them with extreme cruelty. According to the historian Ammianus Marcellinus, Roman officials even forced the starving Goths to trade their children into slavery in exchange for dog meat. In brutalizing the Goths, the Romans created a dangerous enemy within their own borders. When the oppression became too much to bear, the Goths rose up in revolt and eventually routed a Roman army and killed the Eastern Emperor Valens during the Battle of Adrianople in A.D. 378. The shocked Romans negotiated a flimsy peace with the barbarians, but the truce unraveled in 410, when the Goth King Alaric moved west and sacked Rome. With the Western Empire weakened, Germanic tribes like the Vandals and the Saxons were able to surge across its borders and occupy Britain, Spain and North Africa.

For more, see the Wikipedia entry on the sack of Rome

Obviously this isn't an exact fit -- especially the part about the existing empire being in fairly good shape, since clearly today's eurozone has some other potentially fatal flaws. But the part about the rise of a new enemy in the West causing a mass-migration into "civilized" Europe, which opens its borders in order to obtain cheap labor without offering what the newcomers view as full rights of citizenship, is close enough to provide some useful insight.

Meanwhile, the differences between now and then make the current situation even scarier. Automatic weapons and home-made bombs give five or six angry people the ability to wreak havoc on thousands. And the development of dirty bombs threatens to make the next attack effectively permanent by irradiating whole city blocks.

But the most ominous difference is that even in the absence of a million refugees at the border, the eurozone as now configured is doomed. Debt is soaring, populations are aging, the periphery can't function in a German-style monetary regime and the main political parties are too wedded to the status quo to offer effective solutions. This, in short, is a mess without an obvious fix.


Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Sign Up For The Safehaven Newsletter