There are moments in history when events of such magnitude occur that they cause a caesura in the passing of the centuries of humanity. One such moment relates to the transition from Republic to Empire in Rome.
The number of elements that led to this historical event marked the mutation of the Roman Republic into an empire and the consequent first globalisation in history, in many respects a model and mirror of those that have followed. Moreover, aspects such as the political crisis, moral decadence, political corruption, the impoverishment of large masses of the population, the use of the state to promote and protect the interests of the most powerful, the massive arrival of slaves in the metropolis, leading to the poverty of peasants and artisans, the control of agricultural and livestock resources by large landowners. But there are also parallels with the phenomenon of migration to the big cities from a rural world. The existence of a coexistence of several civilisations in a Mediterranean space that gradually erased or mutated Roman traditions. Even the expansion of populism.
In order to follow the conflicts linked to the crisis of the Republic and the Roman Civil War, primary sources have been used, including Caesar’s comments on the civil war; Caesar’s pseudo-Caesar, the Alexandrian war, the African war and the war in Hispania. Caesar’s work has been chosen as the most direct source, although the propagandistic aspect is acknowledged. Secondary sources are diverse.
They will be able to see how geography and history largely condition the problems and potential solutions to the current situation of indeterminacy, conflict and crisis… just as it was in the past.
We start from a determining fact: that there is a war that changes the distribution of power, the economy and society as a whole, at this point the reference would be the Second Punic War.
In Europe and in the West, the concentration of power follows the Roman model: the Republic and the Roman Empire, the French Revolution and the First French Empire, for example, would be analogous models in many aspects, such as social tensions, crisis and collapse, etc. The current model would come from the Fifth French Republic, created by General Charles de Gaulle, which would take up previous traditions, and which would have been projected into the presidency of the Republic. The current model would be the Fifth French Republic, created by General Charles de Gaulle, which would take up the previous traditions, and which he would have projected into the presidency of the Republic. In turn, a certain federal impulse can be found in the forgers of hegemonies, such as the United Low Provinces, the British Empire and the United States.
In the West, the forger of hegemony unites in adversity, in dangers, in the need to confront challenges that put at risk. The Roman Republic confronted tensions such as:
1- Mass migrations (Cimbrians and Teutons).
2- Defeats of legions that were supposed to stop them.
3 – Servile wars.
4 – Social warfare.
5 – The struggle for power in the form of civil wars.
6 – The pressure of peoples on natural frontiers.
7 – Intense social conflicts.
8 – Individualism and dominions with different languages that the Republic had to fight to crush the elites and their centrifugal impulses.
9 – Binding citizenship to a series of privileges desired by other peoples.
Likewise, in today’s world, we find ourselves caught up in pressures and points of friction, both external and internal, as well as social, political, moral, economic or in terms of justice and perceptions of fairness, which cause us to reel. Pressures at all borders and from different actors, occupation of key territories in the expansion and formation of a new great space. To this must be added a period of economic crisis and the end of the model and system, with tensions that open the door to the need to find a solution through the figure of a personality with a great capacity for leadership and mass influence.
To this must be added changes in the conception of the economy, the social and political order; leisure linked to politics and the popular classes; populism encouraged by demagogy from different positions of the political spectrum, and the search for synthesis between both points from certain defeated elites but who try to steer the course of events towards their own ends using the masses. Cato the Younger and his proposal to renounce extra-Italian lands, as a solution to protect himself from the construction of the imperial reality, is also something we should be familiar with.
Also factors to consider are the presence of a change in and strengthening of the army; the success or failure of the rise to power is fought at sea, in a sea battle that is often definitive: Augustus at Accius in 31 BC, which allowed an unopposed land campaign through the Levant to Egypt; or conversely in the case of Napoleon: an attempt at conquest from Egypt to the Levant, but allowed Nelson to smash his fleet. which allowed an unopposed land campaign through the Levant to Egypt; or conversely in the case of Napoleon: an attempt at conquest from Egypt to the Levant, but allowed Nelson to destroy his fleet in a single battle, with the naval power finally facing off at Trafalgar, with the same man responsible for the maritime failure as in Egypt, Villeneuve.
At the present time, we are in similar circumstances to those we experienced there.
I invite you to follow the different publications that I will be making on this website and to combine all of this with the work that the Instituto Symposium has been developing through its journal Hermes Kalamos.