About 100 years before the official end of the Roman Empire in the west the Romans and the Germans were having problems on the Danube. The Roman commander, being an arrogant fool, invited the leader of a major German tribe, the Quadi, to dinner and murdered him. He was not ready for the response.
“This atrocious mishandling of the affair so infuriated the Quadi that they joined together with the neighbors and stormed across the Danube. None of the Roman farmers who lived on the frontier were expecting the attack: the invaders ‘crossed the Danube while no hostility was anticipated, and fell upon the country people, who were busy with their harvest; most of them they killed, the survivors they led home as prisoners.’” Bauer, p. 46You think you got problems. You know the barbarians are coming. You have warning. Many voted for the politicians who enable the mobs and then went out to cheer them on. Then the mob turned on them. Most of us know to stay away from blue cities and to move out of blue states. We have countless bloggers trumpeting the end of the world. For these people it came as a total surprise.
About the same time a peaceful England was invaded by four different groups and was so decimated that it never did recover before Rome finally pulled out. The Pax Romana was over with a vengeance.
I have also been reading about the world of the Pilgrims. They had just sent a large shipment of furs and lumber products to England hoping for a sale to get them out of debt. Unfortunately things were not looking up for selling furs in the old country. Their agent explains in a letter,
“But I must now acquaint you, how the Lord’s heavy hand is upon this kingdom in many places, but chiefly in this city, with His judgment of the plague. The last week’s bill was 1200 and odd. I fear this will be more, and it is much feared it will be a winter sickness. By reason whereof it is incredible the number of people that are gone into the county and left the city; I am persuaded many more than went out the last great sickness. So as here is no trading, carriers from most places put down, nor no receiving of any money though long due.” Bradford, p. 321If you missed it that was 1,200 people died in one town in one week. You think we got problems? At the same time the weather was going from drought to flood. They did not lock down and call for welfare checks. They kept going and doing what they needed to do.
Count your blessings, stop living in fear and stand up.
Bauer, Susan Wise. The History of the Medieval World. New York: W. W. Norton, 2010.
Bradford, William. Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647. New York: The Modern Library, 1981.
homo unius libri