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Full Version: Ancient Rome as a gangster state
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Colin Wilson's book A Criminal History of Mankind neatly punctures a lot of the myth-making about the "grandeur" of ancient Rome and portrays it as it really was: a city run by violent, brutal thugs. Many of them were wealthy and well-educated, but they were still gangsters. Even during the days of the Republic, it was a state dominated by war, oppression and slavery.

One version of the founding of Rome is that the town was created by refugee criminals, slaves and murderers. The females were kidnapped from the nearby Sabine tribe. Wilson: "It is an interesting story; for this tale of the founding of Rome by slaves and murderers helps to explain a certain fatal deficiency in the Roman soul a curious insensitivity and literal-mindedness. The Romans never learned to inhabit the world of imagination. It is as a result of their materialistic outlook that the history of Rome contains more crime and violence than that of any other city in world history…The Romans have the dubious distinction of having invented the homicidal system of election the deliberate development of murder as a political engine."

By the time of the Third Punic War, "Rome was becoming fat, lazy and vicious. A few Romans of the old school warned against the danger; but the majority of their fellow citizens simply could not see what they were talking about…The Romans were slipping into violence by a process of self-justification. And once a nation or an individual has started down this particular slope, it is almost impossible to apply the brakes. The Roman people were too unimaginative and short-sighted to realize that, once murder has been justified on grounds of expediency, it can become a habit, then a disease…Christianity was a reaction against Roman materialism…Roman religion was almost comically literal-minded; they believed, for example, that a vote in the senate could send their late emperor to the abode of the gods…Roman literature, Roman art, Roman philosophy, were all superficial. There was nothing in Roman culture that could appeal to a man of imagination."
All class societies are based on violence. Got to keep the plebs under control.
Rome on the Potomac rings a bell here.