Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Withered Summer Grass
Fascinating find in central Germany for a history buff like me: the remains of an 1800-year-old engagement between what was probably a Roman vexilia and German tribesmen.German versus Roman isn't exactly front-page news. But this find stretches our understanding of the disarranged time during the Third Century AD when the Roman Empire struggled through external pressure and internal chaos. Conventional historical wisdom long concluded that by the 3rd Century the Roman imperial frontier had coalesced along the Rhine and the Danube, largely abandoning the German interior to the local tribes as well as repeated invaders from the East.But just as we struggle with political senesence and financial desuetude at home and geopolitical incompetence abroad and yet manage to sortie the imperial legions into the barbaricum, the post-Severian Roman Empire was still making punitive forays into the heathen parts.The lonely cluster of scorpio bolts and standard bits are a tactile reminder that while military power is a strong foundation, it cannot prevent the collapse of a society too complacent, too wealthy, too corrupt and too divided to stand. Sometimes withered summer grass is all that truly remains of the dreams of the warriors.