Hellenistic empire

From: D M McNamara (D.M.McNamara@durham.ac.uk)
Date: Wed 22 May 1996 - 12:55:29 EEST

 Peter Metcalfe...
 I do not really wish to see the glorantha page degenerate into a forum
for quibbling on RW history, but some of the things you said do seem
  The Hellenistic empire infact used GIGANTIC amounts of slaves,
certainly not as many as the romans, but still enough to actually
designate it primarily a slave mode of production. Read 'G.E.M. de Ste.
Croix' for the singular scale of slave shennanigans....greece in the
classical period saw influxes of tens of thousands of slaves during
periods of war. Of course, in any society there was never a *total* slave
mode...other methods of accumulating capital happened alongside, its just
that use of slaves tends to make the other methods somewhat uneconomic in
the long term.
  In my first email i stressed the import of the long term. In saying
that the lunars need to expand, i did not mean that they have to
constantly rumble their borders forward every second of the day. Its just
that *if* they had a similar economy to the romans (which many of you
appear to disagree with anyway), their economic development is more
'extensive' in nature..........Marius reports the standard legionnaires
equipment as consisting of road building tools as much as weapons and
food. Therefore, ultimately, unless they radically revolutionised
themselves, they will suffer problems when they reach certain geographical
and economic limits. feudalism was more 'intensive' in nature ie. 'cash
farming' via taxing land-tied peasantry, rational use of technology,
powerful and belligerent church, etc.
   You obviously also do not agree with the economic necessity of
invading Britain. I did not want to do this, as it will be tedious, but
here is a fraction of the evidence.....caesars itinerary's, 4 other roman
itinerary's, roman tax reports, extensive use of oppida (trading centres
most likely) throughout hillfort dominated zone, lack of roman occupation
of unfertile and unproductive parts of UK (wales, scotland...the climate
was drier then), roman accounts of desperate need to conquer britons,
economic decline (look at precious metal content and devaluation in
coins) stopped by invasion years, few hundred years of prosperity as
britain is economically developed...then gradual decline as markets start
to fail, economi c devlopment of london and york (HUGE wooden wharves
built in york), extensive settlement of retired legionairres all over
britain, britain commemorated on medals as being the 'breadbasket' of
rome (only place not shattered by civil strife later), fortification
of saxon shore to defend economic power of london, YEARS od trading
with barbarians before the invasions, field systems developed and
revolutionised throughout britain, GIGANTIC AND CRIPPLING cost of
invasion (see martin Millett's calculations)...it must have been thought
worth it, desperate searching by roman navy for more productive land
beyond Britain (they find iceland, but it is obviously worthless)....by
then it was too late, the romans were fighting amongst themselves,
emporers were draining the coffers, the barbarians at the borders seized the
opportunity, roman generals joined them and raided their own people....it
was a nasty and inglorious way for the empire to go.


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